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drive partition missing after re-install of XP Pro

by kensternboston / February 5, 2006 3:30 AM PST

Hi all,

I ( made the mistake of ) taking my system - 1.8GHz P4 - into Best Buy for virus removal after a complete system shut down. It turned out that the problem was a dying disk. I had them install a replacment, but they could not ghost because of the condition of the previous one, so they just installed a basic setup with XP pro.

Problem: The vast majority of my programs and data were on Partitions D:, and E:, both resident on a separate physical drive from the C: which hosted mostly the OS. WHen they installed the new OS, they allowed D: to default to the CD rom. As a result, the machine sees C: and E:, but all of my programs ( & some data ) are on what had been called D:.

How do I ( can I ) recover access to this info? The physical disk is 80G, with former partitions of 20G & 60G. The E: drive still shows 60G, so I have every reason to expect that the info is still present on the invisible partition.

Thanks

- Ken

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Probably just hidden...
by John.Wilkinson / February 5, 2006 4:51 AM PST

The drive letters are not locked, so when they hooked everything back up your optical drive took over D:\ and your old 20GB D:\ was probably pushed back to, say F:\, which is not displaying in Windows Explorer. You could try random drive letters and see if one responds but that can be tedious and still does not solve the issue of it not displaying. Thus, I'd suggest clicking here to download/install Microsoft's TweakUI. Run the utility, expand My Computer, select Drives, and place a check mark in the box next to any drive that is not displaying a red circle with a question mark in it. That will display all drives currently recognized, including your 20GB partition and all the files it contains.

Hope this helps,
John

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Thanks, but ...
by kensternboston / February 5, 2006 8:05 AM PST

John,
Thanks for the suggestion. When I openned up the utility, it had all letters checked, but only A,C, D, & E were without red "?". Nothing else showed up.

Any other thoughts?

- Ken

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RE:
by Cursorcowboy / February 5, 2006 9:16 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks, but ...

If you're telling us that "D" is the CD-ROM and we assume that WinXP was installed on the "C" drive, then tell us what is resident or displays when viewing the content of the "E" partition.

I had them install a replacement, but they could not ghost because of the condition of the previous one, so they just installed a basic setup with XP pro.

Basic? One hard drive un-partitioned with the existing system CD-ROM and a floppy drive? Where does the "E" drive come from since you would only have an A, C, and D in this arrangement with those peripherals?

What happened to or where is the original drive that was C, D and E?

The vast majority of my programs and data were on Partitions D:, and E:, both resident on a separate physical drive from the C: which hosted mostly the OS.

You said "a separate physical drive from C" but I think you mean the original hard drive was partitioned and there was a D and E partition - not separate drives meaning two physical hard drives, the second drive containing two partitions of D and E? Your CD-ROM then was probably F in either case?

The physical disk is 80G, with former partitions of 20G & 60G.

Which drive are you talking about since this description indicates two -- not three drive letters as the old original drive was...supposedly, and indicates to me that Best Buy partitioned the new installed disk with two drive letters, C and D, which the system then sees as C and E based on what you're telling us about the CD-ROM being D? If that is the case, your system isn't reflecting the old hard drive as existing, no?

To view anything on the old hard drive if at all possible, the drive(s) will need proper configuration to operate in the same environment, exist as resident in the system BIOS before Windows boots, and operate together without failure. What procedures are you going to use to determine this?

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let me clarify
by kensternboston / February 5, 2006 10:43 PM PST
In reply to: RE:

Thanks for responding.

There are 2 physical drives. ( Yes, 2 separate pieces of hardware ). The original configuration had the OS and some windows programs on the C drive, with little else. C is alone on one physical drive. It was purposely a small drive. This was a custom built PC.

The other physical drive had 2 partitions: 20G on D drive, 60G on an E drive. The intent was to use D for all of my programs, E for all of my data. ( While this was mostly followed, there was admittedly some sloppiness. )

I don't recall whether B or F was the optical drive in the original configuration.

The C physical drive failed. It was replaced and XP pro was installed. Upon installation, the optical drive was defaulted to = Drive D.

Where did the data on my original D partition go? Under 'My Computer' is listed:
Removable Drives: A & D
Hard Disk Drives: C & E

Before all of this, the list was:
Hard Disk Drives: C & D & E.

I have full ( normal ) access to the E drive and it appears to have all of the files which were present on E before the meltdown. Properties shows E has 60G, which is what it had before.

Best Buy did not partition the new disk, which was used to replace the old disk hosting C.

Regarding your final comment:

To view anything on the old hard drive if at all
possible, the drive(s) will need proper
configuration to operate in the same environment,
exist as resident in the system BIOS before Windows
boots, and operate together without failure. What
procedures are you going to use to determine this?

It sounds like this is exactly the area we should be talking about, but I don't have the answers.

Thanks.

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Fixes I've used.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 5, 2006 11:26 PM PST
In reply to: let me clarify

1. I boot a dos diskette and rewrite the MBR. I have my XP boot CD handy in case I need to rewrite the MBR with it. The command is FDISK /MBR and bootdisks (I make the 98se one) are at bootdisk.com

The reason this works is that on the next boot XP will rescan the drives and add them. It's a Windows annoyance that I won't write much about. It's documented out there on the web but I'll share the fix I use.

2. If that does not get the partitions back, I move to file recovery with PC FILE INSPECTOR, then afer all is recovered I wipe the drive and start over.

In closing, where is the backup system?

Bob

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re: Fixes I've used
by kensternboston / February 6, 2006 2:18 AM PST
In reply to: Fixes I've used.

Bob,

I'll be going to bootdisk.com shortly. First, if you can clarify a bit of what you said:

Can I create an XP boot disk myself? ( the OS was installed at the store - I don't have any copy not on the machine.

What do you mean when you say boot a dos diskett ( set up a diskett to boot up directly in DOS ? If so, can I find howto at bootdisk.com ? )

Do I need to know what the MBR is, or just use the command?

Thanks.

PS, no backup because I'm an (UNPRINTABLE).

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Not what I suggested. And where is your XP CD?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 6, 2006 2:29 AM PST
In reply to: re: Fixes I've used

"Can I create an XP boot disk myself? ( the OS was installed at the store - I don't have any copy not on the machine."

1. I didn't write about a XP boot disk.

2. If you don't have your XP CD, then my advice changes. Here it is.

Ignore anything I've written since without the XP CD, any minor problem will become a major issue.

Once you get your XP CD proper, then we'll talk.

As to the MBR and what it is, you can use google.com to catch up what it is, but in short, it's been the cause of missing drives given your story.

Bob

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