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Windows 7: HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan

19 May 2016   #1
Pauly

Win7 Ultimate X64
 
 
HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan

Long story short, whilst formatting an SD card in a USB slot my PC BSOD after 30 seconds and would not boot after restart, PC was running Win10ProX64 and the primary drive is a Samsung 840 Pro 250GB SSD.

I have tried recovering machine with the drive in situ as primary but I am unable to run startup repair/system restore/reset pc or any other option from a win10 usb installer, so I gave up on that and installed my working (tested on another machine) Macruim boot USB that also fails to load so I booted to command prompt and had a quick look through diskpart, originally the disk had one partition consuming the entire drive and im assuming it will have had the 450MB partition created by win 10 installer

HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan-diskpart.jpg

At this point I removed the drive and attached to another machine running Win7
Disk management looks like this

HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan-diskmgmt.jpg

Mini tool partition wizard looks like this

HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan-mtpw.jpg

and Get Data Back looks like this

HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan-getdataback.jpg

Have skimmed through folder structures and all looks intact, my original intention was to recover a few files and format but I am now wondering if it is possible to recover the drive as a whole but am not sure of the best way forwards, any advice gratefully received.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 May 2016   #2
JohnPC

Triple Boot - Win 7 x64 Ultimate x2 + WinXP-mce x1
 
 

Hello,
From your last screenshot, it does look like the drive content is fine. Perhaps your UEFI boot loader got corrupted?
Have you tried to look at your UEFI boot options? Though I'm more familiar with EasyBCd for old style Bios / MBR disks, they do support UEFI now.
Also, EasyUEFI seems promising if that were in fact the issue.
I usually use Paragon HDM 15 recovery disks for most boot issues.
Regards,
JohnPC
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #3
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Hi Pauly,

Sorry for the delay. Was busy otherwise and couldn't reply though I had seen your post 10hrs ago.

In all cases like this our first priority is always to recover the data. Then only we try to restore the whole drive, since restoring the whole drive is fraught with many uncertainities. We really do not know why and how this happened to do a precise rebuild. We have to do a long analysis/investigation and work on certain conceptions which if wrong, can make matters worse. From the frying pan to the fire. So I would suggest that you recover the data first. Then we shall attempt to recover the whole drive later. What is your take on it?

1. Please confirm your drive was formatted as an MBR drive and that it only had two partitions one 232GB and the other 450MB at the end of it. ( I have no idea about Windows 10 installation and how the boot drive will look like in WDM after a fresh install. You have to educate me. )

2. Please also confirm you never had a logical drive in it. ( PW shows the 200GB partition as logical. That makes matters a little difficult to undo..)

3. Getdataback shows all your data in tact. So if you want to recover all data first, go ahead with Live Linux pendrive. Prepare your Lucid Puppy Pendrive, boot from it and see whether you can access the data on the faulty drive. You can do it on your Windows 7 machine where it is now.

Lucid Puppy Pendrive using Rufus: Is there any way of saving a completely unrecognisable hard drive?

How to use Lucid Puppy: Go to the topic Recovering files from the non-bootable Internal Drive: in the thread Lucid Puppy way to recover files from a non-bootable computer

In your case, you will try to mount the faulty internal drive and copy the files to another external drive.( Avoid copying to your system drive, even if it has sufficient space for your important files..)

Next step to analyse what could have happened:

Run Partition Wizard quick Scan, and post the screenshot the Partitions found Window. Don't do anything further. Click on the Cancel button in the Window and quit PW.

Let me see if I could make any sense out of it and give further instructions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 May 2016   #4
Pauly

Win7 Ultimate X64
 
 

Hello Jumanji

Thanks for your response, to follow up on your points, I have nothing to lose at this point and would like to attempt a recovery of full disk to avoid full reinstall/setup. I am in no rush for this as machine is up and running with old win7 HDD but would like to see if I can recover win10 as is.

1. Yes the original layout was a 232GB partition followed with a 450MB recovery partition on the end
2. There was/has never been a logical partition on this disk
3. All files are backed up and copied already

Quick scan shows this

HDD Partition structure lost, recovery plan-pw.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #5
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

OK, that reduces a lot of pressure on me .

Looking at the partitions found, I guess that your HDD was earlier formatted with an old formatting tool putting a Volume boot sector(also known as Partition boot sector) at sector 63. Whatever operations you did later on this HDD put the Volume Boot Sector at 2048, as is the current practice. It however did not wipe the previous volume boot sector at 63. I presume that due to some glitch this old volume partition table has been rewriiten into sector 0, obliterating the volume sector 2048 partition table. Now it could be as simple as selecting only the volume starting at Sector 2048 (232 GB- lost/deleted) and the 450 MB volume starting at sector 488392703 (Existing), hitting on Finish and then APPLY to rewrite the correct partition table at Sector 0.

But before you do that, I would like you to save the current sector 0, sector 63, sector 2048 and sector 488392703 using bootice - it is your program - so that we can revert back if this attempt fails and try some other method.. (If you are using 64bit Windows, download the 64bit version of bootice. Also post the screenshots of these sectors.)

Using Bootice by Pauly : Lost partitions!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2016   #6
Pauly

Win7 Ultimate X64
 
 

Had a look through sectors with bootice and only sector 0 & 2 had any data on them followed by a couple hundred blank sectors ?? I saved the ones you requested and then recovered partitions which went smoothly.
Disk will still not boot and no windows recovery options would work so I have saved a couple small files since last backup and reimaged the disk from my latest backup.
Everything back up and running well

Thanks Jumanji for your input, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2016   #7
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Glad that I could be of some help.

I expected that while the partitions could be recovered, it may still not boot, that being a Windows 10 boot HDD. Repairing a Windows 10 boot sector 0, is a little bit trickier, as I understand. Here is a write up on it. [FIX] Windows 10 Master Boot Record Is Corrupted.

Here is where bootice scores. Whether it is a GPT drive, or MBR drive, if one had saved the important sectors with the partition data using bootice, one can easily restore the partition structure by restoring those sectors - including the MBR sector 0.

Even in cases where the system is not bootable as in your case, one can run bootice from a bootable WinPE Pen drive. One can create such a WinPE drive using the AOMEI PE Builder.

"AOMEI PE Builder is a free tool for AOMEI Backupper and AOMEI Partition Assistant, and a freeware to create a bootable environment based on Windows PE (Windows Pre-installation Environment) without installing AIK/WAIK, which integrates a set of tools that enables you to boot up your computer for easy maintenance and fast recovery tasks when the native system is corrupted or cannot be used. Unlike traditional WinPE environment, it brings you a user-friendly graphical interface and a familiar Windows environment, including desktop, Windows explorer, start menu, taskbar, etc. It is easy to use just like using Windows 7. The Windows PE bootable media can be a CD/DVD disc, USB flash drive, or ISO image file, so you can choose the most convenient one according to your preference. "

Create Bootable USB or CD/DVD based on Windows PE with AOMEI PE Builder

It is easy to incorporate some custom tools such as bootice into it. One can boot from the drive, run bootice and restore the sectors with the saved sector files. And yes to do that, one should have saved those partition structure sectors when the drive was going good and preferably to an external HDD or pendrive..

In your case, if you had just saved Sector 0, sector 2048 and sector 488392703 using bootice (each file 512bytes), you could have easily restored the sectors running bootice from the Win PE pendrive and that would have restored the complete sector 0 ( MBR code + Boot configuration data + partition table) instead of just the partition table which we did with Partition Wizard and you would have been back in business with Windows 10 running as if nothing had happened..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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