Help needed: windows 7 directory is corrupt

by Lee Hopkins on May 17, 2010 · 1 comment

in lifehack,miscellaneous,tools

coloured files

UPDATE 18 May 2010:
I came across File Scavenger, a data recovery tool, and it has found all of my missing files. As I type this I am copying all of those ‘lost’ files across to another drive. Phew!


I have two usb external portable drives for my laptop – one ("redpassport") contains pictures, fonts, ephemera. The other ("business") contains all of my business files and until yesterday was ‘seen’ correctly by windows 7.

Now, however, the business drive is named "redpassport" (even when the ‘real’ redpassport is connected to my laptop) and the directory structure windows sees is the one corresponding to my redpassport. Windows cannot see the real structure, nor seemingly rebuild it, offering me only a ‘format disk’ as a way of fixing it (not a solution).

The amount of space available on "business" is correct, only the directory structure and folder names are incorrect.

I have tried connecting the "business" drive to another windows 7 machine and it similarly sees the ‘wrong’ top-level folders, and attempting to drill down from a top level folder only brings a ‘corrupt’ error message.

I downloaded and used xplorer2 to see if it was just a Windows Explorer ‘feature’ but alas xplorer2 shows a similarly incorrect folder structure.

No amount of reboots seem to solve the problem, either.

Your help in rebuilding my file structure most assuredly needed.

  • Andrew

    Hi Lee,

    Not sure if it's the same problem but I had a similar problem with two devices wanting to suddenly share the same volume and the drive structure got messed up while they were both plugged in. If this isn't the problem at least you know you can eliminate it from your troubleshooting.

    Get started by seeing checking Computer Management console:
    Start > Administrative Tools > Computer Management
    (or the long way: Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management)

    then navigate through to “Disk Management”
    Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management

    This will show you what Volumes are attached (and visible to your computer). Check the volumes listed and see if redpassport drive is listed twice (with the real redpassport and business drives plugged in), or if there is some other configuration being reporting (or anything else looks strange). You could try changing the drive letter assigned to your device (just in case this has been hardcoded which was part of my problem). This may not help with a solution but could help when further diagnosing some problems. Also suggest temporarily unplugging other USB devices and the real “redpassport” drive.

    I think though that as you already suspect it may be a problem with the file allocation table being corrupted, as you've taken the hard drive to another computer to test. I'm not sure what else to suggest except to take it to a professional especially as this seems like important data. You could try a basic recovery tool like Recuva to attempt to look through the corrupt data and if successful copy the data somewhere else. Otherwise I would go with a service centre skilled in data recovery.

    Good luck,

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