Ok, last night I tried to install a little flash menu maker my buddy sent me (turns out he hadn't installed it yet so I was the guinea pig). I virus scanned it first with Kaspersky (up to date) then ran it.
All I can say is... wow. Never seen anything like it. I don't know if this was a virus or just a REALLY bad glitch, but in the space of a second, my screen went black. No warnings, no blue screen, just black. Then the computer rebooted, or tried to. It couldn't find a boot device at all.
I tried running a repair install of XP pro, but just got errors. I created a new partition on my internal drive and installed XP there, hoping to at least save some data before the reformat, but when Windows booted all that existed in "My Computer" was the one 5 gig partition.
So... bummer, but not too big of a deal as all my data was backed up on an external USB hard drive. So, I do a thorough reformat of my internal drive and freshly install XP pro. I install my up-to-date motherboard drivers. I update Windows. Then, I flip on my external drive. I get all the standard messages down by the system tray: "Found new hardware", "installing new hardware", "USB mass storage device", "disk drive", and finally "windows has successfully installed your new device." So I'm happy.
And then I open "My Computer"... and there's no external drive. I reboot, refresh, power cycle the external etc., and still nothing for it in "My Computer." I check the Device Manager, and it IS listed there. Device Manager says it's functioning normally. Device Manager even lists its serial number.
SO... the computer sees this drive, but doesn't display it in My Computer as a drive. Does anyone have any ideas? Any thoughts on what my chances are of recovering data from this drive? It WAS turned on when I ran the program that caused the problem with my C: drive... did I lose the external too? That would mean all my primary storage and my backup are gone. I'm kinda desperate..
Thanks very much for any help!!