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Stonecreek
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:15 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
Topic. A few weeks ago, a power cut broke down the SATA disk on our Toppy. Just yesterday, i managed to borrow an all-in-one USB adapter that can read SATA disks.
The issue is that even if the computer detects the disk - admittedly as a Local Disk rather than anything specific - neither TopfHDRW nor TopfHDDoctor detect the disk - TopfHDRW doesn't detect any SATA disk, and TopfHDDoctor only detects one disk which it warns seems to be a regular PC drive.

As it is, i've been using TestDisk to look into the disk's partitioning and sector integrity, but this always crashes in a read error which hangs the USB adapter with a screech from the disk - sometimes lasting until i unplug the adapter from the PC.
Currently i'm setting up disk images to try and repartition the disk in order to recover the recordings - but it's not going too well. Any help is appreciated.
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:11 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
You shouldn't have a screech ever!

Sounds like the disk has had it.

Suggest you load GSmartControl on your pc and use it to look at the SMART characteristics; this should give you an idea of whether or not the disk is still ok (post them here if you want).

If the disk is ok, though it doesn't sound it, I might be able to recover some of the recordings using my TDM program (Toppy Disk Medic). However, there no point sending me the disk if the SMART info indicates a major issue.

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
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Stonecreek
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:27 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
[quote="Geoff Bacon"]You shouldn't have a screech ever!

Sounds like the disk has had it.

Suggest you load GSmartControl on your pc and use it to look at the SMART characteristics; this should give you an idea of whether or not the disk is still ok (post them here if you want).

If the disk is ok, though it doesn't sound it, I might be able to recover some of the recordings using my TDM program (Toppy Disk Medic). However, there no point sending me the disk if the SMART info indicates a major issue.

Geoff[/quote]

It's best described as a screech, it's closer to something you'd hear from an early 2000s CD player's reader moving, except louder which i'll attribute to the disk being partially exposed in it's adapter dock. I'm guessing it's the reader skipping and hitting something inside the disk.

What's odd is that the only issue that's readily apparent is that all recordings prior to the fateful power cut won't show up on the Toppy's recording list despite taking up space on the disk - it's still wholly possible to record, and new recordings were made and found to function well between the power cut and getting the borrowed adapter dock. Even so, the tech guru who brought the dock mentioned that the disk may well be broken - something about the reader component hitting the disk.

While i'd be happy to peruse your recovery service, ultimately the matter is in the hands of the Toppy's, and thus the disk's, official owner, i.e. my father. Seeing as we live in Finland, and you're presumably a UK citizen, and considering the disk contains some live-action lewds, there's a decent chance he'll refuse to send the disk anywhere. That said, i'll take a look at GSmartControl and try to make a disk image for dissection and hopefully recovery, mostly independent of possible faulty reader components. The main aim here is to recover the recordings from before the power cut.

Some additional details i've uncovered...

-Toppy model is CRC-1410 CT HD PVR, something that's notably not accepted by the site registration form - presumably since it's not a UK model.
-Testdisk detects an Intel file system, with Linux specifics. Might be irrelevant, but there you have it.
-Testdisk analysis fails after a few cylinders to a read error, producing the aforementioned "screech". However, image creation runs just fine up until arounds 350 GB - further examination failed since my computer ran out of drive space.
-Before Analysis, Testdisk mentions both a bad sector count for post-power cut section, bad starting sector for pre-power cut section and no bootable partition - i'll go ahead and assume this is intentional for Toppy SATA file systems.

Questions:
Does TopfHDDoctor detect non-SATA disks? The only devices connected are my two internal PC hard drives, a virtual hard drive from Daemon Tools and the SATA disk in the USB adapter dock.
Is it possible to manually repair a SATA disk's reader component?
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:43 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
From your description, it sounds as though the file system has been corrupted and, while the files are still present on the disk, the index to them has been overwritten (making them invisible). New recordings are visible because you are writing to newly created folders (and corrupting the disk contents even more).

I don't know your toppy model or what format the file system is in (you mentioned TopfHDRW so I assumed it was FAT24; TDM and TopfHDRW/Doctor can only handle FAT24 (I suppose there could be a specific TopfHDRW package for your model of toppy).

If the disk is in the USB adapter dock when you are using Testdisk then the dock is obviously working. This means that TopfHDDoctor should be able to see/handle it (provided it is FAT24 format).

To me, a screech indicates that the heads have touched the spinning surface and have been retracted to protect them. Disk repair would require specialist equipment, be prohibitively expensive and unlikely to work.

Your best bet is to replace the existing disk (so your father can still use the toppy and to prevent further overwriting of it's data). If you can, make an image backup of the failing disk to another disk with the same geometry. You can then try your recovery experiments on the disk copy without further damaging the original.

Based on my experience with TDM, I suspect you won't get far recovering the recordings. This is because, if it like our toppies, files are written in chunks called clusters and are scattered around the disk. Recovery involves reading each cluster and analyzing the data stream to determine the PCRPid, VideoPID, AudioPID, and sequence CRCs (and possibly other info). You then have to match this info against that for the other clusters to determine the required order.

Suggest you just tell your dad they are lost and start again on a new disk.

Best of luck!

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
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Stonecreek
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:26 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
I only mentioned TopfHDRW since it's one of the three tools i know of for Toppy disk handling - for what it's worth, the CRC - 1410Ct HD PVR looks similar to TF5800PVRt according to the wiki.
As it is, i'll clear out space on my hard drive for a disc image of the pre-powercut recordings and have dad try formatting the disk on the Toppy while i look into recovering the data from the image.
My guess is that Toppy system doesn't have partitioning, and when Testdisk hit the bad sector where the pre-powercut recordings were, it threw a read error since there was no proper partitioning - this shouldn't be an issue from a disk image.
That's the game plan anyway. Here's some data GSmartControl gave me.

https://pastebin.com/hxe3bq2S

I mean, it might not mean much anymore, but if it helps work out more methods for recovery...
I'll also see if i can make TopfHDDoctor detect the disk somehow - it might be that it's misreading the USB dock as a computer drive despite a Toppy disk being connected.

And the screeches are occasionally punctuated by a clacking sound - probably reader heads retracting, as you mentioned. Only happens while the disk is being accessed after being plugged in but before the computer's format disk prompt, and while analyzing the file structure.

Thanks for the help though. I'll keep you posted.[/code]
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:53 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
If it is like our toppies, disk formatting takes about 2 seconds (it just writes the first few clusters on the disk).

I still think you should source a replacement disk; if it is touching the platters then it will fail shortly. Having said that, I can't see anything obvious in the GSmartControl report (when you run the program, any "worrying info" should be coloured red).

I don't think that TfHDDoctor cares how the disk is connected; it just looks for connected drives and decides whether or not they contain a windows file system - I think it accepts any non-windows file system as a potential toppy disk.

If the dock is suspect, you could try connecting the disk internally to the pc (but that may mean taking one of the two out to make room).

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 17/1/16
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Laser
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:12 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 10 Jan 2008 Posts: 431
This may not be entirely relevant if your disk is as dead as is feared, but I recently had to use TopfHDRW to transfer data between an IDE and SATA drive using a USB-to-anything adapter and Windows 10.

It wasn't a smooth process, and one wrong move seemed to get things locked up to the point of requiring a reboot of the PC. However, a combination of running TopfHDRW as administrator and not powering-on the USB adapter until TopfHDRW was running did eventually work.

The IDE drive I was copying from had previously been involved in a "screech" incident while it was still in the Toppy. Oddly, that didn't seem to prevent the Toppy working after a reboot, nor me reading the data from the drive with the USB adapter.

Maybe there is hope yet! Shocked

_________________
TF5800 250GB Black Panther FW 5.13.65 (Patched)
TAPs: MS6.6, EPG2MEI 0.96, Extend 1.7, SecCacheUK, EIT_Sub, UKSubtitle, SDS
TV: Pioneer PDP-4280XD. AVR: Onkyo TX-NR807. Transmitter: Tacolneston
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Stonecreek
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:34 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
Thanks for the advice. Thus far, I've managed to build up a disk image of both pre- and post-powercut recordings...somewhat - the pre-powercut recording segment did have a read error even after three tries at it, but the image was compiled successfully. Tomorrow, I'll work out a way to extract files from the image and do a few test extractions to see if anything's worth salvaging.

Laser, while I will attempt your idea if i have time, I suspect that as our Toppy is a non-UK model, the UK-built tool won't recognize it as compatible.

Geoff, while in the sauna just yesterday, i got this idea...Would it be possible to modify TDM to work with '.dd'-format disk images? Just mainly out of curiosity, Testdisk does seem more convenient for non-UK users.
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:48 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
Quote:
'.dd'-format disk images


It probably would be possible but I suspect you are the only one who would require it and it is not worth the effort (I've only recovered 24 disks so there isn't a big demand).
It would probably be easier to put the image back on another physical drive and then work on that (possibly fiddling the geometry calculation).

The main issue is that a .dd image is just a byte for byte copy of the disk. One still needs to know what how the file system is stored in the image e.g. FAT24, FAT32, or other (probably UNIX compatible).

Even if your father has reformatted the disk, it would be worthwhile trying TopfDRW again (run as Administrator) to see if it can access the disk; if it can then you know it is Fat24.

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 17/1/16
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Stonecreek
Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:16 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
Okay, I've managed to get the image to analyze on Testdisk, admittedly running it by Daemon Tools, but still.
No luck, at least when i selected non-partitioned media in the start segment.
The program does find a SysV partition, but it seems too damaged to retrieve.
Does anyone know what partition type Toppies usually have? (Intel, Humax, etc.)
Similarly, I'm now completely convinced neither TopfHDRW nor TopfHDDoctor detect the physical SATA disk because it's not from an UK model. Does anyone know of EU-based alternatives for those?
At this point, if anyone has any ideas for plucking the files straight from the SATA disk, I'm all ears. If no one has any ideas, I'll just have the disk formatted to see the format and hopefully restore at least the post-powercut recordings.
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:35 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
I suspect that reformatting the disk will make any "visible" recordings disappear.
Suggest you copy them off before doing anything so drastic.

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 17/1/16
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Stonecreek
Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:41 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
Don't worry, I already have a disk image of the visible recordings. Besides, I'll hold off on formatting until I'm sure no one has any other ideas for extracting the recordings.
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Stonecreek
Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:47 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
This is pretty strange.
I ended up making two separate image files from the drive, one for each partition, and tried to run them through Daemon Tools before working out how to make Photorec run the images themselves.
After two test recoveries of the smaller, post-powercut image, on the Daemon Tools, Photorec recovered Apple programming code and a single unplayable MP3.
However, the big bombshell is that on Photorec alone, i ended up with what amounts to a copy of Fortress 2, which is what i can only assume is a korean TF2 knockoff.
This from an image made of a supposedly never-before-used SATA drive that's only contained recordings made with a Toppy.
Anyone have anything similar happen?
I'll try to run the larger image onto a external hard drive through Photorec and see what comes up.
I'll keep you posted.
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Stonecreek
Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:58 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jun 2018 Posts: 12
Okay, so. I've recently found the required wires to connect the SATA disk directly into the computer.
Even with a direct connection, TopfHDRW doesn't recognize it as a Toppy disk, nor does TopfHDDoctor, although i can run the disk through that now that it's no longer muddled in with actual PC drives.
But even with all this, TopfHDDoctor throws a subscript out of range error fairly early on with the following in the message:
Code:
Application      :TopfHDDoctor
Version         :V0.21.8
Error         :9
Description      :Subscript out of range
Source         :Project1
Procedure: fsck_04_ScanDirectories
LineNumber      :7250
Stack      :fsck_04_ScanDirectories - Menu_File_PerformChecks_Click

at which point the only option is to interrupt the program, which forces it to shut down.
I've been playing with an idea of using the expert tools now that I have something to run the disk through without much risk, but I'd really rather have some guidance in the matter before I go poking around in potentially volatile processes.
Could someone give me a hand?
Oh, one more thing...is it possible to somehow force TopfHDRW to detect a "system disk" as a Toppy disk? I figure that would be the least complicated solution.
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Geoff Bacon
Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:19 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4158
You could use the toppy to reformat the disk.

If, like the TF5800/5810, this will just write the first few (256?) sectors on the disk and only takes a couple of seconds.

Following the format, you will have lost all directory information (but you don't have any anyway). After the reformat, shutdown the toppy immediately to prevent any data being overwritten by the time shifting mechanism (if it is enabled).

Alternatively, you could try the reformat in TopfHDDoctor. Consensus is that one should always format in the toppy because the HDDDoctor format causes issues when the disk is returned to use. However, you are in recovery mode and, should you get it working, you can always copy the recordings off, do a proper toppy format and then copy them back again.

Although you will have reformatted the disk, the contents should be in no worse state than if you hadn't (and you have an image of it anyway).

At this point TopfHDDoctor should recognise the disk as a toppy drive and you should be able to analyse it. You may still have the issue with subscripts out of range (most people have! - which is why I wrote TDM). If you do get range errors then you are stuffed!. Also, you might not get very many recordings back and they will need to be watched to determine their content (I expect your father would like that!)

TDM can successfully recover newly reformatted disks because the recordings headers haven't been touched; it can also guess the filenames from the information found in Orphan directories.

'm guessing that TDM would be able to recover the disk (but I understand you don't want to ship it because of its contents).

Geoff

_________________
TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; EPG2MEI v0.96; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6; WSSkiller V2.12d; CrashTrace v0.4; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 17/1/16
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