So I have no real idea what happened here, as this machine is one of my Media machines (HTPC similar), and is primarily hooked up to a LCD TV, however also hooked up to a monitor in another room. Due to the way I've set it up, BIOS and everything pre-windows logon screen are shown on the monitor, and then the login screen and everything afterwords is displayed on the TV.
Due to this setup, it was too late to figure out what actually happened here, but I'll sum up my actions.
I had MSDN Windows 7 Pro, but I've recently been ramping up my Unix / Linux experience and as such I've added multiple new servers to my collection that are only running Linux, one of those has 6x 1TB HDD's in RAID5 accessible via NFSv3. Due to the limitations of Windows 7 Pro, I gave up finding a free alternate NFS provider and just upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate (which includes Windows Support for Unix and NFS Support). Sounds good so far, right?
Post install, I decided to restore my data. I have 2 primary external drives, a 640GB and 1TB, both eSATA. I plugged in the 1TB, copied over a large amount of data, and then the copy "crashed", that is to say, the transfer just stopped, and the drive appeared to have an error, and it was no longer visible in my system. I rebooted, the drive was recognized again, and I finished the remainder of the file transfer without issues and while appearing to recover the last file it crashed on. I removed the drive and then plugged in the 640GB, and continued copying items from the 640GB. I received errors on that copy as well, however the data on there is typically redundant, so I just decided to smoke the 640GB drive and I'll rebuild what was on it later.
Here's the kicker. I remove the 640GB after just leaving PS3 backup data on it, plug in the 1TB drive again. My computer thinks the 1TB drive is the 640GB drive. Acquired same drive letter, volume name, and file contents (however, if you try to view the contents of a file, you get an error as obviously the data isn't really there, nor is my 1TB drive FAT32, where as the 640GB is for PS3 comparability).
I found this really strange, the device manager recognizes it as WD10EADS, which is correct, but it is displaying the file system and contents of the WD640. Strange I thought, but after figiting around with eSATA and USB, I decided to reboot again with the drive in eSATA in an attempt to re-detect it's contents via BIOS. Big mistake.
I was on my TV at this point, wondering where my login screen was. After about 30 minutes, I gave up, went to the other room, and turned on the monitor. It's truncating files and fixing data chains like crazy. So like crazy, it takes roughly 120 hours (~5 days), with me insanely paranoid about canceling the process, as I believed it was legitimately fixing my volume. I will also add, this machine is the hottest in my collection, and with a broken A/C unit and a recent heat wave, life has been hell over those past 5 few days.
Chkdsk is complete, and I log into Windows 7. Open up My Computer, Hmm, it shows 709GB out of 1TB used space, looking good, double click the drive, well shoot, all it shows is my PS3 backup data and over 2.3 million chain files or fix files or files of those types (nothing but the PS3 data looks usable, though I'm sure that's not even the case). Right clicking the drive for Properties shows the partition maxing out at 192GB (if I recall correctly, the limit for FAT32 volumes). Windows 7 and CHKDSK have converted the drive somehow to FAT32 and basically re-written all my data. Awesome.
This, of course, was at my most volatile data backup stage. I have limited backups on the NFS share, the majority of my stuff was on these 2 external drives that I intended to back up to the NFS share once I had Windows 7 Ultimate going for the NFS support. My life was on that 1TB drive, which now only shows a 16KB PS3 data file and a few stray backup files from the FAT32 640GB drive.
The Disk Space Usage shows there is indeed 709GB of data on the drive, which makes me think it may perhaps be recoverable, at least partially. Does anyone have any ideas?
I've exhausted my brain. I've tried multiple versions of deep file scans to attempt to get back deleted or otherwise unavailable data, but I have come up quite poorly (I've managed to find recoverable files for all of my redundant data, but nothing I actually needed). I'm thinking this volume, for starters, will need to be converted back to NTFS before I can recover this, or at least, the partition type has to be changed to NTFS, but I'm not sure if chkdsk converted the drive or just changed the partition type, which I'm pretty sure will be detrimental to me recovering data.
I don't need everything off here, in fact there's about 600 - 700GB of replaceable data, but it's the important things I want back, like my Resume's, family photo's, documents and the like. Does anyone have any ideas?
I've also tried converting the volume back to NTFS without success. It does recognize the lost chains as actual files, but does not have the available space to restore the files, and if I say no to convert lost chains to files, the chkdsk portion fails:
C:\Windows\system32>convert E: /fs:ntfs
The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume Serial Number is 7CA7-27C3
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows found errors on the disk, but will not fix them
because disk checking was run without the /F (fix) parameter.
Convert lost chains to files (Y/N)? n
204257696 KB of free disk space would be added.
Windows found problems with the file system.
Run CHKDSK with the /F (fix) option to correct these.
312,416,256 KB total disk space.
672 KB in 4 hidden files.
330,736 KB in 20,001 files.
107,827,136 KB are available.
16,384 bytes in each allocation unit.
19,526,016 total allocation units on disk.
6,739,196 allocation units available on disk.
The volume may have inconsistencies. Run Chkdsk, the disk checking utility.
The conversion failed.
E: was not converted to NTFS
I will be forever grateful to anyone who is able to assist me in recovering some of my data here :) And although I'm sure this doesn't need to be said, everything will be much more backed up going forward.