View Full Version : Disk Recovery Utilities?

Michael s/v Sannyasin
10-12-2007, 03:04 PM
Anyone have any experience with any particular disk recovery utilities? I have a few Maxtor external firewire drives. A couple have been twitchy lately (they drop offline for no reason) and so I've copied the contents from one to another drive (sometimes slow and painful because of the afore mentioned dropping).

Anyway, one of my more stable drives, which had all of my photos, my iTunes, several video projects just hosed its system volume file allocation table. I'm pretty sure that the actual files are all fine, just the info about file/folder names/locations is toast.

I've got most of the important stuff backed up, though, you will never know what you've lost if you don't try to recover what's there.

I've used some utils before that had a pretty easy time of fixing these file allocation tables, but I can't remember what it was I used (maybe Partition Magic?)

Anyway, if anyone has a good recommendation for a disk utility for recovering data from a drive with a bad file allocation table (as I said, I don't think anything overwrote any of the data files), let me know what it is. All my external drives are formatted for FAT32.

Also, if anyone has had any experience with any other brand of external firewire drives, let me know. I typically buy in the 300GB range and get the fastest rpm I can get for digital video editing.


George Roberts
10-12-2007, 03:29 PM
Last time I had a bad partition table I took the drive to someone who had experience in the problem. She downloaded 2 or 3 tools, did a lot of detailed writing of notes as to how she would proceed, and then spent an hour doing stuff. (Few to several hundred dollars.)

If the stuff is important, it may be worth paying for the fix.


As far as drives. Buy internal SATA drives, 500GB WD drives seem nice, and put then in cases with firewire connectors. (I prefer USB connectors but I have used e-sata connectors.)

Michael s/v Sannyasin
10-12-2007, 03:35 PM
Thanks, that is an option. Like I said, most of the really important stuff has been backed up, there are some files I wouldn't like to lose that I know are not backed up, there are a lot (like music files) that I could get back from their orignal source. Mainly, it would just be a big PIA.

Before I pay someone to recover the disk, I want to research what utilities are out there... it is the old "give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish" thing.

John Bell
10-12-2007, 04:53 PM
A lot of the external drives are simply regular old IDE or SATA drives fitted to a case that contains a firewire or USB interface. If the problem is in the interface, you may be able to open the case and connect the drive inside your PC as a slave and recover the data that way.

10-12-2007, 05:04 PM
Are you sure it's the drives and not your firewire connectors into your computer. My computer's on a Docking Station and every time I pop it out and to go away with the computer and then come back and insert it back into the station the firewire connector doesn't pass the signal. Takes a bit of wiggling and plugging and unplugging to get my external to show up on the desktop.

Then it's reliable until I go off with the computer again.

The only file recovery app I've had to use was to get images off a damaged card. That was PhotoRescue, right now I've got version 3. It was free, and I suspect it would rescue any file, not just image files. But I needed to get some awards pix off a cheap CF card. Worked like a dream.

10-12-2007, 05:19 PM
If it's the FAT that is the problem you should be able to easily fix that by running chkdsk. It should be able to show you if something is wrong and possibly fix the problem. And yes, make sure your firewire connections are good.

Michael s/v Sannyasin
10-13-2007, 12:54 AM
Thanks, the dodgy connections could possibly be caused by faulty wiring connections, as I "daisy chain" several drives. However, it tends to happen after several minutes/hours of good connection, without anybody moving anything. Turning the drive off and on again seems to re-establish it temporarily. I suspect it has something to do with auto-spindown, but if I disable that, then the drive heats up incredibly.

For the disk with the bad file allocation table, it is possible that something like chkdsk could solve the problem, but I know I've used other utilities that gave a lot more control before actually doing any "writes" to the affected drive, so, I'm hoping a more developed program will give me more options.

Thanks ELF, I'll check out PhotoRescue, I hadn't heard of that one yet.

Vince Brennan
10-13-2007, 05:58 AM
Another great place for help and advice is "Windows BBS (http://www.windowsbbs.com/)". they've pulled my bacon outta the fire more than once.

Just register (free) and select the proper forum for posting.