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Windows 7: Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide

22 Nov 2012   #51

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
......But it also can happen by accident for example if partition table doesn't point to real first sector of partition. Solution is simple. Delete the partition and recover it afterwards......
Lemme check whether I got it right.

When an HDD or pendrive turns RAW ( by accident as in most cases) then the simple solution ( as suggested by you) is:

1. Run MT Partition Wizard and delete the RAW partition.

2. Use the Partition Recovery Wizard in it and recover the partition/data.

Is that correct?
Correct
Noted. Will redirect anyone coming up with an accidental RAW Disk and needing recovery to your suggestion but before that one question though. Have you ever tried this on a RAW drive and recovered the data?

If not, it will indeed be my pleasure to try it, but I do not know how to "manufacture" a RAW drive for such a trial.
When trying out TestDisk, I used TestDisk itself to delete the partition table. The delete partition table command writes zeroes in the bootsector and the whole drive becomes "unallocated". Then I performed the recovery.

To try out your suggestion, I need to "manufacture" a RAW drive. Any suggestions on how I can do that?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Nov 2012   #52

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Finally I did find a way out to "manufacture" a RAW pendrive to be able to check the RAW partition recovery with Partition Wizard. My only concern was that we should be positive about it before we recommend it to any OP.

I was skeptical about it on two counts.

1. The program features itself does not mention anything about recovering from the Windows RAW notified partition, whereas MiniTools Power Data Recovery - free to recover only 1GB of data - does speak about it.

"Damaged Partition Recovery module is the most powerful data recovery module of MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This data recovery module focuses on recovering data from damaged or formatted partitions. For example: A drive displayed as RAW and Windows ask - "Do you want to format this drive?". This problem could be solved by using this data recovery module quickly." http://www.powerdatarecovery.com/

2. Whereas there are hundreds of instances in various forums, where TestDisk has been successfully deployed for RAW partition Recovery and acclaimed by the users, ( you only have to read the user reviews in TestDisk and PhotoRec - CNET Download.com ), I have not come across even a single instance where the Partition Recovery of PW has been attempted on a RAW partition or even recommended.
.

When Kaktussoft mentioned in a previous post to delete the RAW partition wth PW and then use the Partition Recovery Wizard, I started wondering what happens when you delete a RAW partition. Delete naturally means a write operation and will it be prudent to do a write operation on a drive under recovery ? I even threw a question at him " Have you ever tried it on a RAW partition?" (Well, I did get the correct answer to it during this experiment. Partition Wizard does not proclaim it as RAW but only as "unallocated" - - only Windows terms it RAW. So there was no need to "delete the RAW partition". In fact the delete option was greyed out.)


Now if one remembers, when I deleted the partition table in the external HDD in the TestDisk trial - using the same TestDisk, the partition was proclaimed as "Unallocated" by Windows and not "RAW". Now the question for this trial was " How do I "manufacture" a RAW drive?" RAW as per Windows. ( Honestly, I have not come across a RAW partition till date.)

After a lot of stumbling and tumbling, I managed to create a RAW pendrive with HxD Hex Editor. HxD - Freeware Hex Editor and Disk Editor | mh-nexus . (Unfortunately I couldn't get much help on how to use the various features of that program, in spite of a relentless search. Most of the info on the net was related to using it in games, creating cheats etc., but none on the features.)


For now, I will stop here and continue with the actual experiment in the next post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2012   #53

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

NTFS Partition Changes to RAW - Solution | DaniWeb

Note A raw partition is a partition on your hard disk that is not formatted and that does not have a drive letter assigned to it.

Deleting a partition just modifies the MBR by setting 16 bytes to 00h. Master boot record - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Nov 2012   #54

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Yes, I have definitely seen that Daniweb reference and I had bookmarked it in my library as one of a kind..( there are many variables that can make a drive RAW).

As the user has stated it was a last ditch attempt which luckily worked out. ( He had already given up after trying various software and decided to format.) In that situation any partitioning software for that matter would have worked for him.

We can definitely suggest it to an OP who is on the verge of giving up and not as a first remedy. It is just like defibrillating the heart of a dying patient. Sometimes, but not always, it does work and the heart reverts to its normal rhythm. Lucky he.

I am still trying out FAT32 and on a pendrive. I have already found certain inconsistencies. There are certain situations by resorting to which I turned my pendrive RAW, neither TestDisk nor PW could recover the partition/data. Windows said RAW. PW said "other" (filesystem). I could delete it in this case and it only became "unallocated". PW partition Recovery could not find the partition even after a full scan. Neither TestDisk did. I shall now format it and check whether it helps. I have 1.69GB on it.

hmmm... many variables and that makes my experiments harder. Now I am switching over to a 1GB pendrive and try the various options of turning it RAW with HxD. Long drawn trial ahead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2012   #55

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

This is important stuff Jumanji. Keep it up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2012   #56

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
Yes, I have definitely seen that Daniweb reference and I had bookmarked it in my library as one of a kind..( there are many variables that can make a drive RAW).

As the user has stated it was a last ditch attempt which luckily worked out. ( He had already given up after trying various software and decided to format.) In that situation any partitioning software for that matter would have worked for him.

We can definitely suggest it to an OP who is on the verge of giving up and not as a first remedy. It is just like defibrillating the heart of a dying patient. Sometimes, but not always, it does work and the heart reverts to its normal rhythm. Lucky he.

I am still trying out FAT32 and on a pendrive. I have already found certain inconsistencies. There are certain situations by resorting to which I turned my pendrive RAW, neither TestDisk nor PW could recover the partition/data. Windows said RAW. PW said "other" (filesystem). I could delete it in this case and it only became "unallocated". PW partition Recovery could not find the partition even after a full scan. Neither TestDisk did. I shall now format it and check whether it helps. I have 1.69GB on it.

hmmm... many variables and that makes my experiments harder. Now I am switching over to a 1GB pendrive and try the various options of turning it RAW with HxD. Long drawn trial ahead.
As far as I know you can turn it RAW by hacking the start sector in MBR for example.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2012   #57

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
.......As far as I know you can turn it RAW by hacking the start sector in MBR for example.
You are adsolutely right. Wiping the first sector will definitely turn a disk RAW. In the initial experiments I was trying to wipe the first 64 sectors which incidentally seems to destroy the filesystem too.Your reminder came at the right time. I have now decided to go with wiping the first sector alone. The real trial will start now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2012   #58

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
This is important stuff Jumanji. Keep it up.
Yes, it's great work indeed jumanji!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
.......As far as I know you can turn it RAW by hacking the start sector in MBR for example.
You are adsolutely right. Wiping the first sector will definitely turn a disk RAW. In the initial experiments I was trying to wipe the first 64 sectors which incidentally seems to destroy the filesystem too.Your reminder came at the right time. I have now decided to go with wiping the first sector alone. The real trial will start now.
Wiping only the first 63 sectors, rather than 64, might've left the file table intact. Even though you weren't able to recover the volume, I would think there was a good chance to recover most of the file data using Testdisk or Photorec. Did you, by any chance, try that?

Here's a good site by The Starman. Tons of info about data storage structures. I think it might be the same "Starman" (Daniel B. Sedory) who worked extensively with Christophe Grenier on Testdisk/Photorec for a number of years.

The Starman's Realm

Really appreciate the testing you're doing!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2012   #59

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Thanks to you and Kado for the encouragement. I am still halfway through the experiment and shall roll it out tomorrow, insah Allah.

Yep, 64 instead of 63 was a slip on my part which I realised when on the Imation 1GB pendrive TestDisk reported finally "can't open file system. File system seems damaged". More on this later and what a surprise.

Yes, Good idea. PhotoRec might have recovered the files, since it does not depend on the file system. It didn't occur to me then but worth trying. Shall do it later.

I have seen the reference you had given the Starman, when I was searching for s suitable software to turn a drve RAW but did not read through. I have now bookmarked it. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Nov 2012   #60

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Since the focus now is on Partition Wizard, I have since posted my exploratory trials in a new thread here: Recover a flash drive turned RAW Partition Wizard and TestDisk. .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide




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