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Old 01-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #1
Steve W
Registered: Mar 2007
Distribution: Ubuntu 12.04, XUbuntu 12.04
Posts: 504

Rep: Reputation: 44
Best Linux tool to fix (slightly dodgy) USB HDD?

This is a bit of a "newbie" question, only because I have never had to do anything like this before on my system.

Some time ago I bought a Maxell 8GB USB hard drive, a tiny little thing that plugs into the USB port, but looks like it has a one-inch hard drive inside, rather than flash memory.

It's getting a bit unreliable now, but I am having trouble transferring my files off before I ditch it.

It's formatted FAT32. I can list the files on there, but it won't play them (they're videos) or copy them off anywhere. Even from the shell. It will, however, delete them (but then I guess it only has to make a minor change to its FAT to do this).

Since I suspect the files are okay on the actual disk (just won't play ball when I try to get them off), I wondered if anyone had recommendations for the best Linux tools/procedure I could try to retrieve these files, and manage to copy them off (before gratefully binning this Maxell piece of crap).

Part of the problem is that I am unsure what exactly is wrong with the drive, so I can't really look online for any solutions...

Thank you for any advice you can give.

Last edited by Steve W; 01-27-2012 at 11:58 AM.
Old 01-27-2012, 12:09 PM   #2
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: London, UK
Distribution: openSUSE, Ubuntu
Posts: 358

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Go here and download the ISO which best fits your hardware. I generally go for the default version.

It has a very good set of tools apart from the GParted partitioner. I would try mounting the USB drive first, then try opening it in the PCMan file manager. I was able to recover data from a faulty 500Gb drive from my sister iMac with this.

The partitioner also has some tools. Run it and once it has read all the drives, select the USB from the drop down list at top right, right click on the partition and select "Check".

If you feel brave there is also a tool called TestDisk which can fix broken partition tables, but that is not for the faint hearted!

Good luck.
Old 01-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #3
Steve W
Registered: Mar 2007
Distribution: Ubuntu 12.04, XUbuntu 12.04
Posts: 504

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 44
Well, I already have GParted on my system, so I did do a check on the USB drive with this. It came back okay, reporting that nothing was wrong.

I downloaded the PCMan file manager as you suggested, and attempted to copy across something. However, although it makes a zero-byte file on the target drive and wants to copy something across, nothing is copied and I have to close the "copying" window manually after a few minutes of non-activity.

I also have "Disk Utility" on my system, and that allows me to "check and repair" a drive, but again I did this and it reports nothing is wrong.

Since I already have GParted and it does not seem to have any effect in repairing whatever problem the drive has, is there anything specific on that PartedMagic ISO that I could download and try separately?

Thank you for your patience!


data, hard drives, recover

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