My wife dropped her 500GB and broke the USB connector off. Since it is a SATA drive I mounted it in a desktop PC and the PC did not recognize it, message telling me that it was not formatted.
I gave it to a friend who is a PC “expert” to see if she could salvage it for us (it is loaded with all our family photos).
She finally gave it back to me saying she could not help, and when I plugged it back into the PC there was now no drive at all. Further investigation showed that the partition had been deleted.
WD told me that it is just a single partition of 465.65GB, no small partition for any kind of backup or recovery software.
I used Windows XP Disk Management to explore the partition possibilities. What I discovered is that the unpartitioned size was 465.76GB, not 465.65 as the WD person told me. Doing some math I figured that to match the 465.65 GB size I would have to partition 476826 MB as the primary partition, which I did. I was careful NOT to format it though. It now showed as drive D but unformatted.
No amount of experimenting rewarded me with a formatted drive with all the data intact.
So my next question is, does a utility exist that can take what should be a proper partition size and “discover” the file structure and restore it without wiping out the existing data? I seem to recall (back in the early days of Windows or even earlier) that you can do a format on a drive that will basically wipe out the directory structure but would leave all the data intact, and that Norton had a utility that could then examine that data and find missing files and recover some or even all of them.