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Windows 7: Recover Partition Table that vanished

25 Nov 2014   #1

Windwos 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Recover Partition Table that vanished

Hello guys,
I saw this issue long time ago, when brother had it. Partition table just vanished, gone, I messed it up by trying to fix it and didn't do it right, formated disk on the end, wasn't big of the deal.

But Today it happened on my Seagate Baracuda 3TB, with 3 partitions.

Just vanished.

I first went to Control Panel to see is it there. And windows asked me a question, like disk is not partitioned, would I like to do MBR or GPT, and here I believe I made biggest mistake of all, I clicked MBR, as I forgot that it is GPT (STUPID ME)

Then I saw that 764 or so GB partition and rest unallocated, went to TestDisk and rest, saw only 2 partitions, then I got it, it should have been GPT, so I converted it in Cpanel back to GPT.

Now when I run Test disk or MiniDisk Recovery, it takes like 50 times slower to SCAN!
Couldnt wait for TestDisk so I left MiniDiskTool to find partitions, it found 3 partitions, but first says Boot, 2nd and 3rd are correct and I can even browse and see data, but if I don't select firts one it says it will delete one partition?? As you can see in attachment.

I would love to see what TestDisk says, I can't buy now another 3TB to clone, but I really want that one partition, it is most important one, all pictures, from day one of my life ...

So what I did in short:
clicked MBR (made first partition)
Then converted it in CPanel to GPT

Please tell me there is way to either undo this MBR or to find original Partition table for first Partition.,
Thank you very much.

I know its first partition, I know when second start. Can I somehow force it to make it first from 0 to second.

Attached Images
Recover Partition Table that vanished-minidisktool.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2014   #2
Microsoft MVP


Obviously we cannot see the listings which are obscured by the warning message. Can you please move it over?

It's also apparent from what we can see that you didn't tick all boxes on Lost/Deleted partitions it found.

Is the area showing in the preview (without all boxes checked) as Unallocated where the OS parition was? If not what exactly was there?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2014   #3

Windwos 7 Ultimate 64 Bit

True, I moved it, but for screen shot I repeat it and forgot to move it again.
But part under it is not important as you can see it on the bottom under Preview. Don't make me run that test again it took hours till that part.

It shows
First Partition (with label Boot) that is line you can see and that is only problem I have! (that is how IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE)
2nd Partition as said is under window and it looks fine. Label is good.
3rd Partition is under window and it has name and looks fine. Same as 2nd Label looks good.

What you ask has no sense to me, yes all were checked, but most important is first partition that was rewritten with Windows MBR Table.

You know what I did:
- after partition table was gone, for no reason
- I clicked create MBR (so it made MBR and showed first 764GB), I don't know how it works, but instead of showing me now first partition it shows that Unallocated, ...

And so far that is only problem, as program to recover partition can see beyond first and recover partitions after it.

First partition I repeat is most important, named Photos, but name is not shown as you can see on the image (first line above window that is covering two good partitions).

Dont know why it takes so long, but TestDisk is now analyzing for hours and it is just around 3%, I know it finds all it has to find around 26%-30% as other program did, and TestDisk at first run, before I converted disk to GPT, after that it is so slow.

Maybe I can help somebody, but it was External IcyBox case, connected over USB, once I connected it over esata I saw whole Partition in Windows (as unallocated), before that I saw it as 764GB Unallocated partition.

If anybody knows a way to fix first partition, please help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Nov 2014   #4
Microsoft MVP


If you changed from a GPT to a MBR partition on a UEFI install then it should have destroyed all data as this is a destructive reformat: Convert GPT Disk to MBR Disk - Windows 7 Forums

But you said you could see data and PW Partition Recovery Wizard found partitions so the question is will it still recover these because: the disk didn't actually convert or because it converted but did not destroy data or enough of partition table that PW cannot detect it.

We can see clearly that two of the four boxes are not checked. This is what I was referring to, to which you reply that you checked all the boxes. Did PW uncheck them with the error message?

What I would do is attempt to copy out your data using Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console or Paragon Rescue Kit Free Edition 11.0 Free CD and then do a Clean Reinstall Windows 7 which steps will assure you get and keep a perfect install. This may be quicker than trying to recover from fatal results of your impulsive decision.

However there are some Gurus here who are better versed in PW Partition Recovery Wizard than am I so I will ask them to look at this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

OK, I am here on greg's request though I amn't a PW-PRW guru as he would try to make me believe.:)

OK, past is past. Let us start again as your external drive appears now.

Post a full screenshot of Window Disk Management with only your external drive connected. ( If theTestDisk scan is in progress, terminate it.) Make sure to hide the Console Tree and Action Pane in Windows Disk Management so that we get a full view.

Then post a screenshot of how it appears in Partition Wizard.( the first screen)

Then Run Partition Recovery Wizard quick scan and just post the screenshot when it finds the partitions.( Do not select any partition/partitions)

After you post the screenshot for us to see, you have to do some permutations and combinations in selecting the partitions, that will make the preview of the disk at the bottom full without any unalloacated space. That is, it should appear as it existed before.Only that would signify that PRW was able to find the beginning of the partitions successfully.

If no selected permutation/combination could show the drive in full in the preview map, PRW was unable to find the beginning of the partition.

In such a case we have to give up on it and go for data recovery. The best in that case would be PhotoRec, even if it takes a week to complete the scan.

Let us see. Post the screenshots so that we can see whether any permutation will work out - apart from your effort. ( Do not give the Finish command in PRW. Just cancel and you can rerun later.)

In the meantime and thereafter, do not try anything on your own. As long as you do not give any write command in PW or TestDisk and just stop with scanning, you will have better chances of data recovery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #6

Windwos 7 Ultimate 64 Bit

I hate Windows, HATE IT!
I mean, one click, and all photos that I made and had are gone.

Guys you don't help me, don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for your posts.
But if I saw that partition on any of programs, I would know what to do, I'm not guru, but if partition is visible, I would know how to recover partition table.

So let me tell you what I think happened.

I'm not sure why windows see 764GB when connected with USB, but I had it connected with USB all the time, and it was connected that way when it happened. Good part is that I clicked MBR when it was connected as it was. I'll explain later.
Over esata cable, whole disk is visible, whole 3TB, 2.7GB unallocated space. That is how Windows saw it. Or in my case after MBR thing I did, it saw 764GB + rest of the disk. That is how TestDisk saw it too, that is when I understood that I made mistake with MBR and turn it back to GPT.

As disk was not in any state (no MBR no GPT), was completely blank unallocated space, I clicked MBR, my bad, obviously no return point!

So for all people be CAREFUL if disk vanish don't click to make partition table.

As started, I believe that converting to MBR destroyed first 764GB of visible disk, rest was intact, as Windows didn't even see it, my first partition was 1TB, so as you said, if it's destructive, it did it up to 764GB, rest was intact.

That is why this program can see 2nd and 3rd partition, I don't see why would anything be checked or unchecked and what it has to do with it. First partition is not Boot and it is not visible. I unchecked it as I didn't want it to mess things even further, so I checked two that I know are good (but not so important)

PhotoRec (TestDisk) is now running for over 10 hours and it is just around 10%. Which is completely sick and slow, I believe in 2 days I will get to desired 26-30% to see if TestDisk can see first partition or not.

I can't believe that converting disk to MBR destroys everything and that is irreversible?!

My second question is, which I believe I have answer, but just to make sure.
In case that I still have data on first partition, is there a way to return it to the state it was, not random names? Please say they made something. I have over 20.000 images on that partition, and I can't imagine looking and renaming all of them one by one.

Thanks in advance.

This is not BOOTABLE disk.
It was External case, with 3 partitions:
1st Photos (one that is GONE)
2nd Videos (one that is visible in recover programs)
3rd Rest (visible in recovery programs)

So no, formating, installing windows would not help on any way, as it is not bootable, not OS disk, it is External STORAGE disk.

Data on this this is only copy I have, STUPID, but it's really like that, I'm Photographer and I ordered Mac Mini, it stuck on Customs, was planning into backing up all images and stuff when it arrives as it has 1TB disk, and voila, during customs time, my External case decided to delete partition table, and stupid, I can say that and repeat, stupid Windows asked me to do MBR or GPT, instead of warning me that I will lose data, Windows obviously "thought" I had nothing on that disk as it couldn't see a thing!

So I clicked convert to MBR (it converted first 764GB of the disk to MBR), and all I try to do is to return partition table, and it looks like mission impossible.

First partition was most important one, with all images on one place, ... it was only temp solution to save disk space on my computer. And here it goes, only for couple of days of no backup and it went all wrong!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

You need to realize Kova that you are being helped by a couple of extremely knowledgeable members. Please do yourself a favor and do exactly what they ask. Not only is that your best chance of recovering your data, but more importantly, you can learn a lot too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #8
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
You need to realize Kova that you are being helped by a couple of extremely knowledgeable members. Please do yourself a favor and do exactly what they ask. Not only is that your best chance of recovering your data, but more importantly, you can learn a lot too.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #9

Windwos 7 Ultimate 64 Bit

I'm sorry, I'm pissed, stressed, sad, tired, and on top of that I'm sick too atm. I didn't mean no disrespect.
I'm running scan now, but I'm trying to figure this out too, why they need something that is explained and visible on that picture. As said, first partition Unallocated (recognized as Boot on last image) is only one important, to recover partition and files! 2nd and 3rd are not even important, even if found correctly, thus I don't think it is important that on last image it was overlapped, as it was both partitions there were found as they were.

I'm scanning again with different program, so far it found some partitions and one of the good ones, attachment bellow. It's still under 50%, but obviously didn't find first partition.

I repeat like a parrot, 1st partition was around 1TB, and on USB Windows saw around 765GB which I turned into MBR. Thus 2nd and 3rd partition were intact, just wrong partition table.
Converting 765GB back to GPT, I lost 1st partition, obviously, as this deep scan is showing as well, no 1st partition visible.
2nd is visible, 3rd not yet found, plenty to go.

Attached Thumbnails
Recover Partition Table that vanished-deepscan.jpg   Recover Partition Table that vanished-windows.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2014   #10
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

I really don't to get in the way but I have a suggestion.

Kavo could you do this tutorial by Golden. Post the results. Don't put anything on top of the picture. Just a clean exact picture.
It will give these good folks trying to help you a starting place. Read carefully.

Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Recover Partition Table that vanished

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