Help! Lost 40gb of data!

Lee James

Member
I really could do with some help, I've just lost a partition on my hard drive containing 40gb of really important data! :(

I decided that two of my partitions were being used for basically the same thing, so I decided to merge them into one. I used PartitionMagic, which is what I've always used to set my partitions up with.

It took a couple of hours to perform the merge then it reported 100% complete. Immediately after that it reported there was some file error (can't remember exactly what it said).

And after re-booting, I found the two partitions are not merged — the first one is intact, but the second one doesn't show up as a drive and just says "unallocated" in PartitionMagic. I've tried using the "undelete" tool on it but it reports that there's no drive available to undelete.

When I do an error check on the first partition, it says there's a "file table backup mismatch" and loads of "cross-linked files", but I can't fix either of these problems.

That missing 40gb really is important to me!

Please help! :eek:
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
That missing 40gb really is important to me!

Please help! :eek:
If i remember correctly, doesn't it warn you to backup your data first?

I've no sympathy for people who lose "valuable data" due to HDD error / user error / etc. If it's that important, you should be backing it up on a regular basis.
 

Old_Biker_John

Novice Member
I really could do with some help, I've just lost a partition on my hard drive containing 40gb of really important data! :(

. . . . . . . . . That missing 40gb really is important to me!

Please help! :eek:
Hi Grand Dizzy,

Sorry to see your problem posted here.:(

This website gives some advice on partition recovery, including explanations of the functions offered by several freeware recovery programs.

I hope you see something there that will help you fix your problem.:)

Good Luck,

John.
 

Lee James

Member
Thanks for that Flash & John. I'll give those links a look. :)

I've no sympathy for people who lose "valuable data" due to HDD error / user error / etc. If it's that important, you should be backing it up on a regular basis.
The trouble is I've nowhere to back it up to. All my hard drives have been full for many years and I haven't had the opportunity to update my system. I've been planning to, but I haven't had the chance yet, or the money.

Obviously, if I had more free space than I had data, backing up would be no problem; but it's been maybe 6 or 7 years since I bought a new hard drive, so my drives are both small and full.

To make space on my drives, I regularly burn data to CD (data I know I won't need for a while), but all the stuff on my PC is stuff I need regularly, and it would take too long to back that up to CD (it would involve many hundreds of CDs).

Backing up is something everyone would do if they had space, but not many people can afford the space. When I do get round to buying my new hard drive (or, when I have enough money), it will have to be RAID-5, because there's no way I could afford to mirror all my data. I'll barely be able to afford to store one copy of all the data I have, let alone two!

One other thing: I actually had backed up all the really important smaller files that were on that drive onto another drive. However, since I'm constantly burning data to CD to make room for new stuff, the contents of my drives get switched around a lot in order for it all to fit, and just at the time I lost the partition, that backup data happened to be on that partition.
 

flash543

Novice Member
Thanks for that Flash & John. I'll give those links a look.
The program on the link I gave does work and is not as complicated as it first appears. However as you have learned any program that manipulates the partition is inherently dangerous.

If you are desperate and want to back up your current data before using another potentially dangerous program I can lend you a spare HD for a while for the cost of postage. Let me know if you want it.

Probably the best way to backup the current stuff would be to use Norton Ghost or Acronis if you can get hold of one of them.

It might be worth doing a search for free image making software - it is all out there somewhere!
 

limegreenzx

Banned
Backing up is something everyone would do if they had space, but not many people can afford the space. When I do get round to buying my new hard drive (or, when I have enough money), it will have to be RAID-5, because there's no way I could afford to mirror all my data. I'll barely be able to afford to store one copy of all the data I have, let alone two!

You should NOT consider any RAID system as a substitute for regular backups. RAID systems are for data availability, NOT for data security.

Consider your own problem. The data loss was caused by a system problem. It was not caused by a disk failure. If you had a RAID system you would still have lost your data.

Please DON'T make the same mistake again.
 

Paul Shirley

Novice Member
Probably the best way to backup the current stuff would be to use Norton Ghost or Acronis if you can get hold of one of them.

It might be worth doing a search for free image making software - it is all out there somewhere!
Be careful imaging corrupt partitions, smart tools like Acronis drop unused sectors but may have trouble correctly deciding what's unused on a trashed partition. You probably need something a bit dummer for this job, I normally end up using plain old 'dd' but one of the free imaging tools may work.
 

flash543

Novice Member
Be careful imaging corrupt partitions, smart tools like Acronis drop unused sectors but may have trouble correctly deciding what's unused on a trashed partition. You probably need something a bit dummer for this job, I normally end up using plain old 'dd' but one of the free imaging tools may work.
I was thinking that he could perhaps do a bit of "experimenting" with the cloned drive without risking further damage to the original HD.
 

Lee James

Member
If you are desperate and want to back up your current data before using another potentially dangerous program I can lend you a spare HD for a while for the cost of postage. Let me know if you want it.
How very kind of you! I'm sure I won't need that but thanks anyway. I may just have to pull my finger out and buy a drive for now. I just had a look, for the first time in ages, and drive prices are staggeringly low. I had in mind it's about a pound a gig, but you can actually get 250gb for £30, which is more like 10p a gig. I think it's definitely time I got myself a new drive.

You should NOT consider any RAID system as a substitute for regular backups. RAID systems are for data availability, NOT for data security.
That's really interesting. I always though RAID was mainly about protecting data. I've worked with a couple of "professional" hardware systems that were using RAID as a failsafe.

Consider your own problem. The data loss was caused by a system problem. It was not caused by a disk failure. If you had a RAID system you would still have lost your data.

Please DON'T make the same mistake again.
Well, I'm not too sure if it's the drive's fault or not. The drive is quite old now and I've had a few minor troubles with it in the past. But that aside, surely there aren't many ways you can damage your data without some kind of disc error?

What happened in my case was that I was using (apparently dodgy) software to mess with my partitions. I have learn from that, and I will not be doing any kind of partition operations again on a disc that contains data. So how else could I lose my data? I don't really think there's any other way, other than some kind of virus, which I'm well protected against, and besides a virus would surely affect the backup drive too?

May I ask what the best solution is, in your opinion, for making sure data is safe? Would you recommend always buying twice as much storage as you intend to use, so you always have room to backup?
 

limegreenzx

Banned
You will never find a RAID system used in a commercial enviroment as a replacement for backups. One of the main reasons RAID systems are used is provide maximum data availabilty resulting from hardware failure. They do not want/afford a minutes downtime.

RAID does not provide any protection against users accidentally deleting data, upgrade failures, hardware corrupting data or software corrupting data (Windows Home Server).

The best solution is to use a different type of media and to keep your backups off site. This is not a practical solution for most of us.

This is what I do. You do not really need 2 identical drives if you do not backup video and system files.

1. Video files are backed up to DVD or CD.
2. My Music is on my ipod and other family members ipod (I do not have any DRM protected Music)
3. Pictures are backed up to another disk and DVD
4. Data files (Word, Excel, Outlook etc) are backed up to another disk and to flash drives.

I use Microsoft Synctoy as my backup program. I only ever backup my data files.
If a disk fails I will have to rebuild my system. Downtime is not an issue for me.
 

nickc25

Novice Member
How very kind of you! I'm sure I won't need that but thanks anyway. I may just have to pull my finger out and buy a drive for now. I just had a look, for the first time in ages, and drive prices are staggeringly low. I had in mind it's about a pound a gig, but you can actually get 250gb for £30, which is more like 10p a gig. I think it's definitely time I got myself a new drive.


That's really interesting. I always though RAID was mainly about protecting data. I've worked with a couple of "professional" hardware systems that were using RAID as a failsafe.


Well, I'm not too sure if it's the drive's fault or not. The drive is quite old now and I've had a few minor troubles with it in the past. But that aside, surely there aren't many ways you can damage your data without some kind of disc error?

What happened in my case was that I was using (apparently dodgy) software to mess with my partitions. I have learn from that, and I will not be doing any kind of partition operations again on a disc that contains data. So how else could I lose my data? I don't really think there's any other way, other than some kind of virus, which I'm well protected against, and besides a virus would surely affect the backup drive too?

May I ask what the best solution is, in your opinion, for making sure data is safe? Would you recommend always buying twice as much storage as you intend to use, so you always have room to backup?
I did offer on here two days ago my 200GB for £20 but no one wanted it. It sold on ebay for £30 :)
 

nickc25

Novice Member
How very kind of you! I'm sure I won't need that but thanks anyway. I may just have to pull my finger out and buy a drive for now. I just had a look, for the first time in ages, and drive prices are staggeringly low. I had in mind it's about a pound a gig, but you can actually get 250gb for £30, which is more like 10p a gig. I think it's definitely time I got myself a new drive.


That's really interesting. I always though RAID was mainly about protecting data. I've worked with a couple of "professional" hardware systems that were using RAID as a failsafe.


Well, I'm not too sure if it's the drive's fault or not. The drive is quite old now and I've had a few minor troubles with it in the past. But that aside, surely there aren't many ways you can damage your data without some kind of disc error?

What happened in my case was that I was using (apparently dodgy) software to mess with my partitions. I have learn from that, and I will not be doing any kind of partition operations again on a disc that contains data. So how else could I lose my data? I don't really think there's any other way, other than some kind of virus, which I'm well protected against, and besides a virus would surely affect the backup drive too?

May I ask what the best solution is, in your opinion, for making sure data is safe? Would you recommend always buying twice as much storage as you intend to use, so you always have room to backup?
I got a 1TB (1000GB) for around £80 so they are very cheap. I have seen 500GB ones cheap too. Not expensive anymore, they used to be really expensive but they are very cheap now. I have backed up my important things on dual layer dvds (dual layer burners are only about £15 too) which are 9GB a disk, I also have the 250GB on my laptop and two external hard drives, so I have a few backups!
 

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