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Windows 7: C Drive Wiped due to bad partition?

24 Apr 2010   #1

C Drive Wiped due to bad partition?

Greetings, I need help trying to recover some files on my pc.

I had an XP installation working fine on a single hd setup with about 25 gb free space.
I tried partitioning the drive (c:) to free up that empty space so that I could install Windows 7 on it, (i guess its called dual boot?)

I used a free partition manager program from, it went through the setup and had to restart the pc and continue from dos to finish. That's where it went to hell.
I could not boot the drive again, due to a NTLDR file missing error.

I tried some recommendations on using the XP install CD. The cd can't find any windows installs. The recovery console, FIXBOOT didn't work. BOOTCFG recommended I use CHKDSK to look for errors and fix them-I didn't find any.

FIXMBR says I have invalid MBR, so I had it write a new one.

Now my current normal boot results in :

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll.
Please re-install a copy of the above file.

I also tried the recommendations on to no avail.

The only thing I care about right now is a couple of important folders on that drive that I would like to recover. So I connected the drive to another PC and attempted to use Easus partition tools to recover. Nothing.

Any Ideas?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

try this to recover your files: Computer First Aid Using Knoppix
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP


You should have used free Partition Wizard bootable CD to Resize XP, as it never fails.

If you boot it now, you can see exactly what partitioning (if any) remains and explore the files to see if they are intact.

If so, carefully Resize the remaining partition from the left side by about 20gb to install a Win7 rescue partition, or XP if you prefer it to be in first partition. Once installed, assign the old ruined partition a letter in the new OS's Disk Management (if it doesn't have one) in order to access it's files.

After copying the files over, you can delete the ruined partition and Resize the new OS into its space, or create a New Partition in that space for dual boot. Install Win7 last for it to configure the Dual Boot correctly, or see how to do it if XP is installed last here:

Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Apr 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

Run a repair install of the OS. A repair will recreate the HAL.dll file and should resolve the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP


If the XP CD can't find any installation to repair and fails to present the second "R" for Repair choice on the screen shown below, then you do not have a reparable XP.

C Drive Wiped due to bad partition?-capture.png

However, this does not mean the files are not there to be accessed from a new OS install, a rescue disk or file recovery software - which is the order I would approach it since you need a working OS and possibly want a dual boot anyway.

XP Repair Install

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Apr 2010   #6


Thanks for the suggestions. But neither worked yet.
Knoppix did not show any partitions on my drive.
Greg; I created a partition using Partition Wizard, Installed Win7, assigned a drive letter to the whole partition but none of the old files show up. Are they gone?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Apr 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP


When you boot Partition Wizard to Explore the old partition, can you see the files and are they intact? If so, then they can be rescued using file recovery software..

When you assign the old partition another letter in Win7 Disk Mgmt, what shows up on that partition in Computer?

Can you post back a screenshot of your full Disk Mgmt drive map, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attaching file using Paper Clip in Reply box.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Apr 2010   #8


I assigned the letter I: to old partition, it says its healthy and active, but there is only a couple of file on it that I added trying to fix the ntldr file.

Attached Thumbnails
C Drive Wiped due to bad partition?-capture.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP


I'm afraid your files are not recoverable from Windows 7. You'll need to use file recovery software for the job. Once good one that is recommended is Recuva.

What I would do is start a new topic in General on recovering your files from failed shrink operation, asking for maximum input on the freeware available to do this, how it is used exactly, and perhaps which paid programs are worth trying if necessary.

When you have exhausted all possibilities, the procedure to recover the MBR back into C is to mark it active using Partition Wizard disk, then boot the Win7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, click through to Recovery Tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times to write the MBR to C.

You can then either recover I's space back into C, or format it to install XP in the dual boot you spoke of using method 2 here: Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP I would use the latest EasyBCD 2.0 beta (after doing quick registration) to set up dual boot menu afterward.

In the future be sure to back up your files at all times, and use Partition Wizard CD for any resizing operation that Disk Mgmt can't do. While any resizing/moving operation can fail, we have not had PW fail in 100+ resizing operations we have helped with here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2010   #10

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

Sigh. I'm sorry to say that the advice to do anything other than run diagnostic/recovery software was bad.

The second this happened, the ONLY thing that you should do with the drive is run recovery software on it. Any further partitioning and file writing will only potentially overwrite what /were/ potentially recoverable files and partitions.

Anyway, some of the files may still be there but stop writing anything further to the drive. WIth the questionable drive detached from the computer, use a different drive to install XP or 7 on then hook up the drive in question as a secondary drive (only after the install is finished) and run the recovery tools on it (may have to try more than one program).

If they are super important, you could pay a recovery expert to try to rescue it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 C Drive Wiped due to bad partition?

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