alright, heres the short story - events are short and obviously chronological. - had a drive with 1 partition. - received beta of different operating system. - created separate partition for new os. - installed new os on second partition and subsequently decided i didnt want it. - logged back into win xp and removed second partion and enlarged first artition to full capacity. - hit commit - heres where the fun begins - at the stage where it said "locking drive c:" the computer blue screened and upon reboot said it couldnt read the boot device. - heres where the fun turns into full on extreem good times - i go to purchase the lastest version of DDS (i used partitonexpert 2k3 for the first steps) and they never send me the serial number. i checked my spam folder. it never came. i waited an hour and a half. mind you - i only bought the latest version because i had read it was able to recover lost partitions etc... figured latest and greated - if it saves 4 years of engineering drawings ive done for a client then it would be well worth it. - all it tells me is that the partition i want to save has errors on it. and suddenly it thinks its a fat partition. or so i gathered. so i have this program ive installed on another drive called r-studio - ntfs. its helped me recover MANY MANY MANY erased files in the past... files that were on partitions that have not existed in months... so ive deep scanned my harddrive now and have found practically every file in creation on there - even the important drawings i need. but many of them have incorrect things that make them unrecoverable... and mind you - this drive hasnt had any exta data written to it. just the "locking drive c:" in partition expert... so what does that do to the drive? is there any tool which can find the invalidated file structures that dds/pe create when they "lock" a drive? im sure this is said all the time but "i wish i had this stuff backed up",, because its basically 5 years of irreplacable cad and solidworks drawings... funny, this happens just as im building my raid5 storage array... my luck.