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Windows 7: I've messed up with dynamic partitions and I need to backup

18 Jun 2015   #1

windows 7, xp, linux
I've messed up with dynamic partitions and I need to backup

I had a dual boot of winxp on C, and win7 on S. All partitions are NTFS.

It was in this order: C, S, (ext4 7gb partition), F.

I originally wanted to remove C and the ext4 partition, to have one larger win 7 partition. I had a lot of data I wanted to keep on S and F, and was pretty naive.

I removed the ext4 and the C partition, and then right clicked on "extend partition" in the windows 7 disk management tool. I think doing so transformed my partitions into dynamic ones. I had a warning, and did not bother to search what those were. Again, shame on me.

Seeing that it did not boot anymore (NTLDR missing), I used a live CD to try to fix the problem. I first used the disk tool (not gparted) to set my S partition to active. The throbber wheel kept spinning. When I exited the disk utility it crashed (first 'uh oh'). I tried gparted, which displayed several errors too.

I tried many things:

* reinstalling windows xp on the C: doing so did not let me read the S or F

* the boot repair live CD

* the Gparted live CD to use testdisk. Cumbersome as it could not boot in graphic mode due to some radeon problem.

I don't even know what could be the issue, testdisk tells me those partitions are not dynamic (they have the 0x7 code, not 0x42). I managed to backup some files from the F partition to a 8GB usb drive using the testdisk copy feature, but I have a lot more data I want to be able to copy. Being able to read it from a live CD would be enough.

A bigger worry is that testdisk unexpectedly quits (crashes?) when I try to scan files in the S partition.

I'm suspecting partition corruption, I can backup data from F, but S seems unreadable.

I've also read that there is a different between classic MBR and GPT boot record.

In both modes (intel and GPT), testdisk crashes. I've also read that there are dynamic disks and dynamic partitions, I'm not sure if those two things are the same.

So, my questions:

* What tool should I start trying to use to diagnostic my problem further if I don't know everything ?

* What other problem should I look into ?

* any other testdisk option or ntfs detail I should learn ?

I'm still not ready to pay 100 dollars for a software that can analyse a corrupted software.

I'm not sure dynamic partitions are the problem, but it's very probable Gparted or the live CD messed up my partitions in some way.

I know how to use linux and other tools, but I mostly use windows 7 (gaming, visual C++ etc).

Any idea ?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #2
Microsoft MVP


The problem is that you converted HD to Dynamic which is only meant to be used to span a partition across multiple HD's. That you did this while ignoring the warning message makes it inexcusable. But we've helped countless others recover so we can try in this case - even though you've gone on to pile on a bunch of useless repairs using tools that are not even meant for Windows.

The solution to reconvert non-destructively is to boot free Partition Wizard CD version 4.2 from Option One of Convert a Dynamic Disk to a Basic Disk

Download the ISO, rightclick to burn it to CD using Windows Image Burner, or use ImgBurn.

Boot CD. You will need to delete any extra partition created in excess of four Primary partitions (or 3 Primary and unlimited Logical) which tipped it to convert to Dynamic before it will convert back to Basic, so back up any files first using Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console

Then follow these video steps: How to convert dynamic disk to basic disk with Partition Wizard?

If Windows 7 will not start and you confirm it's been converted successfully, then confirm that the 100mb System Reserved partition (preferred if you have it) or C (if you don't) is Set Active partition - Partition Wizard Video Help, try Partition Wizard Rebuild MBR - Video Help, then if it still won't start boot into the Win7 disk to run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times.

If this fails test the hard drive using Partition Wizard Surface Test, followed by a full Disk Check
to know for certain the condition of your hard drive. If it passes then everything possible is here for Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start.

If you need further help post back a picture of the Partition Wizard drive map showing all columns and scrolled listings, using the Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attached using paper clip icon in Reply Box. We can often spot the problem right off.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Greg, does it have to be version 4.2 for a reason? Like a discontinued feature or something? Would PW free 9 (latest) not work? It is possible to create a bootable media with version 9.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jun 2015   #4
Microsoft MVP


The feature is not free after version 4.2.

It is also free in Easeus but only the Windows version.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Alright, thanks. Downloading now for sure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #6

windows 7, xp, linux

Sorry but I can't find a link to download the 4.2 ISO file. It's redirecting me to a CNET malware...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #7
Microsoft MVP


I don't know why. The link in Option One of Convert a Dynamic Disk to a Basic Disk for
opens up a Download box that is already preset to Save the file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #8

windows 7, xp, linux

Jeez thanks a much lot of box of chocolat with teddy bears and cheeze on top extra pepper and vinegar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2015   #9

windows 7, xp, linux

I joined a screenshot of my partitions.

I have a lot of data on my F: that I want to keep, and I would like to not have to reinstall windows on S:, since I have many softwares and drivers and updates.

If I move all the data which is on F to the 244GB partition (which is just before S), will I be able to "extend" my S partition so it can take the remaining space ?

I already did that before, it changed those partitions to dynamic, it was a hell to change back, I was afraid to have lost data etc, but managed to back it up before reinstalling windows, so I use partition wizard, but reinstalling windows on the 244GB partition restored my previous S installation.

So I'm a little cautious and that's why I'm asking here, should I just use the other windows installation and forget about S, or will I be able to resize my S partition if I remove F ? (after backing up my files of course.)

Attached Thumbnails
I've messed up with dynamic partitions and I need to backup-clipboard-1.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2015   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

It looks like the files on F are larger than 244 GB and would not fit on your 244 GB partition.

Why doesn't that 244 GB partition have a drive letter?

Your small 100 MB partition is shown as RAW and appears to be empty. Why keep it? If you view hidden files, does it still appear to be empty in Windows Explorer? Normally, it would not be empty, not be RAW, and would be marked as "system".

If you delete F and the extended partition surrounding F to the point that it is shown as "unallocated space", you can then extend S into the space. You have to get it down to "unallocated space" first. Beware of any warnings about "dynamic disks". Always say no to them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 I've messed up with dynamic partitions and I need to backup

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