Ubuntu: How to repair an external harddrive?


I would like to reformat my hard disk, and if possible recover the (somewhat unimportant) contents if possible.

I have a Western Digital 1TB hard drive which had a NTFS partition. I unplugged the drive without safely removing it first. At first a pop up was asking me to use a Windows OS to run the chkdsk /f command, however, in the effort to keep using a Linux OS I used the ntfsfix command on the ubuntu terminal

Now, when I try to access the hard drive, it doesn't show up anymore in Nautilus.

I tried reformatting it using Disk Utility, but it gives me an error message, and Gparted would hang on the "Scanning devices" step infinitely.

Please comment any output that you would like to see and I will add it to my question.


disk utility tells me is on /dev/sdb

the command sudo fdisk -l gives

dodohjk@DodosPC:~$ sudo fdisk -l  [sudo] password for dodohjk:     Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes  255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders, total 488397168 sectors  Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes  Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  Disk identifier: 0x0006fa8c       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System  /dev/sda1   *        4094   482344959   241170433    5  Extended  /dev/sda2       482344960   488396799     3025920   82  Linux swap / Solaris  /dev/sda5            4096    31461127    15728516   83  Linux  /dev/sda6        31463424    52434943    10485760   83  Linux  /dev/sda7        52436992    62923320     5243164+  83  Linux  /dev/sda8        62924800   482344959   209710080   83  Linux    Disk /dev/sdb: 1000.2 GB, 1000202043392 bytes  255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121600 cylinders, total 1953519616 sectors  Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes  Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  Disk identifier: 0x6e697373    This doesn't look like a partition table  Probably you selected the wrong device.       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System  /dev/sdb1   ?  1936269394  3772285809   918008208   4f  QNX4.x 3rd part  /dev/sdb2   ?  1917848077  2462285169   272218546+  73  Unknown  /dev/sdb3   ?  1818575915  2362751050   272087568   2b  Unknown  /dev/sdb4   ?  2844524554  2844579527       27487   61  SpeedStor    Partition table entries are not in disk order  

I wrote something wrong here, however here the output of fsck /dev/sbd is

dodohjk@DodosPC:~$ sudo fsck /dev/sdb  fsck from util-linux 2.20.1  e2fsck 1.42.5 (29-Jul-2012)  ext2fs_open2: Bad magic number in super-block  fsck.ext2: Superblock invalid, trying backup blocks...  fsck.ext2: Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/sdb    The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2  filesystem.  If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2  filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock  is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:      e2fsck -b 8193 <device&gt;  


You can try installing testdisk. Sometimes it fixes problems other software can't. Becareful though it is pretty hardcore. Google around to see how it works.


Note: This is a stale post, so I assume it's already resolved, but here are my thoughts in case they help someone else:

Data Recovery prospects: terrible

Since ntfsfix didn't help, using a Windows utility like chkdsk is really your best bet, but I wouldn't anticipate success.

The sfdisk output seems to indicate that the partition table is corrupt. It shows (apparently) a large primary partition and a logical partition with two logical volumes, but the partition numbers and file system types are wrong. The only encouraging part is that the sizes and layout are reasonable.

The fsck.ext2 output is meaningless for two reasons.

  1. You ran it on the device instead of a parition, e.g., /dev/sdb instead of /dev/sdb1
  2. This is an ntfs partition, fsck.ext2 is the wrong tool.

Formatting prospects: health check required

The partition map corruption is worrisome. I'd use a tool like gnome-disk-utility that will run the short SMART test and show general health, and let you format it. If that doesn't work, the drive is probably toast.


Several years ago, I experienced a hard drive failure. I was at work when my laptop suddenly started to act particularly strange. First, I thought it was because I had too many windows open and the RAM was full, but when the problems persisted after a reboot, I knew it was more than that. I immediately started to back up recent files. About half an hour later, the hard drive failed audibly and the laptop wouldn’t boot anymore.

If your hard drive has failed physically, maybe this little guide can help you or at least give you some hope. So roll up your sleeves and get to work.

  1. External Hard Drive? Check Whether The IDE / SATA to USB Enclosure is ok or not
  2. Internal Hard Drive? Make Sure The Hard Drive Connections are ok or not
  3. Check the sound
  4. Is The Hard Drive Recognized?
  5. Is The Printed Circuit Board Broken?
  6. Witchcraft & Wizardry
  7. Consult with a specialist for professional data recovery

Diagnosing and fixing a broken hard drive is serious business. Do take it seriously, but also try to exclude some of the more simple to fix culprits before you fork out hundreds of dollars to a so-called specialist. The more informed you are, the better. How far you go to diagnose and fix your hard drive will depend on how important the data is for you.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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