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Windows 7: Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide

03 Feb 2015   #71

32 bit windows 7 professional

Hi Jumanji,

Great tutorial, I have used test disk many times, However, there is a danger that has been overlooked here. If there is more than one partition in an extended partition, and the partition table is corrupted, there is a very high probability that desk disk will return a finding, after running search, where the same partition is listed twice, for example, partition 2. will be listed twice. This is due to the table being corrupted and some overlap occurs. The danger here is, testdisk will by default, prefix BOTH partitions with the letter D, ie, DELETE. You must check each entry for partition 2 and check for files using the P switch. one will have no files and the other will contain your files. The one containing files must have it's prefix CHANGED to Primary or logical, using right/left arrow keys. the one with no files must remain as D for delete.

Failure to do this will result in test disk deleting both entries and subsequently the partition 2.
Something to be aware of before selecting 'write'.

Just thought I would share this,



My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2015   #72

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Thanks ronski for your valuable input. I shall check on it sometime.

It is always a good practice to check all partitions shown for the files using the P command and copy the files elsewhere before giving the write command.

I think we had been advising it all the time but will now make it mandatory.:)

Thanks again for your valuable input.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2015   #73
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Very good tutorial. Why don't you place it into the tutorial section.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Mar 2015   #74

win 7 ultimate x64
worked like a life saver

good job mate :) appreciate it
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2015   #75

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi techfox,

Welcome onboard.

Glad it helped. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2015   #76

Windows 10 32bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
For the limited purpose of running TestDisk or PhotoRec, one need not necessarily create a UBCD or a Live CD. ( I do not know which version of TestDisk these will have.)

The OP can create a DOS bootable pendrive using Rufus v1.1.7 without FreeDOS Support - 154 KB (only MSDOS) Rufus - Create bootable USB drives

Attachment 210167

Then download the current stable version of TestDisk 6.13 for DOS/Win9x, TestDisk Download - CGSecurity extract the contents to the root directory of the pendrive, boot from the USB pendrive (using the one-time boot menu) and at the command prompt type testdisk.exe and press ENTER to run it.

Note: If extracting the puts the contents to a folder like TestDisk6.13, all files there could be selected and moved to the root directory of the pendrive.. At the end of it the bootable DOS TestDisk pendrive should look like this:

Attachment 210168

( I have created the bootable DOS TestDisk pendrive, run it and checked it on my system. The OP should select the correct drive shown by identifying it by its capacity.)
Thanks a lot, sir! I needed help making testdisk boot from a USB. Using the above tutorial, recovered all of my 4 Deleted partitions! You saved my laptop!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Sep 2015   #77

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Welcome onboard, shaz.

Glad that it helped and you could find your way through successfully and a first timer at it..Good going.

Since the time that post #23 was written in May 2012, there has been some version changes. Rufus is now in version 2.3 and TestDisk stable version in 7. But the basics of using Rufus to create a bootable DOS TestDisk and using TestDisk for recovery still remain the same.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Sep 2015   #78

Vista Home Premium 32bit

Hi there all!

This tutorial was great reading to me! I'm currently having a situation with one BIG storage unit of mine (it happened to me before, so it might be the 3rd time, despite my increasing carefulness).

However, I humbly admit that my knowledge in these matters is thus limited that I still don't feel confident in rescuing with TestDisk on my own, especially given the situation seems to appear different than presented in the tutorial.

So I resort to come bothering you people, since this very nasty accident hit me and I'm in need of more knowledgeable minds than my own to make the right decisions... Here's my story so far:

I was browsing files on my external WesternDigital 3,5" HD (3 Tib) that I use for storage. It was connected via a big HUB: 13 ports, but it's backed up by it's own external power, not just USB-powered, plus only 2 ports were then switched on -- the 2nd port was for another 2,5" external HD of 750 Gib. So I thought everything would go smooth, but after some hours, suddenly for no apparent reason the 3Tib drive got disconnected on its own (no USB cable was moved or anything of the sort!). I should add that I wasn't doing any writing, copying or moving anything to nor from that hard-drive at the time. Well, what Windows was doing on its side is another matter...

Once reconnected, the result was (unfortunately as expected) that the drive was corrupt!

Here is now the state of things:
The drive when turned on reads for about a full minute (external enclosure's LED blinks and all) before Windows finally detects it. It then appears WITH ITS CORRECT LETTER (O:\) STILL ASSIGNED, but also tells me "O:\ Unknown Filesystem", and advise me to format it in order to use it.
In the disk manager, the volume appears, with its letter of course, with its space correctly allocated ("O:\2794,39 Gib - sane volume, main partition") but filesystem is listed as "RAW"!

I should also note that I'm at my parents' and all I can use here is an old laptop HP/Compaq Presario C750 with bad old Vista installed on it

I'm asked to format it. I'm all the more upset by this situation that Ihad already about 2,5 Tib filled with very valuable contents on that HD...

Using "EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard" latest version (which I bought a while ago as I've had such issues before), the software does seem to detect many things from the original NTFS filesystem on that HD, since it shows the original Label I gave it ("O:\AudioContent") and lists me all the main directories/file structure (although ther are a few odd things, like a couple folders detected that are actually from another HD I use to connect with the same external enclosure, etc.).

Now, using TestDisk following the indications given in Jumanji's tutorial, I get peculiar (to me anyway) results:

- Media is detected with correct space ("Drive O: - 3000GB / 2794 Gib)
I "Proceed", and gets in the bottom this Hint: "None partition table type has been detected".
I then "choose "Intel/PC partition", then "Analyse", and I get the screen I attached to this post.

That's about where I'm at right now, so as you may gather, ANY informed and skilfull help with the whole thing would be greatly appreciated! Please tell me how to proceed, what I should try, and ask me for any further information you may need to help figure what way to go with the recovery process...

Thank you so much in advance to anyone willing and able to help me!
-- Angar

Attached Images
Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-testdiskscreenshot.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Sep 2015   #79

Vista Home Premium 32bit

Mmmmh, some further infos after noticing something I overlooked when writing my previous post there:

Although the TestDisk results sounded somewhat scary to me (particularly the "None partition table type has been detected" part of course), there seems to be more to it, as follows...

In the first TestDisk screen (ie. "Select the media", after choosing "No log"), I actually gets something confusing (once again, to me! I'm obviously posting in hope that it won't confuse you guys quite like it does me, hehe).
Please look at the new screenshot I attach to this post:

Drives C:, D: and E: are actually the same hard drive (the internal HD of the laptop I'm on, which is 160GB and divided into these 3 partitions). They correspond to the 1st line: "Disk /dev/sda - 160 GB / 149 GiB"

Now Drive O: (ie. the faulty 3 TB drive) was indeed (I totally forgot that "detail") constituted of 2 dsitinct physical disks (unless I'm mistaken, but that's how it appeared to me anyway when I originally bought and connected it): one of roughly 2 GB, which then corresponds to the 2nd TestDisk line: "Disk /dev/sdc - 2199 GB / 2047 GiB", and a second disk of 800 GB, which of course is the 3rd line: "Disk /dev/sda - 801 GB / 746 GiB" (that last one appears as "746 Gb - Unallocated" in Windows Disk Manager).

I never used (nor apparently even formatted, I don't remember but it seems likely) that 3rd disk yet. I was always only using the 2 GB (dev/sdc) disk on the drive up to now (saving the second smaller disk of the drive for later, when the first one would be filled).

Now while I get a "None partition table type has been detected" hint when I choose drive O:, if I choose "Disk /dev/sdc - 2199 GB / 2047 GiB" instead, I then get the following hint: "EFI GPT partition table type has been detected" (and indeed I remember having formatted that disk with the GPT option).

I kinda understand that both my internal (3 partitioned) and my external (made of 2 disks) 3 TB hard drives are listed as Drives with their attributed letter by the system, PLUS as Disks. And it seems that it is irrelevant to choose the "Drives" lines with attributed letter in the case of a problematic/corrupted HD like mine, so the "Disk" line is relevant.

My final question with all this then is: where to go from now? I'm ready to continue with what recovery options TestDisk will give me, but at the same time I'm concerned that any change TestDisk will do to my drive, if they fail, might make it more difficult (if not impossible) afterwards to recover data from it (if correcting the partition table/MBR/filesystem or whatever is corrupted here).
If I make the backup that TestDisk propose to do, will I then be totally safe (as in "can rollback to previous state if further actions go wrong") in letting it try to fix my HD?

Thank you so much for anyone willing to enlighten me a bit on this...
-- Angar

-- Angar

Attached Images
Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide-testdiskscreenshot0.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Sep 2015   #80

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi Angar,

Welcome to Seven Forums.

I do not want to confuse you now.:)

Please start a new thread under the sub-forum Hardware and Devices. I understand you are now with your parents with a Vista computer and your 3.5 TB external connected to the USB port (Without the gigantic 13 port hub. Right?)

In the new thread

1. Briefly explain the problem.

2. Give full details of your 3 TB drive - whether it is an Elements/My Book or whatever and the model number like WDBFJK0030HBK ( I need to look into the specifications of the drive. I don't know much about WD drives for I have none.)

3. Post a screenshot of how your external drive looks in Windows Disk Management with only your problem drive connected. Please adhere to the guidelines here to present a full screenshot with all the information visible

We shall decide whether to use TestDisk or some other data recovery utility. ( You have already tried EaseUs. I wish you had not.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Regain a lost drive using Test Disk - An Illustrated Guide

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