Normally I find my answers to my questions pretty easily by reading previous inquirer's posts but this time, I'm totally puzzled and need some help with this one. I must admit though to be pretty pessimistic about the outcome of this one. I've never seen or heard of anything like this before so please forgive me for such a long problem description.
Here we go.... About a week ago, after a series of bad luck with my computers, I tried backing up my data contained in my new system (runs a SATA 250 GB HDD) with Norton System Ghost 2003 which has always worked in the past for me in my other system (old system runs a standard 150 GB IDE drive).
However, this time I guess NSG2003 asked me whether or not I needed to install extra drivers since the HDD was an external one running on firewire or USB 2.0 so when NSGhost inquired about it I decided to install both (USB2.0 and firewire).
It prompted me to make an emergency rescue diskette but since this system didn't come with a FDD, I thought I'd pass on that.
Anyway, this thing reboots in PC DOS 7.0 (native to NSG2003) and totally stalls there!!!
At this point I'm given two options: Either run NSG or return back to Windows. None of them seemed to work so I started freaking out. I knew my stroke of bad luck wasn't over yet.
I couldn't even reboot in either safe mode, system recovery mode (this system came with a recovery partition for quick re-imaging) nor DOS (as I said B4, not having a FDD installed). The only place I could go really was the BIOS!!!
Now this new computer that crashed is an HP with a SATA 250 GB HDD and strangely, NSG2003 had always worked previously for me in my Compaq computer with the internal HDD (primary master as source & slave as target) drives. So I thought the difference might have been that it wasn't able to load one of the drivers. In fact, the computer would freeze right after loading the firewire drivers while trying to load the USB 2.0 drivers for Iomega (go figure, I don't even have an Iomega drive).
So out of desperation and having lost a lot of time previously with other computer related problems in the last week and a half, trying to speed up the process, I ran the Compaq's Recovery console CD since obviously, I hadn't taken the time to create one on the new HP... before it crashed on me! duh!
Normally if I remember correctly, when booting up with a Recovery Console CD, I believe that one is prompted for the administrator's password. I remember never being prompted for one this fatal time (maybe because I hadn't assigned a password to the administrator account in safe mode yet either).
And I believe the second step in recovery console is to choose which partition the user wants to log under (either c:\windows or d:\hp_recovery or something like that... I also remember never seing that either. With HP XP systems, the c: drive where XP is installed is typically NTFS and the recovery partition which contains an image of the system recovery CD's (XP Home OEM edition) is normally under FAT32.
At this point, I'm not sure whether I did a DIR or not before or AFTER issuing the FIXBOOT command. I thought the payload of a FIXMBR was heavier to bear than the FIXBOOT (reading the associated /? switch of each) so I opted for a fixboot.
Now, I have to stress the fact that this command was issued from a recovery console CD that was made for the other computer, the compaq which has the IDE HDD, not a SATA HDD... ooops did I goof up there?
Anyway, I know that after that I did finally issue a DIR command to find out if I could see anything or not on it.
I was stunned to see that the HDD was now only reading +/- 10,000 bytes free (according to DIR command) and there was only one file listed on it (don't_fully_remember_but_something.log was the file). The HDD had less than 60 GB of info on it before crashing.
Today, I finally tried to plug it as a slave on this running XP system. Whereby it used to contain two NTFS partitions, it now only lists one.
Partition Magic says of the partition that it's BAD and i've tried numerous data recovery programs. One of those tells me the HDD is formated in FAT12!!! WHAT!!!??????
I understand the partition has gone corrupt somehow in the process but why? I'd love to know...
Besides, what should I do to avoid such problems in the future from happening other than back-up my data more regularly (I've learned that much in the process lol).
Was I victim of spy/ad/malware, virus/worm or what???
What if I reformated the HDD in NTFS and THEN tried to salvage the information using data recovery software?
If you have read this far all the way through, you should be getting points just for your patience!
All your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Whoever can help me retreive info from this HDD will get 500. I'll try to award a decent number of points to whoever can come up with the most logical explanation as to why this happened (125 points or so).
Thanks ahead of time guys.
Pete in San Diego.
ps: Have you backed up your *entire* system today?????
XP shall NOT be trusted with me ever again.