Data Recovery on an NTFS drive?

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The Czar's picture
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Hello All,

I have an old HP Pavilion 6635 repackaged into an IBM Aptiva case. It's a 533 Celeron with 256MB RAM, with 3 IDE drives and an IDE CDROM Drive. I used it to serve music, hold pictures, other files, as a central point for printing, and generally to back data up to incase one of the clients (mainly my IBM laptop) has an issue and needs to be reformatted. It runs headless, using VNC to control it from the GUI, if necessary.

The other day I tried to access it through Windows Explorer. I couldn't get a response on the mapped drives. Then I tried VNC, no dice. Then I tried a straight ping on the IP addy. Couldn't resolve the address. According to my router, it wasn't in the client list. (It has a static IP address, so I know it wasn't an addressing issue). I hit the reset button and waited a few minutes. It's set to come up into Windows and load VNC as a service, so once the log-in prompt comes up I can remote control into the PC and log in. It wasn't responding to VNC. My router didn't have it listed as a client. I powered it down and hooked it up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Then I started it again. It passed the POST and tried to load Windows. No dice. I got an error saying that the machine couldn't find the operating system. No problem, I wiped the drive and reinstalled Windows. Here's a breakdown of how the drives in my system were configured:

C: - 13GB - System drive. Only contained Windows & Program installs, as well as the Swap space for Windows.
D: - CDRW
E: - 20GB - Misc. Backup, as well as compressed archives containing files which were housed on F:
F: - 40GB - Music, live backups, as well as the data drive for my private FTP.

So, I wiped the C: drive and reinstalled Windows. I come up into Windows and, I can't see E: or F:. They are in the BIOS as functioning, and they are in Disk Management, but it appears the partitions are not recognizable. I've run utilities and I know that sector 0 is corrupted. I've run a Demo copy of a Disk Recovery tool, and I know my data is there, but I can't retrieve it without registering, which will set me back ~$150CDN. I don't have that kind of cash, and I'd really like to get my files back, if at all possible. Does anyone know of a free disk recovery tool, or a way to repair the NTFS boot sector?

On the old FAT drives, you could boot into DOS and run FDISK with the /MBR switch and everything would be fine again, but that won't work for NTFS, as DOS can't see NTFS (without special drivers).

Does anyone have any ideas out there as to how I could rememdy this?

Thanks,

The Czar

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
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What version of Windows did y

What version of Windows did you install?

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The Czar's picture
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Re: What Version....

I installed Windows 2000, SP3, as it was the first copy of Windows I had available to me at the time.

Cheers,

The Czar

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Try NTFSDOS. It's not free fo

Try NTFSDOS. It's not free for the pro version, but I think $30 instead of $150 is a much better choice. They also have a functioning demo version, but I don't remember what one I used once for a customer.

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The Czar's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Success!

I have found a way to get my data back! I downloaded a program called PC Inspector File Recovery and it works fantastically! Best of all, it is free!

Thanks to all those who replied and offered their advice.

Cheers,

The Czar

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BTW i missed this thread unti

BTW i missed this thread until just now, but I wanted to say that with windows 2000/xp/2003 there is an issue that sometimes occurs with drives.

Its not really an "issue" but more of something that you need to be aware of. Bascially, when you setup your drives in Disk Managment, you have the option of setting up "dynamic" drives. That is fine (dynamic drives give you the fun stuff like software raids, spanning, mirroring, etc) however if you put that drive/drives into another system or format your system drive and put a fresh install of windows on there, the drive signature (or whatever its called) needs to be imported before the logical drive will be recognized by windows again. What you do is go into Disk Management and right click on the drive and then click on Import and it will then import the drive so that you can use it.

I wonder if that pc inspector program actually did that for you. Good job on recovering the data though.

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The Czar's picture
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Re: Dynamic Disks

Bobotech,

I'm not sure if that was the case or not. I know that I normally create Primary NTFS partitions on the drive, with the smallest sector size possible. I was unable to retrieve all the data, but what was important I got back (there was a presentation belonging to my g/f on there and some pictures of our camping trailer which were unrecoverable). Everything else, other than the aforementioned items, was fully recognized.

Cheers,

The Czar

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