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Disk is not formatted error

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by DarkFall01, Nov 21, 2011.

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  1. DarkFall01

    DarkFall01 Thread Starter

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    Hi, I was hoping you could help me. I have a desktop with 3 hard drives, a C drive and two others to store pictures. I have thousands of pictures I've taken throughout the years that I would like to get back. To be honest, I haven't turned on this computer in a few months, but last time, the drives worked fine.
    I had to reinstall Windows today in order to get to my computer and when I try to access any of my other drives I get the following error: Disk is not formatted; The disk in drive D/E is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?

    I have EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard, but it won't even list the drives. I'd rather not format the drives in order to reduce the change of losing something.

    What can I do? Is there anything I can run to access my data? I'd really appreciate any help, I'm very worried.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    It sounds like you may have destroyed the partitions during setup, or possibly installed Windows to the wrong drive. Driver letters cannot be used to idntify drives since they cahnge and are assigned by the operating system at boot time.

    How did you reinstall? Do you have a retail copy of Windows?

    Open Disk Management and tell us what you see there, or expand the window and post a picture here.
     
  3. DarkFall01

    DarkFall01 Thread Starter

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    Thank you for your reply Elvandil. Yes, it's an original retail copy of Windows XP. I don't think I did anything wrong, I've gone through it many times. Also, during the installation when it asks you to choose a partition, I noticed that both my other drives had 480something GB of space left (they're 500GB drives each). That didn't make sense to me since I know each had the most 50% left.
    I will post a screenshot of Disk Management later tonight.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Uh, oh. So those drives looked empty already during setup? When making new partitions, it's a good idea to make them primary when you can. That way, other partitions won't be affected (or deleted) when you partition the main one.

    If you paid attention to sizes, one of the reliable ways to help identify partitions besides location and content, never drive letters, then you probably chose the right one.

    But I'll leave the speculation until we see what we have.
     
  5. DarkFall01

    DarkFall01 Thread Starter

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    Hi Elvandil, my C drive is 250GB and I always go by size. I'm certain that I installed Winwdows on the correct drive. I haven't had a chance of going to Disk Management, but I will do that this afternoon.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    OK. I didn't expect to see you until later, anyway. :D
     
  7. DarkFall01

    DarkFall01 Thread Starter

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  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    OK. It looks like changing the MBR on the drive caused the partition tables for those other "drives" to be replaced, too. The OS doesn't see anything at all on those partitions.

    You can try partition recovery, but like all procedures of this type, adat loss can occur. You should make every effort to recover files from the partitions first if there are any (and there is no reason to suspect that they aren't there). The MFT is also most likely intact and if the partition boundaries are the same, then recovery software can use that data to find the files.

    You might want to start with Recuva to see if it finds anything. If you are willing to spend money, I'd siggest GetDataBack. You could at least try a trial to see if it finds your files. It can attempt recovery both with and without the MFT's data. If they find anything and you recover anything, test a couple recovered files to be sure they are working since if they are recovered offset even a byte, the files will not be valid. Whether they are recovered intact depends on whether the recovery software determines the correct starting address for the partition.

    Testdisk has both partition and file recovery functions:

    Parted Magic (The best boot CD. Includes data recovery to CD/DVD, network, or USB, Testdisk for partition recovery, audio tests, web browser, and much more)
    Testdisk (for Windows)
    Testdisk Boot Floppy Image
    Testdisk on Live CD

    If you find nothing with those, I'd next try using a "quick" format with a Paragon product. Restoring the file system that way has allowed me to access fles normally in the past. Apparently the Paragon tool does not rewrite the MFT immediately when using the "quick" option, so it sometimes actually just replaces the file system exactly as it was before.
     
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