Hard drive data corrupt - now reporting RAW partition....HELP!!!

Posted on 2004-11-11
Last Modified: 2011-08-18
ok...this is a long one, and somewhat complicated, but here goes.

I have a hard drive that was working perfectly and doesnt seem to have any errors on it at all - except for all of a sudden the drive shows up as 0 bytes capacity.  When you go into the Windows 2003 Server storage manager (as it is a second drive) it shows that the 80gb drive has about 40gb used - but the partition type is RAW.

I need to get the data back on this drive - it is a customer that has no backup and I know the data integrity is there - just have to get it back.

MUCHOS PUNTOS will be awarded to the first person who gives me a fast accurate answer.

Question by:wisconsinpc
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    It appears that your Ntfs table somehow got corrupted- this happens - there are two solutions to your problem
     -risky and invasive one - use program to replace the corrupted ntfs table (There usually is another additional copy of the partition table on your hdd).    mom&pops computer shop kind of advice - DON'T DO IT! if you get it wrong, you may cause further corruption to the data.

    - second solution - non invasive and safe (used by data recovery techs). Connect the bad guy to a working windows environment - use data recovery software with ability to pick up MFT's (addressess) of all the files regardless whether partition table is present or not.
    "Get data back" for Ntfs will scan your entire hdd and then show you partitions upon which you can build the file structure & recover. Green for good , valid partition, orange for one with little corruption etc. - sometimes a whole bunch of choices that will affect number of recoverable files and data integrity ratio.  It's not the best program out there.
    I recommend R-studio - quicker, and more automatic with picking up the file structure. Of course always save recovered data onto different drive. Verify data integrity before you say HurraY!   Once you save , verify all the data you may feel free to do some fixing on the hdd.  Goodluck Chris!

    Author Comment

    Is that Ontrack Data Recovery Professional software any good?


    LVL 91

    Accepted Solution

    if you want to try other (or lest costly ones, here some links :                                    ontrack                  Easy Recovery                                    GetDataBack                                    Restorer 2000                        Restoration                        Active undelete                             PC inspector
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Just use " Get Data Back for NTFS ", available from , like nobus said before.

    It's easy to use, low resource and very, very effective.

    Best Regards an Good Luck !

    Expert Comment

    even if you get your data back, copy it directly to a different drive (2e disk in the same system prefered)
    then go to the manufactuers website and download a drive diagnostic tool they usaly ask you to reboot
    in dos modus so might need some floppy present. then run a full test on the harddisk and check for any

    NTFS partition don't just get corrupted like FAT tables do. most times this is a sign for a dying disk. and
    it you don't want this to repeat in the future you better check the disk. i had a disk of mine wich lost 5
    complete NTFS partitions in 6 months. the problem was that the motor spinning the disks arround was
    to slow accellerating thinking the drivehead was at possition to begin writing where it was not du to this
    delay. thus writing a regular file right over the partion table. because not all write opperations are in
    this area of the disk it may take some time before the next partion suddenly disappears. mine was for
    about 80% destroyed. also one of my partions became a zombie or something like that. it says its there
    so windows thinks it can use it but then finds a half destroyed filesystem and hangs making recovery
    nearly impossable. for large storage partions i use fat32 since it can be read from and linux where
    NTFS can only be read from windowsNT/2000/XP no one else can understand it.

    its worth to check that disk before returning it in full operation and have the same problems in a few
    months again because the disk is dying. then its time to replace the disk. since its 40Gb its not new
    and you most likely have no warrenty. usaly you have about 2 years but these discs arent in
    production anymore for more then 3 years now i gues. hope it help you prevent future problems and
    just go on with datarecovery and once recovered BACKUP IT UP AT ONCE!! i lost 280GB because of not doing just that. now planning for a raid 5 system. but thats proffessional stuff.

    Docey, from the netherlands with its capitol amsterdam(many don't know that).


    Expert Comment

    if your problem exist,
    try R-studio it was very helpful in same situation for me (but not win 2003)
    let me know what did you do,I had such problems too.



    Expert Comment

    hi docey here,

    since the drives where only 1 year old i send them back for replacment , must be a factory problem.
    btw it where 2 160GB drives in a raid 0 setup and both drives have a slightly differt variant of the error.
    the partion is destroyed across both 2 disks in a different way and i have tried serveral recovery tools
    but it seems that only having the disks on-line is already damaging them so i have taken them offline
    and safed the most important parts of it from other backups. there going back to the shop in a few
    day's and hope il get replacement drives.

    btw it seems more 160gb drives contain factory problems where 200GB are flawless. it could have
    something to do with the charistics coupled with 160GB(windows drivers?, BIOS LBA design Fault?).
    i'm now going for 200GB disks anyway because i want serial-ATA hotswap.

    so thats about my story, hope someone finds it usefull and don't forgets to backup directly after it was restored, 2 day's after i had been succesfully recovering the complete disks begin to fall apeart.
    the was no way stop it execpt then to shutdown the disk.



    Expert Comment

    Hello Chris and all others,

    For your own sake, do not believe that this is a simple hardware matter, fixed by buying a new hard disk etc, or testing one million of different hints on possible solutions, requiring weeks of your spare time and the costly replacement of most parts of your computer. That probably solves nothing! It may well be that it is a matter of the hard disk vendors, or the vendors of the USB and Firewire HD boxes, in the sense that they need to communicate better with Microsoft. I mean ,there is obviously some imcompality (driver, firmware etc.) issue introduced by SP2 that needs to be solved. This is not something that we, the ordinary users, can fix. Read more about my experiences of this failure (i. e. some more detailed specs, conditions and behaviour descriptions) and my testing of recovery programs at

    Then you realise that it is Bill that should be billed (I promise, I will not change b for another letter!). Just to mention it shortly here as well, for data recovery I sincerely recommend

    * Magic Recovery Professional at *

    It is not a cheap program for the non-professional's wallet (USD 100) but works fast and perfectly in a manner visually similar to Explorer. It managed to safely and quickly restore 102 GB of media files otherwise lost on one of my daughter's external hard disks. I tested four other programs but none of the others did that job well enough to talk about satisfying recovery.

    Final comment: I still have no answer on why my daughter's, and later also my son's, external hard disks (various brands) could not be read or even reformatted as externals again after clean installations of XP SP2. Being used as internal IDE-disks, they all work perfectly.

    Best regards
    A Swedish computer freak

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