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Microsoft, Windows Vista Buisness, Windows XP professional, Western Digital, SATA II 320 Gb harddrive, WD3200JS

hi eveyrone
 and a big thank you in advance to anyone who might try to solve this problem with me. I apologize for the "missed up" question title, because I really don't know how to title this question? if I had to choose a title it would be "corrupted partition table, unallocated space, can't access windows on harddisk, all data is there but can't have access to them, logical disk manager reported a problem before everything went downhill"

anyhow, this is what happened. I have three harddrives, all the same manufacturer western digital, two of them, both are SATA II, have a size of 250 GB and I use them solely for storage nothing more or less and they have no relevance to our problem, the third harddrive which is a SATA II 320 GB harddrives I have it partitioned like this:

100 GB for windows XP professional primary partition
100 GB for windows vista business primary partition
the 120 GB remaining were all crammed up in an extended partition which had 8 partitions, 7 of them were EXt3 and swap filesystem reserved for future linux distros, I had no linux distro installed on them, 6 of the 7 partitions were of 15 GB in size and the seventh reserved as swap was of 3 GB, the 8th logical partition is 20 GB NTFS partition and I used it for computer games. Anyhow, yesterday, I downloaded windows server 2008. So I wondered why not delete some of the logical partitions that I have, since I won't be needing so many typical-based operating systems, and I can get a few linux distro of different flavors, like Ubuntu, Mandriva and Opensuse and dabble with them for a while while also having windows server 2008 on a third primary partition.

 So this is what I had in mind, of course I had in mind to add a third primary partition next to the previous two reserved for widnwos vista and xp where I will install windows server 2008, and by the way this is a good opportunity to ask this quesiton how much should I reserve for a windows server 2008 edition? I've never used windows server before or any other workstation or server based OS, but since I'm beginnig to take some courses in CCNA, cisco's network and Ethical Hacking course, I thought why not have a windows server edition as well. of course doing this necessitates, since I prefer having all my OS on the same harddrive, I realize it's not the best choice after what happened, hopefully in future system upgrades I will avert doing that, that, as I was saying it necessitates deleting my extended partition and then reserving some space for a third primary partition and what remains will be included in a new extended partition.

 when I began doing this I was logged in widnwos xp pro, and I began the process of emptying the extended partition by deleting the logical partitions it encompasses both the linux and the NTFS partitions, and then something happened abruptly, there was an error message telling me "logical desk manager..soemthing" so I clicked on okay, and I said the best thing to do is restart my system to clear up any confusion and that was the last time I logged into any of my two windows versions. This is what's been happening the next time I rebooted, everything went ok during the POST process, and windows vista bootloader appeared as it should be with its two entries for windows vista and windows xp. Fromt that point on it doesn't matter which OS I chose it's bootscreen would appear with its moving loading bar and then a sudden BLUE screen would appear and then the computer would restart again, I tried loggin in using safe mode, the same problem also happened again.

I finally used linux gparted, which is a partitioning editor program you can get it from here: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/  , to check for my harddrives integrity and it scared me to death that it reported my whole 320 harddrives as "Unallocated Space," of course that this is completely untrue, since I know that vista's bootloader was still there and it functions properly, I mean if there was something missing at least I would have gotten a missing system file insert disk. so this is what I think, but before this I would like to say this I have not written a thing to that harddisk since all this started I just kept it as it and came over here to get some answers, now what I think, and this is only me I think the partition table got screwed up, I have already tried inserting the both the vista  and the xp windows dvds to see if I can repair the os, but to no avail, for example with windows vista dvd I couldn't see my windows installation at all it just showed up blank page, no operating system. I know that all my data are intact on that system and that this is caused by a badly screwed partition table, but this is only me, there might be some other explanation, but as far as hardware goes, everything is still ok. still I wouldn't mind doing a chkdsk if I knew how since all the partitions are gones and under the partition editor all I see is unallocated space..

can someone please please help me with this problem?

best regards
ashraf kadry
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ashrafkadry
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ashrafkadry
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7 Solutions
 
aaronblumCommented:
I have an old piece of software I purchased for cases like this, it's called "partition commander", it's a linux based tool for modifying, resizing, discovering, and just about anything else you might want to do with partitions on a harddrive.  You could put in the disk, load from the CD and run partition find and recover mode - it has a nice GUI.

A link to the product page is here: http://www.avanquest.com/USA/pc-utilities/disk-management-disk-partition/hard-disk-hard-drive/Partition_Commander_Professional_10.html

Alternatively there are linux based tools for partition discovery which it sounds like you will need to do.  If you don't want to fork out cash, try this page: http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/datarecovery.shtml

I haven't tried any of the freeware solutions so i can't recommend any.
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torimarCommented:
You could try to recover the Vista bootloader from the install DVD:
http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Recovering+the+Vista+Bootloader+from+the+DVD
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torimarCommented:
Explanation:

Your current Bootloader may still appear to be running, but the information contained in it could be damaged.
Also, the partitioning information is kept in the last couple of bytes of the MBR. Chances are that by rebuilding the bootloader this information gets reconstructed, too. Although there is no guarantee for this.

If it doesn't work you will have to use partition recovery software.
A free tool is Testdisk: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

There are more free tools on the Ultimate Boot CD: www.ultimatebootcd.com
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aaronblumCommented:
Thanks torimar - I've been looking for a piece of software like TestDisk for a while!
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ashrafkadryAuthor Commented:
aaronblum, how do I burn testdisk to a cd? please respond ASAP..
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aaronblumCommented:
Choose one of these iso's on this site: download it and burn it to a CD using the burner of your choice.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Livecd

The instructions on the TestDisk page should carry you the rest of the way.  The specific page for using TestDisk is here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step
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aaronblumCommented:
if you do not have a CD burning utility let me know and I can point you in the direction of a few decent free tools.
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torimarCommented:
You can use Imgburn to burn the disk:
http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download

It's free.
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aaronblumCommented:
Alternatively, this burning tool has a great GUI and is very stable.  I personally use it on most of my machines: http://infrarecorder.org/?page_id=5
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