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Unable to detect bitlocker encrypted drive after suddenly failing RRS feed

  • Question

  • My secondary hard drive failed, or appeared to have some fault very suddenly. I was watching a video, which cut off in the middle, and then it said "D:\ is not accessible" after which I tried accessing the drive in explorer but to no avail, and was unable to access through CLI either. I checked disk management and the drive was there but it was showing "uninitialized". I try to initialize it and then the drive disappears completely. I have no choice but to take it out of the laptop and connect it as an external, but I only did that after restarting once to see if it would fix the problem, which it didn't. I tried to unlock the drive after restarting, but after unlocking it disappeared again.

    I looked around online and found the repair-bde solution. Unfortunately, even though the drive shows up for a few seconds, it disappears too quickly afterwards that I can't even use this method. It says something like "D: is not a volume".

    By physically observing the drive, I can see the external's controller led blinking as if it was reading normally, this happens in the first few seconds when I connect it (when the D drive shows up in explorer as a locked drive), but then the led gets constant, and the drive keeps spinning at insane speeds (when this happens the drive disappears completely as if nothing is connected, but it still shows up in "Safely remove this drive", but I can't remove it either so I have to forcefully disconnect it).

    I understand that the drive could've failed beyond repair, but since it is still getting recognized I still have some hope in recovering the data in it, and I want to exhaust all possible options.

    I also tried a software such as EaseUS for recovery but it keeps "loading disk information" forever when the faulty drive is connected. I can't help but feel that bitlocker is complicating the process.

    Please help me with any possible solutions, I'd be forever grateful.

    P.s. It's also possible the drive was stopped in the midst of locking. My laptop has an issue where when I shutdown, it never turns off the fan or the power LED, so I have usually to wait for the disks to finish all reading/writing and forcefully shutdown the fan when the disk activity led is silent. (This issue is caused by windows btw and I found no solutions for it whatsoever so I just came to accept it). If it was disconnected in the midst of locking the drive, does that mean the drive is now completely unsalvageable?

    Update: I also used SpinRite, but spinrite warned me that if it continued operating on the drive it would completely destroy it, and has aborted before even starting with a big red message. It also showed that the total size is 1863 GB but it would say that available was 0. This is also the same thing that shows up in disk management before the drive disappears.

    I posted this in the support forums but was directed to this forum by a moderator. If this is the wrong category please switch it, thanks. 

    Tuesday, December 31, 2019 11:49 AM

All replies

  • you description makes it sound like a hardware problem.
    you could try to run a diagnostic utility by the drive manufacturer.
    Tuesday, December 31, 2019 12:17 PM
  • General BitLocker will not make disk disappear in Device Manager, the situation seems to be a disk hardware issue.

    Please use disk test tool to check the state of it, if you want to recover data, the best bet is asking for help from manufacturer support or data recovery company.

    Good luck

    Regards


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    Wednesday, January 1, 2020 1:58 AM
    Moderator
  • I suspected as much, but because the failure was extremely abrupt I was holding onto the possibility that it's not a hardware failure because there's no weird clicking noise. I had 3 HDDs fail before this one (in the span of 10 years or so) and all of them gave warning signs and had either a clicking noise or a slow down in performance. Some "failed" disks even still work as external drives. And this drive is only 2 years old.

    I wonder what could make a drive fail like that. Could heat be a factor? Any ideas?

    Also, if I give it to a recovery company, do they need the bitlocker key or password or do they have some other methods?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer.

    Thursday, January 2, 2020 5:00 PM
  • I suspected as much, but because the failure was extremely abrupt I was holding onto the possibility that it's not a hardware failure because there's no weird clicking noise. I had 3 HDDs fail before this one (in the span of 10 years or so) and all of them gave warning signs and had either a clicking noise or a slow down in performance. Some "failed" disks even still work as external drives. And this drive is only 2 years old.

    I wonder what could make a drive fail like that. Could heat be a factor? Any ideas?

    Also, if I give it to a recovery company, do they need the bitlocker key or password or do they have some other methods?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer.

    Update: I just downloaded the SeaTools utility from Seagate (it's a seagate drive), and after running "automount disable" and "automount scrub" from powershell, windows no longer hangs when the drive is connected because it doesn't have a drive letter anymore, which allowed me to run some tests without windows interrupting or trying to mount the drive.

    The SMART test gave me a PASS, and I also ran a "short generic read" test which also passed. The long one takes 6 hours so I didn't bother to do it. Do you know what exact test I can perform to tell me for sure what the state of the drive is?

    Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:47 PM
  • Generally speaking, HD tune, Seagate SeaTools and HDDScan are most common used.

    If you send the drive to data recovery company, you could show your BitLocker password/recovery as a evidence indicating that you are the owner of this device, but I don’t you should give these keys to them.

    Regards


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    Tuesday, January 7, 2020 6:16 AM
    Moderator
  • Generally speaking, HD tune, Seagate SeaTools and HDDScan are most common used.

    If you send the drive to data recovery company, you could show your BitLocker password/recovery as a evidence indicating that you are the owner of this device, but I don’t you should give these keys to them.

    Regards

    So they don't need the password itself for recovery, that's cool to know. I guess this is my last resort because seatools stopped recognizing the drive. I'm afraid my attempts have caused it further damage. I'll just get it to a pro. Thanks anyway.
    Tuesday, January 7, 2020 6:22 PM
  • You are welcome, good luck.


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    Thursday, January 9, 2020 9:11 AM
    Moderator