Okay, I had the same problem with my WD External USB Terabyte drives, but managed to get through it. I bought two drives this past Black Friday via Wal*Mart. I use both drives to watch TV Shows and Movies either through my PS3 on the big TV or on my computer.
Well, I caught a virus, but I didn’t expect it to effect my external HDs. Both were hit but in different ways. I’m unfortunately using Windows Vista on top of everything, so when I got the hair pulling “Unrecognized USB Device” error message I still wasn’t aware that the drives had a problem.
What You Need To Do:
Depending on how resourceful;) you are you may be able to fix your drive without too great of a cost.
(ONE) Just Breath:
HAVE PATIENCE! It took me two weeks to get my stuff back, 5 of those last days was using a recovery program (twice) to painstakingly step through the drive to get all 520 GB of it, and that was just one drive. So, during those times your computer is working RELAX , watch a movie play a game go outside do something positive to pass the time.
(TWO) Assessment Test Time!:
Decide what type of damage your drive sustained. If it’s water, fire, or damage due to a baseball bat, well you can kiss your drive goodbye, but if the damage is non-physical i.e. a virus, power outage at a critical point, or Vista’s poor design temping you to turn off your computer’s protection, you just might be in luck.
(THREE) Beating Back The Barbarians**:**
Fix what ever issue that caused the problem. For me I had to download a program to get rid of the virus. The virus wouldn’t allow me to do this so I had to run my computer in “Safe Mode” and use “System Restore” to reset my computer to a earlier saved state. Then download, install, track down and remove the bug, and turn my “Windows Security Center” shields back up or on. It’s important to keep your system up to date, so make sure you run Windows Update.
Someone in a forum recommended running the free online “Windows Fix it” tool: http://support.microsoft.com/gp/mats/?ln=en-us (No Microsoft service is compatible with rival browsers, so you have to use Internet Explorer, no Firefox.)
Sometimes Fix It seemed to work, other times I wanted to shoot someone from Microsoft for making a service so **bleep** ambiguous with giving results.
(FOUR) USB Driver Issue Or Waiting On A Slow Read:
What you need to do now is have Windows recognize your drive. This is where the patience part really applies. This is where you’ll have to notice the slight difference between Vista not recognizing your USB devices to Vista not being able to read the damaged drive fast enough, due to the virus.
(FOUR A) Dealing With The Unrecognized Device Issue:
The unrecognized device issue can be fixed by turning your computer off and unplugging all your USB connections and waiting 30 mins. (PATIENCE! Play a game, gets some groceries.) Plug everything back in one at a time. The last thing to plug in will be the USB Drive. Plug it in. See if Vista says “Unrecognizable USB Device”. if it does just unplug a different USB device for now.
For me, a weird combination of USB devices always gets me the message. I have 9 USB slots and I only get the unrecongnize device message when I have a combination of the both drives and my wireless USB router. So, again just unplug a different USB device for now (i.e. The USB speakers). We did all this 30 min unplug wait game just to reset your USB drivers. As long as your computer doesn’t give you the “Unrecognized device message” you’re good.
(FOUR B) Plug It In And Wait:
(JUST HAVE PATIENCE!) Plug it in. You might think your computer has froze, but let it work. As long as it’s not saying “Unrecognizable USB Device” keep it plugged in. The drive has a reading error and Vista’s trying to read it. (I can’t tell you how long this was for me because I took a nap.)
(FOUR C) The Message Your Waiting For:
You’re waiting for the “This Drive Needs To Be Formatted.” message to pop up. I know, sounds crazy, but just bare with me. I was refusing to reformat myself. Sometimes in the days I waited and looked for other options, the drive would read, but it’s a tease eventually Vista would always prompt me to format.
(FIVE) Letting Go Should Be Quick:
When you get the “This Drive Needs To Be Formatted” message perform a “Quick Format”. The drives originally came with the FAT32 file structure, I didn’t know this at the time, so I choose the * NTFS file system. In the end it didn’t matter. I still got everything back. Choose the file structure and reformat. It only takes mere seconds to wipe out countless hours of work.
* Note: (Skip if you want.) I choose NTFS because there is a file size limitation with FAT32 of a 2GB file, but today we have access to 8GB HD movie files, yet the PS3 can only read FAT32 ext drives. Hence the real reason my second drive didn’t work anymore. I reformatted it to the NTFS without knowing the PS3 only reads FAT32. So, now we both know.
(SIX) Preserving The Crime Scene:
I know, I had that painful feeling of loss in my gut too after reformatting my drive. Hang in there. When you do a Quick Format, apparently your information isn’t completely wiped. Windows just changes a trigger letting the system know that the information block can be written over again. A data recovery program can flip that trigger back on and recover the data as long as it remains unwritten, so whatever you do don’t put any new information on the drive. Any new information might be written over the files that are already there. Savvy?
(SEVEN) Ressurecting The Ghost in The Shell:
Choosing a data recovery program took a while, but I ended up using EASEUS Data Recovery 4.3.6. (I gave you the name, so you savvy poor **bleep** should know what to do;).
Things you should know before you get started: You will need a place big enough to store the recovered data. Later on EASEUS gives you the crazy option to write data to the damaged drive from which it’s currently trying to recover… DON’T DO IT! Thank Allah that I had free space.
Using EASEUS‘s demo I selected the “Fast Partition Recover” option. Word of warning “fast” depends on how big the drive is and if it’s being squeezed through a 2.0 port. Where’s USB 3.0? I’m ready.
(EIGHT) Just Breath (Revisited):
Remember what we talked about in the first topic? PATIENCE! EASEUS calculates how long it will take scan the drive. DO NOT take the projected time remaining clock to heart! It initially told me some ridiculous time of like 25 weeks! (SO, BE PATIENT SHUDDAP AND WAIT!)
So, 2.5 days later it finishes. Hooray, and teases me with the files it says it can recovery for me, BUT I can’t recovery them until I make a purchase… Well, I upgraded;) ,but had to run the “fast” Partition Recovery again. This time it took 12 hours to scan the drive.
After it tells you what’s recoverable it prompts you to choose a destination drive and depending on the data size and your system configuration you can be sure it gonna be awhile. Mine took 10 hours, but that’s pretty good for half a terabyte. Mission… finally…accomplished…
(NINE) W.W.J.D. For Peace Of Mind?:
…But not over. So, this is where I am. Should I send the drive back to Western Digital for a replacement? I know I’m still under warranty (I think?). Will a full reformatting fix whatever went wrong? Was it really the virus that did this to the drives? You know_ , W hat W ould J esus D o_?
I Don’t know what good this will do at this stage, but I ran Windows Drive Error-Checking Tool. I ran it because the easiest less time consuming option is to keep the drive. Again, it’s not physically damaged, so I hoping I’ll be good.
Right click on drive letter> Properties> Tools> Error-Checking.
It has two selectable options:
Automatically fix file system errors ,and (a few seconds to a minute.)
Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors (3 hours to check the terabyte for “free Clusters”? I’m so ready for USB 3.0!!)
Final thing I did before pushing all my data back on the drive was a “long” “full” version disk format. And again, I don’t know what good this will do me now, but I want to regain some peace of mind.
(TEN) Learned Lessons:
I do know I have to figure out a viable storage solution, and having so much “important” information on such a big drive is just asking for trouble, just like people, one day the drive will fail. I see now that buying these drives still hasn’t replaced the need to back up to DVD, I just saw the low price of them, and couldn’t resist the deal, **bleep** you Wal*Mart, but I still love you.
(ELEVEN) Future Storage In The Clouds:
Today, less is more, so I need another place other than a blank DVD to backup my files. For my core files I’m gonna try DROPBOX, a free (up to 2GB) online backup service. So, whenever you connect to the internet, it automatically synchronizes your files with your account in “the cloud”. What only 2GB? PATIENCE, someday someone will write a program that strings multiple accounts together. Can you imagine a free, limitless storage solution? Sounds very good to a poor tech-savvy kid like me;)
(TWELVE) 'Nuff Said:
Long live the Internet! Long live Freedom!! Think I’m gonna go outside for a breather, maybe I’ll bump into a cute little thing;) Better watch out because I feel like a beast right now… LATER!