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Recovering deleted Partition table with Winternal's Disk Commander

Ok guys, get ready to laugh at my stupidity. Last night I was re-installing windows xp on a client's computer so I used an external USB HDD I have to back up all her files. This HDD also has all of the ISO's of my programs on it and I have no backup of it, because I haven't been able to buy another 200GB HDD to make a backup. Well, then I rebooted the computer  into windows setup, with the USB drive still plugged in, and proceeded to delete all the partitions so I could re-install windows. You can probably guess what I just did. I deleted all the partitions, then started looking at the screen harder and realized it was showing 2 hard drives. I turned around and asked her, "Did you have 2 hard drives in this computer?". And then I hit me right upside the head in a very unpleasant way as I realized that  I had just deleted the partition table in MY hard drive. So now I'm begging for help! I started up Disk Commander from Winternals and I can see the partition table, but when I click on the radio button to Create Entry to rebuild the partition table, it gives me an error saying I need to make a boot CD and do it from there. well, I've wasted 7 CDs trying to make this boot CD following their directions perfectly, but I either get an error saying can't find NTLDR or if I try to make it in Nero, it'll boot into windows setup, but then ask me for my windows installation disk, and once I put that in, it gets to were it says it can't find the dskcmmnd.sys file that's on the other disk, so setup aborts and I'm back at ground zero. Any help on getting my partition table back would be greatly greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance! Oh, and It is a Maxtor 200GB HDD and it had only one FAT32 partition. THANKS!
1 Solution
LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hi mthiel,

As this is a FAT32 partition (or was)... try this tool to re-create the FAT table:


LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
btw, a lot of answers from your previous question also apply here: http:Q_20952598.html
Check the tools in the list of file recovery programs

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mthielAuthor Commented:
Hi guys... Sorry it took so long for me to come back and finalize this post. These partition problems I had, prompted me to start an in depth study into partition recovery which I was going to post in here, hence the long wait, but I just haven't had the time yet to finish all my testing. I didn't want you guys to have to wait any more for your points, though, so I'll just do a little quickie of some of the info I have. As a recap, I had lost the partition information on my external USB HDD. I was able to recover all of the partition info and restore it using Winternal's Disk Commander. I found that Disk Commander could scan my USB HDD and give me the partition information from Window's, but it could not fix the drive from within windows. I had to reboot with the Disk Commander Boot Disk to actually do the repair. The DOS scan on my 200GB USB HDD took approximately 3.25 days to complete. It scans about 2GB in 45 minutes. After the scan it did correctly display my partition info and restored it perfectly. Although I was happy I got all of my information back, I don't think that a partition repair should take this long! So I'm currently studying and putting together some methods and programs I think are better for this, and I will post all the info I've gathered plus the programs as soon as I'm completed, which will hopefully be soon. The main hang up is repairing a USB drive. If you can take your drive out and plug it into your IDE port, you will have a much easier time of it. Getting these programs to work from DOS with USB support is the interesting part to work out. I'm working on creating a boot disk that will have DOS USB driver support, with a bunch of different proggies on it, and when that project is completely I'll upload it somewhere and provide a link in here in case anyone wants it. Well, here's some of the programs for Partition Recovery I've found and am working with. CrazyOne gave a link in the above post for file recovery programs, but my goal was not recovering the files on my hard drive but actually recreating the partition table. I do recommend, though, that if possible use one of the file recovery tools he mentioned in that post to get a copy of your files off of your hard drive before you start working on it, as you just might mess up your hard drive beyond repair and then you'd have no chance of getting your files back! So, anyway, here's some progs that I hope you will find useful:

FFAT29 - Mentioned above by LucF

Acronis Recovery Expert

Active@Partition Recovery

DiskPatch v1.0

FixDiskTable - uses Linux OS, but recognizes all partition types

GNU Parted - uses Linux OS, but recognizes all partition types, but doesn't scan to find the lost partition table

gPart - uses Linux OS, but recognizes all partition types, scans and guess partition info and can restore it.

Test Disk v5.2 - for DOS, Windows and Linux - will need to be compiled with CygWin

Winternal's Disk Commander

And last but not least, good old FDISK. If you know what your partition table looks like, you *should* be able to go into fdisk and recreate the partitions. But you MUST do it exactly as it was before!!

I hope this helps someone a little bit, and like I mentioned I will be creating that Boot Disk with USB support, so be watching for it! LucF, I am awarding the points to you, as you were the only one that tried to give me a program particular to my problem (although that program doesn't support USB devices in and of itself - maybe with some DOS USB drivers I will be able to get it to work, I'm testing that now), but there was seriously a lack of HOW-TO from you and CrazyOne and everyone else. Maybe this subject is just not well known with members here, but hopefully after all my testing I'll be able to provide a good How-To manual.
Be advised that starting with Windows 95 or maybe even DOS 6.22 using FDISK to recover (re-create) a deleted partitions will cause further damage to data.

This is because FDISK writes some data (write test) to each 63th (or so) sector of disk when prepearing to create a partition. This is indicated by a message like "verifying drive integrity" with percentages counting.

So my recommendation on this matter is: never ever launch FDISK on a computer when hard disk damage is present or suspected. The only reasonably exception is the FDISK /STATUS command which displays current partition layout.
did u get the bootdisk already done?
im having the exact same problem, my partition table on my usb disk is broken...

well, write me an email in case anyone knows how to help,

thanks in advance!
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