I think I dorked my FAT...HELP

By bostonbullit
Nov 5, 2003
  1. Hey All,

    The other night I was playing a little Max Payne 2 (good stuff BTW) when my USB mouse stopped responding. I exited the game and the XP desktop refused to come back up. I tried the standard things, ALT+TAB..CTL+ALT+DEL, but nothing worked so I was forced to hit the reset button. When the machine tried to reboot it came up with a simple command prompt instead of the XP Pro GUI. I did a DIR and saw the files on the drive but in 8.3 format. I did a hard reset and the system then refused to post. I checked all my drive connections and managed to get it back to the command prompt, but the drive was definately acting bad. I managed to copy some of my data off to the free space on an old spare drive I had but didn't have room to get it all. I then tried to reinstall XP off of my original install CD, but the installer said that the C: drive wasn't formatted or was formatted in an unknown format. I loaded up the recovery console and attempted to fix it with a FIXMBR, which didn't help, so I went back in and did a FIXBOOT. I also tried to run CHKDSK which told me that there were unrecoverable errors and stopped. After doing this I rebooted off of the drive and got the NTLDR missing message. I grabbed a spare old drive from work and brought it home and put XP on it. After that booted I tried to look at the drive that my data is on and it showed as blank. In properties it came back as a 10meg FAT formatted drive, when it is in fact a 60gig FAT32 drive! Drive Manager still sees that it's a 60gig drive, and FDISK says it's a 60gig FAT32 drive and a system partition.

    I need some of the data that is now stuck on this drive, enough that I have started contacting recovery companies ($$$), but I figured I would check here since there looks to be some knowledgable folks. I've been doing this type of thing (building computers and such) for many years, but I really screwed this one up and I need guidance.

    Peter D.
    Boston, MA
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    First of all, don't write anything to the drive. The more you write, the less you can recover later. In fact, chkdsk can cause problems too (see chkdsk deleted almost everything).

    If you search here for recovery things, you'll find quite a lot of threads with partition problems.

    There are some apps that can recover data and even lost partitions, I've previously recommended testdisk and will do now again. Lost and Found is another app, though I haven't used it myself.
  3. bostonbullit

    bostonbullit TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks much for the info. I'm a regular on a number of message boards covering everything from Austin Minis to digital cameras, and I know how much I hate it when someone posts the same question that has been answered 100 times. I do apologize for that. I was leaving the house this morning to come to work and I wanted to get the question out there in the hopes that someone would point me in the right direction before I got to work, so I didn't have time to research it much here.

    I will review the other threads on the subject, and if anyone else has anything new to add please feel free!

  4. bostonbullit

    bostonbullit TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I think I have the problem fixed. I stopped off at CompUSA and picked up a new HDD (not the cheapest but fast, no shipping) on the way to work yesterday. Last night I put the drive in the system and installed XP on it. After an hour of patching it was up and running and I added the problem drive to it. I then used GetDataBack to make an image of the entire drive, took a couple extra hours but the drive has been behaving erratically and I wanted to be safe. I let it analyze the image overnight and then had it rebuild the file/dir structure before I left for work. At a quick glance it looks like it was able to recover 98% of my data, give or take. I'll know more when I get home tonight and get a closer look.

    Thanks for the suggestions Mictlantecuhtli, you put me on the right track and probably saved me a grand or so based on data recovery service estimates!

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