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Hard drive partitions have disappeared

by doniel / July 26, 2008 5:04 PM PDT

I've had 2 hard drives - the primary being IDE and the secondary SATA - with WinXP Pro installed on each of them, for a long time. At boot, a menu comes up asking which Windows I want to boot into.

Last week, Windows suddenly locked up, and when I tried to reboot, it asked for a system disk. A check of the BIOS revealed that the IDE drive wasn't being recognized. I don't know what the problem was, but I got the computer to recognize it again, and it's working fine.

What puzzled me was why it didn't automatically boot into Windows on the SATA drive. That was cleared up when I found that there was no active partition on that drive. I made the first partition (which contains Windows) active, but now, when I boot into Windows on the IDE drive, the remaining 2 partitions on the SATA drive aren't showing.

Any suggestions and help would be most appreciated.

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"The 2 partitions aren't showing".
by Kees Bakker / July 26, 2008 9:24 PM PDT

Let's get the picture clear:
1. Are they showing in Disc Management, after booting from the IDE-drive?
2. Are they showing in My Computer, after booting from the IDE-drive?
3. Are they showing in Disc Management, after booting from the SATA-drive?
4. Are they showing in My Computer, after booting from the SATA-drive?

Kees

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Tools for recovery.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2008 11:42 PM PDT

Try the demos of ZERO ASSUMPTION RECOVERY and GETDATABACK.

Also consider if you need to upgrade your backup system since your plea is not unique, happens to a lot of people.
Bob

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Solved!
by doniel / July 27, 2008 12:31 AM PDT

Bob, the issue wasn't data. I have nothing critical on either partition. I simply wanted access to the remaining 120GB of my hard drive. Nevertheless, thank you.

Kees, your question forced me to dig deeper and led to the solution. I'm most grateful. Disk Management showed the missing partitions (Windows Explorer did not), but as Unknown. I went back to Partition Magic and discovered that when I set the first partition to Active, PM set the other 2 to Hidden, without bothering to inform me. They're now unhidden.

Disk Management alerted me to another issue. It showed the first partition as Active, whereas it showed the first partition of my IDE drive as Boot. In other words, I still haven't solved my original problem. I'll have to work on that and figure out how to set the SATA drive's first partition to Boot.

Thank you both for taking the time to reply.

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(NT) Glad we could help. Thanks for posting back.
by Kees Bakker / July 27, 2008 12:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Solved!
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Original problem still not solved
by doniel / July 28, 2008 10:31 PM PDT

When I boot into Windows on the SATA drive, Disk Management shows the first partition as Boot. But when I boot into Windows on the IDE drive, Disk Management shows the first partition on the SATA drive as System.

I wanted to simulate a situation where I don't have access to the IDE drive, so I disconnected it. When I turned the computer back on, Invalid System Disk was displayed. In other words, even though the SATA drive was the only drive connected, and Windows is installed on its first partition, it's not bootable.

I'll be grateful for your advice and help.

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Windows is not going to be nice here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 28, 2008 10:33 PM PDT

What you need to do is setup the hardware, then Windows. Changing the hard disks, connections after Windows is installed is known to fail.

While I've been able to recover some with a XP REPAIR INSTALL (see google) the owner is often left to reinstall all applications.
Bob

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I DID install Windows first
by doniel / July 29, 2008 9:26 AM PDT

Let's ignore the IDE drive, since we're addressing a situation where it wouldn't be accessible. That leaves the SATA drive. Obviously, it HAD to be installed in order for me to install Windows on it!

My only hesitation is the following: Apparently (I don't remember this), when installing Windows, you're supposed to press F6 to install the SATA drivers. At the time, I didn't know that, and it wasn't necessary in order for me to install Windows on the SATA drive, since I was installing it after booting into Windows on the IDE drive, where I HAD installed the SATA drivers. I've now booted into Windows on the SATA drive and installed the SATA drivers, but that didn't help. So I'm wondering if my only recourse is to reinstall Windows on the SATA drive this time pressing F6 and installing the SATA drivers at the outset.

Or is there an easier solution?

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"when installing Windows, you're supposed to press F6 to
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 29, 2008 10:31 AM PDT

"when installing Windows, you're supposed to press F6 to install the SATA drivers. At the time, I didn't know that, and it wasn't necessary in order for me to install Windows on the SATA drive, since I was installing it after booting into Windows on the IDE drive, where I HAD installed the SATA drivers. I've now booted into Windows on the SATA drive and installed the SATA drivers, but that didn't help. So I'm wondering if my only recourse is to reinstall Windows on the SATA drive this time pressing F6 and installing the SATA drivers at the outset."

That's only needed if your BIOS is in some AHCI or such "mode." Today's BIOS will emulate IDE but the moment (some boards, not all) you plug in an IDE drive the IDE channels take precedence and your SATA drive vanishes. Sadly this only makes sense after the first hundred Windows installs on the new machines.

There is no standard here so there is no cut and dried answer. However I have found the best thing to do is to connect the drives as you want them, install Windows (using f6 if required) and then never change the setup.
Bob

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Thanks, Bob
by doniel / July 30, 2008 2:59 AM PDT

Sounds like I have no choice but to reinstall.

I appreciate your giving me so much of your time and expertise.

All the best.

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One more thing...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 30, 2008 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, Bob

If we want to dive deeper, the make and model of the machine or it's mainboard (for home builds) can clear up the iffyness about IDE emulation. I'm sorry I can't be a little more clear here but I'm running into too much variation in this area.
Bob

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Motherboard
by doniel / July 30, 2008 5:47 AM PDT
In reply to: One more thing...

Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe

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Notice page 4-17 of
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 30, 2008 11:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Motherboard

This manual? http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/socketAM2/M2N32-SLI%20Deluxe/e2697_m2n32-sli_dlx.zip

There is an AUTO default on the IDE emulation of each SATA channel. This means that a SATA boot drive many fall back to just SATA if you add an IDE drive. XP has been known to mark other than bootable drives as "not active" so there it is. I'd look at this setting and consider setting it to IDE if it offers such. Sadly the manual didn't detail this well enough but it is the usual area I often have to change.

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SATA setting
by doniel / July 31, 2008 8:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Notice page 4-17 of

Actually, the manual is very clear. It states that the possible setings are AUTO and NONE.

Thanks again!

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I've seen this manual and boards from this maker.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 31, 2008 10:03 AM PDT
In reply to: SATA setting

When I tried it I found 3 settings but the manual didn't. Glad you know your board that well.
Bob

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But this time
by doniel / July 31, 2008 11:03 PM PDT

the manual is correct.

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The takeaway here is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 31, 2008 11:21 PM PDT
In reply to: But this time

That in that auto mode, Windows and what happens as the mode changes can be upsetting.

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Agreed, Bob
by doniel / August 1, 2008 1:20 AM PDT

Again, thank you for all your time. It's truly appreciated.

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