I have a 6 TB external NTFS drive which suddenly appears unformatted.
I imagine that the Master File Table got messed up. Is there any gratis tool which will repair it in-place? Windows or Linux
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System Rescue CD is a live ISO that you can burn onto a CD or a USB drive and then attempt repair of your drive.
It is free, gratis & consists of Open Source tools. The kernel supports all important file systems (ext2/ext3/ext4, reiserfs, btrfs, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs), as well as network filesystems (samba and nfs)
When I had a similar issue last time, someone recommended TestDisk which helped. I wanted to close as a duplicate, but probably it was on a different site, so I give it as an answer.
The usability is not ideal for Windows users, but if you have some knowledge about file systems and data recovery, you'll get it working. The Step by step guide is helpful. In my case I was able to fix the HDD directly from the running Windows where the disk got broken - no need to boot a Linux Live CD or something.