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Windows 7: my partitions disappeared..

16 May 2014   #41

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

I shall only be brief and stick to my guns.

Contrary to what the name suggests, PhotoRec can recover all types of files.In fact from out of a large list of file formats, you can select which format files you want to recover. ( You can use TestDisk also if you are confident you will not do a wrong click and restrain yourself to only copying the files shown in the lost partition. Do not make an attempt to rewrite the partition table.)

And limiting myself to the data recovery aspect, (without going into GPT and MBR and your strange looking partition configuration) I would think your first job should be to recover data in the lost Seagate Internal 2 partition - which you said you have already seen in the Partition Explorer of PW and believe is still present.

Once you have done that backup any other data in your presently working system drive.

Once you have done and made sure you lose nothing, wipe your system drive clean and do a clean install or else a reinstall from an image as you had already done ( that is what I have understood or misunderstood). Greg will be the best person to help you in it with his vast expertise. I would think that would be the best proposition instead of breaking our heads in trying to restore some semblance on your existing system drive configuration.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2014   #42

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thanks for your responses... The motherboard of my 2009 machine does not natively support internal drives >2TB, regardless of the computer having been a Win7 system from the start. I didn't know this particular board had the limitation until after I went to install the drive. Later-generation boards can work with bigger drives, of course.

However, this 2-month-old Seagate drive comes with its own proprietary, non-conventional scheme which must be manually invoked at installation to allow access to its third TB, but only as a separate partition(s). That's how the drive was fully able to work with the older board.

I think the partition recovery process doesn't understand how this 3TB drive is uniquely partition-structured and may be the stumbling block in making the unallocated partition visible again.

Your suggestions on how to now try resolving the issue and subsequently reconfigure the system for future use make sense. I believe there will also be a way found to recover all data from the partition even if there is no way to make the partition visible.

I understand how the various procedures should work and will pursue these options. The links and recovery suggestions are appreciated and valuable, I reviewed each one. I'm very glad to have access to them.

I can easily work with having no internal drive(s) larger than 2TB in this machine, that would be no problem. It may very well be the key to preventing this specific issue from recurring with this particular computer and its motherboard.

I'll advise as to what my next results are.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2014   #43


It should work as GPT data disk anyway.

Call or chat Seagate Support for your free one year support of their proprietary firmware. Ask them to escalate as high as needed and let them know we are watching.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 May 2014   #44

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thanks, I didn't think of asking Seagate with any applicable questions I might have, it's a good idea.

I had thought if the drive was mounted properly as an external one, I could use it for data, formatted with only one partition for the entire drive if I chose. I have a 3TB Seagate external drive I use with this machine without difficulty and it has only one partition (USB2 connection).

Odd, isn't it, at least to me, that a 3TB external drive from the same manufacturer would be fully plug-and-play usable on the same machine and a 3TB internal drive would need special considerations to use its full capacity. I know it probably boils down to how the motherboard behaves, but it's nonsensical. Just sayin'...

"...let them know we are watching"... worth bearing in mind!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2014   #45


I asked John Carrona (Usasma) over at EightForums about this since he knows a lot about partitioning and file recovery. This was his reply:

A couple of suggestions from Captain Jack (MVP Shyam Sasindrian): Convert MBR to GPT Disk without data loss in Windows 8 | 7
I've never tried it myself, so I'd be very, very careful - and would research this capability in the documentation that comes with each program.

Post #21 on page 3 shows the disk with 749 gB unallocated at the end of the drive. This leaves about 2.05 tB in capacity - which is within the size limit of MBR partitioning. Then, there's another 89 gB unallocated area in the middle of the drive - which leaves well under 2.2 tB.

In post #24, the screenshot shows a drive with about 1960 GB - the remainder being lost/deleted. Since they're lost/deleted, they won't apply to the 2.2 tB limit (as they don't exist). Also, I have to wonder if the lost/deleted partitions were also (at one time) a part of the 2.2 tb limit - and if so, did this contribute to problems with the disk when attempting to force it to write to the "over 2.2 tB" area? I have no idea why the software would claim that they lost/deleted partitions were all after the existing partitions - maybe this is a glitch in the software?

I don't think that the 2.2 tB limit has been violated here. I think the attempts to work around it may have screwed things up. I'm concerned about the many ext3 partitions that were lost/deleted - and the repeated manipulations of partitions in the attempts to recover the lost/deleted partitions. (posts 32, 35, and 39).

I've screwed up a partition this way (back in the XP days) and wasn't able to recovery my data. I fear that this may be the same for the OP (I think that the contents of the lost/deleted partitions were overwritten by the contents of the existing partitions). I don't even know if GetDataBack can help recover from this - but it's worth a try as it's free to see what is recoverable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 my partitions disappeared..

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