TechSpot

Partition not working on hard drive

By plawlis
Sep 8, 2007
  1. My first post! I have been reading several threads, and have been pleased at the good spirit among the "posters." I hope you can help me!

    I have a Maxtor parallel ATA hard drive, w/ two partitions. It has worked fine for a couple of yrs. I keep DATA on one partition (D:). Yesterday I could not access any data on D:. C: drive works fine. When I go to Disk Management, it says D: is "healthy" and active; however, when I go looking for data there, it says, "drive not formatted; do you want to format?"

    In Computer Management window there is nothing under "File System" for D:, while C: says "NTFS." It says the capacity is 112 gig/ with 78 gig free.

    Is it possible for just one partition to be faulty?

    How can I find out if my data on D: are lost?

    Is it possible to recover the data?

    Phil
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Anything is possible in a Maxtor. The failure rate of Maxtor drives is the second highest in the industry, behind only Tri-Gem, and just before Fujitsu. This problem was so severe as to destroy the company. It was bought out by Seagate, so that more recent drives have less of a problem.
    What has been happening varies. Many have bad chips on the back of the hard drive. While many others have experienced peeling of the magnetic coating on the drive. It only takes a flaking off of a small area for that platter to be no longer detected.
    I hope I am wrong, but I suspect your drive is in the early stages of failure.
    Best to replace it as soon as possible, while you can still recover data.
    You might consider trying the Maxtor drive fitness software found at the www.maxtor.com site and the www.seagate.com site Maxtor section.
    You might also try using a Windows disc cold booted to repair mode, but if you are using a recovery disc provided by the computer manufacturer, or if you use an OEM Windows XP disc, or a Windows XP upgrade disc from a previous version, or if you use a Windows XP Academic disc, this attempt will NOT work without wiping all of your data.
    Strangely, one attempt that sometimes works for us is to order from www.microsoft.com the Service Pack 2 disc. It costs us $3.95 for shipping. During the install process of the Service Pack disc, it sometimes makes repairs that work. Some technicians believe it is actually a replacement version of Windows XP SP2.
    Please let us know what you learn from all this, of if other things worked for you.
    And good luck.
     
  3. plawlis

    plawlis TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So just a partition can be bad?

    Thanks, Raybay. So it IS possible for just one of two partitions to fail, then?

    Phil
     
  4. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714

    Anything is possible. I would download the Maxtor service tools from the Seagate site and run those - they are not destructive and will not delete any data on the drive or partition.
    My first guess is that the data was erased. Sorry - but it happens all the time.
    Data recovery is possible - some you can try yourself using free downloads you can find by googling data recovery. You can also take the drive to a professional data recovery agency who will charge you for it.
    Finally, and you may not want to hear this, you did have a backup of the data files, didn't you?
     
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    It is possible for any drive to fail on any part of the drive. It also depends on how the partitions are formed.
    It is also "possible" to repair any partition, but rarely to do so without damaging or obliterating the data enclosed.
    There are a number of simple techniqes and software that sometimes work. Look at "file recovery" software in a gurgle search, and also at www.majorgeeks.com.
    Often in failed hard drives that will not boot, it is only the first four sectors of the drive that are bad.
    Using Acronis, Ghost, System Commander, and a few others, you can change the size of your partition. Sometimes that changes the ability for the computer to detect the second partition.
    Acronis products are good, and usually not very expensive for home users.
    First I would assure that you have removed all unnecessary software, then defragment partition one.
    If your data is valuable, there are firms that will rescue the data on the partition, but the ones with which I am familiar charge $450 on up.
     
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 9,431

    Why does everyone think that the "partition" is bad. Windows sees that the D: partition is there, so obviously there is nothing wrong with the partition. Not to mention that a partition is defined by a handful of bytes and it would be extremely unlikely that a hardware failure would erase only these specific dozen bytes and leave the next dozen intact.

    It is more likely that either the filesystem - inside the partition - is corrupt. Either corrupted by software or by hardware failure.

    As Albert recommended, run the manufacturer diagnostics on the drive to check for hardware failure.

    Doesn't matter whether it is a soft or a hard problem. You have to think hard whether and what data you need to retrieve. Chances are that you are able to restore only scraps. (And, it could be that you get everything back).
     
  7. plawlis

    plawlis TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update on failed partition!

    All,
    I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath to hear the latest.
    Later that day, Thank you Jesus, the D: partition reappeared. All data there seemed intact. (I'm not sure why; I did chkdsk /f--maybe that was it?).

    A day later, however, Windows failed to load, and I got a message:

    "NTLDR is missing."

    The good news is that I have all the data on D: backed up. I have C: (which has system and program files on it) "imaged" through Acronis--but from last July, 2 mos ago!

    Currently, I've dropped the CPU and external HD off at a computer place for the next step. Thanks to all for your ideas.

    Phil
     
  8. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714

    I still think the drive is dying!
    Now you have done all the hard work, the last step of fixing the ntldr error would have been easy compared to what you have done already!
     
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