Checkdisk deleted entire hard disk contents

By eayor
Mar 5, 2006
  1. hello all,
    here is my problem. I am having a hard disk on my pc (Western Digital, 250GB) which i use to store any kind of no systemic files (program setups, mp3s, movies, pics etc). Today i tried to access a folder but i coudnt do so cause it was reported as corrupted. I tried to delete it but i couldnt. I tried to delete a couple more folders but i couldn't (all of them were reported as corrupted). I then restarted my pc, that initiated a checkdisk operation - which i coundnt imagine it would be harmful). This operation erased about 99% of the hd contents (about 50GB) !! . The message showing was : deleting orphan file,segment XXXX (or a similar one).
    Is there a way to get back the data ? ( i already tried unsuccesfully GetDataBack for NTFS )
    Thx in advance

    Athlon XP 1,7, 1256GB RAM
    2 * HD
    1. 120GB , 4 partitions ,one is the system
    2. 250GB, no partition, the erased one :(
    Windows XP pro (no SP installed)
  2. Massacres

    Massacres TS Rookie

    Same issue with me

    I was on the computer tried to access my 2nd drive (250 gig) and it told me there was a read error, I then restarted my pc, that initiated a checkdisk operation - didnt think it would be harmful. it erased everything except one folder with about 5 mg of data in it, all my family pix, gone! complete file structure gone...

    Glad to know im no the only one, but i need to get that data back... and i don't have the luxury of sending it to some fancy place for $500.00
  3. lgmagone

    lgmagone TS Rookie

    Orphan file segment

    I believe the problem that ya'll are having is the 137gb limit of Windows XP with no service pack. This is a known problem with Windows XP Home Edition. I don't know if it is a problem with Professional or not.

    The problem is Windows XP with no service packs will not properly recognize a hard drive with a size over 137gb. In order to use a larger hard drive, one must install SP2 which will enable the 48-bit LBA and hard drives will work fine.

    Be careful if you reinstall Windows after using a large hard drive with SP2. CHKDSK will find lots of orphan file segments and most of your files will be corrupted.

    My solution was to reinstall SP2. All of the files returned to their original location and I didn't have to do anything else.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,143   +595

    CHKDSK is invoked at boot time ONLY when there was a major error in the prior running of the system.
    CHKDSK may well look to be a nightmare but in reality, the data was actually
    fouled up before chkdsk was invoked. The filesystem was
    corrupted and even though the file names appeared, the data was already
    trashed. The bigger issue for you now is the missing partition table! Without it, all data gone.

    Please confirm that this HD was attached for many months and has been operating
    normally until just recently! If so, then CHKDSK was correct and the HD just
    went South (ie died). If on the other hand, you just attached the drive and
    attempted to delete some files/folders when the HD was visible for the first
    time, then lgmagone may be right

  5. lgmagone

    lgmagone TS Rookie

    I'm confident that the only reason why this problem occured was because he resintalled Windows XP SP1 on a computer running a harddrive larger than 137GB that was previously running SP2.

    All you have to do is cancel the CHKDSK and reinstall SP2. Don't try to use additional tools to "fix" the harddrive, simply cancel CHKDSK and then install the new service pack.

    All your old files will reappear. If you've tried to fix it with other tools (Norton, Defrag, etc) then you may be out of luck.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,143   +595

    if the Disk Manager shows a healthy filesystem AND the system would boot into
    a runnable condition, I might agree as the missing files would be moved for a pending

    CHKDSK does not do this operation but is ONLY used to correct errors on the HD.

    I strongly doubt that the old files 'will reappear' -- sorry.
  7. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    I haven't heard of CHKDSK removing either healthy files! Even if you had checked both 'fix file system errors' and 'scan and attempt recovery of bad sectors', the error checking wouldn't wipe out good files, folders or a good sector!

    I strongly suspect both of you already had corrupt hard drives.
  8. lgmagone

    lgmagone TS Rookie

    No the hard drives aren't corrupt. Windows (no service pack) does not support 48-bit Logical Block Addressing while SP1 and SP2 do. (I need to correct my previous post - installing either SP1 or SP2 will fix the problem.)

    Microsoft addresses this in the KB by saying that you will run into problems if:

    "You install an earlier version of Windows on a disk partition that was previously created by a 48-bit aware operating system, such as Windows XP SP1. And that disk partition is equal to or larger than the current addressable limit of 137 GB."

    The problem you experience is the deleting of orphan file records. The solution to this problem is to install SP1 or SP2 which allows you to enable reading 48-bit LBA.

    I include this information for people who reinstall Windows on a large capacity hard drive to alert them to a solution prior to reformatting their hard drive. If you're not convinced this is a solution, I invite you to give it a try (reinstall windows on your large hard drive) and test it out, but I think this is a far better solution than anything else.
  9. lgmagone

    lgmagone TS Rookie

    By the way, CHKDSK is run automatically at the end of the reinstall. It's not something that you try to do, it is run automatically. You can cancel (and I highly recommend it) if you are near your computer at time of reboot.
  10. timcole

    timcole TS Rookie

    I had this very same problem. It started when I was experiencing slowness that I attributed to my OS (Win XP, SP2). A quick Internet search found that SP3 had just become available, so I checked to see if that was out of Beta. It seemed to be so I called for the upgrade, but it failed in installation. My PC would not reboot -- I couldn't even get to Safe Mode.
    Using this Harddrive as a USB slave on my laptop (Win Vista), I saw that all my files were complete and accessible, so I purchased a smaller harddrive to use as my boot drive. I reinstalled WinXP, but I had forgotten that my version was before any Service Packs and it would not recognize my 250Gb drive, which I had reinstalled as a secondary drive. I watched the reinstall almost all the way through, but I had to take a bathroom break.
    When I returned, Chkdsk had already initialized and started -- I was staring at a continually refreshing screen that said it was deleting orphan files. Even though I nearly panicked, I had learned from experience not to interrupt Chkdsk. I let it go to completion. Examination of the disk from my laptop found only a handful of files, but they took up nearly all the space on the disk, indicating to me that all my files were probably intact but not addressable.
    I immediately realized my problem and disconnected the original 250gb disk and put it on the shelf, where it remains, untouched, even now, a year later.
    I have upgraded (successfully now) to WinXP, SP3, and after reading all these posts on this forum and on others, I want to attempt to reconnect my problem drive as a secondary on the XP, SP3, PC; boot into Safe Mode, and initiate Chkdsk to process this secondary for errors.
    Or should I install my problem drive as primary and reboot and let Chkdsk discover the problem and attempt to fix it?
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