How to safely recover the data of your external hard drive without having to format the disk
Recently, just before submitting the final manuscript of my new book to Taylor & Francis group, I've decided to plug my backup working external hard drive into a new computer running windows 7 premium.
To my dismay I was prompted with the following message reading:
F:\ is not accessible. Access is denied
Followed by a dialog with the message:
You need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it.
Do you want to format it?
Just before clicking on the Format disk option, I felt compelled to investigate and find out its implications, and how to safely recover the data without having to format the disk first.
Having witnessed colleagues and companies go through similar problems without any successful outcome played a major role in my bold decision to research and try to solve this "bottleneck" myself, without contacting data recovery services.
After a thorough research, I was able to troubleshoot this problem, by taking the following steps:
1- I've started by right clicking on the hard drive and choosing the Properties options from the popup menu.
Note:If the hard drive is already open in a folder, you might be prompted with the following message:
Windows can't check the disk while it's in use.
To override this, simply close the dialog and choose the Properties options from the popup menu.
2-While in the Properties dialog, I've opened the Tools tab and clicked on the Check now toggle to open its dialog.
In the Check Disk dialog, I've enabled the Automatically fix file system errors option, followed by clicking Start.
3- This process might take some time to complete, depending on the amount of data in the external hard drive.
4-Once the disk was fully checked and fixed, I was prompted with a message reading:
Some problems were found and fixed
After the above mentioned steps, you might need to restart the computer in order to fully access your external hard drive.
Furthermore, If you need to constantly switch (plug & play) your external hard drive between computers running different versions of windows, you might be required to repeat the above mentioned steps every time you switch (once or twice), until your external hard drive is fully recognized by your operating systems.
I hope this article/tutorial was helpful to anyone going through a similar problem.
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