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I have 1TB WD external HDD (USB3.0). Few months back , I don't know why, files and folders in it became corrupt, i.e I am unable to open them. I tried different recovery software but was unable to recover the data.

To further add to the problem, few days back when I attached the drive to the computer, the computer did not recognized it. There was no icon of it in 'My Computers'. I tried to attach the drive to my laptop, but even it did not recognized it.

I remember reading somewhere that we can try to recover the data using Linux O.S. So, I have created the Linux Ubuntu 11.10 DVD to try the same. But now I am unable to locate the section which listed the steps to be followed to recover data from external drive.

If some one knows the steps for the same, I request him to share the same. This is first time I am using Ubuntu and I don't have any idea about it. I will not be installing the Ubuntu but running it in demo mode without actually installing it.

Desktop computer on which I am running it has Windows XP installed on it.

I have important and personal files/ photos in it, please help me in recovering it.


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You may start with this guide, but as your PC was unable to even recognize it I'm not too sure about the potential outcome. Does Ubuntu recognize the drive? DataRecovery.

This guide uses an Ubuntu live CD. How-To Geek: Recover Data Like a Forensics Expert Using an Ubuntu Live CD.

This might also help though it is quite old. Recover Data from a Damaged hard disk using dd_rhelp

But once again, as you were not even able to connect the drive to your PC, I would not be too positive about the whole thing. Probably it is more of a hardware failure than some software/data corruption problem.

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The problem faced by Gizmo is because of some viruses...They corrupt the data and make an external drive undetectable.There is only 1% chance that its a hardware problem.Gizmo is using windows..NO DOUBT he'll have viruses.And what problems can he potentially face on a live cd used only to recover data?? – Nirmik May 19 '12 at 7:52
You are absolutely right about the Live CD/DVD thing, I've changed my answer accordingly. Assuming a virus just because of a Windows OS, however, is just as speculative as assuming a hardware failure - hence the "probably" in my post. – moewe May 19 '12 at 7:55
Even Ubuntu is not able to recognize the drive. I don't think it's virus because when the drive was recognizable I did virus scan from different online and through installed kaspersky scan. No virus was detected. – gizmo May 19 '12 at 8:31
Since even Ubuntu is not able to recognize the drive, please advise some other recovery option in Linux Ubuntu.. – gizmo May 19 '12 at 8:32
Well if gParted does not recognize it either, as Nirmik suggested, and you cannot access the device on any other computer you've got, you might have to look at the hardware side of things. – moewe May 20 '12 at 7:37

Yes you absolutely can do it..!!!

Boot a live USB(i assume you know how to boot a live CD)

Plug your external HDD in.You will see your hard-disk as an external device(like some USB)

plug in another external HDD or USB and copy all your data.or you may also copy into the internal HDD which will also be shown as an external device.


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Even Ubuntu is not able to recognize the drive! Now what? – gizmo May 19 '12 at 8:30
In ubuntu go to the menu and type GPARTED and start that application. See if Gparted is recognising it. – Nirmik May 19 '12 at 8:34

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