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Windows 7: my partitions disappeared..

13 May 2014   #31
pfflamingo

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

I have been running the 8.1.1 version, thanks for mentioning it.

I'm doing a Full Scan of the entire physical drive overnight and will see what results I get with that effort. (I'm in the Pacific Time Zone, it's 10:12pm currently.)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 May 2014   #32
pfflamingo

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Here are the results of the scan of the entire physical drive. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting to see such extensive results. The list is so long I had to break it into four graphics total.

Note: The "status" of the only drive I wished to recover (last entry, "SEAGATE INTERNAL 2") is now listed as "Lost/Deleted", although I can still double-click on it and see an undisturbed file structure. Some other entries, such as the OS partition ("Copy of C") remains listed as "Existing".

For whatever reason, a listing for a "FAT16/sdcard" now appears, I cannot explain this as no such thing exists on the drive in question... obviously.

Also, the graphic of the drive partitions now shows the entire physical drive as "Unallocated", which can't be the actual case; I'm using the very same computer to write this entry.

I have not proceeded with any action beyond the scan itself pending feedback.


Attached Thumbnails
my partitions disappeared..-full1.gif   my partitions disappeared..-full2.gif  
Attached Images
my partitions disappeared..-full3.gif my partitions disappeared..-unallocated.gif 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2014   #33
gregrocker

 

You can go ahead and try it but it may want you to resolve those overlapping choices.

I'm still confused about having a Basic drive with so many partitions. Which of these were Logical? If you have more than 4 Primary it is not going to restore, so can you confirm that all but 3 are Logical - you can have 3 Primary and unlimited Logical?

Do you have your data backed up externally, as data should always be against drive failure? Be sure that at least the existing data is backed up before proceeding.

I would try running Partition Recovery from the PW boot disk which is safer and may even be more effective on a drive that size.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 May 2014   #34
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Pardon me if I can't make out which exactly is the boot drive now. ( I am such a dumbass who can't understand anything other than simple.)

Is it the drive on which you have that lost partition Seagate Internal 2?

When it was created for the first time was this drive a bootable system drive?

Be aware that assuming that we are able to select the right partitions ( And yes you have to select all partitions as it existed then - both shown as then existing , not now existing, and/or lost/deleted - when in the first instance you created the Seagate Internal 2 partition.) the preview of the drive map will show your full drive with no unallocated space whatsoever and finalising the partition recovery will take you back and make all partitions/drive accessible. If you had made it bootable system drive afterwards you will lose it now.

In short you cannot part restore the drive by partition recovery ( keeping any present configuration partly).It is all original or none.

My verdict:

If your drive is bootable and you want to keep it that way, then abandon Partition Recovery and go in for Data Recovery.

Use PhotoRec to recover the data in that partition and copy it to another external drive.(Scanning by PhotoRec will take quite a lot of time.)

Guide to using PhotoRec recovery software.

If you want to go back to the original partition configuration and access the drive and that partition as it was then try the NTFS permutations ( you can leave out the boot) that makes the preview Disk map complete and you can see your original configuration. Once you are sure you got it, finalise Partition Recovery.

Given the confusing picture where your drive had gone through many formatting exercise, I would opt for the Data Recovery route.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2014   #35
pfflamingo

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

I'll answer the questions/issues you've both raised and discuss a probable next step.


gregrocker: You can go ahead and try it but it may want you to resolve those overlapping choices.

I'm still confused about having a Basic drive with so many partitions. Which of these were Logical? If you have more than 4 Primary it is not going to restore, so can you confirm that all but 3 are Logical - you can have 3 Primary and unlimited Logical?

The huge number of overlapping/lost/deleted files is a surprise. I'm not sure what may or may not happen if I selected them to restore. However...

There are 4 Primary an 2 logical partitions. One of the primary partitions, "Copy of C", is the one I am using to boot from. It was created to place a restored system backup onto after my original C drive, on a separate physical drive, became damaged and unusable.Yes, there are system files which are scattered outside of the OS and their files seem to be needed, regardless of whether they should actually be in the OS partition or not. (See graphic of the primary/logical layout of this drive. Note the 2 logical partitions are both showing up as "unallocated", if that has any bearing here.)


Do you have your data backed up externally, as data should always be against drive failure? Be sure that at least the existing data is backed up before proceeding.

Much of the data is backed up, but far from all. I do understand, backup, backup, backup...! Ironically, I had been backing up the data as I made room to do so onto an external drive over the 4 days before the problem occurred... Upon a normal reboot, the partition in question became "unallocated" and/or "lost/deleted". The backing up itself had nothing to do with the partition failure.


I would try running Partition Recovery from the PW boot disk which is safer and may even be more effective on a drive that size.

This is something to try, I have not done so as yet prior to reviewing other options now in view.


jumanji: Pardon me if I can't make out which exactly is the boot drive now. ( I am such a dumbass who can't understand anything other than simple.)

Is it the drive on which you have that lost partition Seagate Internal 2?

The OS is located on "Copy of C", a name automatically generated during the restore process. I will mention here the restored OS was done to a brand-new internal drive. I believe the restore software created not only the OS partition, but the one marked "System", also, for whatever reason. I did not notice what it created when the restore was done ten weeks ago. I myself created the two partitions now seen as "unallocated".

The lost partition "Seagate Internal 2" is indeed on this same physical drive.
Let me jump forward here at this point... I'll answer some of your questions and provide additional information. Please note:

The system is bootable, usable and behaves in normal fashion even though the partition structure appears bizarre, fractured and makes no sense the way it's laid out. This being the case, the only thing which truly needs to be accomplished is to recover the data on the singular "Seagate Internal 2" partition.

If this cannot be done by partition recovery where it is once again made visible, which we've been trying, then a recovery effort of the files would be a completely acceptable solution.


When it was created for the first time was this drive a bootable system drive?

Yes, as above.


Be aware that assuming that we are able to select the right partitions ( And yes you have to select all partitions as it existed then - both shown as then existing , not now existing, and/or lost/deleted - when in the first instance you created the Seagate Internal 2 partition.) the preview of the drive map will show your full drive with no unallocated space whatsoever and finalising the partition recovery will take you back and make all partitions/drive accessible. If you had made it bootable system drive afterwards you will lose it now.

In short you cannot part restore the drive by partition recovery ( keeping any present configuration partly).It is all original or none.

If I understand what you mean, no, I did not make the drive bootable after the OS was originally installed (restored fresh), I am relying upon the system as originally restored.

The partition structure is identical to what it was before the two logical partitions became "unallocated", they just simply showed up that way for no apparent reason upon a normal reboot.


My verdict:

If your drive is bootable and you want to keep it that way, then abandon Partition Recovery and go in for Data Recovery.

Use PhotoRec to recover the data in that partition and copy it to another external drive.(Scanning by PhotoRec will take quite a lot of time.)

Guide to using PhotoRec recovery software.

It appears PhotoRec is limited to recovering files of only certain types, am I correct? I have many other types on the partition to retrieve. I have a variety of recovery software programs which are comprehensive for what they search for, but as we know, I have not tried that route.

If I do attempt a file-recovery approach, I would have high hopes it could be successful, due to my being able to see the complete file structure and all files inside the partition.I know I can run multiple recovery programs if any one of them does not recover all the files.

If you want to go back to the original partition configuration and access the drive and that partition as it was then try the NTFS permutations ( you can leave out the boot) that makes the preview Disk map complete and you can see your original configuration. Once you are sure you got it, finalise Partition Recovery.


I must admit I don't quite follow what the prior paragraph is explaining what could be done, I'm sorry not to understand itand don't wish not to be able to.I think it would not hurt at this point to see if my different file recovery software programs can even see, and possibly work with the partition in question. It may be they will not be able to see an "unallocated" partition and/or it may be necessary to attempt a file recovery by scanning the entire physical drive. I will have to seeand report what options are presented to me.One other thing I wish to mention, I have not rebooted the machine since this problem occurred. My approach has been cautious, to see if I can resolve the problem at this point. I do not know what might happen if I was to reboot before attempting another recovery, the system is currently stable and I wished to first attempt corrections in that environment.

My thought is if I cannot successfully recover the partition and/or files, then I would reboot the system and try again.


Attached Images
my partitions disappeared..-primarylogical.gif 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2014   #36
gregrocker

 

You cannot have 4 Primary and 2 Logical, only 3 Primary if you have Logical. You need to convert the Primary between the Logicals using PW to Modify>set to Logical - since Logicals must be contiguous.

This may allow PW to proceed with Partition Recovery since the disk cannot exceed the limitations I've repeated several times now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2014   #37
pfflamingo

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for the clarification, I misinterpreted what you had said, I believed I could have no more than 4 primary partitions, but I see now you were saying I could have no more than 3.

I will see if I can change one of the partitions eligible to be converted to a logical partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2014   #38
gregrocker

 

You can have four Primary partitions if that's all you have. In order to have Logical you can only have 3 Primary partitions and then as many Logical partitions as you want in the logical container which replaces one Primary partition. Partition / Extended : Logical Drives - Windows 7 Forums.

The Logicals must all be contiguous, or adjoining.

The Partition marked System cannot be Logical.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2014   #39
pfflamingo

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

I converted the one partition to Logical from Primary.

I have attached the current layout to show this change.

I ran Partition Recovery, all the existing partitions are seen.

Next, I selected (check-marked) each partition, highlighting the one partition I wish to recover. When I selected "Finish", the request failed (see graphic).

I next selected only the 3 partitions listed as being "Lost/Deleted". The "Existing" partitions disappear from the box and are represented as "Unallocated" space (see graphic). I did not select "Finish" in this case. The instructions given by the application are not completely clear as to what will actually happen if I did select "Finish"... on the face of it it shows an anticipated layout of the "Existing" partitions, including the OS, turning into unallocated space.

I can't imagine this would truly be the case, for obvious reasons. Not wanting to possibly commit an error, though, I wanted to post my results first for any feedback.

I have a bootable CD of the MiniTool program, but have not run it as I am seeing the above issues and want to understand what may be going on before I proceed further.


Attached Thumbnails
my partitions disappeared..-nowlogical.gif  
Attached Images
my partitions disappeared..-invalid.gif my partitions disappeared..-lostonly.gif 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2014   #40
gregrocker

 

There is a 2TB limit for MBR disks which you may have busted through. I don't know why it allowed you to format that large a disk as an MBR disk but normally it would want you to use a GPT disk fomatting scheme. Understanding the 2 TB Limit in Windows Storage - Ask the Core Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

To convert it is a destructive process: Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk - Windows 7 Forums

I think I would back up your data and a system image externally, then uncheck all but the missing partitions to see if it will restore them. You might have less limitation from the PW boot disk with no OS running.

If not use data recovery. Then convert and reformat the disk for data storage. You cannot boot an OS from a GPT disk without a UEFI BIOS.

Then if you want you can reapply your OS partitions to a smaller MBR disk. Use a flexible imaging program like Macrium - Image your system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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