I have a 3TB Seagate Barracuda drive which I use as a data (storage) drive. It's formatted NTFS, and I use the GPT partition scheme so that I can access the single large partition.
I had the drive attached via SATA to USB connector to a computer that went down suddenly a few days ago. When I tried to plug in the drive into a Windows computer, a very weird thing happened. The drive was there, but it wasn't quite recognized. Windows Explorer wouldn't load My Computer, and would just show a magnifying glass over the My Computer icon in the left sidebar.
However, when I entered Disk Management, the drive was shown normally, and had a drive letter assigned to it as well. Nothing abnormal there. While in DM, I was even able to right-click the drive and select "Open" and "Explore" which would open the drive's contents in a new Explorer window. So far, so good.
Here's where it gets really weird.
I opened the drive up in both AOMEI Partition Assistant Home Edition and MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, and wouldn't you know it, the drive is shown with two partitions: one with 700 odd GB, and the rest of the drive as used space. The funny thing is, the space is shown with a negative sign (-) next to it! So for some reason, both programs saw the drive as having an incorrect amount of space, and showed a nonexistent program to boot!
I launched chkdsk on the drive, but after running for several hours, the drive was stuck after step 2, and got nowhere fast.
I looked around online, and I saw other people with similar problems. One suggestion was to resize the existing partition, or create a new one in Disk Management, and Windows will see the drive properly.
Well I decided to go ahead and try it in DM. Problem was, DM wouldn't let me shrink the partition, even though it saw it properly. It reported that the partition didn't have enough space.
This is where I made my big mistake.
I went into AOMEI and decided to resize the bogus partition - the 700GB partition, that is. After I did that, and performed a reboot, a couple of things happened. For starters, the drive no longer appeared in My Computer, as it didn't have a drive letter assigned to it. Second, the original (and correct size) 3TB partition was gone. Disk Management saw only the 700GB resized partition, and nothing else. I tried to assign a drive letter with DM, but it simply gave me an error that "The operation failed because the console needs to be refreshed." When I check the partition in my two programs, they report that the drive is either NTFS, or unallocated, or unformatted.
However, when I use MiniTool, if I use the recover partition tool, and select the existing partition, it does reveal the drive contents, exactly as they were before everything went haywire, down to the last filename and structure. I confirmed this with MiniTool Data Recovery (Trial Version).
What should I do now? Should I try to recover what I can with a data recovery program, and reformat the drive to repair the NTFS file system and partition scheme, which is all screwed up? And will it recognize the drive as a 3TB, and not just a 700GB drive? Are my files recoverable now, since I haven't reformatted anything yet?
It's a mystery to me!