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


06 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 
Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide

PART 1:

More often, users report that a hard drive/partition is lost/not recognised and does not show up in My Computer though it can be seen in the Device Manager and Disk Management.

This situation typically arises when Windows is reinstalled or an external drive is moved to another PC.

It is mostly a corrupt/missing partition table which is responsible for this and can easily be fixed with the freeware Test Disk.

Newbies will find this illustrated guide helpful.

1.Download the latest version of Test Disk – Windows version from http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download

2.Unzip the downloaded file to your C drive.

3.Open C:/testdisk-6.12 , right-click the testdisk_win.exe icon and Run as administrator. Click on Yes in the User Account Control Window. Use Keyboard’s arrow keys to navigate.

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4.First Window: Select No Log, and press the ENTER key.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-1st-window.jpg

5.Second Window: Should show up all your drives including the lost drive. The capacities should be indicated correctly. Then you have life. Select the lost drive, Proceed, ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-2nd-window.jpg

6.Third Window: Select partition type, Intel Intel/PC partition, ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-3rd-window.jpg

7.Fourth Window: Select Analyze, ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-4th-window.jpg

8.Fifth Window: Should show all partition/s in the selected lost drive. Select Quick Search, ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-5th-window.jpg

9.Sixth Window: Confirm whether the partition was created by Vista/(Windows 7). Press Y if yes/not sure. N otherwise.

No screenshot here since I tried Test Disk for this guide on a Maxtor OneTouch II external drive with a valid partition table. You may get this sixth window when trying to fix a lost drive.

10.Seventh Window: Test Disk should indicate first partition of your lost drive as bootable and "Structure: OK". Press ENTER to continue.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-6th-window.jpg

11.Eighth Window: Select Write, ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-7th-window.jpg

12.Ninth window: Confirm write partition table by pressing Y .

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-8th-window.jpg

13.Tenth Window: Asks you to reboot, Press ENTER.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-9th-window.jpg

14.Close Test Disk and reboot.

At some stage or other Test Disk may take a long time to scan, analyse and process all data necessary to rewrite the partition table. Be patient.

If one looks deeply into the screenshots, it will become evident that Test Disk can perform many other tasks like backing up the data in the lost drive, fixing a corrupt MBR etc.,

I understand that PhotoRec which is part of this program can recover photo and video files even from an accidentally formatted media. Keep this in mind and try should you face such a situation.

Users who actually tried this program to fix/recover may share their experience. We can learn from others’ experiences and help others.

Note: Most content of this thread already appear in another post elsewhere in this forum in response to a query. I have now put that in stand-alone thread with added screenshots so that it can be referenced and users can find it easily.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

Awesome guide. Well done
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Thanks, Corazon. You inspired me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


07 Oct 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Thanks for this, jumanji.

I've bookmarked it as an addition to my troubleshooting locker.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 
Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide

PART 2:

The first part of this topic broadly outlined the steps involved in regaining an inaccessible drive with a corrupt/missing partition table.

In the event, the drive will be seen in the Disk Management without a drive letter and unallocated space.

To actually ascertain how good is Test Disk in regaining the hard drive access, I destroyed the partition table on my Maxtor external drive – using the same Test Disk – and went through the whole process.

( My external drive had two partitions, one containing the backup of D and E drives/partitions of my internal drive and the other the periodical system images of drive C. As a matter of abundant caution, I had copied all this data into another external drive, should something go wrong in this destructive trial and I am unable to regain the drive/data. I had also imaged the MBR and kept it. )

Here is my healthy external drive before the partition table was deleted:

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-01healthyextdrive.jpg

In the fourth Window – Part 1, I selected Delete, Enter, which deletes the partition table.

My external drive is now inaccessible and shows in the Disk Management as below. Now this is the real-life situation one will find that will necessitate calling upon Test Disk.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-02pt-destroyed.jpg

With the drive inacceesible, I hit Analyse, Enter – fourth Window in Part 1. A window with “No Partition is bootable” message appears. ( This in fact replaces the earlier fifth window in Part 1)

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-03nobootpart.jpg


Hit Quick Search, Enter and this sixth window (missing earlier in Part 1 with a healthy drive) appears.


Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-04sixth-window.jpg

Press Y and voila the seventh window showing both the missing partitions appears. This happened almost instantaneously.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-05partitions.jpg

( Selecting a partition and hitting P as also the List, Enter in any window will show the folders/files which can be copied to any other drive in the PC. Screen shot later in this post)

Yep, Test Disk has done its job. Go ahead with the rest of the steps in Part 1, and the partition table is restored.

The Maxtor drive is back in business. No sweat.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-06backtobusiness.jpg

So go ahead and try Test Disk when suddenly your external drive becomes inaccessible.

More on Test Disk:

The fourth Window has the following tabs: Analyse, Advanced, Geometry, Options, MBR Code,Delete, Quit. We have already seen the Analyse in the fourth window – Part 1.

The Advanced Tab brings out the file System Utilities window.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-07advanced.jpg

Here one can select Type – for changing Partition Type, Boot – for Boot Sector Recovery, List – to list and copy files from the selected Partition, Undelete – to recover deleted files and Image Creation – for creating images of the partition. Boot, Enter brings another window with List, Rebuild BS, Repair MFT, and DUMP (dump boot sector and backup boot sector)


MBR Code facilitates writing a new Test Disk MBR code. Users are well-advised to read http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Menu_MBRCode on writing the Test Disk MBR as a last resort.

Apparently these would be used when the system becomes unbootable and one tries to fix the system hard drive and /or recover the files. In such a situation, however, one would run Test Disk from a live-CD. ( A list of liveCDs with Test Disk can be found here .)

The List, Enter brings the following window which will enable one copy the folders/files to another drive.

Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-08datapart2.jpg8

(The screenshot shows the system images stored in the second partition of my Maxtor External drive.)

Please keep in mind that Test Disk has to be run as an administrator.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #6

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 

on a suggestion from another forumee I consulted this thread.
I have an older wd1000 drive I'm working on trying to recover files if possible. BIOS does not recognize the device, therefore windows[s] do not either and the drive causes disk management to bail. how 'bout that?

so I used Testdisk to discover and interrogate. no problems seeing drive correctly and shows smart status as good. following your steps I wrote the partition table. rebooted, drive still not coherent to bios.
reloaded Testdisk and am now trying to find some other repair to execute in hopes of making the drive searchable.

could you give me a suggestion or two?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
PART 2:........

Attachment 178524

( Selecting a partition and hitting P as also the List, Enter in any window will show the folders/files which can be copied to any other drive in the PC. Screen shot later in this post).........
Assuming that the partition was shown correctly (Structure:OK) did you hit P and did it show any files /folders ?

If none were shown, I would assume there was none to show or Test Disk was unable to do the job.

You may try some other Recovery software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #8

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 

There are two partitions: a 100mb recovery partition that is intact, readable, writeable, has dos boot thingies and PC Doctor on it. then there is the big NTFS partition which is damaged, or there is a hardware issue. In doing a 'deep search' on that partition, the program bails at 3%, encountering a cylinder that cannot be queried.
what i am wondering: if I can make the dos/doc partition active/bootable, is there a way to write to that partition the utils needed to do a NTFS rebuild? chkdsk???

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
PART 2:........

Attachment 178524

( Selecting a partition and hitting P as also the List, Enter in any window will show the folders/files which can be copied to any other drive in the PC. Screen shot later in this post).........
Assuming that the partition was shown correctly (Structure:OK) did you hit P and did it show any files /folders ?

If none were shown, I would assume there was none to show or Test Disk was unable to do the job.

You may try some other Recovery software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
unable to see disk drive on testdisk

can you help me? i am unable to see my external disk drive on test disk.. i have followed your instruction carefully
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Does the BIOS and/or Disk Management recognize the drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide




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