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Windows 7: C: drive apparently erased

06 Aug 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home
C: drive apparently erased

I have an HP Pavilion. It came with no Windows 7 installation disk. It does have a D: partition that contains the files for system repair or re-installation.

My PC will no longer boot after my virus software reported an unspecified error.

When attempting to boot, I am given four choices besides going straight to Windows:
- Boot menu (which merely offers the choices that are on the boot priority list in Set-up)
- Set-up (which offers no choices that appear useful)
- Diagnostics (which checks several things and says they are okay)
- System recovery (which will not run)

There is another option, not listed but shown on the HP website, of pressing F8, which is apparently another route to system recovery. F8 also fails to run anything.

I have a System Repair Disk, but when I use this, it doesn't find my Windows 7 on the C: (boot) drive. It finds the image, or whatever it is, on the D: partition. So Startup Repair finds nothing to repair and accomplishes nothing.

The System Restore option will "restore" to an 8/1/2013 restore point, saying all is fine. But my PC still won't boot. I can select the 7/24/2013 restore date, and System Restore says the restore failed for an unspecified reason. The 7/1/2013 restore point will "restore", but my PC still won't boot.

The System Recovery Options include a command prompt. When I go there and try to do a directory of C: drive, it shows nothing but an empty root directory. However, I can see all the files on D: drive, so the drive itself isn't totally trashed.

I have looked for recovery tools online (with my laptop), but the first one I found won't run off the flashdrive where I downloaded it, nor from the D: drive where I copied it. It says the "subsystem" it needs to run is missing. Other places I've looked want me to go to the Control Panel (which I can't) or connect to a site via the Internet (which I can't).

I'm at a loss. Am I to the point of buying a new copy of Windows 7 and perhaps a new drive and either giving up on all my C: drive data or paying a fortune for data recovery? Keep looking for a recovery utility that can run on a computer with an underlying Windows system?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2013   #2
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

First thing I would do is contact HP, tell them that your drive crashed and that you need full-restore media to reinstall the OS to a new drive. They will probably agree to sell you that set of disks (or maybe, only a single DVD) for a small sum -- a LOT less than going out and buying Win7 on your own. That gives you a way to do a factory restore of Win7 on your PC without having a working version of Win7

Your second problem is that even if you could do a full backup of your existing hard drive (to then restore those files to the new drive), a full backup would retain any infection that exists in the current setup =-- something you don't want on your rebuilt system. So, unless others have a better suggestion, I would remove the xisting drive and later, use data recovery software to pull individual files and folders off that drive.

Third, unless you have a way to save off the contents of the existing drive and then wipe it, you're probably going to have to buy a new drive. IF you do the factory restore using HP media, you could use this drive, but that likely will wipe the drive and everything on it -- so you would have to save off your valuable data first -- which requires another PC to do this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home

Mark, thank you for your response. It appears to me to be precisely on the mark. I say that because after considerable research, it outlines what I am doing/will do. I bought a new drive, since I no longer trust my current drive. I don't know that my problem was solely or even partially software related.

Also, I ordered recovery disk(s) from HP to reinstall Windows 7.

Thirdly, I bought a SATA-to-USB connector to use in pulling data off the old drive after I have my PC with the new drive and OS up and running.

I am reassured that I came up with the same plan you did. So once again, thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Aug 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home

There is a "Mark as Solved" button that says I should post something as well as click it. So I will. I'm not sure "solved" is the right word, but I've installed a new hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7, with all that entails. So I'm back in action.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 C: drive apparently erased

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