Urgent help please regarding partioning unallocated space without data loss!

By CaptainStu
May 24, 2008
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  1. Hi guys, new user here... having somewhat of a crisis! My PC has been running dog slow for months now, full of old data and programs that I don't use anymore so I backed all my important documents - photos, vids, software and all that - onto my second hard drive*

    First hard drive, partitioned into C, D and E - all partitions deleted.
    Second hard drive, was formatted, has tons of music on and now backups of all my data which is very important to me.

    PC is running XPSP2.

    Ok, I'm an IT technician and I have NEVER seen this happen before... I deleted the partitions off the first hard drive, leaving the second well alone because it has all my backups on there and then recreated a partition - so the first drive is now split into C and D. Reinstalled Windows and bam, away we go.

    However... when I went into disk management, the second hard drive is NOT showing up!! All my data is on here, we're talking photos from holidays, gigs, photography excursions and basically my entire life on there! It would've taken weeks to back it up to DVD and I have done it this way before and it worked absolutely fine.

    Now, after some frantic searching on the internet... and punching through my wall... a number of websites have suggested creating a new partition on the second hard drive, a primary partition but then NOT formatting the drive and this should then allow the drive to be recognised once again by Windows, assign it a drive letter and most of all not delete all my stuff off their.

    I am basically desperate for someone to confirm this is so... I simply cannot afford to lose all that stuff. I wanted to test it - like, put some data on a spare hard drive, take the second one with all my stuff out, put the other one in and repeat the whole process and try to partitioning and see if that works but i dont have another one spare lying around the house but I think I'm gonna get up early tomorrow, head to the local retail park and pick one up, I'm going potty over this.

    :(

    If you can't be bothered reading all that, heh, then here's the jist:

    I have a hard drive, formatted and contains lots of data, following a Windows reinstall is showing as "unallocated" in Disk Management - is it possible to create a new primary partition on that "unallocated" disk without any data loss?

    Can some kind souls put my mind to rest and give me honest answers? If so, my humblest thanks!

    Stu
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Sounds strange to me. I would use a good program such as Acronis to take a look. Also other recovery software. There are a variety of software programs (none good and free) to rescue your data, which you can find on www.tucows.com and www.majorgeeks.com.
    I would use Acronis for a first look. It can often identify these missing partitions without erasing data.
    We have very good luck recovering missing files using a number of recovery programs... even when the partition has disappeared.
    Just go slowly.
    I would put that drive in a USB enclosure and install a new drive, then using recovery software recovery all that is recoverable.
  3. CaptainStu

    CaptainStu Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've got a copy of that Acronis disk management suite and I'm just on my way down to PC World to pick up a spare small hard drive (probably a 40 gigger) and a USB enclosure and then let the fun begin.

    I think I'm gonna try and... recreate the unfortunate incident! Use this 40gb drive, put some data on it, take the drive with all my data on out, put Windows back on the first drive and then see if i CAN partition a drive with data on when its "unallocated" without losing anything.
  4. CaptainStu

    CaptainStu Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Ok, I've been to PC World now and got them bits - a nice Akasa USB enclosure which now has the hard drive with all my stuff on in it, connected to the PC and still reading as "unallocated". The new hard drive I bought is in the PC and currently formatting.
  5. CaptainStu

    CaptainStu Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Next update: it's finished formatting, I transferred some files (music, photos, documents) from my laptop over to the new hard drive and then wiped Windows off the C drive and reinstalled, when I started Windows - THE NEW HARD DRIVE WAS WORKING FINE!!

    :(

    Bad news, unrepresentative test and now seems to be indicating that the hard drive with all my stuff on (currently in the sexy Akasa enclosure) may well be damaged. It's time to try using that Acronis stuff and see what's going on.

    I dunno if it's cool to swear here so I won't bother but believe me, I'm swearing really.
  6. CaptainStu

    CaptainStu Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I could really, really use some assistance here. I ran that ActivePart software, it identified two possible partitions on the drive - one seems to cover all sectors on the drive and the other seems to start half way and run to the end.

    I have now PAID for the full licence to recover the data, clicked on the full sectors partition and clicked recover, set a few options (ie, the drive letter, not active, etc...) and then this message comes up:

    "Unable to recover the partition because it overlaps with other partitions.

    Please define and delete the existing invalid partition(s) on the disk. See the troubleshooting section in Help for more details."

    To say I'm p***ed off is an understatement, not content with facing losing everything - I've know paid $40 for the privilege. Can ANYONE at all help me?
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