Cannot recover Master File Table (MFT)

About a week ago I was unable to access my External Hard Drive.  I get a message that the drive is not accessible and that the “disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.”  I ran the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics on the drive  - both the quick and extended tests - and the quick test passed (I think the extended did also, although I’m rerunning it now to confirm).   When I try to run chkdsk, it returns a message that “windows cannot recover the master file table.”   I have run a few scans with data recovery programs like Recuva and EaseUS Data Recovery.  Those programs confirm that the data is on the disk, but Recuva takes forever to do a deep scan (which I have to run - it cannot run a quick scan because it says it cannot read the disk) and Easus charges to recover more than 1 GB of data.   I recovered some data with Recuva after terminating the deep scan early, but its results did not organize the files by folder.

Is there a quick way to restore the file structure and to retrieve my data?   I’m particularly interested in 1 folder, which is over 160 gb.


You might try TestDisk You might also try booting from a Liux Live CD. Sometimes that gives access to data.


How do you boot an external hard drive from a CD?

The linux Live CD creats bacically a temp file and runs from that. It will sometimes access things on a bad drive. It does not actually install anything.