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    Thread: URGENT HELP : External hard disk full, but files are invisible

    1. #1
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      URGENT HELP : External hard disk full, but files are invisible

      I'm facing a VERY STRANGE issue since today.

      I use a Western Digital 320 GB external portable hard disk as my backup drive. I store my Movies, Music, TV shows etc in this.

      Yesterday, I connected both my external hard disks (the primary one being a 500 GB Buffalo) and transferred a folder containing video files onto the Western Digital. I do this almost everyday, as a backup measure, without any issues till date. I also always use the 'Safely Remove Hardware' option before unplugging the hard disk.

      Today when I plugged in this disk, I was shocked to see that all files are gone! The Properties tab shows space as used up (i.e. 292 GB used out of total 297 GB) and all folders are intact (ref screenshot). But there aren't ANY files there! This happened under Ubuntu 11.10.

      So I switched back to Windows 7 and enabled the 'Show Hidden files and folders' option but to no avail. I ran a disk test and it is perfectly healthy. I also ran 'Recuva' - a free software to recover deleted/corrupted files. It does show me about 80% of the missing files but still the remaining critical 20% are nowhere to be found.

      What could be the problem and solution here?
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      Quote Originally Posted by dj.nish View Post
      What could be the problem and solution here?
      have you encrypted the HDD?? if NO then you can try connecting that HDD to a PC running windows and run chkdsk with /r switch. i think its just the bad sectors that's causing this issue.
      Last edited by h4x0r; 3rd Apr 2012 at 06:42.
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      dj.nish, Did you used the syncing software that came with the WD hard drive to copy data?
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      Quote Originally Posted by h4x0r View Post
      have you encrypted the HDD?? if NO then you can try connecting that HDD to a PC running windows and run chkdsk with /r switch. i think its just the bad sectors that's causing this issue.
      Nope. Have not encrypted it. I will run the chkdsk as you instructed. However, when I ran the Disk Utility in Ubuntu, it shows that HDD is perfectly healthy and there aren't any bad sectors.
      Quote Originally Posted by anubhavt View Post
      dj.nish, Did you used the syncing software that came with the WD hard drive to copy data?
      No. I just used a simple Copy-Paste command.

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      Try connecting the HDD to a PC and check... if you have checked the disk on Ubuntu is dont think there are any issue with the HDD... You can check if the files are visible on ubuntu ...
      1.It might be a virus issue as welll if you have connected the HDD to a windows system...
      2. Check the HDD with the HDD with the software that was provided with the HDD

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      Quote Originally Posted by thenapster View Post
      Try connecting the HDD to a PC and check... if you have checked the disk on Ubuntu is dont think there are any issue with the HDD... You can check if the files are visible on ubuntu ...
      1.It might be a virus issue as welll if you have connected the HDD to a windows system...
      2. Check the HDD with the HDD with the software that was provided with the HDD
      1. The screenshot I have attached is from Ubuntu. You'll see that all folders are empty (i.e 0 items)
      2. I ran Antivirus and Anti Spyware test. The system is clean.

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      Quote Originally Posted by dj.nish View Post
      I'm facing a VERY STRANGE issue since today
      What is the file system type in your WD hard disk? If it's NTFS, then Ubuntu *might have* screwed up something there. You have two options:
      1. Format (after making a backup) the partitions to FAT32
      2. Format (after making a backup) the partitions to Ext3/4.

      Option 1 -> you cannot store any file bigger than ~4GB in size - goodbye DVD, DVD-Dual Layer & BluRay Images
      Option 2 -> you can use the hard disk only with a Linux machine

      I experienced something similar recently. Lost some files that way, only to recovered by the Windoze Disk Check Utility and put into Found.000, 001 etc folders. Seems there's something wrong with the NTFS-Fuse driver in Ubuntu. Win7 and the Ubuntu Disk Utility said there's no hardware error in the hard disk. So, to play it safe, I copy stuff into those NTFS partitions, and then Unmount them, then i verify if those files really have been copied, and then unmount again (all from the GUI).
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      Quote Originally Posted by nimrod View Post
      What is the file system type in your WD hard disk? If it's NTFS, then Ubuntu *might have* screwed up something there. You have two options:
      1. Format (after making a backup) the partitions to FAT32
      2. Format (after making a backup) the partitions to Ext3/4.

      Option 1 -> you cannot store any file bigger than ~4GB in size - goodbye DVD, DVD-Dual Layer & BluRay Images
      Option 2 -> you can use the hard disk only with a Linux machine

      I experienced something similar recently. Lost some files that way, only to recovered by the Windoze Disk Check Utility and put into Found.000, 001 etc folders. Seems there's something wrong with the NTFS-Fuse driver in Ubuntu. Win7 and the Ubuntu Disk Utility said there's no hardware error in the hard disk. So, to play it safe, I copy stuff into those NTFS partitions, and then Unmount them, then i verify if those files really have been copied, and then unmount again (all from the GUI).
      My HDD is FAT32 formatted.

      I tried using Recuva. It shows me some files (80%) but not all. Maybe I'll have to use this as a last resort and atleast recover these. But I would still like to have all the files recovered and then I plan to reformat the HDD.

      Also, I don't want to restrict the HDD to either Ubuntu or Win 7. Though I mostly use Ubuntu, I still have to log in to Windows at times.

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      I committed a grave mistake just a while back. Went to Properties->Tools option (right clicked on the hard disk) and selected the Error Checking thing.

      Little did I know that my folder structure which I was until now able to see would vanish! Now it says files are recovered under "Found.001" (and so on), but I'm unable to view them! And the folders are all gone too! However, as before, the hard disk is showing nearly full.

      Ran Recuva again and it shows all the files as unrecoverable :-( Let's try to recover whatever I can.

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      recovery tools work on the premise that when you delete something, only the file table index entry is removed while the actual content stays where it is until something else overwrites that area. FOUND.xxx files are precisely such files with missing FAT indexes but you or I wont know WTF files those indeed are.

      bottom line: if a recovery utility cannot find the physical data, I dont think you will see it again.

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