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Errant external hard drive

Discussion of general issues, not related to a specific Mac or iDevice operating system.
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bill black
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Errant external hard drive

Post by bill black » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:11 am

My Fantom external HD is suddenly missing from my desktop. Attempts to find it have been unsuccessful. I have shut it off, pulled the plug and restarted my computer several times. The on-screen message I get is:
"The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer."
It gives me the options to Initialize, Ignore or Eject.
I have been using this HD for 6 years. Is it toast and, if so, can I recover what is on it? It is far from having reached its capacity.
Any suggestions?
Bill Black

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Errant external hard drive

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:06 am

Don't abandon the drive yet.
It sounds like it's appearing to the Mac as an unformatted drive.

Is it making any odd sounds?
How crucial is the data on the drive?

If it doesn't sound bad,

I would proceed by first taking the drive out of the enclosure and either putting it in another enclosure or using a universal drive adapter from Other World Computing. It's possible that the bridge board in the enclosure is at fault.

Next, I would run DiskWarrior on the drive to see if it can recreate the directory on the drive.

If either of those succeeds in getting the drive to show up in the Finder with files showing proceed as follows:
1. Do a Finder copy of any really, really important files.
2. Clone the drive to another external using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper or even Disk Utility Restore.

If both fail, your option is probably DriveSavers. See this SMUG thread for my experience along those lines.

Six years is definitely pushing the envelope on thin ice while flirting with disaster for any hard drive.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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