By definition, SMART cannot "deliver a death certificate".
The reason being, that when a disk drive dies, it ceases to communicate
with the OS, and is completely mute. That means, if the disk drive
is really sick, the SMART subsystem within it, cannot report anything.
So if SMART still works, and the status is bad, then the disk is "sick".
When the disk stops communicating entirely, by definition, then it is "dead".
If you cannot get the file systems on the disk to mount, you need
to do a sector by sector backup of the disk. As soon as is practical.
Each time you power off and power on the disk, there is a danger
it may die completely. So your first priority is a backup.
If the file system on the partition still mounts, *then* you can
do a file by file backup. A regular backup operation. Or, even
a copy and paste.
If the file system is damaged, and certain folders are no longer
accessible, you might be tempted to run "CHKDSK" and fix it. But,
the thing is, if the disk is sick enough, that might make things
If you cannot see files at all, then file by file backup is out
of the question. Then, you need sector by sector backup. it is
possible Acronis has that as an option. Maybe, even the version
of Acronis available on the Seagate site for download could do it.
(Check the downloadable manual, but I think "DiscWizard" is just
a rebranded Acronis tool.)
image all of the sectors of a hard disc (so called sector-by-sector
If that tool supports it, that is one way to get the data off the
disk and onto another disk which is the same size or larger.
But, you are going to need a destination disk, to hold the captured
information. Once the data is on a known-good disk, then you
can try running CHKDSK or whatever. That is, if
you can get the disk partition to mount.
A reason for a partition not mounting, can be drive letters.
So before panicking, first fire up Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc from
Start : Run), and see if partitions are shown there. Maybe it is just
a drive letter conflict in your guest OS.
There are some free tools I would normally promote, but generally
they are a bit too fiddly for general usage. You have the option
of finding one of those $39.95 "data recovery programs", to get
the data back. The reason I am not a fan of immediately reaching
for CHKDSK, is there is no guarantee CHKDSK can repair every problem
it runs into. I like CHKDSK, if the disk drive is known to be
healthy, as then, less can go wrong. If the disk is sick, then
CHKDSK might not be the best thing to use.
If you are on a limited budget, the program here (drive rescue) can
attempt to copy files off an NTFS partition. You'll still need
a separate disk and space, to receive the resultant recovered files.
Any time you are working on busted disks, you need space to hold
the recovered files. They should not be written back to the
Seagate also appears to be promoting their own file scavenger.
I have not seen or heard of that, so no idea what they have
re-branded for that purpose.
If you cannot get the Seagate download, to do a sector-by-sector
backup, there is a linux recipe here. You have to be an experienced
Linux person, to do this.
./ddrescue -n /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log
./ddrescue -r 1 /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log
That's an example of something that will not be practical for most people.
On the same site, is a copy of TestDisk. That can be run from
Windows, without rebooting or anything. You do *not* want to be
writing out a new MBR with this. I am pointing you to this, because
it has an option to "display files" within a partition. That is, if
the partition header is intact. it is yet another measure, of
how damaged the thing is.
So that shows a way of viewing files, if there is something
to view. This does not particularly solve the data recovery
problem, but shows the files are potentially still there.
Your priority right now, is making a backup... somehow.