Guide on how to recover from a failed or corrupted partition/hard disk

Recently my Rosetta, which is an 1TB external hard disk from Western Digital Mybook series had saw its day. It is the first WD hard drive that had failed over me and it is also the second external hard drive that failed, with the first one being Maxtor Basics 1TB. I had never saw it coming as I believed I took great care of it. Not a single drop, not even once. Initial inspection is that it is a software fault rather than a hardware fault because there is no 'clicking' sound a.k.a click of death. Actually I had this coming all along. Viewing the windows native Event Viewer had shows that the hard disk had suffered from some bad sectors since months ago, and Hardware Controller error few weeks ago. Yet I didn't bother to check through the Event Viewer. It is very rare for computer user to check through the Event Viewer unless there is a need to. I had no idea what causes it but every hard disk do have its own life span. Though WD lasted longer.

There are some great things to be relief of. First, that hard disk only stores some game roms which I had burned it via DVD few days before the disaster. So what's left of it are half of my 500GB of unwatched Animes (which I doubt I will spent time watching them) a couple of TV series and TVB dramas.

This unfortunate incident had proves the following statement to be true, and I will be remember it for the days to come in my whole life.

"All hard disk will certainly failed. Do not think IF my hard disk will fail. Instead, try to think WHEN will my hard disk fail."

Bearing this statement in mind, make sure you took the following steps to identify early symptoms of a hard drive failure.

1. Check through the Event Log for Critical or Error messages from time to time, say weekly to be safe.

2. If there is any bad sectors, even one, that drive might be failed in the days/months to come. Even if the bad sectors are fixed, it would be just delaying it from being deteriorating. Why? Because the bad sectors is only marked as bad or 'dirty' by the OS. So the OS will not write any further data to that sector, at its best. It means that you should start backing up that drive instantly.

Over the past few days I had spent quite some time trying to figuring out the best way to salvage the datas, or what's left of it. So I thought why not write an article that explains the best way to deal with situation such as this in case of the need arises again in the future (which I certain hope not). This article could also help those that experience the same problem that I had, I hope.

Read the basic introduction on how NTFS works written by me, hopefully it is understandable to have a better understand on how NTFS works.