Question about Western Digital 320GB MyBook External USB 2.0 Hard Drive

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WD My Book 320GD external HDD - recognized by computer, but cannot read, says it has to be reformatted

My WD(MyBook)320GB external harddrive is suddenly not recognized by my computer. It is stating that it needs to be formatted. I don't want to format it as I have data on it I don't want to lose. I've the same problem, I was copying a DVD full of movies and the hdd just froze. I had to power-off to stop it and when I restarted the hdd light comes on, windows explorer shows the drive, but when I click on it, the message appears saying I need to format. I tried the WD diagnostic tool and the quick scan says shows the drive as normal. But when I tried to to run the complete scan, it ran for almost 2 hrs and aborted saying too many bad sectors. Windows Disk Management also shows the disk and shows it as healthy. I cannot format the drive due the data that I have on it. Can anyone suggest a good recovery software (free if possible :) ) or any other method to get the hdd to work.

Posted by madhavs on

  • madhavs May 29, 2009

    Chris, thanks for your response
    I stay in Bangalore, India and cannot send the drive out of the country. Reading your solution leaves with me with only one option of trying to reach out to some professional data retrievers.
    I don't want to risk corrupting any data that can be recovered professionally.
    Now if I were to buy a data recovery software what are the best solutions that are available for this kind of problem and what are my chances of a successful retrieval?



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Sorry to say not that many of the Free ones are either A) Actually free(most just show you the files then request money. or B) Al that good. GetMyDataBack seem reasonably good but any attempts you make to recover or fix the drive run the risk of further damaging files.

Both of your stated problems sound like file structure problems although the later problem sounds like the issue may have been the result of impending hardware failure.

First, IF you cannot afford to loose your data, DO NOT try the following suggestions and send the drive immediately to a data recovery specialist(I recommend Armor-IT in North America, if you're elsewhere give me Region and City and I'll point you to an appropriate location).

Now, IF you can live without you files in the event this causes new damage and are simply looking for a cheap/free shot at salvaging the data, open your start menu and click RUN(XP)/SEARCHBAR(Vista). Type CHKDSK X: /F and hit enter(change X to the current drive letter of the external drive).

Then reboot your computer, a screen will come up about disk checking or consistency check, allow it to run it's course.

If this fails, try GetMyDataBack, it's free and can resolve some minor issues. If these suggestions do not work you will likely need the help of a pro. Respond with your Region and City and I will point you to an appropriate Pro.


Posted on May 29, 2009

  • Chris
    Chris May 29, 2009

    Hi madhavs,

    Chances for recovery with a program like Filescavenger(one I like) are 70-80% on this type of failure, in the right hands FS will cause little to no additional damage to the data but I would max out the forum length trying to explain proper safe use. File Scavenger is about $50 and better than The above mentioned GetMyDataBack program.

    As for places to get Data recovered in India, I have referred other clients to Disk Doctors India before and they have rated my solution as FixYa. Please give them a try at

    Then if you don't mind, please comment back here as to the level of success, ie 95% files recovered, and the cost in Rupes/US dollars. As I have had several happy clients but would like to know the rates so I can give the next person an idea of what to expect.

    Hope this helps FixYa,




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