HDD Inaccessible

Dandemcd

New Member
Is there any way to try to fix an HDD which has, in effect, disappeared ? I tried a factory reset but that achieved nothing. I don't want to reformat the disc ( years of recordings and children's favourites). I don't currently have custom firmware. Trouble started last night when recording was apparently underway but nothing turned up in "Media" . I eventually tried an HDD test. The progress bar ran to end twice then on the third pass it stuck about 70% of the way through. I left it 30 mins before deciding to abandon the test. I found the only way to do that was to power off. I then tried again with the same result however now, after powering up again the Data Storage option is greyed out, the info re disc capacity in the top right has no data (it was about 50% full) and the "Media" button yields no response.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
Is there any way to try to fix an HDD which has, in effect, disappeared ? I tried a factory reset but that achieved nothing. I don't want to reformat the disc ( years of recordings and children's favourites)
The easiest way to attempt to recover from this situation is to install the custom firmware and run fix-disk.
 
OP
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Dandemcd

New Member
... just to add to the tale, I found how to get into maintenance mode via telnet and on attempting to use the check and fix disc option I get the message "no disc found". I can hear and faintly feel something whirring shortly after switch on - could that be a fan and could power to the disc have failed ?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
I can hear and faintly feel something whirring shortly after switch on - could that be a fan and could power to the disc have failed ?
It will be the fan or the disk or both. A piece of paper will tell you if the fan is working but don't be surprised if it's not as it doesn't run constantly. You can tell if the disk is running by feeling the top of it - obviously you have to open the box and take the usual precautions.
If it is powered, then either the disk or the disk interface has failed. You could try taking the disk out, connecting it to a PC and seeing if the BIOS sees it. If the disk has failed, you can replace it. If the interface has failed, you're looking at a new machine. Either way your recordings are gone as they're not decrypted.
If it's not powered then you need to work out why and go from there.
 
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Dandemcd

New Member
I took the disc out and went to a local computing shop. They connected it to a PC and it started up. Their disc management software could see 3 partitions totalling the 1 TB, said each was healthy but failed to see any data content. Our conclusion is that the software in question was simply unable to see the file system. I've reinstalled the disc and the telnet messages remain the same. The initial telnet screen says

"Some areas of the hard disc are not mounted.
Not all functions will be available
(Normal if you have just run a disc check)"

The phrase in brackets is interesting in that the last connection I had to the disc was indeed a disc check which twice froze at the same point in the proceedings and which I abandoned by switching off the box.

Any attempt to run fix disc gives the "unable to find disc" message.

As I can hear a faint whirring from the disc the issue does not appear to be power.

Any suggestions before I ring Humax ?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
I took the disc out and went to a local computing shop. They connected it to a PC and it started up. Their disc management software could see 3 partitions totalling the 1 TB, said each was healthy but failed to see any data content. Our conclusion is that the software in question was simply unable to see the file system.
That figures. The people there wouldn't have a system that understood Ext3 Linux type stuff as they are clueless about such matters, being wedded to their Windoze world.
It proves the disk can talk OK to the interface anyway.
Any suggestions before I ring Humax ?
Do you see "sda" on the list returned from a "ls /sys/block/" command?
Have you tried a factory reset from the menu?

Looks like the fault could be with the motherboard.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Any suggestions before I ring Humax ?
Yes - don't bother. They will be as much use as a chocolate fire guard, but will give you a list of things to do that will prove of no use prior to accepting a warranty claim.

You seem to have some technical competence, so connect the drive to your PC via a USB adapter and boot the PC with a live Linux CD/DVD (this lets you run Linux on the PC without any modification to your hard drive). You can then use Linux tools to run proper checks and repairs on the Humax file system.

If the drive really is OK, but re-seating the connections in the Humax (or replacing the cable) fails to make a difference, your Humax is stuffed.
 
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Dandemcd

New Member
Thanks all.

I didn't think of booting up with Linux but I did manage to connect the drive to my PC ( no sign of it in the "Computer" option ) and I currently have some disc recovery software scanning it and the FAT version has found many files. Not sure what to do next in that regard.
I have installed another disc in the hummy and it seems to be working fine ( note: I put the old disc back first and it remained invisible ) so it remains a puzzle as to why the old disc apparently "disappeared". It seems that board, power supply and cabling are all in the clear. Perhaps if I do boot up with Linux ( can I assume that there won't be any knock-on consequences when I next boot with Windows ???) I will be able to see the files and find a way of getting them back into the hummy world.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Booting a live DVD version of Linux has no consequences to Windows - that's the whole point. You download a disc image for the live Linux you want (I suggest Lubuntu - it is less resource hungry than Ubuntu), burn it to DVD, make sure your optical drive has a higher boot priority than your HDD, shove in the DVD and reboot. Take the DVD out and reboot to go back to Windows.

The Humax HDD is Ext3. Windows would not be able to see it unless you installed a special driver.

Sounds like good news on the HDR-FOX front, if you can sort out the file system problem on the HDD you should be OK.
 
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Dandemcd

New Member
Thanks for your help Black Hole - I am hoping to retain your attention a bit longer because I am now in completely uncharted territory for me. Before your most recent comments about Linux I had attempted to find relevant software to run under Windows and came across Ext2Fsd which seems well regarded. The description is " A Linux ext2/ext3 file system driver for Windows"

Through that I have assigned drive letters and can see the partitions in "Computer". The middle partition is shown as 920 GB with about half free - which is consistent with the last usage stats I remember from the hummy. However, at one layer of detail down, the information given is most confusing. There are 4 folders shown (My Music, My Pictures, My Video and tsr). The first two are apparently empty, My Video has a single file of 13KB and tsr appears to have 3 files totalling 8.7 GB. Which leaves over 400GB ( and the real content I am trying to save) to be accounted for. Any ideas - and can I expect to be better rewarded if I take up the Linux boot option ?
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
What you describe all sounds correct, except for the content of My Video.

The problem here is that the Ext2Fsd driver allows you to mount an Ext3 volume into windows and read/write to it, but will not be sufficient to carry out file system examination and recovery. You really do need to use Linux (and hope that mounting the HDD in Windows has not caused any further damage). It sounds hopeful though.

I am not qualified to guide you what to do in Linux, but the commands will be very similar to the command line instructions that have been posted on this forum for file system recovery using the HDR-FOX custom firmware Telnet command line. You will need to open a console window in Linux, which gives you access to the command line.
 
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