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Windows 7: Another diskpart clean tale of woe

07 Jul 2016   #1
CurlyBen

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 
Another diskpart clean tale of woe

Hi guys,

Apologies for making my first post a plea for help, but I'm running out of ideas!

Brief background - I have an Intel NUC (i5/Win 10 Pro x64) running as a server while I’m living overseas, with 3 (WD Passport) external hard drives attached. I have no reason to suspect any hardware issues with any of the drives. One or more of these drives interfere with the boot sequence, and I assumed that was because there was a boot sector but no OS. I turned to google for advice and followed instructions without really understanding what they were doing which turned out to be a mistake…
(Quick edit: the NUC runs headless, using Remote Desktop from my Macbook when I need to access it)

- I ran the diskpart clean (not clean all) command on all three drives and rebooted, and found 3 unformatted drives waiting for me in Windows

- I think I inadvertently created GPT partition tables at this point, when I opened up the Windows Disk Management page and dismissed a pop up without reading it. I ran diskpart clean again to get rid of that partition table after some reading around suggested I probably wasn’t going to do any more damage. No partitions were created.

- I’ve run more or less every bit of partition recovery software I can find. I recovered one drive more or less at the first attempt, which was a single NTFS partition

- The other two drives are much more problematic, I think because they weren’t NTFS partitions (I have a Mac which doesn’t play nicely with NTFS). My 1tb drive had a single 931gb ExFAT partition on it, and my 500gb had a 200gb HFS (or more likely HFS+) partition and a further 240gb ExFAT partition. I don’t know whether either drive was using MBR or GPT

- Amongst others I’ve tried EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Eassos Partition Guru, Find and Mount, MiniTool Partition Wizard and a few others and none have found the ExFAT partitions. They have found lots of others, mostly sub <100mb with labels like EFIBOOT, and a couple of <100gb partitions I don’t remember ever creating. I haven't gone any further than scanning for partitions with any of these tools so they should(!) not have alterered anything on the disk.

- I’ve tried Testdisk and it doesn’t find anything useful either. I don’t know which partition table type I should be trying, but I’ve tried Intel and EFI GPT on the 1TB drive and neither have found the ExFAT partition. (When I ran the EFI GPT scan it hung at about 77% on the deeper scan - but as it had been running for close to 5 days by that point and wasn’t showing anything promising I didn’t restart it). Testdisk has been running under Windows 10, but I could boot to Linux if it will make any difference

- The most crucial files (all the photos I’ve taken in my last 2 years living in the US) were backed up… from the 1tb drive to the 500gb drive. I’ll be devastated if I’ve lost them!

- I guess I have two questions really: 1) is there anything different I should try to restore the partitions, or are they likely to be too far gone? and 2) assuming partition recovery is unlikely, how can I go about recovering files, given there’s no partition there at the moment? I have a new 2tb hard drive on the way and my intention is to clone the drives before trying any data recovery.

Any advice very gratefully received… I’ve been trying to fix this for over a week now. I've read lots of other threads tackling similar problems but none seem to tackle non-NTFS partitions. If I could go back in time and break my fingers before I typed ‘diskpart’ I would!!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Jul 2016   #2
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

Hello and welcome Ben mate if the data is your main concern then try this little ditty of mine to recover it - well most of it because it will not deal with some types of files pics and docs are usually good.
BOOTABLE UBUNTU
Make a bootable Ubuntu disk Get Ubuntu | Download | Ubuntu
Set the BIOS to boot from the optical when the machine boots it will show you a screen with TRY or INSTALL > select TRY not INSTALL
When it is finished - it takes very little time you will get a screen like in the pic .
Open the drive you want > User and dig down until you get to the data / settings you may be able to copy / paste the material you want to an external source or other installed drive doing this.
I am not sure if it will but I have recovered tons of data etc using this method both on "dead" or just plain drives that you cannot get data from using Windows.
There is an alternative one too that doesn't use Windows as does not Ubuntu Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS but I find the Ubuntu run a little easier. The choice is yours of course - that is enough to get a start on this issue anyway.

Edit Just as an afterthought it may be worth running one of those undelete softwares as clean only makes the disk overwritable and not completely nuked


Attached Thumbnails
Another diskpart clean tale of woe-ubuntu-screen-x2.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2016   #3
CurlyBen

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Thanks ICIT2LOL, but Ubuntu still sees the drive as unpartitioned free space with no files on it. I don't think any OS is going to let me see files without recovering the partition or using specific data recovery software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Jul 2016   #4
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2016   #5
CurlyBen

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Hmm. Not having a great deal of luck with file recovery software so far - it's picking up files from the RAW partition, but losing the folder structure (unsurprising) and the file name. Whilst it's better than losing the files completely, losing the file names is a big issue - not least because I have 20,000 photos and if the names change then I effectively lose every edit I've made in Lightroom. It seems that part of the issue is that programs like Recuva work with a damaged/modified partition table, but diskpart clean appears to have written 00 to blocks 01 to 2049 of the drives and nuked any remnants of the partition table.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2016   #6
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

Yes well the clean is just meant to leave the disk to be overwritten the clean all fries everything. I don't really know what else to suggest.
Might ask for some help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2016   #7
Anak

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1
 
 

Hi CurlyBen, welcome to 7F!

I don't have much experience with data recovery, but I found a few threads that may have tools that can help you.
  • This one thread uses Partitionwizard post #4 and an illustrated guide for Test Disk post #9 I believe it goes without saying you shouldn't use the disk(s) you used the clean CMD on because you will lose more. From reading this thread it sounds like you will lose certain sectors no matter what: post #19.

Related:

This link is a sevenforums search for: recover files after using diskpart clean You can also research at the bottom of each page in a section called "Similar Threads".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2016   #8
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit
 
 

Did you not research that command before using it? A simple google search turned up this. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...=ws.10%29.aspx Without partitions the sectors are marked as "free" and can be overwritten. If you tried to recreate a partition that might have further damaged the data. Also the new partition has no way to know that files are there. There are all kinds of free and paid recovery software but none of them are guaranteed to work and likely won't be able to work once the data is overwritten. If those pictures are that important to you you might consider paid software over free or hiring a data recovery company but again you might not ever be able to get the data back. Sorry but I don't have anything else to offer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2016   #9
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

Quote:
If those pictures are that important to you you might consider paid software over free or hiring a data recovery company but again you might not ever be able to get the data back. Sorry but I don't have anything else to offer.
Yes amte that has been tried and even the Ubuntu boot I suggested which usually will pick up lost stuff even off of dead drives. Personally I think the drive is gone or at least the data has
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2016   #10
CurlyBen

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Thanks all for the input, I appreciate it. I've had a ray of hope using DMDE, which is the first piece of software to identify ExFAT partitions on either drive. I've managed to recover some photos using it, though a number are damaged. I've just paid for the licence (which is $20 for a year, which makes it a relatively cheap option) and set it to work on the rest of the drive. I'll update later when I know how much data has been recovered, and whether it's worth spending any more time chasing the remaining data or whether just to wave goodbye to it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by townsbg View Post
Did you not research that command before using it? A simple google search turned up this. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...=ws.10%29.aspx Without partitions the sectors are marked as "free" and can be overwritten. If you tried to recreate a partition that might have further damaged the data. Also the new partition has no way to know that files are there. There are all kinds of free and paid recovery software but none of them are guaranteed to work and likely won't be able to work once the data is overwritten. If those pictures are that important to you you might consider paid software over free or hiring a data recovery company but again you might not ever be able to get the data back. Sorry but I don't have anything else to offer.
I used it after finding a forum post on how to remove the boot flag from a USB drive. Unfortunately said post didn't mention that it removed the partitions as well... as soon as I looked for the drives I knew what it had done, I didn't need to google!

My understanding is a little different from what you've described - diskpart clean obliterates the partition table, but without that table the OS doesn't know where to write (or read) data which is why the files appear lost. That gives me a little more hope that the data is recoverable, as it's still all there - it's just the 'map' which tells the OS where to find it that's missing. The problem is that 'map' is crucial and most file recovery software works with that map - so when it's gone they're stuck. DMDE allows you to view the raw data on the drive, and it's pretty clear that diskpart has written 0 to every byte in sectors 1-2049, i.e. the first 2mb of the drive. I've never been so desperate for 2mb of data before!

I also think a large part of the problem is that they're not NTFS partitions. My 2tb drive was NTFS formatted and I was able to recover the partition there at pretty much the first attempt. Unfortunately that was mostly easily replaceable as it was my film collection!
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 Another diskpart clean tale of woe




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