Vanished Partitions on Hard Disk

When I set up my daughter's computer a year ago I partitioned the hard drive with FDISK into 3 partitions, C: for system & programmes, D: for her own filing, and E: as a small holding area for introduced material needing assessment.  Operating system is Win95 OSR2.

Suddenly last week D: & E: drives vanished.  Not only do they no longer appear under Windows Explorer, but clicking on any reference showing in say Works, My Documents, Recycling Bin, to files on the original D: & E: drives causes that reference to vanish also.  
So far as I can ascertain the rest of the system works well.  

There is no partitioning programme on her computer so I cannot see how partitioning can be changed without drastic reformatting.
It is as if there is no partitioning, or  that  in some way the drives D: and E: are still there but hidden.
 Any advice would be appreciated.

roygretn
roygretnAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
Jason_SConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I think you can run tiramisu's trial version on a system with one hard drive.  You will need a second, and a licence if you choose to recover.  But at least, it will let you know if you can get it back.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Edited text of question.
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calacucciaCommented:
Hi Roy

Have you tried if you can see D: and E: under DOS? If not with the DOS-shell from inside windows, try to boot up in DOS-mode and try accessing the drives again.

If you can see them there, you can be pretty sure we will work out something.

Calacuccia
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Hi  Calacuccia
No sign of D: or E: under DOS Window or rebooting to DOS.
Have not yet tried rebooting with her Emergency Recovery Disk, but will try that when I get to her computer again on Christmas Eve.
Although she has Norton AntiVirus 5
I have sneaking feelings there may be a virus hiding somewhere ?
Thanks for your comment
Roygrten
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rayt333Commented:
When you partitioned the drive you didn't use the installation software that came with the HD did you? Like maybe EZ-Drive? Do you have a disk manager running (like EZ-Bios) so the computer can see a bigger HD?
This may not apply in your case but I had to ask to be sure
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rayt333Commented:
another question: If you click on properties on the "C" drive does it show the full size of the HD or just the size of the partition you setup and the rest is missing?
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JdCommented:

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-----------------------

Your Master Boot Records have been corrupted or changed some how.
OR->

A Driver could be missing or corrupted;

 
Some computers contain devices that require a specific driver in CONFIG.SYS to correctly complete the startup process, such as drivers used for partitioning, compression, video, hard disks, and so forth.

To check for missing drivers
 1. Press F8 when the Starting Windows 95 message appears, and select the Step By-Step Confirmation option.
 2. Respond Yes to all prompts. For any error messages that appear, make note of the driver involved, its location, and the specific wording of the error message. Verify that the specified driver exists in the specified location.
 
Do not remove any hard disk drivers, disk partitioning drivers, or disk compression drivers when starting Windows 95 using the Step-By-Step Confirmation option or while editing startup files. The following is a partial list of drivers that should not be removed.
 
Drivers that Should Not Be Removed

Hard disk drivers:                  

ah1544.sys  aspi4dos.sys  atdosxl.sys ilm386.sys  nonstd.sys    scsidsk.exe scsiha.sys  skydrvi.sys   sqy55.sys sstbio.sys  sstdrive.sys

Partitioning drivers:                  

dmdrvr.bin  enhdisk.sys   evdr.sys fixt_drv.sys ldrive.sys   hardrive.sys sstor.sys

Compression drivers:                  

dblspace.bin   devswap.com  drvspace.bin   sstor.exe       sswap.com      stacker.com
      
To find out about other system drivers, see the documentation for the hardware or software installed on the system.

----------------------

The Windows 95 startup process can be broken into the following steps:
 
 - The read-only memory (ROM) Basic Input-Output (BIOS) bootstrap process
 - The master boot record (MBR) and boot sector
 - The Io.sys file
 - Real-mode configuration
 - The Win.com file and the Windows 95 Environment
 
Step 1 - The ROM BIOS Bootstrap Process
---------------------------------------
 
When you start your computer, the ROM BIOS bootstrap loads from the FFFF0h
memory address. The following steps occur during the ROM BIOS bootstrap
process:
 
1. The Power On Self-Test (POST) occurs.
 
2. The A drive is checked for the existence of a boot disk.
 
3. If a boot disk is not found in the A drive, the ROM BIOS bootstrap checks for a hard disk. If a hard disk is found, the ROM loader transfers control to the operating system loader.
 
4. The master boot record and partition table are read.
 
   Microsoft and several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have defined a Plug and Play BIOS specification. This specification defines the interactions between the Plug and Play BIOS, Plug and Play devices, and option ROMs. If your computer has a Plug and Play BIOS, the following additional steps are performed:
 
5. The Plug and Play BIOS checks non-volatile random access memory (RAM) for input/output (I/O) port addresses, interrupt request lines (IRQs), direct memory access (DMA) channels, and other settings needed to configure Plug and Play devices on the computer.
 
6. All Plug and Play devices found by the Plug and Play BIOS are disabled.
 
7. A map of used and unused resources is created.
 
8. The Plug and Play devices are configured and re-enabled, one at a time.
 
Windows 95 Configuration Manager queries the Plug and Play BIOS for device information, and then queries each Plug and Play device for its configuration.
 
If your computer does not have a Plug and Play BIOS, Plug and Play devices are initialized using their default settings when you start your computer. These devices may be reconfigured dynamically when Windows 95 starts.
 
Step 2 - The Master Boot Record and Boot Sector
 
The master boot record determines the location of the boot partition by reading the partition table located at the end of the master boot record.

Once the location of the boot partition is determined, the master boot record passes control to the boot sector in that partition. The boot sector contains the disk boot program and a table of disk characteristics.

The boot sector checks the BIOS Parameter Block (BPB) to find the location of the root directory, and then copies the Io.sys file from the root directory into memory.
 
Well get started with what we have posted and get back to us.

JD
 
 
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Roygretn To rayt333
1)No original partitioning was done with FDISK only, manual reformatting, and manual loading of OS, with no use of other installation software.
2)Under Properties C:Drive, the full size of the HD shows.
Thanks for your comment

Roygretn To Jd
The operating config.sys and autoexec.bat are minimal files with no drivers called except CD-Rom.
When I get access to my daughter's computer again on Christmas Eve I'll have a go at the step by step procedure you suggest.
Thanks for your comment and offer of data recovery help
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j_powersCommented:
If you look under FDISK, does it show the D: and E: drives, or does it say that those two drives are NON DOS drives.

Also, go into safe mode, and see what happens there.

I would run a full scan on the system - virus, scandisk, and defrag.

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Jason_SCommented:
Also Post the results of a "FDISK /Status" command.

It sounds like you actualy have two physical hard drives in the system, and the second one has failed in some way.  Do correct me if I'm wrong.
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LermitteCommented:
What if you use Fdisk /MBR
This will recreate the master boot record.

Mario
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rdavesCommented:
From the comments, it sounds like something really wierd has happened to your Dau's computer.  Indeed, it could be a virus.  Or, your daughter has done something that she doesn't know she has done.  In this case, you are without footprints in the snow and may have to just start over.
   
Sounds like Windows thinks that Dau's computer has only one drive and that is the C drive.  Rather than try to fix the mess you now have, it would be better to scrub your hard drive and start over. See CAVEAT, below.

Save all your data first.  Be sure to get the latest virus detection software and do not reload this data until you have checked it.  If you have not recently done so, get on the net and update your virus checker.   Make sure you save all your email addresses and any email messages that you want to keep.  If you have downloaded anything that you don't have software for, be sure to save it so you don't have to re-download it.    It's a good idea to create a new startup disk if you don't have one that is real recent.  Scrub your hard drive by reformatting it.  Re-partition the drive, if you wish.   Then re-load your software.  Then re-load your data (after virus checking it thoroughly).

Hopefully, Dau has back-ups of all her data and any programs that she may have downloaded or borrowed. An investment in a backup system is always a good idea.  I keep all my data on a Zip drive, and back my Zip disk regularly.  It is also a good idea to have some other means of backup, like a HD Mirroring drive or a tape backup for all your programs.

CAVEAT:  If Dau has not backed up her data, the above procedure will erase it.  It may be possible to get a professional data recovery person involved, but that is expensive.  Best to bite the bullet and recreate the data, unless it's an unbacked Masters Thesis or something like that. And, of course, it's your decision.  

Best insurance is a well organized backup regime.  
Hope this helps.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
From roygretn
To j_powers & Jason-S
I have asked my daughter to run FDISK/Status and will post the result
There is only a single hard drive in the system and after the loss of partitioning, otherwise all seems to be well, except that all information on the old D: & E:  islost or just hidden?

To Lermitte [Mario]
I'll look at FDISK/MBR when I go north on Christmas Eve if FDISK/Status looks at all hopeful.

To rdaves
I am reluctant to give up hope yet that all is lost [no backups despite warnings] but would really like to know HOW such a problem could possibly arise !
If all else fails I may just have to put it down to experience and be even more meticulous in my own backup
regime - another mystery of computers.
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rdavesCommented:
Backups are worth the investment.
I shall watch this question for what you found after Christmas.  Interesting problem.
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Jason_SCommented:
FDISK/MBR does not have any options to look at.  You simply run it.

If you have Norton Disk Doctor (NDD), it will most likely be able to find, and reinitialize the D:, and E: drive.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
From  roygretn

To J-powers and Jason-S
My daughter reports the result of running FDISK/Status as
Disc      Drive      Mbytes            Free      Usage
1            2500                  100%
      C:      1500      although under My Computer/ Properties of C:it thinks that C: occupies the full 2.5MB            
Are there any associated risks running FDISK/MBR  ?
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Jason_SCommented:
FDISK/MBR will rewrite the Master Boot Record of the drive.  The data is normaly fine.  But in your case, I suggest running NDD on the drive before FDISK/MBR.  NDD will also give you the option to create an undo disk.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
From roygretn To Jason_S
The table of results on running
FDISK/Status got a bit garbled in transit - the first line should have indicatedDrive 1, 2500MBytes, Zero Free,100% usage.  The next line indicates C: drive has is 1500MBytes in size although My Computer/C: Properties induicates the full 2.5 GB

I ran NDD as suggested. It agreed there were problems but after requesting to fix, it found only the old E: partition of 300 MB, but not the old D: of 700MB.  Running FDISK/MBR led to no discernable effect.  Running NDD again, it agreed there was still an error in Drice C:, with an invalid Disk Table in the Boot Record.  Clicking Yes to correct, led to DOS Boot Record could not be repaired, unable to continue testing to end of disk.
FDISK/Status  now indicates that Free is now 697, 72% usage
and C: drive is 1500MB
D:drive is 303MB.
The old D: of 700 MB is still not to be seen.

Does this mean that the more valuable old D: is irrecoverable


To Jd
Bootlog.txt shows 6 failures to load
ndis2sup.vxd, ebios, vshare,  EBIOS, MIRR, SDVXD
Are any of these significant to the problem ?

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JdCommented:
"Are any of these significant to the problem ?"  No.

* LoadFailed = dsound.vxd

* LoadFailed = ebios

* LoadFailed = ndis2sup.vxd

* LoadFailed = vpowerd

* LoadFailed = vserver.vxd

* LoadFailed = vshare

* InitCompleteFailed = SDVXD

NOTE: The following lines may appear only in the Windows 98 Bootlog.txt file:

* Deviceinitfailed = MTRR

* SysCritInitFailed = JAVASUP

* DeviceInitFailed = MTRR

These load failures do not necessarily mean that there is a problem. It is common for some, if not all, of these to fail, depending on your system configuration.

JD
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j_powersCommented:
The FDISK /Status did not give me the information that I was looking for. It says that you have a C: drive, but does not talk about anything else.

Do this:

Run FDISK, and choose option 4. This will tell you about all the drives

The D; and E: will be Logical Drives. I want to know if they show up in FDISK as Logical Drives, Non-DOS drives, or do not show up at all.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
To  j_powers

Ran FDISK Chose Option 4.     Gave
Partition      Status      Type      MBytes      System      Usage
C: 1      A      Pri Dos      1500      FAT32      60%
    2            Ext Dos        303            12%
Selecting "Logical Drives".       Gave
D:Holding             303      FAT16      99%
Total Extended DOS Partition Size 303 MB
 This used to be E:Holding
No sign of the old D:Files - the most important loss.
Thanks for your interest & support
roygretn
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j_powersCommented:
Are there 4 or 5 Options in FDISK. If 5, what happens when you choose 5?
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
To j_powers
Only 4 Options under FDISK
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Jason_SCommented:
It sounds like you may have physical bad blocks on Sector zero on the drive.  This normaly is unrecoverable, and the drive would need to be replaced.  But I may be wrong.

Try running NDD again to see if the results are the same.

There is a utility that will attempt to recover files from the drive.  This does require a second physical hard disk.  It is called Tiramisu (http://www.recovery.de)  It is not free, but it will tell you (for free) what it will be able to recover.  Then to use it, you have to pay for it.
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j_powersCommented:
I may have missed it, but what brand hard drive is this? I ask because some companies have diagnostic disks that you can download from their websites that do a lot more than what NDD or other 3rd party programs can do. In the past we have used the Western Digital disk repair tool, and it succeeded where Norton failed.

Juast a thought.
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
To Jason_S
Ran NDD again - same result.
Initially showed "Invalid Disk Table in Boot Recoed"
Attempting to fix brought up "Boot Record Coud Not Be Repaired"

Thanks for comment re Tiramisu but it sounds as if no use to my daughter with only a single physical hard drive.

To j_powers
Hard Drive is a Fujitsu MPA3026ATU.  I'll try to find their Website in case they can offer diagnostic help.
Thanks for your comment
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JdCommented:
roygretn

Here are some additional THOUGHTS suggestions you might consider;

1. Do you have TweakUi installed on her PC?
If you do have TweakUi do you remember disabling the drives?
If not go to this address and read over the commetary about the PowerToys for Windows 95.

http://hotfiles.zdnet.com/cgi-bin/texis/swlib/hotfiles/pcmag_info.html?fcode=000002

Install TweakUI, launch it from Control Panel, and click the My Computer tab.

You'll see a list of drive letters from A: to Z:, with a check box and an icon next to each.
 
An icon with a red X below the drive indicates that no drive with that letter is accessible.
 
Any accessible drive that has a check in its box will be displayed in Explorer, so just check all the boxes.

2. If you're a Regedit expert, navigate to;
***Note Backup BEFORE
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer, and set the DWord data for the NoDrives value to 00,00,00,00.

An example to show No Drives would be as;
To turn off the display of local or networked drives when you click on My Computer:
1.Open RegEdit
2.Go to HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
3.Add a New DWORD item and name it NoDrives
4.Give it a value of 3FFFFFF
5.Now when you click on My Computer, none of your drives will show.

My settings for C:\,D:\,E:\,and F:\ are;

00 ff ff 03

Have you checked your CMOS settings?
Have you ever used disk compression?

Now just a word here. The above comments are just to try and expand on the current direction of solutions, not that I see them as off track just to add some more tracks.

JD





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Jason_SCommented:
Jd:  Good point.  If this were the case, you would still be able to boot to DOS mode, and see the drive.
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JdCommented:
Jason_S

Yes, ah, ... Of course I read the entire thread! And, um, ah, ... I was just testing you guys, yes, just testing. And of course you passed, ... Good job!! I run these tests every so often just to keep you guys on your toes. And I never tell a lie, and I am not full of it, and well, thanks for pointing this out ;-)






Jeeze ...
<html>
<body>

<p><strong><font color="#000000">I am so embarrased ... </font><font color="#FF0000"><em>(BLUSH!!!)</em></font></strong></p>
</body>
</html>


JD
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Message for Jason_S
The 200 points I set for this question are clearly yours.
My daughter sends many thanks for your advice which has lead to her now slowly recovering her missing files.  At some future time we will worry about the missing partition.
The Tirasimu utility is now named EasyRecovery, with information available at [http//:www.ontrack.com].   The free version can be downloaded and used to recover up to 5 files at a time even to a floppy disk.  
It is rather tedious without a second hard drive to download to but it can be done.
A satisfactory solution to the file recovery problem but the mystery as to how the partitions vanished in the first place remains.
Thanks to you and all the other contributors who have tried to help us.
roygretn
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Message for Jason_S
The 200 points I set for this question are clearly yours.
My daughter sends many thanks for your advice which has lead to her now slowly recovering her missing files.  At some future time we will worry about the missing partition.
The Tirasimu utility is now named EasyRecovery, with information available at [http//:www.ontrack.com].   The free version can be downloaded and used to recover up to 5 files at a time even to a floppy disk.  
It is rather tedious without a second hard drive to download to but it can be done.
A satisfactory solution to the file recovery problem but the mystery as to how the partitions vanished in the first place remains.
Thanks to you and all the other contributors who have tried to help us.
roygretn
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rayt333Commented:
roygretn
You can pick the comment that Jason_S made and along the title bar there should be a option to accept that comment as the answer
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
To  rayt333
Thanks for the comment, will do.

To Jason_S
After a night of recoveries, my daughter reports that .rtf files are recovered perfectly but a number of other types, such as  .bmp are not, even some .wps and .wdb return unreadable files.  Will suggest she try manipulating the "Bad File Acceptance %" to improve the situation.
Thanks again
roygretn
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roygretnAuthor Commented:
Jason_S
See my comments earlier this day.
Thanks
roygretn
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Jason_SCommented:
Thanks, and glad to help.
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