W2K: Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management - how to allocate unallocated, basic, online HDD with EXISTING data?

In W2K, SP4:
Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management
shows  "Disk 2: Basic,  38.28GB, Online,  UNallocated"

1. how I can make above "Disk 2"  ALLOCATED in "Disk Management"  WITHOUT deleting
existing data and/or starting partitioning?

2. Does Partitioning, but not formating, in "Disk Management" keep existing data on HDD and eventually force assigning drive letter to this hdd?

trial2006Asked:
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pgm554Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Unallocated means it has no file system.

So if there was data on there to begin with, it's lost.

You would need a recovery too like Ontrack or Getback Data to recover the files.
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Partitioning only changes the partition info on the HD, so the data is still there. You can recover that data using the above mentioned tool, but personally I'd use getdataback as that is the best tool. It doesn't write anything to the disk you want to recover from, so it is safe to use, but you will need enough free space on another disk to copy the data to. The free trial will show you what can be recovered, and once you register the product, you will actually be able to do the recovery. You don't need a drive letter assigned for the recovery.

http://runtime.org.

You can only assign drive letters to formatted drives. So without formatting, no letter.
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trial2006Author Commented:

I used GetDataBack and recovered directory tree and files. But what worries me is :

1) last Fri I put my hdd in the hdd-to-usb enclosure and connected to one Xp Home pc,
backed up data successfully, and then properly disconnected usb enclosure.

2) on Sun, when I repaired that XP Home Pc, i connected usb enclosure back, only to
my surprise that hdd in the usb enclosure is not 'visible' .  
I then tried to 'see' my hdd by connecting my ubs enclosure to other PCs (W2K, XP pro) -
but to no avail.

3) only THEN is when I look into "Disk Management" and UN/allocated issue, BUT never ever
proceeded to the end of Disk Management's partitioning (with no formatting option) wizard.

4) So my hdd became 'invisible' BEFORE I even touch disk management and allocation issue.
It became 'invisible' between the steps 1. and 2. above!!!

Q1:
Why?  I just moved back and forth  hdd jumper to master and slave positions, that's all.
And of course, turned Adaptec usb enclosure's power on/off.

Q2:
Now, when I partition and format my hdd again, how to protect it from being 'invisible' /unallocated
again when I use it in the Adaptec USB enclosure on various machines?
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pgm554Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Well ,USB drives in general are flakey and this is just the nature of the beast.
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trial2006Author Commented:
ok, I agree/know that usb drives are bad - but they (usb drives) are just another application layer over the
already existing lower-lever layers, which hdd should be. So, why should low-level hdd code be affected back from
the higher-level application (usb driver)?

there must be some hw, firmware code or something (on BIOS level?)  
which protects, so to speak, the 'entrance gate' of the hdd: listen, you higher-lever application, you can use me,
low-leve code, here is my so to speak API,
BUT you CAN NOT CHANGE me (ie., you can not just erase me or make me unallocated without explicit command given
to your user interface - not built in/programmed, by mistake or  not, in your code)!

In other words, how could hdd low-level code, firaware etc. could be exposed so badly?

Any idea?
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
One of the problems you have with USB drives is power. The PC's USB ports usually don't supply enough power for many drives, so you need an external power source. Another is that if something goes wrong, you don't have lowlevel access to the disk like you do when it is connected directly to the IDE or SATA connector of the PC. Most tools then won't be able to recognize the disk.
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