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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jun 17, 2007
    Posts
    66
    Files Disappear from Hard Drive
    Hey all

    I had a ton of files on an external drive that have suddenly disappeared. The storage space on the HD suggests 99.7% of it is free....which suggest to me the files are gone and not hidden in some way. Anyway this could not be true? I have tried turning it off and back on again, I have tried restarted the computer. Any thoughts?

    It was working fine for about 2 months and suddenly they just all disappeared. Interestingly enough I can save stuff to the hard drive now(suggesting it still works). I am quite certain I didn't accidentally delete 500GB worth of music/photos etc.

    Fortunately this was kinda a backup(of sorts) so while I am very disappointed that I lost stuff I am not losing my mind.

    Would love though if by some miracle someone could help me recover this (I don't know if this will make sense but I sorta had it organized in a different way as it was a backup)

    but perhaps more importantly

    What happened? I'd like to avoid this again.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,028
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    500 GB of files can not disappear from an external hard drive unless there's a problem with the drive itself. If recovering those files are not critical (you have other copies) I recommend not using that drive for storage. Can you tell us which file format the drive was using? (FAT-32, NTFS, HFS+)

    I've seen files disappear from a hard drive when the file table on the drive became corrupt. That's a fairly common occurrence when using FAT-32 as it is not a journaled file system.

    As for recovery software, the best in my opinion is Data Rescue 3, currently on sale from the Mac App store for $59.99.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jun 17, 2007
    Posts
    66
    Hey Thanks for the reply

    2 Questions

    1. If in the available capacity almost all of it is available....is there any chance those those files could be recovered? I'm not losing my mind, but if there is a chance I'd be willing to pay the 59.99....but if there is little chance I don't want to waste my money.(I tried a free one stellar phoenix mac data recover to no avail)

    2. To your question what is says is MS-DOS(FAT32). Is this bad? What should I have? You have me a little concerned now as my primary drive(also external) is the same thing. Contains my iPhoto and iTunes "folders" on it.

    Thanks

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    21,716
    Specs:
    Imac 27" Retina 3.3GHz, 512GB Flash, 16GB memory, OS X.11.4.
    Any chance the drive may have been hooked up to a Windows PC which has erased and formatted the drive?
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,028
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    2. To your question what is says is MS-DOS(FAT32). Is this bad? What should I have? You have me a little concerned now as my primary drive(also external) is the same thing. Contains my iPhoto and iTunes "folders" on it.
    In my humble opinion, using FAT-32 to store valuable data is playing with fire. As stated, FAT-32 is a non journaling file system which means it has a difficult time keeping track of what is where and is generally more susceptible to file loss and corruption.

    Use either HFS+ or NTFS both of which are journaling file systems.

    As for Data Rescue 3, it's the best but there is no guaranty that after spending the 60 bucks it'll be able to find your missing files.

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