Backup Drive changed from J:\ to F:\ with all backups lost


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Morton Newman
Morton Newman
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Using Reflect 6 with Windows 10 (Latest Upgrade). Backup Drive is 2 TB J:\ Drive about 1/2 full.
I run a full backup every Tuesday and an incremental every other day of the week on the J:\ drive.. 5 weeks of backups are kept with the oldest set deleted. An email each morning informs me whether the previous night's backup was successful or not.
This has been running very nicely for over 2 years maintaining the backup drive at about 1/2 full.
This morning, I received an email indicating that the backup failed!

When I opened Macrium Reflect, I noticed that the J:\ Drive was no longer listed as the backup drive and was REPLACED BY AN F:\ Drive.
When I checked in Windows, it no longer listed the existence of a J:\ drive on my computer, but showed a "new" F:\ drive instead. (I NEVER HAD AN F:\DRIVE BEFORE THIS!).
The new F:\ Drive appears in Reflect as LOCAL DISK (FSmile and appears as the target drive with 31.9 gb used and 30.6 gb free space.
HELP!!!
Where did the F:\ Drive come from?   Where did my J:\ Drive go?  Where are all my backups from the past 5 weeks?   How can I recover all my backups from the last 5 weeks?  What caused this mess?



Morton Newman
Morton Newman
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jphughan
jphughan
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Whatever this new F drive is, and whatever happened to the J drive, I don't think the F drive is a reincarnation of your J drive -- after all, you're saying the F's drive total capacity is only a little over 60GB (~30GB used with ~30GB free) and your J drive is 2TB.  So first off, what is this J drive, physically?  Is it an external hard drive connected by USB or an additional disk installed internally?  If the former, have you tried just powering it off and back on?  Whether or not that causes your J drive to reappear, please screenshot the Disk Management snap-in, since it may give more insight into both the J and F drives.  The quickest way to access it is to click the Start button, type "diskmgmt.msc", and press Enter.  Maximize the window and/or drag the horizontal bar separating the white space above from the gray space below to ideally show everything without having to scroll so you can get it all into a single screenshot.

Also note that Windows drive letter assignments are just semi-permanent, i.e. it will remember the drive letter a disk was last assigned, but it won't reserve that letter for a particular disk and refuse to assign it to anything else, and if it does end up assigning that letter to something else, when the original disk is connected, it might no longer receive the drive letter it used to.  Reflect has a mechanism to target a disk by its unique ID so that backups are not affected by drive letter changes, or there are tools that actually will guarantee consistent drive letter assignment.  Windows also offers a way to change drive letter assignments manually, but again that change isn't guaranteed to last long-term.

But even if somehow your J drive were recreated as a single 60GB partition, I can't imagine Reflect just dumping disk image files onto the disk could have caused something like this.  Still, it might be helpful to include the entire log file contents from the job that failed, since that will show what Reflect saw when it tried to run the job.

Edited 29 June 2017 2:02 AM by jphughan
Morton Newman
Morton Newman
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Thank you for getting back to me.
The J drive (now known as the F drive) is an external hard drive connected by USB3. Switching the drive off, then on again does not change anything.


Morton Newman
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Here is a copy of how my computer looks now.
What appears as the F: drive was previously the J: drive with all my backups.

Seekforever
Seekforever
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Any chance you have 2 different USB drives and you just plugged in the wrong one- it does happen?
What are the files on the new F drive? May be a clue as to what happened.

If it was the correct drive, it looks like it got initialized or at least a quick format and then a 60 GB partition setup on it. 
jphughan
jphughan
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I agree with SeekForever.  The Disk Management screenshot indicates that the F drive resides on a 2TB disk, but for some reason only a 32GB partition was created, leaving the rest as unallocated space. 32GB is incidentally the largest size that Windows allows for creating a FAT32 partition (though other tools will create larger ones).  Anyhow, the Reflect log you attached indicates that it couldn't find the J drive, so it aborted without even doing anything, and again, considering that disk image jobs just involve Reflect generating a file on the target, I can't even fathom a scenario where it could do something like this. But as SeekForever says, the contents of that new F drive might give insight into what did.

In terms of a fix, it's easy to re-initialize your 2TB disk properly so that if actually has a 2TB partition, but that would give you an empty 2TB partition, so if at this point you just want your J drive back so you can start backing data up again and don't need the old backups as long as you can make a new one, then I can give you the steps to quickly re-initialize that drive.. If on the other hand recovering your existing backups is important, you might have to resort to data recovery utilities such as Recuva (you'd need a deep scan for this) or even professional data recovery services.  However, the more data that gets written to this disk after this incident, the less likely the prospects for data recovery, especially when the recovery job would be dealing with a small number of very large image files where even a small error in the recovered data would render the entire file unusable, and potentially subsequent files given that you were using a Full + Incremental strategy.

Edited 29 June 2017 4:35 PM by jphughan
Morton Newman
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Thank you both for your interest and suggestions. You guys are great!

In response to Seekforever, I have only the one USB drive which is only used for backups. It is permanently plugged into my computer's USB3 port.
When I try to locate any files on the new F: drive, I can't retrieve anything. All I get is "Folder is Empty".

Since I can't seem to retrieve my saved data from the vanished J: drive, and nothing seems to be on the new F: drive, I guess it would be in my best interest to reformat the entire USB drive and start from scratch  with fresh backups as suggested by jphughan.
Thank you for  any information you can offer as to how to accomplish those steps. Since I am far from being a techie, my aging brain does not always respond when I try to recall specific steps.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Seekforever
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You can do all of this in Windows Disk Management.
Click on the the F drive to select it and then Right-click on it in the graphic.
Select Delete Volume from the pop-up menu and this will get rid of the 60 GB F.
This should give you a large (approx 1.8TB) unallocated partition.
Format the partition NTFS assuming you want a large single partition.
You can do a Quick or a Full format. The Quick just sets up the new filesystem but the Full will do a read-check on every cluster and will take some time. However, it does give some confidence the drive is working properly and there are no bad clusters.
At the format time you can give the drive a label which is a good idea to identify it easily such as Backup Drive or whatever you want. You can also assign your J drive letter to the new NTFS partition it as well in Disk Management.

Unfortunately the cause of your problem has not been identified so keep an eye on things. The fact it is permanently plugged into the computer means anything accidental or malevolent could come along and act on the drive. In this day of Ransomeware having the drive unplugged when not in use isn't a bad idea even if a bit inconveninet.




jphughan
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Seek's post above is a simpler method than I originally posted, so I'd suggest following his, with the amendment that after deleting the existing volume to create totally unallocated space, you'll actually need to right-click it and choose Create Partition, rather than just formatting it, since formatting is something done to partitions, which you won't have initially. But that partition creation wizard will include options to format the volume, including an option to assign the desired drive letter, so you can set that to J at that point.  I personally would definitely do a quick format, because a full format on a 2TB disk might literally take a full day, and the disk can't be used until that's done.  The last full format I did was on a 1TB disk and I seem to remember it taking quite a bit of time.

I've been thinking about what might plausibly have caused something as bizarre as this without you realizing anything until after the fact or having done anything out of the ordinary recently (I'm assuming you haven't?), and I'm pretty much drawing a blank -- even though I work in IT and see bizarre things all the time! Nefarious software is certainly a possibility, but this would be a very strange manifestation.  Any chance you have kids that might have gotten onto this PC and done something by accident?  I'm speaking as a former young child whose curiosity broke the house PC in strange ways many, many times back in the day. Smile Anyhow, I'm hugely curious as to underlying cause, and if this happens again I would absolutely feel it necessary to determine that rather than continuing to work around it this way, but that could be a much more involved process, so if these steps get you where you want to be and the issue doesn't recur, then I'll just be happy to have helped a bit. Good luck going forward!

Edited 29 June 2017 6:07 PM by jphughan
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