Hidden data in unauthorized partition
Posted on 2012-08-31
I'm working on a laptop with Windows 7. The customer received a message that the 320GB hard drive was almost full. I sold them this laptop 14 months ago & it has not been worked on since. The hard drive is partitioned with Drive C only having 68GB. Another partition contains all the free space plus about 10GB of invisible data. It doesn't show anything even after making hidden files visible. I can't delete the data or format the partition even in Command Prompt because it says it is in use even in Safe Mode. I was able to temporarily see some of the data by altering security and saw something to do with Microsoft & graphics, but the data was minimal, redundant & contained no operating files. I deleted 2 folders that contained a word document, but it took a lot of security changing & there were many more folders (but not enough to account for all the space). I tried to expand the partition to include the free space, but the data was between the usable space. I tried converting to dynamic disc to attach the free space, but it wouldn't attach. I never worked on the C: drive except to convert to dynamic. I installed Acronis & tried to create an image of the C: drive so I could wipe the disc & reinstall , but it didn't see the C: drive even though it was currently running. I rebooted & the C: drive disappeared. I'm attempting to recover the partition with Partition Find and Mount, but not having much luck. It won't let me see the data, and it shows the unused partition broken into smaller partitions that do not account for all the space. There is an irreplaceable program installed which is why I want to save the partition, but I might settle for saving data. What could cause this condition? Any suggestions on how to proceed?