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Richard, Computer Engineer
Category: Computer Hardware
Satisfied Customers: 43191
Experience:  Over 15 years of consulting to the IT industry
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I have WD external hard drive. It has been working perfectly

Customer Question

I have WD external hard drive. It has been working perfectly for some time. I have stored a lot of documents on it. I plugged it in today and lots of the folders are missing.
When I check the properties the hard drive is still showing as 80% full but the folders with the files cannot be seen. Is there a way to view or recover the files
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Computer Hardware
Expert:  Chris R. replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is***** and I would be happy to assist you today.

First the drive if it is older could be going bad so you will want to back up those files to something else as soon as possible just in case.

I would try running CHKDSK. That will scan your drive for errors and attempt to fix them. You can right click the drive in COMPUTER and then select Properties. Then under Tools select under Error Checking Check Now.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do I select both options

Automatically fix file errors

Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors

Expert:  Chris R. replied 3 years ago.
Just do the Scan for errors and automatically fix.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

this is the result I get

Expert:  Chris R. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the screenshot. It looks like it certainly found problems. There are two possibilities here. One, the hard drive is physicaly failing/damaged and is starting to have problems. Two, something caused the file system to be damaged on the drive. By the screenshot it looks like it was trying to recover data but it doesn't have enough disk space. Are you able to copy and paste the files you DO see to another location? If so after copying the files over delete the ones on the drive you are trying to repair and and run the CHKDSK again. Hopefully if it is just an issue of not having enough space it will be able to recover the rest of your files. If that is successful you will want to check the Disk health to see if it is physcally damaged before using it again.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Still trying to work through your instructions

Expert:  Chris R. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the update. There is no rush so don't worry. Keep me posted.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Chris,

I have moved all the files from the hard drive and ran the scan again.

This is the result

Expert:  Chris R. replied 3 years ago.
Mark, I would like to open this question to see what some of the others think.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Hi there and welcome
How much of your data did you recover?
Have you run Test Disk on it yet?
Please let me know
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The scan I ran did not recover anything. The only files left on the drive that I can see were WD files that came on the hard drive. I had taken everything else off the hard drive before I ran the last scan. I haven't run test disk yet

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
ok, so your missing files still correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, It had been working correctly and then when I connected it the files were missing. There are a lot of files that have disappeared somewhere.

I have moved nearly all the files besides the manufacturers files from the drive but when I look at the drive on My Computer it is saying 143GB free of 596GB

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Thank you
I want you to run Test Disk on the drive, as if the data can be recovered, this free program will do it.
The link to the step by step guide for this is here
Click me to view
Run this and check what can be recovered.
I can also do these steps for you, and have made a request via Additional Services. This is optional, and if you choose to do this, I can, with your permission, remote into your computer while you watch and do all these steps (and deal with any problems that arise during them) for you. Or if you do not choose to take this service, we can continue here. This is no problem at all. Just let me know please.
Let me know the results please
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have gotten as far as here but I am unsure of what to do next

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Thats the hard drive, so press Enter to continue
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

ok I pressed p which listed all the files including the missing ones (highlighted in red) can I still press enter now

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Now you press A to select them all
Then C to copy them
Always check at the bottom of the screen for the commands it gives you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If all the files on the drive can be recovered then they are in excess of 400GB. when I select a folder to copy them to it only allows me to select a folder on my harddrive. My harddrive is only 148GB. I do have a network drive connected to my computer which is 3TB. Is it possible to select this drive if is mapped to my computer

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
I cant recall sorry as I never had to do it to a network drive, but try this and let me know the results please
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It did let me select the mapped drive. It's obviously going to take some time to copy all the files. i will keep you updated

Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Did it all complete for you?
The files were restored? This program will get all files back that is possible.
Please let me know.