Data recovery on Windows XP external drive

5 pts.
Backup and Recovery
Disaster Recovery
Microsoft Windows XP
USB hard drives
Hi, I'm using Windows XP professional, and I have external hard disk to back up my files. I'm copying some file to my external hard disk when the computer hangs and I unplug the external disk to the USB of my computer but when i check it again the filenames of the files and folder in the external disk is like a greek writing of something and I can't open the folder or even the files, I can't delete it either. The error says "filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect". I just want to know if it is possible to recover the folder or files? Thanks!

Answer Wiki

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You can try with some tools from OnTrack like the Easy Recovery


There are many software based recovery tools available. I have used R-Studio and others for bad/corrupt disk recovery. I like ones that make an image of the disk first, use that for the recovery and restore to a separate location preserving the media (then you can still use a third party hardware recovery service if necessary). You need a large workspace and lots of time depending on the size of your disk,

In your case, it will be very difficult to recover information. From the description of what happened, my guess is that only part of the information was written. So you have file fragments and a partially corrupt file table. A disk editor can look at the bits, but unless they are text based files there may not be much there to recover. If you are capable of determining file type from the file header and then editing the bits you may can save some of the information (I don’t get into that level of work).

As to cleaning up the fragments, use a command prompt to delete the corrupt entries after you have attempted to recover the information. A checkdisk may be required first to repair the file allocation tables. Worst case, copy everything off that you can and reformat.

A better choice on USB drives is to reboot the system if the process can’t be killed when a file copy hangs. You will still get fragments but there is less of a chance of corrupting the the entire file table on the drive and losing existing information.

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  • Elida
    I am a little confused. The files in the external drive meet the error. What about the files in the computer? Aren't you just copy the files from the computer to the drive, to do the backup. So the files are also in the computer, aren't they? Anyway, if you want to [ULIST=> get back data
, you can try some data recovery tool. It can recover lost data from formatting, accidentally deleting, system restore, virus attack, and even some unknown reasons.
20 pointsBadges:
  • valmsmith
    Unfortunately, when you unplugged the external drive, you probably finshed destroying any remaining info on the drive due to a voltage spike which occurs sometimes when we just unplug things.It would have been safer to simply hit your 'reset' button, shut downt the PC very quickly before it could restart, then remove the connestion for the external drive while the unit was shut down, rebooted the PC then remounted the external drive to assess the damages. I would suggest a tool named "Spin-Rite" from It does help damaged drives if they are still able to start up, and is the least expensive way to do damage control that I know of
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  • valmsmith
    If you have lost those files from your main drive, you might also be able to go to Start /Programs/ accessories/System Tools/ System Restore and restore your PC to a time just before the crash to see if your files are there. However, I would also make a new back up to an external source in case the PC decides to eat everything and REALLY leave you in a hurt.
    870 pointsBadges:
  • Brijesh
    You can try the below steps
    • This type of error occurs due to some scenarios like you are using some external character without these characters a-z A-Z or 0-9.
    • It may also occur due to ini file redirecting to the wrong folder/volume/file.You can correct it by changing correct path.For example: File should be in the path like C: Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Reader 11.0/Reader/wow_helper.exe
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