Windows XP HDD partition problem -- data lost


TS Rookie
I have Windows XP SP3 that would not boot to the desktop on a 'Normal' boot. The system has 3 SATA HDD & 1 SATA DVD-RW on 3 Red SATA ports on the Motherboard & 1 Black SATA port on the mother board. I apologize, but sadly I do NOT remember if the DVD drive or one of the HDD was in the Black SATA port. I'm not REALLY sure I understand the difference, but...

The system would boot up 'almost' to the desktop, so I was able to boot up in Safe Mode. Once I could get to the desktop I looked at the System log in Event Viewer & it showed that the controller was reporting drive errors on Hard Drive 0 (NOT the boot drive). It was happening so much that it was virtually filling the Event Viewer & making it hard to see anything else in there & kept the system from being able to boot to the desktop. It never made it to where it said Windows was loading my personal settings. I have never seen a NON-boot drive keep an XP system from being able to boot up.

Once I made it to where I could see the Event Viewer messages, I shut the system down & disconnected the "bad" drive & restarted the system. It then booted up fine, but when I looked at the event Viewer is STILL showed Hard Drive 0 errors. I thought that it might be a bad cable, so I shut the system down again & connected the SATA cable that was connect to Hard Drive 0 & moved exchanged it with the one on Hard Drive 1 & booted the system.

I looked in the Event Viewer & it was STILL showing Hard Drive 0 errors, so I opened "Disk Management" & it thought the hard drive that I took out was still in the system. At this point it was actually in another room! Disk Management showed hard drive errors, so I right clicked on the drive (that wasn't even IN the system) & chose "Delete Partition" & that made the drive errors stop. Remember, THAT hard drive was NOT in the system at the time. I rebooted the system & looked in Drive Management & it reported "Drive Missing". When I looked in Event Viewer, it STILL had Hard Drive 0 errors!!

NOW, I suspect that this is REALLY a power issue & NOT a hard drive or controller problem. My power supply has 3 leads:
1) Has 1 SATA type & 2 IDE type type power connector
2) Has 3 SATA type Connectors
3) Has 2 IDE type & 1 Floppy type power connector

I shut the system down again, put the "bad" drive in the system, disconnected all of the SATA cables & power cables. Plugged the 3 HDD in the 3 Red SATA ports, left the DVD uplugged, moved the power cables. Of course, I figured that since there where 3 SATA power connectors on one lead, it would be OK to plug in 3 hard drives.Keep in mind that this system has been running this way for 3 years with showing this problem, although now that I think about it the boot drive has failed 2 times, BUT they were all Seagate 500GB drives & I have had those fail in several other systems FAR more often than the Hitatchi or Samsung. However, the WD drives have failed just as often as the Seagate....

Since I now suspected that this was a power problem, I decided to plug in only 2 of the HDD in the 3 SATA power lead & plugged the remaining HDD in the SATA power lead that the DVD was using & I left the DVD disconnected. I booted the system.

NOW my question / Problem!! The drive that I took out of the system thinking it was bad, now has NO partition!! When I deleted the partition on the HDD (even though it was NOT in the system at the time), that partitions are gone! I have not done anything else to the drive since I found this problem, so does ANYONE have ANY idea what I might be able to do to bring the partitions & my 1TB of data back????

In UNIX there are format commands commands that can bring back files because they're not REALLY gone the allocation table is just not looking in the right place or something. I realize this was a L-O-N-G & Boring story, but I had to go through the whole thing to explain the problem & hopefully get a solution.

Thank you in advance. I would REALLY appreciate any suggestions on what I can try.