Please Help, recover data from formatted USB Drive in Asus Router

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Roaziel

New Around Here
Hi,
I'm a bit panicky right now because I think I may have messed up royaly. I have an Asus RT-AC68U router, and I have a 2TB Seagate external USB drive plugged into it and using it as network storage. While I was in the prosses of installing another new drive to the router I think I formatted the old drive which has quite literally Years worth of data that, if I loose all of it... Well I don't know what I will do. It's extremely important to me. I am kicking myself and panicking, and going through stages of grief over it. So my nervous question is, can it by any chance be recovered?

I know there's data recovery software for windows that can do that sort of thing. But I also know from experience that a drive that's plucked from the router and plugged into a windows PC wont show anything, it's not even detected as a drive. So I ask, desperately, does anyone here have any idea how (/if) I can save the data on the drive?

Perhaps I put this thread in the wrong forum topic? I just noticed there's a separate section for this router model. Perhaps that's a better place?
 
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Tech9

Very Senior Member
Did you unplug the drive immediately? How did you format the drive? AMTM or Asuswrt format tool? What file system it had before and what file system it was re-formatted with? Your first mistake is thinking your router is a NAS. Your second mistake is not keeping backups of important data. Partition Wizard has Partition Recovery option, but nothing is guaranteed.
 

Roaziel

New Around Here
Did you unplug the drive immediately? How did you format the drive? AMTM or Asuswrt format tool? What file system it had before and what file system it was re-formatted with? Your first mistake is thinking your router is a NAS. Your second mistake is not keeping backups of important data. Partition Wizard has Partition Recovery option, but nothing is guaranteed.
* I did not unplug the drive, it is still plugged into the router.
* I used the format option/tab in the asus routers administration page. I'm not sure what it's called. it's just a tab called Format in the options for the USB drive.
* I'm not sure what file system it had before, but it is now NTFS.
* Yes, it's not a fancy solution, but it is pretty cheap. And the new drive that I was installing was meant to be the backup.

So is there any step I can take? Should I remove the drive from the router? Should I unmount first? How do I get my windows computer to recognize the drive?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Yes unmount it first then unplug it.

To be honest, if the information is important take it to a data recovery company. They have the skill, tools and experience to recover as much of the data as possible.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
Agree with @ColinTaylor. Any unsuccessful attempt to recover it with any popular software will make things only worse. Don't use AC68U router for NAS. The tiny hardware with 256MB RAM supports only simple file sharing. It may corrupt data on a good HDD. This is not a solution at all.
 

Roaziel

New Around Here
So I made an interesting discovery. I'm not sure what it means though and I still haven't made any recovery.
One thing that I was not clear about in my initial post is that I actually previously had 2 drives plugged into the router. One larger, at 4TB and one smaller at 2TB.

When looking at the routers dashboard page the 2 routers show how much of their disc space remained, and from what I could see ALL of my data seemed to be on the smaller, 2TB drive, because it was listed as only having about 1/4 of free space left, while the 4TB drive seemed to have all it's space still available. Before I plugged in that new drive that I mentioned (a 2TB SSD), I unmounted and unplugged the 4TB drive, thinking that it's empty anyway so I'll just put the new drive in that USB slot and copy over the files from the old 2TB drive to the new SSD. That's when the whole formatting disaster occurred.

Now, while I was waiting around and panicking, I actually had that 4TB drive plugged into my Windows computer, that's how I knew that the drives aren't detected by windows as drives. However, in the MiniTool Partition Wizard it can be found, and so I started a quick recovery scan on, just to see if there was any data on it. I didn't think there would be because as I mentioned in the asus dashboard it was listed as empty, but the partition wizard actually started finding files, and it was important files. I didn't let it finish scanning, it only scanned for a couple of minutes, and it looked like it still had several hours left of scanning to do.... So... my big question is... Could it be, that even though the dashboard listed this drive as empty, that it despite that still contained all my data?

If it is true, my first big question is, how do I make it so that my windows computer recognizes the drive over USB so that I can start copying over files? Right now it doesn't list it as a drive for some reason.

Also, it's worth noting that I did just try to plug the 4TB drive back into the router, but nothing is showing up on the network, perhaps because of the changes made to the other drive (the formatting)... Is there I way I can force windows to recognize the drive?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
STOP trying to force Windows to recognise the drive. You'll only end up losing more data than you already have and make recovery of what's left more difficult.

DO NOT plug the drive back into the router. Certain router features may write data to the drive causing even more data loss.
 
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Roaziel

New Around Here
I'm under impression you don't know what drive contains your data, @Roaziel. If your data was on the 2TB drive, what the 4TB drive has to do with it?
As I mentioned, the Asus web-based administration tool interface was showing a graphic that indicated that all the data was on the 2tb drive. But when I plugged the 4tb drive into my computer and used MiniTool Partition Wizard Data Recovery on it, it found some of the data files on it. If all the data was on the 2tb drive like the UI suggested then why are these files here?.. So no, I guess I don't know any more which drive has the files since I feel like the UI is lying to me.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
Sorry, with so many unknowns you have to figure it out yourself. I can only give you advice how to prevent such headaches in the future - don't use home routers as NAS; don't power mechanical drives from router USB ports; make backup copies of your data on different drives or in the cloud. Most people start taking better care of data only after they lose data.
 

airgap

Occasional Visitor
May I add another possible help but the chances are slim to none but give it a try - s**t allready hit the fan :D

I don't know how good you are familiar with unix operating systems but you can look on some youtube videos FIRST(!!!!) for advice before doing something.

You should get yourself a linux-liveCD ISO like linux-mint or ubuntu (but I would recommend gparted).
Boot with the CD or USB stick (if you "burned" it to USB stick).
After linux is booted and ready then plug in your drive and good luck may be you can access it.

If it doesn't help then you're last resort is to use tools/software for data restoration but maybe most of the are unrecoverable.

I recommend in such worst situation either recuva (from piriform) or photorec (is available for linux and windows).

Other from that Tech9 said it - you're on your own now.

Even it's hard to hear and accept but ... you learned your lesson from that. That will never happen again and if it happens again to you then you know what's up o_O
 
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