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HD file system disappeared?

Discussion in 'Software' started by dlb, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    I have a 300gb IDE Maxtor hard drive that had XP Pro and a bunch of data on it. XP got corrupted and wouldn't boot with a "Windows could not start because the file is missing or corrupt..." error. The file was pci.sys. I tried to re-install just that file but I got a "access denied" when in recover console. If I tried to browse to that directory, it said "invalid directory" or something similar. So I went to do a repair install, but I didn't know it was an SP1 disc that the PC's owner gave me, so it started the install but changed the drive to a 128gb partition (unbeknownst to me), and then the install crashed due to a bad motherboard (which probably caused the first problems). So, to make sure the data was still intact, I booted to a UBCD4Win and quickly explored the drive and all was well. I ran some RAM diagnostics and some other things, then shut it down. This was Saturday. So today I installed a new mobo, and went to do a repair install, and suddenly the hard drive is being reported as unformatted or unrecognized. WTF?!?!? So I attached an old 10gb I had laying around, installed XP to it, slaved the 300gb, and sure enough, it is now unformatted. So I'm currently running a data recovery program to save the data. What the heck happened?!?!? Could it be that the bad motherboard has jammed up the file system so that it will only read correctly on that mobo? The data is there, the recovery program is gettng it, but it will take hours. Any ideas????
  2. Clark_Kent

    Clark_Kent MajorGeek

    I think since the mobo was going bad, the format was bad since you could not read with the new mobo BUT you are lucky the data is still there but it will take hours to recover
    it's only time so at the end you will be okay.

    I recover a lot of data with knoppix live CD 5.1

    What program do you use to recover the data ?
  3. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    It depends on the situation.... if the drive still has the file system intact, but Windows isn't booting, I'll plug in a USB external drive and boot to the UBCD4Win and use Unstoppable Copier or one of the included explorers to just copy-n-pase the data to the external. In this case, the file system was hosed so I had to use something with an option to recovery data from a raw drive with no structure; I usually use Easy Recovery Pro, and if that fails for whatever reason, I have a couple of others I'll try (inlcuding the free but effective PCInspector). I installed Windows to a HD I had laying around, and then installed Easy Recovery to it....
    I guess I'll just wait for the recovery. I was hoping I could simply 're-activate' the file system. In Disk Management, if I right click on the bold print where it says Disk 1 I'm given the option to 'convert to dynamic disk' but I didn't want to mess with it until the data was backed up, mainly because I don't know what converting to a dynamic disk would do....
  4. Clark_Kent

    Clark_Kent MajorGeek

  5. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    As it turns out, the 300gb Maxtor was also formatted FAT32 (not NTFS) which really kind of messed things up also I think. Who the heck formats a new drive as FAT32?!?!? (He bought the drive new in January). Whatever. So I ran Easu Recovery Pro on it for about 18 hours to recover 76gb of data. The only thing is the file structure was hosed, so I have 76gb worth of files, grouped into folders by extension; in other words, I have a folder called "DIR01-DOC" and it's full of .doc files; "DIR23-PPT" is full of PowerPoint files; and the filenames are hosed too, so each .doc document is named "fil001.doc" and "fil002.doc" and so on. This sucks. So I ran a 2nd scan and specified a file system (FAT32) and hopefully this time it will keep the files structures. I also found this in the Drive Utilities section here at MG: http://www.majorgeeks.com/Partition_Find_&_Mount_d5740.html Can I use it to rebuild the FAT32 file structure on the drive? If not, is there something else I can use to 'activate' or to 'restore' the FAT32 partition without losing the data so the directory structure comes back? The drive doesn't necessarily need to boot, I can reload the OS if needed, but I cannot format the drive.
    Any help or ideas will be appreciated!
  6. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    I'm not sure if anyone cares, or if anyone has been reading any of this, but so what.... the second scan with Easy Recovery Pro using the FAT32 setting did recovery the data with the file structures more or less intact, with file names and what not. I saved it all in a folder on an external USB drive. When I open this folder it looks exactly like I was browsing drive C: (there's a Windows directory, Documents and Settings, Program Files, etc). Is there a way I can transfer this back to the 300gb drive so that it will boot? Or a way to 'activate' the former FAT32 partition?
  7. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    I got all the data back to the 300gb but couldn't get it to boot no matter what. I tried a FIXBOOT, and a FIXMBR. I tried just about every utility I could find that did partition work and none of 'em would work. I'd get HAL.DLL is missing or corrupt, then I'd get pci.sys missing or corrupt, chkdsk /r didn't help. So I went for the repair install of XP Pro and it did exactly what I thought it would: the file structures being wiped out prevented the OS from 'picking up' the software that was already installed, so I have a Program Files folder full of Programs that don't run. All the docs are intact, and reloading Office took care of all the word and excel stuff. It's just going to be a long and tedious job to re-install all the software that is still here but doesn't work. So, I guess I'm done.... too bad I couldn't resurrect the file system.

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