Format Without Erasing - Help!

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by xtremefan, Aug 8, 2010.

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  1. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Well, I have a huge dilema that I am hoping someone can find a fix to. I was using the Hard Disc manager on an External Drive - and the software said I had 460 or so gigs of un-allocated space on my drive. I don't know what happened, but what it looks like happened was it split the drive into 2 partitions -- one with now 8 gigs...and another with 458 gigs of used data -- data which I desperately need and had on the drive which was working flawlessly. It now says that the 458g section of the drive is " Not Formated " which seems odd and seems wrong...since I was using the drive perfectly until that point. How do I get the data back or combine the partitions so that it's one single drive like before ? I am baffled how this happened. I am a designer and not a hardware guru...so the expertise here would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, is there a way to format a drive WITHOUT losing data ? and how do I do this and retain all of the files and folders ? I don't have space to copy the drive to another place...all I want to do is have access to my files again. Someone please help :) I am really freaking out.

    I have seen some places that say certain software can format without destroying the data...I just want to make sure it can be done. I have over 3 years of work and downloads and data on the drive. Thanks.
     
  2. SIW2

    SIW2 Registered Member

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  3. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Thank you for the tools. The fist one you suggested seems like the better of the two. I am wondering the best way to combine the 2 partitions that it made into 1. The 500gig drive says there is 457.93 gb of unallocated space. I am trying to figure out the next best step without losing the data that is on there. Maybe it's just not reading it or the boot tables(?) are messed up ? I did the test disc and re-started...but still can't manage to figure out the next step. It's amazing how a couple clicks can make 450g of data not viewable again! I am hoping there is a painless solution. Any help would be hugely appreciated. Also, if anyone helps me that needs graphics design work done...I would be more than happy to trade services. I am a designer obviously not a programmer or hardware genius :) Thank you once again...

    The sooner I get that drive back - the better.

    xtremefan
     
  4. SIW2

    SIW2 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    It is probably a partition table error. The rest of the drive will be untouched.

    Best is to run a partition undelete tool - it should show you the original partition ( about 500 gb) , and the two that are there now.

    Select the original partition , OK and Apply.

    That should put you back exactly where you were before the incident, with all your data intact.

    If you use PW , boot the disc , click the Drive at the top of the main screen to select it ( Disk 1) .

    Then click Partition Recovery in the left pane.

    Do a quick scan of the entire drive.

    Assuming it finds the original 500gb partition, tick it, click Ok , then click Apply in the bottom left pane.

    EDIT - It now says Unallocated? It said Unformatted before.

    In either case , try the steps above.
     
  5. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Hi - thanks for the info. I ran the disc tool -- and now the 457gb section of the drive is Unallocated with the first section being 7.8 gigs. When it's un-allocated does that mean that it has not been assigned a drive letter ? The Disc managment on XP will allow me to create a new partition...but I don't want to do that if it will erase the data previously created and saved.

    I am trying to resolve these questions before doing anything stupid and regreting it. I have had no real issues with this kind of scenario before - so I am a little lost. I am baffled as to how this happened...so your expertice is greatly appreciated. I have seen so many conflicting things on my quest that it's nice to finally have advice that seems to be getting me somewhere. I am hoping that in one more step...I can get the data back and be back on track.

    Thanks again :)
     
  6. SIW2

    SIW2 Registered Member

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    Unallocated space is space that is not inside a partition.

    It seems you did something with Test disk to change the partition table entry from Unformatted ( which means it is inside a partition , but does not contain a filesystem) to Unallocated ( which means there is no partition there at all).

    Test disk is tricky to use unless you know what you are doing.

    It is very likely that it is only the partition table which needs to be sorted out. It is just a tiny bit of code at the beginning of the Hard Drive.

    An undelete app. will look for information about the previous partition structure - present it to you - you select which partitions should be there - it then writes that info to the partition table. The actual contents of the partition ( i.e. your data ) are not overwritten.

    So, if it can find the previous structure - in seconds it will be fixed.

    Any changes you make will complicate the process of retrieving that info - so don't do anything else except as outlined below.



    I strongly suggest you use PW - the partition recovery is pretty good.

    Follow these steps exactly:

    boot the PW disc , click the Drive at the top of the main screen to select it ( Disk 1) .

    Then click Partition Recovery in the left pane.

    Do a quick scan of the entire drive.

    Assuming it finds the original 500gb partition, tick it, click Ok , then click Apply in the bottom left pane.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  7. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I had the PW look for the partitions on the disk and all it found and all of the choices it gave me where the 8g parition...after hours and hours that's all that showed up. If I assign the partition a letter...something different that the second partition -- like O instead of L -- will I be able to view my data in O and then have 8 g of free space in L ?

    Also, I am sorry about the delays in messages. I have a weird schedule. I am thrilled to be getting the emails...so thanks for trying to keep up. I will run the PW again -- and maybe see what the Easus Program says too...I just won't make anything final.

    All the best.
     
  8. SIW2

    SIW2 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I'm afraid that doesn't sound good.

    If PW can't find the backup info of the original partition - you won't be able to restore it.

    Looks like you are in a data recovery situation.

    There are a number of apps. which should be able to recover most of the files for you.

    Easeus are doing their DRW Pro free atm. Probably the best one you can get for free.


    Use the Rapidshare link they provide here:

    http://www.megaleecher.net/Legal_Free_License_For_Easeus_Data_Recovery_Wizard

    With any data recovery app. , don't install it on the same drive you are recovering from , and don't try to restore any files it finds back to the same drive.

    You would need to install and run it - and recover the files it finds to a different drive.

    Unless you have another os installed in that machine- you need to install the recovery app. on another machine and connect it to the sick one, or put the data recovery app. on a boot disc.
     
  9. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Thanks again. I find it hard that writing to a drive for over a year...and then in a matter of seconds the entire drives data is un-accessible...is just crazy! How can 1 program do so much damage ? Also, why would it say that I have 460 gigs available...out of 930 ? I know the partitions are split...and the data is there...I just want to know why I can't access it ? What if I re-assign the partition with 457g to O or P - and the one with 7.8g can stay L ? What would that do ? Would assigning the space to a drive letter delete the data already written on there ? Also, I understood that you could split up a drive into 4 partitions - and mine has 2. So, why can't I access both of them ? Isn't there a way to do that that does not take 12-24 hours ?

    From what I have read, it seems like the problem is a single boot data file that has been corrupted or missing. Isn't there a way to delete a corrupt boot file and then have Windows read the data ? I am just lost as to how complicated this can get...when it takes so long to format a drive...why does it seconds to make an entire drives data un-readable ? Anyways, a lot of questions...but as of yet - I have left the drive alone with no success yet. Are there other solutions rather than having to buy a new hard drive to transfer the drive data to ? Also, before this happened...I got a WD green 500g internal drive...and it's the slowest drive I have ever had! It literally takes 8-10 hours to transfer 15 gigs !

    Well, I hope someone has an answer...again :) Thanks...
     
  10. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Ok...this is really starting to wear me out. I did the recovery -- it showed the 430g that it could recover...so I bought a new hard drive...which was the last thing I wanted to do...and did the recovery. All of this took about 30 hours...when I got up and it was done...I could not read any of the files...the jpg's did not show up...videos did not work, etc.

    The drive and data I want is on the drive marked as L 7.83 NTSF and - 457.93 GB* " Unallocated " with no drive letter. I will attatch a screen capture.http://www.designifx.com/drive/Drive-Issue-L.jpg

    How do I make the data on the Unallocated part of the " L " disk drive to be active again. If I assing the Unallocated with a drive letter...will it delete the entire partition or will it make it available to use ? The data is there...written...it just can't be read once recovered!!

    The problem is...that this whole issue took a couple seconds. Now...everything that needs to be done takes hours or days for any results! Can 1 person tell me a fix that won't take more days and won't cost me any more money ? Please...

    Thank you. I am at this forum since it was this software that caused the issues to begin with. Now after being days into this...I am still nowhere. I can't be the only person this has happened to. Please help me...thanks.
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    When it showed this was it in Disk Management also or just HDM?

    I'm also curious if the "unused space" was green (Free space) in Disk Management or "black" (Unallocated space).

    Do you know if the original partition on the drive was a Primary partition?

    Do you know if any Logical partitions ever existed on the drive?

    Windows doesn't like it when Logical partitions are "split" by a Primary partition. I don't know if that's what happened here, but what you describe sounds like it may have. XP's Disk Management will report double for just about every partition inside the Extended Partition Container. This means that a partition will show as normal (100GB NTFS, for example) and also as either Unallocated space or Free space (100GB). This results in the drive size often being displayed as double its actual size.

    When this happens it's important to only use partitioning tools that support working with "mixed" partitions. Disk Management would make a mess in a hurry. HDM 2010 (and probably the other Paragon programs) sticks to the "strict" Windows standard and also does not show them correctly.

    What version of HDM did you use?
    You can't assign a drive letter to non-partitioned space.

    Have you checked manually with the Disk Editor to see if any boot sector code shows up in the first track of the drive (sectors 1 through 62)? Some programs won't find partitions that start that low.

    When trying to recover files from a drive it may be necessary to try several different programs. Depending on the particular situation, some may work well and some may not. Most have trial versions available so you can see what they find.
     
  12. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Well, I guess I can't answer a few of the questions. I really have not done anything with Disc Management after if happened...only because I did not want to screw anything up. From what I remember going into the software...the P-Hard Disk Manager...when it scanned the drives it showed me that the drive -- Which I had as " L " had 465g of I think un-used...but maybe un-allocated space. For some reason...it split the one L drive Partition into 2 Sections - one being about 7.8g and the other being 458g of "unallocated space" and it turned black in Windows XP Disk Management. I did not do anything with the space or assign it a letter...since it asked me next if I wanted to format...which I figured would wipe all of the data...which I had been writing to successfully and without 1 problem at all.

    I used the Easus Data recovery and it found the data and I had to buy a hard drive to transfer it. That process took about 16-18 hours...and when it was done...I could not read any of the images - videos - music - nothing. It had the file sizes...and they would show up -- but the files could not be read.

    I have tried a few programs -- but none of them seem to show the files and folders. I just don't want to do anything until I know the best solution.

    I was able to recover 3 files from the hard drive -

    $AttrDef -- which shows this:

    $ S T A N D A R D _ I N F O R M A T I O N  @ 0 H $ A T T R I B U T E _ L I S T € ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ F I L E _ N A M E 0 B D B $ O B J E C T _ I D @ @  $ S E C U R I T Y _ D E S C R I P T O R P € ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ V O L U M E _ N A M E ` @   $ V O L U M E _ I N F O R M A T I O N p @ $ D A T A € ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ I N D E X _ R O O T @ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ I N D E X _ A L L O C A T I O N * € ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ B I T M A P ° € ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ$ R E P A R S E _ P O I N T À € @ $ E A _ I N F O R M A T I O N Ð @   $ E A à  $ L O G G E D _ U T I L I T Y _ S T R E A M  € 

    Then a $Boot which shows some garbles text - then
    A disk read error occurred
    NTLDR is missing
    NTLDR is compressed
    Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart
    ƒ*³É Uª N T L D R  $ I 3 0 à 0
    along with more garble....

    And $LogFile which is about 67mb.

    Since I am not a programmer...I have no clue what all this stuff is.

    Is there a way to delete certain boot files for the drive -- so it shows just the data....and it's like a fresh drive ?

    IS there a way to go into regedit and delete any mention of the drive so it will not boot up and then I can re-install ? I can't seem to find anything that will do it.

    Are there any free programs anyone would recommend to fix these issues ? If the data is there...and written...with nothing else being written to the disc...then there should be a quick way to display what is on the partitions...right ? I am at a loss...and don't want to be so hopeless - that I wipe the drive and forget the data. I can't do that...but it seems like every thing I try takes hours and hours at a pass...with no success. Anyways, I am sure you experts will have a solution. Thanks again. I will dontate to whatever once I get it back :)
     
  13. culla

    culla Registered Member

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  14. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tip about the ISO buster -- I may use it for CD's or DVD's...but my issue is with a Hard Drive and not removable data. Still...thanks :)

    It seems like a solid program that could really help.
     
  15. culla

    culla Registered Member

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    it works for hard disc too
     
  16. xtremefan

    xtremefan Registered Member

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    Hi Culla -- I have tried to view...but since there may be a corrupted or deleted partition...the program gives me nothing to look at or open on the drive. Is there a way to have it do a deep search ? Still have not found anything, but I'll keep playing with it. So far, there still has not been an easy solution. I think somehow that the old drive data got deleted or replaced with new files -- that is making the data I have not visible. I have a guy on this forum who is gonna take a look -- I found this http://www.designifx.com/drive/L-DRIVE-8-18-10-DriveRecovery2.1.jpg which I am hoping will solve everything for me -- to figure out a way to get things back to the way they where.

    I see an "Extended" on the partition. Is it possible that the drive had the split made by extending the drive -- and it screwed things up ? Who knows...but hopefully in the next few days - I can have things back and running. My fear is that I will write something to the drive -- and then it will be 10x harder to get back :) Wish me luck.
     
  17. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Hi,

    1- I have read poeple advising in this situition to clone your hard disk on another external hard disk sector by sector, I guess, and thentry all recovery on that new hard disk. I will recommend macrium free.

    2- Try to run a trial of this software.

    http://www.quetek.com/prod02.htm

    3- You might try Partition Table Doctor as well.

    Lastly WATEVER YOU DO, DO IT ON YOUR OWN RISK PLEASE. I am not an expert. And experts can can comment more on my suggestions.

    Take care
     
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