Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video files

Questions on file recovery and disk unformat using the R-Undelete program.
knotslanding
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Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video files

Post by knotslanding » Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:09 pm

Hello,

I am writing for some help. Any help is most appreciated. Thanks in advance. Sorry in advance for the length of my message but I didn't want to leave anything out.

I had accidentally deleted files on my external 5 TB hard drive (not a solid-state drive). The file system is NTFS. There is no physical damage to the hard drive and it is working perfectly. Since the accidental file deletions, I have stopped using it which was back in November 2020.

I am using R-Studio on a Windows 10 64-bit PC. As a safe precaution, I first created an image (compressed image) using R-Studio and saved it to another external 5 TB hard drive (not a solid-state drive). The original hard drive from which I am trying to recover accidentally deleted files from was also an external 5 TB hard drive. I kept the default settings. This took about 1 day and 14 hours if I am not mistaken to create the image.


I then opened the image in R-Studio and mounted it as drive X. Afterwards, I ran a detailed scan of the entire drive with "extra search for known file types" checked. The scan took about 5 hours and 57 minutes to complete.

Next, after clicking the show files button, the scan displayed a list of the deleted files. There was a red X on all the files.

Here is an attached a jpg picture showing what I am seeing.
Deleted Files with Red Cross Attempting to Recover.jpg

These are the accidentally deleted files I would like to recover. The file icon has a red cross or X.

I then tried to preview several files, but none of the files could be played using the built-in preview video player. All I see is a black screen. No sound or picture can be seen or heard. Just a black screen. Pushing the play button also doesn't do anything.


To show you what I am seeing, here is an attached jpg picture of a screen shot of one test video file named "A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong - 2017" that I am trying to preview. You will notice the screen is black and nothing plays.

Previewing video shows black screen and does not play.jpg

Does this mean that this file and all the files won't be able to be recovered? I tried to preview other video files (with extensions. mp4, .mkv, and .ts) but none would play back in the built-in preview player which is disappointing.


I plan to buy a license to the software but I wanted to make sure I can recover the files. If all my files are black and don't play, then it would be a waste of money. I just hope at least some of my files are recoverable but it is beginning to look like none of them are as I can't preview them. It is my understanding that R-Undelete and R-Studio use the same technology only that R-Undelete is a lighter version.

Does anyone know if a file can't be previewed does that mean it can't be recovered? I wasn't sure. Or does anyone know what to do when the preview screen is black and nothing plays and how to solve this issue?

I also noticed the recovery chances for my files is listed as "Undetermined". Please see the next attached jpg picture of a screen shot which shows what I am seeing. I am not sure why is says "Undetermined". The good news is that I see the correct file name, file size, created date, and modified date columns.
Recovery chances Undetermined for sample video2.jpg
On the other hand, if I were to buy a license, and attempt to recover my accidentally deleted files, I suspect they might be corrupted. This is just a guess though. Can corrupted files be corrected?

I would like to point out that all of my deleted video files were playable before they were accidentally deleted. So again, I hope they can be recovered.


On a different matter:

Since I made a compressed image file, would making a byte to byte image make any difference? I wasn't sure. I chose the compressed image option since it doesn't need to be compatible with earlier versions of R-Studio and saves space. However, if anyone thinks it is better I could try a byte to byte image as well. In some cases, some software that create an image do not include or copy free space (where my accidentally files may be located). But I wasn't sure if R-Studio's compressed image did the same by not copying free space. if so, that may explain why I can't preview any of my accidentally deleted video files which may reside in the free space, but this is just a guess.

If you can help, that would be great. I thank you for your time and I appreciate it.

By the way, R-Studio looks like a great program. Hopefully this program can help me.

Anyway, if anyone can help me resolve my issue of unable to preview videos which show a black screen, any help is most appreciated.

Thanks again.
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Data-Medics
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by Data-Medics » Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:04 am

There's a few possibilities here. It could be that R-Studio simply can't preview the files due to the type of codec used. It's hit or miss on that. Can you open a few of the files in Hex view and take screenshots of the first sector? That'll be a good indication of whether they are likely to be successfully recovered.

It's also possible that something is off with the partition starting offset and it's trying to read the data shifted. Did you scan the entire drive or just the partition? Is there any chance that the partition structure ever changed?

knotslanding
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by knotslanding » Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:41 pm

Hello,

Thanks for the suggestion. If I recall correctly, when I opened any file in the hexadecimal editor, it showed all zeroes. Give me a few days to research this and to verify this. The scan was done on an image and there was only one partition on the original hard drive from which the scan was made. I will need to do a detailed scan again on the image using R-Studio since the results are not saved. (I don't think there is a way to save the last scan and just open the last one done that shows all the files with a red x through them for me to preview them.) I don't believe I made any changes to the partition. My best guess is that the files are all corrupted and can't be retrieved. Thanks.

Data-Medics
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by Data-Medics » Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:43 am

If the files sectors are all zeros, and you are working from a copy, my best guess would be that your copy isn't complete. How did you make this image? It's possible that the drive dropped offline at some point and your image isn't complete.

knotslanding
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by knotslanding » Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:44 am

Hello,

I made the image using R-Studio. You could be correct in that my drive may have dropped offline at some point and the image may not be complete. If you don't mind my asking, how can I tell if my image is complete?

If it isn't complete, I can make another image using R-Studio Because I have a 5 TB external portable drive, I do recall it took quite some time to complete and I left my computer running and unattended during the process. So I can't be sure if the drive dropped offline (i.e. lost connection). This might be a good idea to make another image.

Thanks.

Data-Medics
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by Data-Medics » Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:06 pm

Is there any hardware issues with the original HDD? If not, you could try saving the R-Studio scan, then open the scan information file using the original drive. See if the found files are still zeros when reading from the original drive.

While R-Studio is usually pretty good at logging drive errors and stopping the image process, cloning in Windows is never ideal. Using something like ddrescue or hddsuperclone in Linux is usually much more effective, especially if there are bad sectors (which Windows doesn't handle well at all).

knotslanding
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by knotslanding » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:55 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

Just to be clear. I am trying to avoid using the original external hard drive as much as possible. Of course, if I make another image then the hard drive will be used. If I recall correctly, it took about 1 day and 14 hours to make an image of a 5 TB external hard drive.

To answer your questions, there are no hardware issues with the original hard drive as far as I can tell. It has no physical damage such as being dropped. It was working fine the last time I had used it just before the accidental file deletions and when I made the image. I have though plugged it in and safely ejected / unplugged it several times. I am not sure if that messed things up. I also tried to view the hidden recycle bin but of course nothing is in that folder. And lastly, I don't believe I have any bad sectors on the original hard drive, but again I could be wrong. (I could do a ScanDisk or Chkdsk but I am trying to avoid using the original hard drive as much as possible.)

In R-Studio, I opened the last image I created. I then opened 5 different files in the hexadecimal editor and they all show zeroes. In the hexadecimal editor, the first row shows the first 2 zeroes highlighted in red. This is definitely not good. Of course, if the image is corrupted that might explain why they are all zeroes. So, I will most likely make another image using R-Studio, possibly this weekend or next week since it does take a long time. Afterwards, I will then do a new detailed scan on this new image which can also take some time.

R-Studio test file in hex editor showing all zeroes 1.jpg

I wasn't quite clear on what you meant: "... If not, you could try saving the R-Studio scan, then open the scan information file using the original drive."

After doing a detailed scan of the image, I believe I saved a file. I think the name of the file is J.scn (a default file name) and was saved to a new external hard drive and not on the original hard drive.

So how do I open and view this J.scn file assuming this is the "scan information file" you are referring to. Just to see, I opened this J.scn file in notepad but it has some very strange symbols so that is probably not correct.

On the other hand, if it means "Get Info" i.e. right click any file with a red x and then select Get Info from the popup menu, then that displays the properties of the file. You can see an example of this in my original posting for the file named "A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong-2017.mkv”. Unfortunately, it lists the recovery chances as "Undetermined". However, I do see the size of the file.


If I am incorrect on what you mean by scan information file, how and where do I find it and how do I view it. If the scan information file is on the original hard drive, then a new file was written to the original hard drive hence destroying any chances of recovery or at least overwrote some files. I hope and don't think that is the case or what you meant. I only did a scan on the image and not on the original hard drive.

Thanks again.
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DiskTuna
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by DiskTuna » Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:46 am

Is it perhaps a TRIM capable (SMR_ drive? What drive brand/model?

knotslanding
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by knotslanding » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:50 am

Hello,

The brand and model of my external hard drive is Western Digital 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, Black - WDBPKJ0050BBK-WESN. It is a standard hard drive and not a solid-state drive (SSD). So, I don't believe TRIM applies in this situation. Of course, I could be wrong. Could this standard hard drive have TRIM on it? I wasn't quite sure. How can I tell?

On a related matter, it only has one partition and is being used on a Windows 10 64-bit system.

To address another issue, I haven't had time to make a new R-Studio image yet.

Thanks again.

Data-Medics
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Re: Unable to preview video files which shows black screen in R-Studio - trying to recover accidentally deleted video fi

Post by Data-Medics » Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:45 pm

Yeah, I'm afraid it does apply. That's a Spyglass 2 architecture drive and due to the SMR they added T.R.I.M. command set support. Getting a good recovery probably isn't going to be possible. Even with professional tools like PC-3000 we can only do reading by PBA, but that's useless for getting back large video files which will be horribly fragmented in the physical blocks.

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