Digital Deception: When Hard Drives Play Hide and Seek


I own a WD 1TB external hard drive that I’ve had since at least 2016, which serves as a repository for files I seldom access. My primary external hard drive is a Seagate 4TB, acquired last year, where I store files I frequently use.

Recently, I intended to move some files to the WD drive and discovered that my ‘Old Games’ folder, along with its contents, was missing. However, all other folders and their contents were unaffected. A TreeSize scan confirmed this, and system checks reported no issues.

Both drives accompanied me on a holiday trip, and I’ve used them since, though not the WD in the past month. The ‘Old Games’ folder had been updated over four years, making corrupted sectors an unlikely cause.

The loss of approximately 30GB of games and related data is not a major concern for me, but I am worried about the ‘Uni’ folder on the WD drive, which contains hard-to-find books and papers. Would it be prudent to transfer this folder to the newer Seagate drive as a precaution?

Alternatively, is it possible that I erased an entire folder from the drive without remembering? If so, I’m not sure how to rectify such an error.

To update, it turns out I was mistaken; I have another 4-year-old hard drive where the ‘missing’ folder was located all along. It seems I was confused because Windows assigns the same drive letter ‘E:’ to both the 8-year-old and 4-year-old drives when only one is connected.”


When it comes to managing data across multiple external hard drives, it’s not uncommon to encounter confusion or issues with data visibility. In the scenario presented, a user has experienced the sudden disappearance of a folder named ‘Old Games’ from their WD 1TB external hard drive, which has been in use since at least 2016. This drive is primarily used for long-term storage of infrequently accessed files, while a Seagate 4TB external hard drive, purchased more recently, is used for actively accessed files.

Upon noticing the missing folder, the user conducted a TreeSize scan and system checks, which indicated no anomalies, suggesting that the drive was functioning normally. The absence of the ‘Old Games’ folder, which had been updated over a period of four years, seemed peculiar, especially since corrupted sectors were deemed an unlikely cause.

The user’s primary concern shifted to the ‘Uni’ folder on the WD drive, which contains valuable academic materials. Given the mysterious disappearance of the ‘Old Games’ folder, the user pondered whether transferring the ‘Uni’ folder to the newer Seagate drive would be a wise precautionary measure.

In such cases, it is indeed prudent to back up important data to another drive or cloud storage to prevent potential loss. However, the user later discovered that the ‘missing’ folder was actually on a different hard drive, a ‘middle child’ 4-year-old drive, which had been overlooked. This revelation highlighted a common issue with Windows assigning the same drive letter to different drives when connected individually, leading to confusion.

  • Regular Backups:

    Always maintain regular backups of important data, preferably in multiple locations, including cloud storage.

  • Drive Letter Management:

    Be vigilant about drive letter assignments in Windows to avoid confusion between multiple drives.

  • Data Management:

    Organize and label your data clearly, and periodically verify the contents of your drives.

  • System Checks:

    Utilize disk management tools to monitor the health of your drives and identify potential issues early.

  • In conclusion, while the initial concern was a potential drive failure, the situation turned out to be a simple case of user oversight. This serves as a reminder of the importance of careful data management and the benefits of maintaining organized and redundant backups to safeguard valuable information.

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