Thursday, January 03, 2008

Maxtor OneTouch External Hard Drive Corruption

from Maxtor OneTouch External Hard Drive Corruption

Recovering from data corruption on Maxtor OneTouch external hard drives246416

This article may help you if the following applies:
  • You own a Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive.
  • The drive was working correctly, but suddenly exhibited catastrophic data failure.
  • Your Windows computer does not recognize the drive when you plug it in, or you can not mount the drive under Linux.
  • The drive does NOT exhibit any physical drive failure symptoms.
This article explains how I have recovered from data corruption on the Maxtor OneTouch external hard drives. About a year ago, I acquired four 300GB Maxtor OneTouch II external hard drives. I used them extensively in Linux, and one day I noticed what seemed to be like massive data corruption on the drive. All of a sudden, all the directory and file names were corrupted, and I could not read from any of the files. Power cycling the drive did not help, and I could not read it from Windows either. I thought I had lost all of the data, but I decided to see if I could recover it using disk recovery tools. Fortunately, I found a tool that recovered the drive without any (apparent) data loss. The problem appears to be corruption of the partition table, possibly due to a buggy USB/IDE interface inside the drive enclosure. I have never encountered a similar problem with the Maxtor (internal) hard drives themselves, but I have seen the same corruption on both Windows and Linux platforms. The problem occurs most often during heavy load on the disk, for example during backup and restore.

The tool that I used is an open source program called TestDisk. It runs under both Linux and Windows, and I have successfully used it on both. The problem again is corruption of the partition table. The tool can automatically rebuild the partition table by looking at the file system. This is how I used TestDisk to rebuild it.

  • Run testdisk as root in Linux
  • Select "Create" a new log file
  • Select the correct disk, for example "/dev/sde - 300GB / 279 GiB"
  • Select "Intel" as the partition table type, assuming you have not reformatted the drive, which should be FAT32
  • Select "Analyze" current partition structure and search for lost partitions
  • It should display one partition that looks something like "FAT32 LBA"
  • Select "Proceed".
  • Press "Enter" again to continue
  • Select "Write" to write the new partition table information
  • Press "Y" to confirm
  • Quit the program
  • "sync" under Linux or "Safely Remove Hardware" in Windows
  • Power cycle the drive

This should recover the drive, but I am not sure if data corruption occurs in any other part of the drive except for the partition table. My recommendation for preventing further data loss is to copy your data to another drive (non Maxtor) and not use the drive, or store your files in self-validating file systems or file formats on this drive.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any further loss of data you may encounter by following the above instructions. I sincerely hope you do manage to recover your data.


Taking apart the Maxtor One Touch 4 500gb Drive:

Remove the sticky rubber feet and the Maxtor label. There is one screw under the label, remove it.
Looking at the back of the case (power and USB connectors) with case standing upright, start by squeezing down the right hand side of the plastic top and pulling the halves gently apart, proceed working your way all around the case.
Inside the plastic case is a metal shell. Remove all screws (including very small ones) and also the ones holding the small PCB with the push button. There are 3 large screws securing the USB interface PCB to the metal work - these do NOT need to be unscrewed (one of them is impossible to get to anyway). Once enough screws have been removed the hard drive + USB PCB will slide out from inside the main metal housing.
The drive pulls straight off the header on the USB PCB.


Tokar said...

Thanks for the directions on disassembly of the Maxtor OnTouch 4 500GB drive. I bought one of these on Black Friday and it recently was acting up on me. Took out the drive (a seagate 7200.10 SATA drive) using your directions, plugged it into my desktop computer with an onboard SATA controller and had no issues at all. Voided the warranty, all 5 years worth, sure, but I wasn't going to send in the drive to get fixed and lose all 500GB of my data. Besides, in another couple years 500GB drives will be obsolete - we will probably be at 1.5TB drives...mmm...

Janyne said...

tokar - I'm hoping you can help. . . I disassembled my maxtor one touch III (the power cord was damaged in the recent wisconsin floods). Tried other power cords with no success.

So after reading a bunch of online stuff about how it was a lost cause (or would cost @$1700 to retrieve the data), I was relieved to find info on taking it apart (voiding the warranty) because it may be a drive a desktop will recognize - sometimes just the circuit board goes, rather than the drive itself.

I just finished successfully removing the hard drives from my desktop that crashed, installing them on a separate desktop and copying the files to a new ($$$$) seagate 750G. So I'm comfortable installing a drive.

But when I connect the maxtor drive (as a slave to the master hard drive), the computer won't boot.

Any step by steps, or recomendations of what I need to do?? Thanks so much!

Ron ( said...

i purchased a new Maxtor One Touch 4 and backed up my data on my mom's computer. Did a complete restoration of her computer and then tried to reinstall the data from the Maxtor Drive. The data was on a partition that was unreadable. I called Seagate Tech support and all they wanted to do was send me to their data recovery site for which I would have to pay.

Your instructions on this page were invaluable in solving this issue. I followed them to the letter and was able to recover 20 years worth of business data.

I reformatted the drive and took it back to where I purchased it and received a full refund. I then purchased a HD enclosure and made my own backup system.

thank you for pointing me to TEST DISK and for your instuctions on this page.


Shaun Walker said...

Ye Catz! I spent almost an hour trying to find how to take the 1TB ome of these apart. I could see all this if it was cooling, or shock resistance, but the thing is just really torked down in there.

Remove the label, remove the label under the label on the bottom remove the feet, get access to four tiny screws. Wrestle case apart using 2 case tools, and a lot of patience. Then remove about a a dozen little screws, and such just to get the thing out. Me I will use a cheap external case from Fry's (20 bucks, still going strong).

Chris said...

I was disappointed that Maxtor/Seagate wouldn't bend on the voiding of the warranty. My drive wouldn't power up, but I had another unit to verify the power adapter & such. I decided getting my files was worth popping the case & sure enough, the drive itself was just fine. I will never recommend a pre-enclosed drive again (unless it's less than getting the bare drive with a coupon)... It's too bad I have the other OT4 and a pair of OT4+ units already.

Colin said...

Cheers man, I had the same problem with corrupt mbr file. 1st one - got it working and backed up the files to my laptop drive, then replaced it - but the replacement has broken already! same corrupt mbr file. Aint gonna chance getting a 3rd one!

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