HDD Woes - is any kind of recovery possible?

Discussion in 'Wii U - Console, Accessories and Hardware' started by GameFreakDude, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. GameFreakDude
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    GameFreakDude More gorgeous than any Hollywood star!

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    tl;dr: pretty sure Wii U fucked up its own partition somehow. Can the save data be recovered? (last paragraph)

    I wanted a cheap external storage solution, so rather than buy a brand-new 500 GB USB HDD (seems like they don't even sell drives with less space than that anymore, what the hell?), I just grabbed an external HDD enclosure from Canada Computers and put in one of our slightly old drives; I think it was Maxtor, around 200 GB, which should be more than enough for a long time with this console. I mean, Super Mario 3D World was only 1702 MB.

    I've always noticed the USB connection with the Wii U itself is a bit finicky, and I'm not sure if I should blame the Wii U or the enclosure for that one, but I'm leaning toward the Wii U. If I so much as push the sync button on the front of the console, it jostles it enough that it will crash to a screen saying the external storage was disconnected. That's only ever happened two times, maybe three, and each time the external storage was just fine when the console booted back up. I've been using it since October 11th without any other issues, only two months.

    After today's Nintendo Direct, I booted up my Wii U for the first time in 8 days to grab that just-announced weird crossover DLC for Sonic Lost World (one of my favourite Wii U games), featuring Yoshi's Island. (That whole Direct was filled with the most random crossovers.) After maybe a minute of saying "Please wait..." over a darkened system menu trying to load stuff from the HDD, my Wii U gave up and showed nothing from it. Subsequent bootups didn't try to load from the HDD in that fashion at all, though there was some disc activity. It doesn't show up as a storage device in system settings anymore either, but the format option is there, so it knows it's connected but doesn't think it's formatted anymore I guess? When returning to the system menu maybe the second time after going into system settings, it threw a dialogue box saying something to the effect of "Only disconnect USB storage devices when the console is powered off." What?? The only fiddling I did with the drive to try and get it to work was to reconnect its power supply, and the console was indeed off when I did that. I'm not as dumb as you think I am, Wii U.

    Anyway, now hundreds of hours of savegames are lost. I'd wager they can still be found on the drive and that existing corruption is minimal (especially considering I have no idea when it could've happened in the first place), but the Wii U lacks any kind of CHKDSK or diagnostics. There's also no option to back-up save data to the internal memory, for some bizarre reason. And while you can delete a game, its DLC, update data, or its save independently of each other, you can't move or copy them independently of each other. Despite my fears of this happening, it was impossible for me to back-up save data without buying yet another USB storage device to be partitioned exclusively for use with the Wii U. While I've heard it's possible to get the Wii U to use only part of the drive with partition fuckery, it's not a reliable option and is never presented to consumers by Nintendo. It's an unfortunate failure of implementation; I love my Wii U to death, but its horrible storage solutions are killing me. Even the Wii had better and simpler save data backup than this; I have half a dozen SD cards sitting around ready and willing to be used.

    I really want to get that save data back; it's literally hundreds of hours of my life. I know it's possible, but whether or not it can be done is another question. I'll probably try calling Nintendo's support line at some point, but I highly doubt they'll offer me any solutions. So, I'm asking the internet. Is it possible to repair this HDD via a PC? Do we know enough about how the Wii U stores data to do this? Is there any chance of Wii U homebrew anytime soon that could help?
     
  2. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    It's not possible for average people because it uses proprietary partition that nobody knows of (and it is encrypted). Only way to recover it on low level is to send it to recovery center which will cost $5K+.

    Also, likely culprit is that enclosure you are using rather than Wii U. Cheap enclosure uses crappy SATA/IDE to USB bridge chip.
     
  3. Quincy

    Quincy Your own personal guitarist :3

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    Your house, robbing your stuff
    Clone the disk to another one. Do note, you cannot extend the 200 gig partition, so you will be stuck with 200 gigs. However, if you succesfully cloned it to another drive you could be able to transfer everything to yet another drive
     
  4. Quincy

    Quincy Your own personal guitarist :3

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    Your house, robbing your stuff
    Clone the disk to another one. Do note, you cannot extend the 200 gig partition, so you will be stuck with 200 gigs. However, if you succesfully cloned it to another drive you could be able to transfer everything to yet another drive


    WOOPS! I did not mean for the triple post to happen :x
     
  5. GameFreakDude
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    GameFreakDude More gorgeous than any Hollywood star!

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    An update on this:

    A few weeks after the Wii U stopped liking my USB HDD, I saved a 1:1 image of the drive on my computer using USBIT. Then I formatted it and started using it for stuff with my homebrew-enabeld Wii instead, Devolution and stuff. But yesterday - I'm not sure what inspired me to do this, if anything - I put that image back onto the drive and plugged it back into my Wii U... and it worked. The Wii U loaded up all the software and data that was on the drive without any complaints at all. I was ecstatic, but I still have no idea why this worked. It doesn't make any sense to me. The Wii U was previously refusing to acknowledge that this drive was even formatted for usage with it and now everything's hunky-dory. So now I moved as much stuff onto the Wii U as I could, deleting demos and stuff, and the rest is currently on an SD card plugged into the Wii U with a USB card reader. Which is a terrible solution, I'm aware, but it's only some less important games until I waste money on a new HDD, and I'm not going to trust the Wii U with this HDD anymore.

    This doesn't excuse Nintendo's lack of save data management solutions on the Wii U, which are probably the worst on any console in existence.
    • Obviously, nothing can be saved on a cartridge like the olden days since the Wii U uses non-writable discs.
    • You can't back up save data onto an SD card like you could with the Wii.
    • You can't back up save data into the cloud with a Nintendo Network ID.
    • You can't easily force save data to always be read and written to the Wii U's memory, since you'd also have to fit all the game data onto the Wii U, because for god knows what reason, you can't move save data and game data independently of each other, despite being able to delete them independently of each other.
    • You can't back up save data onto another USB device without partitioning that device for exclusive usage with the Wii U and copying over all of the software with the save data. Sure, you could make an image of the device, but that option isn't made available to consumers by Nintendo and is still extremely impractical.
    Both the Wii and the 3DS have better SD-based backup solutions than the Wii U. Hell, Nintendo went out of their way to make the option available on the 3DS when nobody was really asking for it. They really need to get their priorities straight. Save data backups are extremely important. Their technical staff should be working on this vital feature, not quick boot with the Gamepad, or non-wearable devices, or DS VC games for the Wii U, or whatever the fuck they're doing these days.
     
    528491 likes this.
  6. xj220_afiles

    xj220_afiles Newbie

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    Hey, i'm trying to do your methods right now since my ''lovely'' wii u seems to have made the same thing... I tried USBIT like you said to make a copy of the partition but usbit does not seems to detect the hard drive ... I see it in the hard drive management of windows however (not recognize by windows off course but its there.) Have you done anything special to detect it ? Are you using Linux ?
    Thank you !
     
  7. 528491

    528491 Member

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    Fantastic work man. This gives me so much hope. I am fiddling with HDClone and ImageUSB for almost a month now with no success whatsoever in creating a 1:1 clone of my problematic usb drive - My WiiU never recognizes the clone. I even try to clone a perfectly good working WiiU usb drive and the problem is still the same. It does not get recognized by the console. Will try USBIT.
     
  8. 528491

    528491 Member

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    I just want to update on USBIT. It worked, however only when I wrote the image on that same usb drive I created image from. It did not work with different usb drive, even though they were both 8GB capacity. I will now try Acronis True Image software, as advised here.