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Does the Initilize Disk wizard in Windows Disk Manager erase data

Posted on 2010-08-13
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a notebook disk drive that will not boot and I'm trying to recover the data from it.

To do so I connected a 2.5" to 3.5" connection converter to it and then hooked it up to an IDE cable in my Windows Server 2003 box.

The BIOS recognizes the drive but it is not listed in Windows Explorer. Device Manager shows the drive but says that it is not initilized and the wizrd is offering to initilize it for me.

Will the inilize process cause a loss of the data files on that drive or will it simply make the drive visible in Explorer so I can recover the data?

Thank you, Herb
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Question by:stullhe104
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MichaelVH earned 1000 total points
ID: 33429831
No it doesn't delete data :-)

So you can go ahead, and initialize the disk (making it accessible to windows)
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Expert Comment

by:dodieguy
ID: 33429838
Yes.
it will so be carefull
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by:dodieguy
ID: 33429845
Sorry wrong question
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Expert Comment

by:buildingkick
ID: 33429955
Initializing should be safe but sometimes the prompt after you initialize is to "FORMAT" prior to use; that's the one you need to watch out for...
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Author Comment

by:stullhe104
ID: 33430196
Okay, I did the initizlize and now Disk Manager shows a small box on the left that says Disk 0 is Online but the larger box representing the actual drive shows as Unallocated (as oppsoed to my other drives that show as Healthy) and the drive is not showing up in Widnows.

Any other ideas?
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Expert Comment

by:buildingkick
ID: 33430323
It needs to be formatted...  you will lose all data at that point.  Unallocated space is basically unformatted space.
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Expert Comment

by:Viperhawke
ID: 33430355
I had a similar problem with a notebook drive in the past. My drive was dying, so it would ask me to initialize and show up in bios/disk manager but whenever I tried to access the drive it would hang explorer. Do you know why your drive isn't booting? Noises coming from the drive?
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Author Comment

by:stullhe104
ID: 33430399
No noises. It just said "operating system not found" when the machine was power on.
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Expert Comment

by:Viperhawke
ID: 33430436
Did you try a SMART test on it? I'm thinking your drive is failing. Of course I'm assuming everything was fine last time you shut down. Many notebooks have a built in HDD test in thier BIOS. Try using that to see what's going on. If you can't find it give me the make/model of your notebook and I'll see if I can locate it for you. But that is usually the cause of "Operating System Not Found." It could also be that your notebook's HDD controller is failing. But that we'll look at if the drive turns out to be fine.
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Author Closing Comment

by:stullhe104
ID: 33431399
Although the initilize did not erase anything it also did not make the drive available for acess under Windows. The Disk Management utility showed the drive as Unallocated space, which I assumed to be unpartitioned.

I purchased a license for DiskInternals Partition Recovery and it was able to see that partition and recover all data files to an external drive.

Thanks for all of your help and comments.
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