Sunday, December 6, 2009

Using External Hard Drive - Caution

I wanted to make use of my 640GB Maxtor external hard drive (the Maxtor) that I've been using to store my videos to backup some of my laptop data since there are plenty of unused space available. I thought it would be best to partition off some of this unused space for this purpose so I started Partition Magic and the following message appeared.

"PartitionMagic has detected an error 110 on the partition starting at sector 63 on disc 2.
The length of the partition in the partition table is incorrect. The CHS length is 1250274627, the LBA is 1250263665, and the File System length is 1250263665. PartitionMagic has determined that the length can be changed to the correct value of 1250274627. Would you like PartitionMagic to fix this error?"

Without giving it a second thought, I hit the Yes button and that was a BIG mistake. However when I tried to create a new partition, it came up with another error message (error #2103) that a new partition cannot be created. So I just left it at that.

But horror of horrors, when I later tried to access the Maxtor with my HD2000 the dreaded message "Hard disk unavailable, would you like to format the hard disk?" (or something similar to that effect) appeared. Oh gosh, it seemed I have now lost all my videos! As a last resort, I hook up the Maxtor to my laptop and thank goodness, I could still access all the files there and open them. So the videos were still intact, only problem was that they could not be accessed by the HD2000. The only solution was to transfer all the files in the Maxtor to another hard disk and reformat the Maxtor using the camcorder. This I did and luckily there was only 130GB of data to be transferred.

Thus it appeared that by fixing the "error", Partition Magic has made the Maxtor HDD inaccessible to the HD2000 but luckily it was still accessible through Windows. I didnt' know what that error message mean but it must be something that help identified the Maxtor when the HD2000 is connected. Having transferred all the files to another HDD, the next step was to reformat the Maxtor by the HD2000. After this was done, the Maxtor was again functioning as normal. The final task was to transfer all the files from the temporary HDD back into the Maxtor.

This was quit easily done since I sorted my clips by date whenever I transfer them from the HD2000 to the Maxtor and the videos were store in individual folders named for the date e.g. 20090629 for clips captured on 29 June. All these date folders were stored under an ASSETS folder. First I transfer videos from a SDHC card to the reformatted Maxtor to create the proper setting. Then I just drag and drop each date folder from the back-up HDD into the Assets folder in the Maxtor. (You could just drag and drop the whole Assets folder but since it is rather big, I prefer to do it in small chunks.) This took some time though since there was about 130GB of data to be moved. What a relief when all was done and I found everything working as before.

Lessons to be learned? Well, never tamper with your Xacti Library Hard Disk (the one that is formatted by the HD2000 to store your videos) , especially the partitioning setting. In any case, I could not create a new partition with Partition Magic despite correcting that "error" and probably not with another partitioning programme. Correcting the "error" made the Maxtor invisible to the HD2000. If you want to use the free space, just create a new folder and it could be accessed by Windows but ignored by the HD2000.

Phew, what a narrow escape!

Ronald Kowk


  1. Hi,
    I believe that the HD2000 can only work with fat32 systems, problably your 640 GB disk was in NTFS, it could be the reason for the HD2000 complains about the disk and ask if you want format the disk.
    That«s why the max size of a HD2000 file is 4 GB which is the maximum size for a file in Fat32 systems.

  2. Hi MEstrex,
    Thanks for your comments but the Maxtor HDD was already formatted in FAT32 earlier and I have been storing my video files there. In fact, when new, the Maxtor was preformated in NTFS and the first time when I used it, the HD2000 formatted it to FAT32. Anyway, all is well now!

  3. Glad to now you didn't loose any videos.

    I always keep copies of all my family pictures and videos on two different external hard drives.

    What is the use of partitions anyways, I never understood what is the purpose of these things, they just only split the disk in bits. A folder is just what I need.


  4. Hi Tagi,
    Thanks for your comments. A partition is suppose to make it easier and faster to access your files in the early days of big hard drive but nowadays with fast drives I agree with you that having separate folders is good enough.