Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.

Question:

Question: Disappearing files on external hard drive?

Hey guys,


I'm new to this forum here, but I really need some insight into a huge problem I am having as of late.


I'm running a Macbook Pro, and have a Seagate External Hard Drive connected to it.


On the drive I have tons of movies, tons of music, and a bunch of photography.


About a week ago I noticed that one of the folders with my photography was empty. None of the hard drive space was changed, but upon opening the folder it contained no files, they had disappeared.


Now two days ago, I went to open up the expansion drive, and ALL of the files had disappeared. But again, no space on the hard drive has changed.


Weirdly enough, all of my music I have on that external i had previously added to my itunes library. When I open up itunes, I can play all my music, but when I open up the expansion drive, they have all disappeard ?!


I searched everywhere for an answer to this issue online but have not found anything to help me.


I'm a photographer and I have some major projects on there I need to get finished. If anyone could help me with this, I would be forever grateful !


Thank you !

MacBook Pro

Posted on

Reply
Question marked as Helpful

May 6, 2016 6:44 AM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

I had the very same issue with Seagate plus 2TB which was formatted in NTFS.

All of a sudden around 800GB of data disappeared. The folder shows 0 bytes on disk.

Disk utility on Mac didn't report any errors.


This is what worked for me to completely recover the entire data.


Plug the hard drive into windows PC.

Windows popped up a message saying that there are problems with the disk and should be fixed.

Go ahead and allow windows to scan and fix the errors(looks like file indexes are messed up but Not bad sectors though).

Poof. All my data can be accessed post fix.

There’s more to the conversation

Read all replies

Page content loaded

Aug 3, 2011 8:50 PM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

Hi Cory,


Run Repair Disk: open Disk Utility > select your HD in the panel on the left side (the name of the external HD’s manufacturer and the model number) > click Repair Disk at bottom of main window. Run this at least twice, and keep running it until it says “appears ok” twice in a row. If that doesn’t happen, you may need a stronger utility (such as DriveGenius, TechToolPro, DiskWarrior) or if the directory is damaged beyond repair, you may have a damaged HD which will need to be replaced (repair utilities can only repair the directory structure, not the HD itself). When this is finished, quit Disk Utility and see if your files are visible.


Note: if you are lucky enough to make it through this with your files intact, and if your files are of value to you (it sounds like they are), you need to back them up on a second external HD; all HDs kept in use will fail, and no one can accurately predict when.

Aug 3, 2011 8:50 PM

Reply Helpful

Aug 3, 2011 8:56 PM in response to tjk In response to tjk

Thanks for the reply !


I actually tried the disk utility before and it will not even give me the option to select verify disk, or repair disk. I noticed this even when the drive was working. As well i noticed, where you can select the preferences for the sidebar in the finder, they have the boxes to either show or hide an external drive, ipod, etc right. So when i deselect the option to view the external hard drive, it is still there. But when i delect the option to view ipod, then it goes away? Something really weird is going on here. It cant be damaged because my music in itunes is still playing, but, i cannot view any of the files on there.

Aug 3, 2011 8:56 PM

Reply Helpful

Aug 3, 2011 10:11 PM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

corymoore wrote:


NTFS from my windows computer i got rid of for the Macbook Pro. But i mean, it worked perfectly for the past 3 months without this issue.


It worked on what machine? Mac does not write natively to NTFS; it needs to be modified. Are you running third party software to write to NTFS? If so, have you checked for updates?

Aug 3, 2011 10:11 PM

Reply Helpful

Aug 4, 2011 1:22 PM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

corymoore wrote:


It worked perfectly on the same Macbook Pro i'm using now I mean.


Yes, I am using NTFSmounter. I was using a different one before but the trial ran out, totally forget the name of it now though.


Might this issue happen to correspond to using the new NTFS app?

Aug 4, 2011 1:22 PM

Reply Helpful

Jul 15, 2012 1:08 PM in response to tjk In response to tjk

I've been looking through a lot of this same issue here and elsewhere, and I'm appalled at the misdirection and finger-pointing that some people are throwing out. It is useful to run a Disk Repair, but when a file is missing, it's missing and you can't bring it back with a Disk Repair. Doing a Disk Repair might tell you that something was wrong with the directory structure that could have been involved in causing the files to disappear - but it doesn't help explain why files disappear when Disk Repair doesn't find anything wrong with the directory structure. And I've gone the extra step and used DiskWarrior to further test the drive.


I'm running Lion on my iMac. Everything is always kept up to date. I recently discovered many missing files in my external drive. Here's the scenario: Folder A contains folders B, C, and D. There are files in all of A, B, C, and D. Suddenly, all files in B, C, and D disappeared. A Disk Repair found nothing wrong with the drive.


I have been involved with some of my clients who were running Snow Leopard. One of them lost dozens of photos from iPhoto, the other lost several different kinds of files from different places. I carefully examined their systems and could find nothing wrong, and my job is to know how to find a problem with a Mac and fix it. I have also ruled out anything that might have been user error.


So, as far as I'm concerned, this condition of disappearing files has been around for a while. If Apple doesn't want to acknowledge it, it's only because they haven't experienced it themselves - and nothing that happens in the field can ever be verified or reproduced on command.


The one and only way I know of that would help track this down is a full Time Machine backup of the drives involved. In my case, I would need a 5TB drive. And since files disappear from external drives as well as internal drives, it would also be necessary to have multiple Time Machine drives to swap in and out periodically in case the OS decides to wipe out files in Time Machine. Then, rather than wait to discover that a file is missing, the content (structure) of the latest Time Machine backup would have to be compared to previous backups and a report provided showing the differences. This can be done fairly easily using a shell script - something I am quite experienced doing - and it might even be turned into a utility app. Something for me to work on. But even with this, it might take months before the user notices that the report is showing missing files that should not be missing. Human interaction is required for such a report. And on a daily basis, the user will delete files, so taking notice of which ones that are really missing will require some intense scrutiny and awareness by the user.


That said, Apple needs to step up its own analysis of disappearing files - and quickly. And this means acknowledging that such a thing actually happens.

Jul 15, 2012 1:08 PM

Reply Helpful (1)

Jul 15, 2012 3:01 PM in response to jrc39 In response to jrc39

jrc39 wrote:


I've been looking through a lot of this same issue here and elsewhere, and I'm appalled at the misdirection and finger-pointing that some people are throwing out. It is useful to run a Disk Repair, but when a file is missing, it's missing and you can't bring it back with a Disk Repair. Doing a Disk Repair might tell you that something was wrong with the directory structure that could have been involved in causing the files to disappear - but it doesn't help explain why files disappear when Disk Repair doesn't find anything wrong with the directory structure. And I've gone the extra step and used DiskWarrior to further test the drive.


Hi j,


Regarding Repair Disk and your first paragraph, I don't know what you know and don't know, so please don't be offended it you already know this, but maybe it would help if you understood that the file's name, stored in the directory, is not the file itself, it's just a "tag" (or think of it like a map giving directions where to find the data itself) to locate the actual data file. When the directory gets corrupted, it can lose the "link" between the file name and the actual data file. Rebuilding/restoring the directory can put the two back together again, therebye allowing you to see the data file that you could not before. Does it always work that way? Certainly not, but sometimes it does.

Jul 15, 2012 3:01 PM

Reply Helpful

Jul 15, 2012 4:57 PM in response to tjk In response to tjk

You are right about the link. I'm not offended. I've repaired broken links and recovered deleted files before. And I did mention that when Repair Disk and DiskWarrior can't find anything wrong, why is it that the missing file can't be explained why it's missing? It's all too easy to shrug our shoulders over things like this and say, "S... happens!" I've worked in the industry all my working life and ran into that shrugging every time the developer has more on his mind than fixing something that he/she doesn't have a clear way to reproduce the problem. And I can't fault them for that. I have given a suggestion for how to troubleshoot that problem, and it's something I'll work on for myself. Until then, I'm just one more person who has experienced, "those files were there yesterday, and today they're gone! What happened to them?" We may never know the answer to that question, but at least I may have some satisfaction in knowing when it happens - down to the most recent backup. But even with that proof, it's not likely to move development into finding such a ghost.


Thanks for getting involved.

Jul 15, 2012 4:57 PM

Reply Helpful

Jul 15, 2012 6:16 PM in response to jrc39 In response to jrc39

It has happened to me in the past too, but not more than once or twice. I'm one of those shoulder-shruggers, mostly because I don't have the expertise to do anything about it. So I make multiple and redundant backups, and since making that investment in time and hardware, I've never lost a file to my knowledge. Good luck to you in your endeavor, I hope it leads somewhere and can help others. 😉

Jul 15, 2012 6:16 PM

Reply Helpful

Jan 5, 2016 12:38 AM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

Hi All


I had the same problem on Mac with NTFS drive, I had about 12 folders with video footage and suddenly 2 of them got emptied. I looked for hours how to solve this issue. What worked for me was that I attached drive to windows machine and the first thing that appeared on screen was system question if I want to scan drive for problems or run without scan, when I clicked to make the scan, after few minutes I got message that my problems were fixed and I can find my missing files in folder called "found", certainly there was no such a folder but my files were back in the original locations and I was able to transfer them to exFat drive and use them on MAC without any problems


Hope this will help some of You.

Jan 5, 2016 12:38 AM

Reply Helpful (1)

Jan 20, 2016 10:38 AM in response to Kriswi In response to Kriswi

The case of the disappearing files occurs with all kinds of external hard drives, regardless of format.


I'm running a hard drive recovery on my FW800 G-Drive 2TB, and so far, after a day of scanning, it's discovered 5.8GB of missing data.


I've lost several files. This seems to be an issue with OS X and needs to be addressed immediately. I've already submitted a Feedback on Apple's website.


*edit*


After doing a web search, a LOT of people are having these problems.

Jan 20, 2016 10:38 AM

Reply Helpful (2)
Question marked as Helpful

May 6, 2016 6:44 AM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

I had the very same issue with Seagate plus 2TB which was formatted in NTFS.

All of a sudden around 800GB of data disappeared. The folder shows 0 bytes on disk.

Disk utility on Mac didn't report any errors.


This is what worked for me to completely recover the entire data.


Plug the hard drive into windows PC.

Windows popped up a message saying that there are problems with the disk and should be fixed.

Go ahead and allow windows to scan and fix the errors(looks like file indexes are messed up but Not bad sectors though).

Poof. All my data can be accessed post fix.

May 6, 2016 6:44 AM

Reply Helpful (9)

Jul 20, 2016 8:06 AM in response to corymoore In response to corymoore

Same problem here. Strangely that's the third time this happened to one of my NTFS HDs, and it's always a folder containing images that suddenly gets empty. Wonder if it's something related to Preview in finder, but there's definitely something wrong with the Mac OS...


Windows is usually the solution to fix this.

Jul 20, 2016 8:06 AM

Reply Helpful (3)
User profile for user: corymoore

Question: Disappearing files on external hard drive?