HELP! Converted a partitioned drive to a Dynamic drive.  Are my partitions lost?

Posted on 2009-04-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
My system had an 80 Gig HD in it..  It was the boot drive.  I had it partitioned into 20Gig C: drive and two other 30 Gig drives.  I recently replaced it with a Terabyte HD.  I then reconnected my old drive to do the data copy.  Taking some bad advice from an IT guy here, I changed the 80 Gig drive to a dynamic drive.  Now the only thing I can see on it it the 20 Gig C partition.  I am not touching anything.  How can I get my other two partitions back?
Question by:MattPolter
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Expert Comment

ID: 24160959
this might help:
or you can get a software call Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0 http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/diskdirector/partitioning.html
or  EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition http://www.partition-tool.com
the second one i have not used but acronis i have.

Author Comment

ID: 24161230
OK, there were pictures of my kids on the 2 partitions that I do not have access to, so this is VERY VERY important to me and I want to make sure that I am Crystal clear on this before moving forward.

2 things stuck out to me in the microsoft support:
1) When you convert to a dynamic disk, the existing partitions or logical drives on the basic disk are converted to simple volumes on the dynamic disk.
2)If your disk contains multiple installations of Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000, do not convert to a dynamic disk. The conversion operation removes partition entries for all partitions on the disk with the exception of the system and boot volumes for the current operating system.

The first point leads me to believe that I should be able to see my other 2 partitions as simple volumes.  This is encouraging.
The second point concerns me.  The first 20Gig partition of that drive contained my previous installation of Windows  XP Professional.  The second and third 30Gig partitions did not.  When the conversion occured, the computer was booted off the Windows XP Professional insalation on my new Terabyte drive.

What I still don't get is, if it did wipe out all my data, then why can't I see the whole drive?  My co0mputer Management window displays all 80 Gigs in 1 section, but only 20 Gigs in the other (See attached).

I am even more worried now.  Any other thoughts?  In not I will try the software, I just want to be sure of my next move before I make it.


Author Comment

ID: 24161531
I downloaded the free trial of Acronis and it came up with a message at the end saying that it does not support Dynamic Disk.  Any other Ideas?  Has anyone heard of Z-A-R, Zero Assumption Recovery?
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Accepted Solution

dbrunton earned 1000 total points
ID: 24162111
Can't comment on Z-A-R.

I'll assume that you have slaved your hard disk to another computer in trying your data recovery.  If not do it now.

Try GetDataBack http://www.runtime.org/  Free to try.  If it sees the missing files you pay for full functionality.

Try R-Studio http://www.data-recovery-software.net/ Free to try.  If it sees the missing files you pay for full functionality.

Both these are heavy duty data recovery applications.
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Assisted Solution

garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 24162122
Well, this isn't encouraging.   Disk Management shows that the 80GB drive was formatted as a single dynamic partition -- and gives no hint of any embedded volumes (although the 20GB indication above is indeed interesting -- it seems the conversion may not have completed correctly).   What options do you get if you right-click on the picture of the 80GB partition??

I'm sure you've already learned this lesson, but just to reinforce it:   NEVER use dynamic drives !!  (There are cases where they're useful; but they greatly complicate both partition management and data recovery)

The #1 rule of data recovery is STOP -- do not do ANYTHING that might write to the drive.   Any good recovery package will require another drive to write the recovered data on (fortunately, you have the 1TB drive to use for this).   There are several good utilities for this, but the best in most cases is GetDataBack [http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm ].  I'd install the free demo; run it against your drive; and see if it detects your old partitions and data.   If so, just buy a license, recover the data, and you're home free :-)

If GetDataBack doesn't work, there are a couple of other good utilities that may help => but try that first.

r.e. your question about Zero Assumption Recovery => I've heard of it; read a few comments from folks who have used it (mostly favorable); and it's probably okay.  But GetDataBack is the "gold standard" for reasonably priced recovery tools [There are better tools, but they're far more expensive].

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Expert Comment

ID: 24162246
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Expert Comment

ID: 24162382

I would not attempt those steps without trying other options first.  The article even gives warnings in it several times about the dangers of doing what it suggest.

One of the first steps in data recovery is NOT to write to the affected disk IF you can help it.  Writing to the disk may make the problem worse.

If you do write to the disk then can you undo the changes you make?  If you can't step back and think about it.

It is quite possible that the steps in the article may work but I would try all other reasonable steps before trying what is in there.  If I was to attempt what is there I would grab an image of the disk first as it is in case I messed up.  If messed up the image could then be replaced back on the hard disk for another attempt.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24162962
There are several techniques for converting from dynamic back to basic without reformatting -- but they all require writing to the disk, which is (as I noted before and dbrunton reinforced) is not something you should do without first trying better alternatives.

Having said that, I have used Active Partition Recovery several times and it works very well.   It's probably the best choice if you decide to try to directly recover the drive.   It won't hurt to download the free demo and run it -- it won't do any writes unless you buy a license ... and if it shows you the partitions you need then it's reasonably safe to simply let it recover the partition table [It doesn't write to any data areas; so it's actually still possible to use other recovery software afterwards if there are still problems].  http://www.partition-recovery.com/
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Expert Comment

ID: 24163427
By the way ... assuming you haven't overwritten the data (from your description you haven't done anything that would have done that), since the drive isn't physically damaged, there's NO doubt that the data is recoverable.

Just be careful and follow the "don't write on the drive" concept (with the sole possible exception of letting Active Partition Recovery restore the partitions IF it shows them okay with the demo).

If none of the above works for you, send the drive off for professional recovery -- there's no doubt they can get your data ... although it will cost ~ $400 to do so. This is an excellent recovery company with very reasonable (by data recovery standards) prices: http://www.gillware.com/

... and you've probably already learned this lesson, but just in case: ==> in addition to not using dynamic drives, buy yourself another 1TB drive and BACKUP your important data. Hard drives can and DO fail. In this case you're "lucky" in the sense that the drive itself didn't fail.

But it WILL.    I tell all the folks I help they should always assume their hard drive will die at midnight. If there's anything on it that they'll be upset at losing, then they'd better have a copy of it on a different hard drive; a set of DVDs; or both. ALL of my data is on at least 3 different hard drives on 3 different UPS-protected systems; with the backups automatically updated every night via a synchronization utility.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24165281
Before trying anything, I'd image the 80 gig to a image file and work with that image file on recovery with get data back.

Get data back will allow you to create a raw image file (All the bits from the hard disk in question)

Takes a while but is safer than the above comments.

Good luck.


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