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Question for the PC techies please

ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,631
I have a good, tho aging, HP Pavillion laptop.   I use external hard disks to store backups and older items I don't need often so one for photos and documents, one for videos and one for music.

I cannot access the data on the music disk - thousands of backup copies of ballroom, salsa, bachata and line dance music plus backups of most of my own CDs.  The PC knows it's there when I plug it in but won't read it.  I can eject it and it is recognised in Devices an Printers whose troubleshooter found no problems with it.

Any ideas please?    Is there a clever twiddle I can do or do I need to take it to a PC doc or is it just a case of updating i-Tunes next time they offer?  I haven't for ages since they stopped letting me backup my own CDs and wanted me to buy downloads form them.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,164
    A couple of things to try:
    Can you read the disk without using iTunes, just in File Explorer? If so, can you see the list of files on it?
    Another way into the same thing - in Devices and Printers, if you right-click on the disk and select Browse Files, can you see what's on it?
    Do you know anyone who has a laptop or another computer that you could try connecting the disk up to and see if that can read it? (I'm assuming it's connected by a USB lead)
    I'm afraid I don't use iTunes - I had it once for some reason that I can't remember and it was a horrible piece of software.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    How old is it?  Is it actually a hard disk?
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,179
    edited September 2021
    I don't think you would be using iTunes if you are using a PC. Itunes is a Mac app?

    Am I right in thinking that the PC had no probs reading the external drives in the past?

    I would try plugging the ext drives to other people's PCs and see if you can open your files.

    Also try shutting your computer completely for 20 mins and turning it on again and trying to access the ext files again.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,579
    If you're running Windows-

    If you open File Explorer does the disc appear?
    If it does, then right click on the disc and select Properties
    There are several Tabs - choose Tools and click on Check
    See what it reports

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,179
    Have you updated / changed your computer's operating system recently?

    Are you getting an error message?


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,164
    A few more basic things - is the disk getting enough power? I think they need either mains or two USB leads - if it's not getting enough power to spin up properly, that might be it. Try different USB leads if you have spares, in case one is damaged, and different USB ports on the computer if it has any more.
  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    There is an iTunes App for Windows.  I use it to store and play songs on all my Windows machines.

    Your external hard disk might be corrupted and I'll get to that later.  Don't worry.  There is a solution even if the disk is an unusably corrupted brick.

    iTunes keeps a record of all the songs, videos, podcasts etc you have purchased in your iTunes account and lets you download all your purchases all over again and again any time you want free.  Not really free, because you have paid for them once.  So, log in to your iTunes account and re-download everything again to a new disk or computer.  The only cost to you is the wireless data cost.

    Instructions in how to re-download to a different disk again are here:
    https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT210384

    Ask again if you run into any difficulties following the instructions.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,631
    I was president of a dance club in Belgium, hence all the tunes backed up on external CD.   We used i-Tunes to copy CDs onto PCs and make play lists for practice sessions after classes and for our end of year show so I know it works on Windows PCs. 

    I have never purchased anything via i-Tunes and don't accept being limited to that as a source of music.  I still have all my old 45rpm singles and EPs and all my 12" singles, EPs and LPs and later CDs so utterly resent anyone trying to restrict me to  online versions. 

    I have other PCs I can use eg an ASUS which also doesn't recognise the external disk as a readable entity.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • KiliKili Posts: 858
    edited September 2021
    If its an external hard disk whatever you do don't format or partition the drive if your prompted to do so or it will be more difficult to recover the data.

    If the drive is still being seen by the operating system (O/S), but you cant access it, its likely developed a fault, but the data should be recoverable if its still seen by the O/S. I'll assume its Windows 10 your using in this day and age.

    It may not be the drive but the external cradle electronics its in.
    I would try data recovery software to see if the drive is readable. I used to have professional recovery software , but no longer have access to it now I'm free/retired.

    I would try https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva first which is a free tool which you can try to see if the drive is readable. Its not that sophisticated, but its free, failing that there are other paid for solutions you can try.

    There's a list of some here. There software you can install and try. If any of them work they will show the data, but may ask you to buy the full version to recover it.
    https://www.pandorarecovery.com/best-recovery-apps.html.

    If any of these programs ask you to format or partition the drive ( they shouldn't) don't under any circumstances do so. If none of them work you'll need to take the drive to a competent technician with some commercial recovery software.

    Good luck hope you get your data back

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    Sounds like your external hard disk is corrupted.  Or, assuming the disk connects to your PC using a USB connector, it could be that the USB connector is corrupted and the disk is okay.

    If you have backup copies of everything, then make a new repository from the back ups.

    Otherwise, this is a job for a PC recovery person whom you will have to take the external hard disk to and whom you will have to pay for the recovery.

    If the fault is in the USB connector, they can repair or replace the connector.
    If the hard disk is the corrupted thing, then there are recovery software like Norton Utilities that can be used to recover the content.

    Search for "data recovery" in your area on yell.com or Google.  Then call around and get about 3 quotes and pick the one you like best to do the job. Pay on recovery.
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