Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Empty External HDD after Refresh on Win 8.1

  1. #1

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Empty External HDD after Refresh on Win 8.1


    I resorted to a forum post as a last resort after many hours of research and trial and error. I like to avoid clone threads at all costs, but I think you will find this scenario is different than most. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    I am using a 3TB Seagate external NTFS drive to store media and other important files, but after I plugged it back into my PC after the refresh to stock 8.0, it was completely empty.

    After much research, I think I have ruled out any permissions issues. I have reclaimed ownership to my username, and granted full permissions to my username, administrators, users, and the everyone principals/objects, and also I have applied ownership to all subfolders and files. Also, there are no hidden files other than recycle bin and volume information folders which showed up after using the attrib -a -s -h -r command in CMD. Access is granted on all fronts as far as I can tell.

    The drive has no errors or bad sectors.

    At first glance this seemed like the same issue I have read about in countless forums about restoring permissions. In those situations of permission loss, though, the individual's data was shown as accounted for in the disk properties (for example, 2.2 TB free of 2.45 TB), only the permissions would not allow access to a non owner (access denied). In my case, however, there is a peculiar difference, and I cannot find a forum with this specific issue:

    My drive is 3TB
    Main partition 2512 GB (says 2.45 TB free of 2.45 TB in My Computer)... ~ 70 GB difference?
    One 32 GB recovery partition
    One 250 GB partition I haven't filled yet
    Total of about 2.7 - 2.8 TB
    Missing roughly 210-270 GB of data (all my files).
    There are no other partitions listed in disk management.
    The difference in listed size does not account for the entirety of missing data.

    So, when doing the math, it makes sense that my files wouldn't even be in this root directory because no data is written to this portion of the disk, which rules out permissions, folder view options, and basically any other setting in regards to this partition. It is also strange that My Computer and Disk Management list this partition at different sizes.

    This made me wonder if there was some hidden partition somewhere, or why the missing data is no longer included in the same main partition it was originally.

    Thinking my arithmetic was failing, I downloaded 3rd party data restoration software (getdataback.exe), and it found all my missing files which are there and recoverable. It sees this partition as LARGER than what my disk manager shows.

    However, I do not want to restore the files back to the external with a chunk of 250+GB data "missing" and I don't have the space on my C: to store it temporarily while I format the drive. I even changed my drive letter hoping that would fix it. I would prefer to fix this issue without the use of 3rd party apps as both a learning experience as well as to retain the integrity of my entire disk space.

    What is going on here? Am I overlooking something? Thanks in advance for your help... I have been at it for hours. /cry
    Last edited by Sebrof; 24 Oct 2015 at 02:07.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    This is an incredibly flawed process (refreshing the pc). Now there are numerous other problems that I didnt notice at first.

    IE crashes on startup.
    I'm getting an error on my external that say "recycle bin is corrupt..."
    Both program files folders (in Windows.old) just up and disappeared after waking my pc from sleep. I now get the same "recycle bin is corrupt" on my C: drive... Even though I was able to access the folders prior to sleeping the pc.
    I suspect the same issue that is happening to my external now just happened to my Windows.old folder, so if that's true, it confirms that this issue has nothing to do with Seagate drivers or software, and other people are able to view my files.

    It sounds like a virus, but HIGHLY unlikely considering my pc was like Fort Knox. Bitdefender Plus 2015... regular (daily) scans with Malwarebytes... Hitman Pro...

    Here's a tip for anyone thinking about refreshing your PC: Don't do it. You're better off than you think.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    I tried my external on my old Win 7 laptop. The data.doesn't show up there, but it does show up on a friend's win 7 desktop pc as a larger partition (2.73 TB vs 2.45TB)

    Is this a Windows update issue?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Probably NOT a Windows Update issue, but it could be that the external Seagate is dying, or already dead. I had a new Seagate 3TB drive fail on me last year. Same symptoms as you -- files missing, permissions corrupted, folders empty. Then, I got busy and forgot about trying to recover data from the drive. When I remembered and DID try again (3 days later), the drive was DEAD. It would spin up, but was shown as RAW in disk management. I sent it to a commercial driver recovery place, and they did a cursory analysis -- and told me the drive had crashed -- and they could rebuild it for a mere $1000 USD! I told them no way and to send the drive back so I could destroy it.

    I have had instances where Linux distros could read a Windows-filesystem-formatted drive that Windows could not. You could try creating a bootable DVD or USB stick of Ubuntu and seeing if that can see the drive and open the folders: Download Ubuntu Desktop | Download | Ubuntu

    I have had very good experience using Active@File Recovery Pro to retrieve files and folders from drives that Windows would not assign a drive letter to and insisted on reformatting (which I did NOT do). IF you can see the drive in Disk Management, Active might be able to retrieve files and folders from it.

    Good Luck
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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