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Solved: How to repair data? Windows XP freeze caused two hard drives to longer be rea

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by mrbubbles, Aug 25, 2008.

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  1. mrbubbles

    mrbubbles Thread Starter

    Aug 25, 2008
    My System
    OS: Windows XP Professional w/ SP2

    Hardware: ECS motherboard (yes I can confirm ECS sucks), Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB RAM
    5 IDE Hard Drives: 120GB connected to PATA controller on motherboard. 200GB, 160GB, 300GB, 300GB connected to PCI IDE controller card.

    Description of Problem
    My system has been freezing up about 4-8 times a week on average for the past few months, I reboot and just continue my business as usual.

    After such a freeze today, I rebooted the system. When it came back up, my torrent program which starts automatically with Windows reported some errors with not being able to find certain directories. I used Windows Explorer to check just one of my hard drives, the 200GB, and yes, some directories were empty when there should have been files there. :eek: So I rebooted Windows again and this time, Windows gave me the blue screen where it automatically performed chkdsk. Hundreds of files scrolled by with a message saying something like "orphaned file", so all those directories which I thought were lost were being recovered so I was relieved.

    When I got back into Windows, the directories I checked were correct on the 200GB hard drive which I checked before, HOWEVER now I noticed that for my two 300GB drives which I did not examine before, Windows Explorer didn't list their custom volume name next to their drive letters like it did for my other 3 drives, for those two drives it said Local Disk (F:) and Local Disk (H:). When I click on the drives, I get this message for both drives:

    The disk in drive F/H is not formatted. Do you want to format it now? YES/NO

    Of course I click no. When I right click for the properties of the drive, it says the file system is RAW. All my drives should be NTFS format.

    So the question is what do I need to do to get Window XP to recognize these drives again? I'm 99% sure the problem is software and not hardware since they are two different drives and I experienced data problems with the other drive too after the freeze but it got corrected by Windows.

    I am praying I can recover these two drives as they contain most of my media, family photos, and music. Please help!
  2. mewgirl

    mewgirl Banned

    Jul 21, 2008
    Have you tried looking at something called Shadow Copy? In services this is what makes backup copies to be used with recovery programs. Also I had similar "corruption" on an external hard drive once. I believe it was caused by the fact that I deleted the recycling bin for that drive and some ~JUNK type files, believing that those files themselves were errors and forgetting that I had put on the option to show those files. However, when I plugged it into a different computer, the rest of the files on the disk which were no longer being shown, linked to, and basically, had disappeared, all showed up again and the disk functioned fine - on that one computer and only some others. So, since you have two drives you could try plugging the external one into a different computer(s) and see if you can find a computer that will read it. Then just transfer those files to a drive that hasn't been corrupted, and they might be fine if the actual files were not corrupted themselves. Drive recovery tools only work for files that are deleted after the recovery tool is installed so that probably won't help you. However, you may be able to discover how this works through research and use DOS commands to pull the parts back together and recover, if you're capable of doing and understanding those things. Also "orphaned" usually means something along the lines of "temporairily unavailable, but still here," so any "orphaned" files should be recoverable.
  3. mrbubbles

    mrbubbles Thread Starter

    Aug 25, 2008
    I discovered the problem. In short, the data loss was caused by installing Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP which caused my Ultra 100TX2 IDE card to not correctly recognize hdds over 137GB.

    For the sake of others who experience this, I'll write up my experience below.


    I tried the chkdsk as suggested and I got the following message on the two drives which could not be read by XP:

    "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."

    I tried a data recovery program next, GetDataBack For NTFS from Runtime Software which I HIGHLY recommend if you ever lose data to hdd failures, formats, or deletions, it's an amazing program. The program reported that all the drives which were attached to my Promise Ultra100TX2 IDE were 137GB which set off alarms bells.

    I should have mentioned this in my first post but I had previously reinstalled ServicePack 2 for Windows XP due to the problems I was seeing in Windows, explorer.exe crashing and the OS freezing. Since my system was already SP2 I didn't think it would be a problem and it would be easier than totally reinstalling Windows.

    Well installing SP2 cause my IDE card to revert back to an older driver which had problems recognizing drives over 137GB, and that's were the data loss happened.

    The weird thing is Windows was still reporting the drives were the correct total size so this was not apparent to me earlier until I used GetDataBack.

    When I attached the two unreadable drives directly to my motherboard, I could read them just fine, all the data was still there. :grin::grin:

    I'm now scanning the hard drive which Windows still could see while attached the IDE card but had all the chkdsk activity where Windows recovered a bunch of orphaned files. Since it believed it was a 137GB drive while it was doing that, I'm worried that those files got corrupted somehow. We'll see.

    How to fix this:
    -Don't write any data to the drives attached to the Promise Ultra 100 TX2 card while you are seeing this problem. Don't let Windows attempt to fix it via chkdsk while it thinks it's a 137GB drive. Don't run chkdsk to repair the drive. Don't run any data recovery programs yet. Detach any drives from the card while you fix the root issue which is the driver conflict caused by installing SP2.

    -Download the latest driver from Promise for the Ultra100TX2 card: http://www.promise.com/support/file/Driver/2_Ultra%20133_100%20tx2%20driver_b42.zip

    Update the driver by doing the following:

    1) My computer/Properties/Hardware/Device Manager
    2) Select "Update driver..." of "Promise Technology Inc. Ultra IDE Controller" (with right mouse button)
    3) "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)". Next.
    4) "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install.". Next.
    5) "Have Disk"
    6) Enter path of NEW drivers here. Driver version should be AT LEAST (Dated: 28.3.2003)

    You can't simply search the directory you download the driver to as Windows will still stick with the old driver, so make sure you do step 4 above.

    After installing, check the Driver details. Make sure it is NOT a Microsoft driver. It should be from Promise:

    Driver Provider: Promise Technology
    Driver Date: 3/28/2003
    Driver Version:
    Digital Sign: Not Digitally Signed

    Shutdown and reattach your drives. Windows should see your data now. If anything got corrupted, run data recovery programs. I recommend GetDataBack For NTFS (or FAT32) depending on your drive.

    BTW this problem has been experienced by others in the past, see the following links:
As Seen On
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