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Multiple SATA Drives and new windows install- can data from other drives be recovered

Posted on 2006-10-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I had an ASUS mobo with 4 WD SATA drives 320 gig had 1 active NTFS that had windows XP installed on it, the other 3 drives where dynamic NTFS.  Fragged the OS so had to reinstall, it didnt make me install a SATA driver to install windows- I did not repair the OS I wanted to start over.  Now that windows is intalled all drives show a 120 gig partition with an unpartitioned 170 gig.  Is the any way I can remedy this without losing the data that was on the other 3 drives because I never formated them the data should still be on the other 3 drives correct?  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:joshcahill
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by:bcohea
ID: 17785771
Correct, the data should still be there. Most likely you just need to initialize the disks before you can read them. This is NOT the same as formatting and you will not lose any data.

Follow the instructions below. The instructions do not tell you how to open Computer Management, you do that by clicking Start > Run > compmgmt.msc and pressing enter.
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/dm_initialize_disk.mspx?mfr=true

You may have to add a drive letter to the drives before you can use them after initialization. To do that, right-click on the partition and click "Change Drive Letter and Paths". On the window that pops-up, click "Add" and add a drive letter that is not being used, D or greater.

Hope this helps!

bcohea
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by:joshcahill
ID: 17785867
I never intialized them after the reinstall but they are active, all 3 with 120 gig active and 170 gig unallocated the only thing I have options for is to extend, format, or rename they all have maped letters like when I had installed previously but I have not intialized renamed or anything this time around.
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by:bcohea
ID: 17786507
OK maybe I'm not sure exactly what you are trying to do. Are you trying to expand the partitions to utilize the remaining unallocated 170 GBs? If that is what you want, you can do that with BootItNG (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootitng.html) or Acronis Disk Director (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/diskdirector/). Just boot from the CD and resize the selected partition to desired size. BE CAREFUL!

Am I on the right track or are you asking something completely different? Are you trying to setup a RAID array?

bcohea
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 17786899
>>   the other 3 drives where dynamic NTFS   <<  that may not be so easy, look here :
http://faq.arstechnica.com/link.php?i=1806
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_20706641.html
here someone who did it :
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=628234
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Expert Comment

by:bcohea
ID: 17787025
If you are trying to convert them to basic disks you could do that very easily with no chance of data loss by partitioning the unallocated 170GBs as basic NTFS, then copying the data from within the OS from the dynamic to basic partition on all disks. Once you have verified that the data copied successfully to the basic partitions, delete the dynamic partitions. Then expand the basic partitions using BootItNG or Acronis Disk Director. Voila, basic disks with no unallocated space.

But before I get ahead of myself... is that what you want?

bcohea
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17788964
Install SP2 and the disks should show the full size in one partition, if you didn't partition and format them during the installation.

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Author Comment

by:joshcahill
ID: 17858267
Thank You all for your help, it was more of a pain than I thought.  All is well and data safe and sound, thanks again.
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