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 Post subject: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 18th, 2018, 21:46 
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I have a 2TB HDD, with one NTFS partition, almost full of data, which is no longer recognized by Windows (Windows 7 Pro 64bit). The drive letter appears but not the partition size, and there's a request to format it. In Windows storage manager, it appears as “RAW”. CHKDSK gives up analyzing it right away, with an error message saying that it's unable to determine the version and the state of the volume.

Yet, if I open that drive with R-Studio, the partition appears right away with its correct size (no scanning is even required), I can open it and access all the files that were there the last time I used it normally, with the whole directory tree, and the files' contents seem 100% correct as far as I can see. Likewise, if I open the whole drive with WinHex, it correctly recognizes the partition, and displays the files / folders with their correct contents. (If I open directly the “F:” partition, it says “incorrect parameter”, but then proceeds to open the filetree anyway.)

I thought that the partition table could have been corrupted somehow, ran TestDisk to try and fix it, but after opening the drive it gave me this :
Code:
    Partition       Start          End            Size in sectors
1 * DiskSecure MB   13578 105 19   13310 178 61   1920221962
Bad relative sector.
2 * Sys=74          33885 131 23   153418 150 44  1920298864
Bad relative sector.
3 * Linux Swap      14043 1 25     47914 125 15   544145418
3 * Linux Swap      14043 1 25     47914 125 15   544145418
Bad relative sector.
4 * SpeedStor       171841 203 21  171845 2 60    51637
Bad relative sector.

Yet I don't remember using that drive on a Linux system, let alone tampering with the partitioning / formatting. And then, if I run the “Quick Search”, it's analyzing the whole surface (normally it should be much quicker), without finding anything relevant. It just finished scanning and displayed this :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 6.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 6.png [ 13.58 KiB | Viewed 946 times ]


The drive is a ST2000DM001 – I know that these have a bad reputation here, but I don't see how this could have any bearing on what appears as a strictly logical issue, and a not-so-severe one if I can still access the files flawlessly with R-Studio / WinHex. It should also be noted that a few weeks ago that drive fell on the floor from a relatively low height while unplugged; it doesn't seem to have affected its physical integrity whatsoever : HD Sentinel displays a 100% health status, with no bad sector or other critical flaw. Yet the Ultra ATA CRC Error Count has risen from 0 to 237 since November, and I get this warning :
Quote:
Problems occurred between the communication of the disk and the host 237 times. In case of sudden system crash, reboot, blue-screen-of-death, inaccessible file(s)/folder(s), it is recommended to verify data and power cables, connections – and if possible try different cables to prevent further problems.
More information: http://www.hdsentinel.com/hard_disk_cas ... _error.php

(The drive is currently connected through a hot-swap cage, directly plugged with a SATA cable to the motherboard, but the last time I plugged it, when this issue appeared, it was connected through an external enclosure, in eSATA, so it may have been a bit flimsy.)


So what is going on here ? And how can I regain direct access to the drive's contents, short of extracting everything with R-Studio ? (Actually the contents are mostly a recovery from another drive, a 3TB one, which I still have and haven't used since, so I could still extract the files again from that one, it's just that I've done quite a lot of work to sort out the files, remove duplicates or corrupted ones, I don't want to start all over again.)


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 18th, 2018, 23:32 
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Quick update : I ran a read test with HD Sentinel, stopped it after a few minutes (no error) by clicking on a block to launch the Contents Inspector module, then clicked on “Go to...”, typed the LBA of a MKV file identified by R-Studio, it displayed the same valid MKV header. But then if I click on “Detect file information for sector” it displays this :
“Error: Unable to detect partition / logical drive information. E: -4”

I analyzed the “F:” partition with MyDefrag : it does recognize the filesystem (although the partition size is unspecified), and provides seemingly valid informations for any block I hover over with the mouse pointer (correct file names, sizes, LCN values).
Defraggler on the other hand fails to recognize anything.
“Cannot perform operation. Operation will be canceled. Drive may be read only.”

Any clue ?


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 1:07 
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Any... clue... ? :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 1:43 
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Another update :
Earlier I made the mistake of scanning the F: partition with TestDisk, instead of the whole drive. If I scan the whole drive it does find the NTFS partition, starting at sector 64, but then if I try to list the files by typing “P” it says : “Can't open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged.”
And yet the filesystem is not severely damaged since at least three different tools can still make perfect sense of it (R-Studio, WinHex, MyDefrag).
So what could be the culprit, and how could I fix it ?
Again, I could just extract the whole contents to another drive with R-Studio and work with that, but I'd like to understand what is going on, and attempt an in-place fix, which must be possible in a case like this.
Thanks ! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 2:03 
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Please don't write to the drive. I suspect that the enclosure may have been configured for a sector size of 4096 bytes.

Can you show us the Partitions window in DMDE? There may be a single-click fix.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 2:46 
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Regarding the 4096 bytes formatting : I bought this drive (used / 2nd hand) inside a Seagate enclosure, which indeed had a special kind of formatting; it caused me some trouble at the begining, when I switched between using it inside or outside of this enclosure, but when I realized it, I formatted it outside of the enclosure and stopped using the enclosure. The other enclosures I have do not have such a trick.

I tried TestDisk again : after a “Quick Search”, it finds a partition at “0 1 1” (sector 64 if I'm not mistaken), but with a size of only 41945652 sectors / 20GB. If I run the “Deeper search”, it finds another, at “0 32 33” (that would be sector 2049 ?), with a correct size of 3907026944 sectors / 1863GB. If I list the files for that second partition, I get the expected contents. But the partition start should be at sector 64, according to R-Studio or WinHex (or 63 counting from 0), so I don't know where this other value comes from.

Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 7.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 7.png [ 13.96 KiB | Viewed 899 times ]

Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 8.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY TestDisk 8.png [ 14.59 KiB | Viewed 899 times ]


In WinHex, “Partition table (template)” shows this :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY WinHex Partition table (template).png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY WinHex Partition table (template).png [ 35.21 KiB | Viewed 899 times ]

I'm not familiar with partition table analysis, but there seems to be an inconsistency : the C/H/S values should be much higher, right ? Also, they're different from those of the erroneous partition found by TestDisk : “1023 254 63” / “2610 254 63”.

And DMDE shows this, if that's the window you requested (I've used this software only once and more than a year ago, seemed powerful but tricky to use) :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Partitions.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Partitions.png [ 51 KiB | Viewed 899 times ]

Or maybe this can help too :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Partitions 2.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Partitions 2.png [ 65.6 KiB | Viewed 899 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 3:16 
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AISI, the partition table and NTFS boot sector seem OK. I don't know where TestDisk is getting its information from. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 3:53 
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clone the drive


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 7:25 
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jermy wrote:
clone the drive


AGREEE !!! DO IT NOW !!!

And stop messing with the original one ...

We don't even know if the drive is ok ...

You should check S.M.A.R.T., clone the drive with hddsuperclone and then run a full MHDD/VITORIA scan on the surface !

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 7:28 
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abolibibelot wrote:
It should also be noted that a few weeks ago that drive fell on the floor from a relatively low height while unplugged; it doesn't seem to have affected its physical integrity whatsoever


:shock:

Again ... CLONE THE DRIVE.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 8:23 
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Why is Dmde showing the drive as a raid volume?


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 15:06 
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@fzabkar
Quote:
AISI, the partition table and NTFS boot sector seem OK. I don't know where TestDisk is getting its information from. :?

Isn't the “Last Cyl 1023” value erroneous ? If I'm counting correctly, it corresponds to 16450560 sectors, or about 8GB...
How would you explain that some softwares (R-Studio, WinHex, MyDefrag, DMDE) deal with it fine, while others (Windows Explorer, CHKDSK, Defraggler) choke on it ?
DMDE can also display the whole file tree instantly, but reports an error for (at least) 3 MFT entries, saying “ERROR Attribute Offset” :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Root.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE Root.png [ 112.93 KiB | Viewed 807 times ]

[FLASHBACK]
I've had a similar issue about a year and a half ago where a 1TB external USB HDD had its single partition no longer recognized, and CHKDSK could do nothing. In that case, R-Studio couldn't readily list the contents, although it probably could after a complete scan (I kept a few screenshots of the case but don't remember all the details) ; DMDE (that's the one time I've used it extensively so far) could list the contents after a full scan ; but in that case WinHex couldn't : it reported “unexpected data” where the MFT should have been and wasn't able to proceed further. When opening the whole drive with WinHex, I noticed that the MFT appeared to be shifted by 1 sector, relative to the value indicated by R-Studio (it was supposed to start at sector 6291456 + 2048 [partition offset] yet the actual begining was located at sector 6293505 – I still have no idea how this could happen spontaneously). So I first extracted the whole contents to another drive with DMDE, made a backup of the first 5GB with WinHex, then attempted to shift the whole MFT up by 1 sector ; then I ran CHKDSK again : it failed as well (said that some critical files in the MFT were damaged). Then I restored the backed-up first 5GB, and this time attempted to just copy the first sector of the MFT (which points to the MFT itself) onto the sector before, which was supposed to be the actual start of the MFT ; then I ran CHKDSK again : and it worked ! It was able to proceed, it did fix the filesystem, and the whole contents were accessible again. Then I thoroughly compared with WinMerge the in-place contents with the contents extracted with DMDE, everything matched.
[/FLASHBACK]

In this case (the current issue with the 2TB HDD), when examined with WinHex, the MFT seems to be at the right place (6291456 + 63), but what should be MFT records for $MFTMirr, $LogFile and $Volume (respectively MFT records 1, 2, 3 – just the ones for which DMDE reports an error) are filled with “FF” values (“ÿ” in ANSI), there are 3072 “FF” bytes, then MFT record 4 is fine ; MFTMirr (located at sector 16 relative to the partition's start) looks just the same (first record fine, then three corrupted). What does it mean, how could it happen, and how can it be fixed “cleanly” ? How come CHKDSK can't deal with just three corrupted MFT records ? Perhaps it precisely needs to access those three particular system files and can't, since they're no longer correctly referenced ? How can WinHex / R-Studio / DMDE locate those files and display their metadata accurately without the correct data from the MFT ? What is likely to happen if I just copy MFT records 1-3 from another drive ? (Some values won't match but maybe CHKDSK will be able to fix them... it's not that “clean” though, I'd prefer to know exactly what I'm doing ! :) )

Side question : if I remember correctly, having the partition start at sector 63 is the default value when a drive is formatted with Windows XP, and means that the partition is not properly “aligned”, relative to 4096 bytes clusters ; could it be a problem with a 2TB HDD, or is it relevant only for SSDs ?


@Spildit
Spildit wrote:
jermy wrote:
clone the drive


AGREEE !!! DO IT NOW !!!

And stop messing with the original one ...

We don't even know if the drive is ok ...

You should check S.M.A.R.T., clone the drive with hddsuperclone and then run a full MHDD/VITORIA scan on the surface !

Well, I already checked S.M.A.R.T. with HD Sentinel (first thing I did after the fall). If there were any problem, wouldn't HD Sentinel report it ?
What is the advantage in testing with MHDD/Victoria instead of HD Sentinel ?
Cloning seems overkill in this particular case : I already tried extracting a few files with R-Studio (which also has a SMART analysis pannel and reports the drive as “GOOD”), it worked flawlessly, I could just extract all files like this.
Regarding the fall : I have a 2.5" Samsung drive which once literally flew across the room (I had forgotten that it was on top of a bunch of papers which I removed hastily during a phone call or something like that...), and fell on hard floor from about one meter in height, while unplugged, and is still working flawlessly, probably more than two years later (I'm using it as a backup for my brother's computer and external HDD). I'm not saying that such a fall can never affect the physical integrity of a HDD, but apparently it can happen with no dire consequence. But if things go wrong, I'll have been duly warned ! :wink:

@dick
Quote:
Why is Dmde showing the drive as a raid volume?

Not sure, but all the others are as well, even though none of them are actually configured as RAID. Must be related to the motherboard's storage configuration. It's an Asus Maximus Hero VIII.


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 16:11 
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abolibibelot wrote:
Cloning seems overkill in this particular case : I already tried extracting a few files with R-Studio (which also has a SMART analysis pannel and reports the drive as “GOOD”), it worked flawlessly, I could just extract all files like this.


If you don't want to clone the drive you should extract the files that you do need right away with R-Studio as your drive most likely will die very shortly. Just retrieve all the files that you can.

Cloning should be the best option but extracting the files is an option as well.

Do NOT try to fix the drive partition, etc UNLESS YOU DO HAVE A CLONE.

If you do mess up you might loose access to the file allocation table and you will end up having to do a raw recovery.

Also be aware that the drive might die at any moment leaving you without any data at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 16:37 
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Update :
Actually, R-Studio does not locate $MFTMirr, $LogFile and $Volume (they don't appear in the “Metafiles” folder, where they should be, I verified by opening another NTFS partition). WinHex does locate them, but using a volume snapshot made about a year ago, when the partition was still accessible (if I take a new volume snapshot they will probably disappear there as well) ; so at least, if required, I can get the correct offset values for those three files, their correct timestamps (which are exactly the same as those of the other system files), and their correct sizes if they haven't changed since then ($MFTMirr is always 4KB, $Volume is resident in the MFT, $LogFile doesn't appear to have changed in size as there is a valid directory right after its supposed boundary).
DMDE in the “$MetaData” directory displays three files with unknown names and attributes :
Attachment:
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE MetaData.png
ST2000DM001 Z4Z0T7LY DMDE MetaData.png [ 94.22 KiB | Viewed 790 times ]

Now, how can I fix / recreate those three corrupted MFT records ?


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 16:51 
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@Spildit
Quote:
If you don't want to clone the drive you should extract the files that you do need right away with R-Studio as your drive most likely will die very shortly. Just retrieve all the files that you can.

Cloning should be the best option but extracting the files is an option as well.

Do NOT try to fix the drive partition, etc UNLESS YOU DO HAVE A CLONE.

If you do mess up you might loose access to the file allocation table and you will end up having to do a raw recovery.

Also be aware that the drive might die at any moment leaving you without any data at all.

Well, I appreciate your concern, and I will extract the files before attempting an in-place fix – I'm gonna do that right away, promis juré craché ! :shock: ; but why are you so adamant about an impending hardware failure, when there's no sign of this whatsoever right now ? (Well, except for the fact that this particular range of drives appears to be doomed right from the begining... but aren't we all ? :) )
And in a case where a drive can indeed die at any moment, if there's a way to access the files directly and at a regular rate, I think that it's a better strategy to extract them by order of importance, as opposed to attempting a full clone, which might provide nothing relevant in the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 17:02 
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This is a "junk" ST2000DM001 that does have problems.

You stated this :

Quote:
I have a 2TB HDD, with one NTFS partition, almost full of data, which is no longer recognized by Windows (Windows 7 Pro 64bit). The drive letter appears but not the partition size, and there's a request to format it. In Windows storage manager, it appears as “RAW”.


For me the drive does have bad sectors/bad blocks that did affect the file allocation tables.

Also if you keep on reading those bad blocks the heads will die. This is not like the majority of Toshiba 2.5 drives that can have bad zones and even if you read them over and over the heads will still be ok to read the rest of the data.

On this "DM" Junk you will kill heads very fast if you have damaged surface. Also quality of platter magnetic materials are JUNK and your data will get intro dust way faster than you think !

So yes, just go after the important files and extract them right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 17:08 
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abolibibelot wrote:
(...)And in a case where a drive can indeed die at any moment, if there's a way to access the files directly and at a regular rate, I think that it's a better strategy to extract them by order of importance, as opposed to attempting a full clone, which might provide nothing relevant in the end.


If this were to be my drive i would :

- Backup firmware.
- Patch sysfile 93.
- Use hardware based imaging/cloning tools and build map based on file structure.
- Select the needed / important files.
- Image.
- Select the rest of the files.
- Image.
(as alternative select the rest of the drive space).

Imaged files would be copied to another drive / extracted.

Hardware tool that i do have does mark the "map" for copy based on the files that i want so i can copy just the LBAs that do have files to my image file or clone. Those files can be directly extracted as well or extracted from the image/clone later. Also source drive is read just once for each LBA and no data can be written back to source. This assures that the problematice drive doesn't have to keep sending the same data to the host.

If you plug the drive directly to system/os the OS will keep on accessing the same portion of the drive at least to check master boot record, partitions and file alocation tables ... If those are damaged because of bad surface you risk to kill heads for good and that DOES HAPPEN ALOT on ANY MODERN SEAGATE DM ....

So don't cry later ...

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 17:21 
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CHS mode assigns 10 bits for the cylinder number, resulting in a limit of 1024 cylinders (0 - 1023). In CHS mode, sector numbers count from 1, not 0 (seems crazy, but that's the way it is).

This site should tell you everything you want to know about partition tables:

MBR/EBR Partition Tables:
http://thestarman.pcministry.com/asm/mbr/PartTables.htm

Misalignment of the partition to the physical sector size results in a performance penalty during writing (due to the additional rotation required for a read-modify-write cycle). There should be no other anomaly. In fact Seagate touts SmartAlign to transparently address misalignments in legacy OS-es.

Advanced Format Technology Brief:
https://www.hgst.com/sites/default/files/resources/AFtechbrief.pdf

SmartAlign:
https://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/mb_smartalign_technology_faq.pdf
https://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/tp615_smartalign_for_af_4k.pdf

MHDD is a DOS based program, so its timing results will not be affected by background processes which compete for the CPU's attention in a multitasking OS.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 17:41 
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@abolibibelot, just in case you had any doubts, I have just tested an NTFS volume and confirmed that the first cluster of the $MFT is byte-for-byte identical to the first cluster of $MFTMirr.

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 Post subject: Re: Weird logical issue (“RAW” NTFS partition)
PostPosted: June 19th, 2018, 18:14 
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So it's extracting right now... onto a 3TB WD30EZRX with 23 unstable sectors... all I have available right now... (Normally the bad sectors are all located within the same video large file, which I purposefully let on the drive and isolated in a special folder so that I wouldn't be tempted to access it later on, so it should be stable for now... if those 2TB worth of files are copied without a hiccup that'll prove it, if not, it will prove to be a worse junk than the dreaded Seagate !)
Extraction rate above 100MB/s, about 5 hours to go, no warning whatsoever from R-Studio or HD Sentinel.

@Spildit
Quote:
You stated this :

I also stated very specific observations about the current state of the filesystem, which are most likely not related to a hardware failure (very unlikely that bad sectors would have affected the same three MFT records on both the MFT and the MFT mirror).

Quote:
For me the drive does have bad sectors/bad blocks that did affect the file allocation tables.

Again, if that were the case, it would appear in the S.M.A.R.T. report. Even if you consider the drives unreliable, don't you at least rely on what S.M.A.R.T. says, even for Seagate drives ?

Quote:
If this were to be my drive i would :

- Backup firmware.
- Patch sysfile 93.
- Use hardware based imaging/cloning tools and build map based on file structure.
- Select the needed / important files.
- Image.
- Select the rest of the files.
- Image.
(as alternative select the rest of the drive space).

I currently have no professional tool which can selectively extract data areas according to a pre-defined map based on the file structure (I only know how to extract the MFT first with ddr_utilities and ddrescue). I don't have your experience with firmware issues (nor do I have the required tools, again), but if there was anything wrong with the firmware, no regular software could have accessed the partition and listed the contents. So, with all due respect, although it is certainly a wise course of action for the apparently common hardware / firmware failures this range of drives seems to be plagued with, I don't think that it is relevant in this particular case.


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