I have a NTFS formatted hard drive whose partition table suddenly went AWOL. I removed the drive from the PC, attached it to a SATA-to-USB adapter and connected the drive to another PC. My intention was to use a recovery tool to either rebuild the partition table or recover all the files and transfer them to another PC.
The problem is that when I attached the drive to another Windows machine, Windows did not recognize it and wanted to initialize it. Then, when attempting to initialize the drive (all initialization does is write a few bytes worth of a signature to the MBR) I received the error “Virtual Disk Manager: The device is not ready.”
I know you’re not going to like how simple this is, but try it anyway. Move your disk to another controller of some kind. In my case the disk was being used on a SATA-to-USB adapter. Once I switched it to a direct SATA interface, the drive was able to work. I had to use the internal SATA ports on a separate computer.
While it was connected via USB I even attempted to inspect the disk with Western Digital drive tools as well as diskpart, but it was simply not visible beyond being seen as some kind of USB attached storage device that could not be initialized. There are other reasons for this error to be seen, but one of the simpler fixes is to try the drive on a different interface of some kind.