Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

400GB partition has disappeared


  • Please log in to reply

#1
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
OK, so I wanted to use my recovery DVD to install Windows on a different hard drive from the one Windows was installed on already. The 2nd hard drive was a 400GB HDD with one logical partition with about 200GB used.

So I restart and boot from the disk, and it starts system recovery. But it doesn't ask me anything, there are no menus like there should be, it just starts copying files, which got me a bit worried, so I hit the restart button - I didn't want a destructive system recovery to wipe my 200GB of files!

So Windows loads on my original HDD, but my 2nd HDD now has one partition of 4GB with around 2.5GB used (recovery files), and 376GB or unallocated space. Where did my other partition go?

In Norton Partition Magic, the 376 unallocated GB says "Used MB - 0" and "Unused MB - 0" and is PRIMARY. My only options are to Create (which I definitely don't want to do), and Undelete - which gives me an "Access Violation" about half way through searching for recoverable partitions, every time I try it. I have looked on Google for the error code, but there is nothing immediately useful, and I don't have the patience to solve that problem as well.

So, can anyone explain why my logical partition has disappeared? I am supposing/hoping that my files have not been deleted, just that the partition is "hidden" or something! And can anyone recommend some software which can recover/unhide my partition intact?

Many thanks

Tom
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
Anyone? The recovery partition on the disk is at the START of the HDD - how can it be there unless all my 200GB of files have been moved towards the end of the drive? There have been no major loading times during any of this. Anyway, so I managed to get Partition Magic working, and it says there are no recoverable partitions!!! What could I try? Deleting the recovery partition? Creating a new partition in the unallocated space? Or would that overwrite the original (disappeared) partition? Anything at all?
Thanks
  • 0

#3
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
I thought that maybe letting the recovery disk do its stuff might let me access the original partition again, so I let it do the whole process this time. Disaster - now I have a partition using all my HDD capacity with a new Windows installation on it and that's it - about 360GB of free space. So what do I do now to get all my files back? 200GB is a lot of stuff to just disappear without any formatting. Please can someone give me some suggestions, even information about partitioning might be useful.

Thanks
  • 0

#4
wannabe1

wannabe1

    Tech Staff

  • Technician
  • 16,645 posts
Hi tomdrayson...

When a machine is started using the recovery cd, some manufacturers have it set up to immediately delete all active partitions, mark all data clusters as "available", install a recovery partition, and install the OS to default configuration. This would mean the logical partition was deleted as soon as you started the recovery procedure. You now have what is known as "Out of the box" configuration...just as when it shipped from the factory.

That being said, there is probably some recoverable data on the drive, but to actually get it off the drive in a usable form would be iffy at best...unless you know someone who is very good at computer forensics. Recovery of the data, as your situation now stands, will probably require a professional service and they will only be able to recover what has not been overwritten. This can be a very "spendy" proposition.

There are applications available that may help you, unfortunately, I know of know free or trial versions that will accomplish a recovery in your circumstance. RTT might be worth a try.

wannabe1
  • 0

#5
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
Usually, the recovery CD asks whether I want to perform a destructive recovery, where the disk is formatted first, or a non-destructive recovery, where all my old files are moved into a new folder, and then Windows is installed in the root. For some reason it didn't give me any options this time.
I thought it took time to delete all the files on a drive, or format it, but when the recovery disk first started copying files, I restarted it after about 5 seconds. Even thought the data clusters have been marked "available" and the partition deleted, surely the data is still there, or most of it! I thought it was actually quite difficult to securely erase your data, and what about all the programs out there that claim to be able to recover data from formatted partitions?

Thanks

Edited by tomdrayson, 29 May 2006 - 05:35 AM.

  • 0

#6
wannabe1

wannabe1

    Tech Staff

  • Technician
  • 16,645 posts
If the recovery cd finds an operating system installed on the drive, it will give you an options menu to let you choose your actions. If no operating system is found, it assumes you are installing a replacement drive and prepares it for a fresh install. Once the "file copy" process starts, the partition has already been removed...it only takes recovery disks a second to do this.

There are a lot of applications that claim to recover data from deleted partitions and formatted drives. Google "data recovery" and try a few of the applications that show up. I like RTT because the few times I have used it, it has been pretty effective.
  • 0

#7
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
Thanks for your help Wannabe, RTT is finding "specific file documents" (pink blocks) across pretty much the whole drive, along with green NTFS folder entries. It's about 75% through the search process. That's got to be good right? Considering everything apart from the Windows installation is free space at the moment.
Thanks again
  • 0

#8
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
OK well RTT finished, and it found quite a lot of stuff, but there was no directory structure at all, and all the files and folders had just numbers instead of their proper names. So it's possible for the data to be recovered, but having no file names is a complete waste of time, especially for 200GB of data. Do you think there is any software which can recover the file names as well?
Thanks
  • 0

#9
wannabe1

wannabe1

    Tech Staff

  • Technician
  • 16,645 posts
As I stated in my initial reply:

there is probably some recoverable data on the drive, but to actually get it off the drive in a usable form would be iffy at best...

This is why maintaining current backups on separate media is so important.

I fear that the data has been lost for all practical purposes. Data Recovery specialists may be able to recover some of it, but you will be running into quite an expense to have them looking through 200 gigs for data that can be reassembled.

Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance... :whistling:
  • 0

#10
tomdrayson

tomdrayson

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 198 posts
Right, I think it's gradually sinking in......I have lost 200GB of files..... oh my god. I can't believe that 5 seconds of a recovery disk procedure could do so much damage. Let this be a warning to anyone else out there!!!! Recovery disks are dangerous! Thanks for your help Wannabe1.

Edited by tomdrayson, 30 May 2006 - 07:33 AM.

  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP