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Hard Disk Dissapeared...


I may actually be insane.
I have 2 hdd's in this machine, one 20gb (C:\ and D:\ with XP on) and one 40gb (F:\ and G:\ with my files).
Up until this morning, both drives were functioning perfectly, F:\ was recognised and I was using some apps off it, then as I went to save a download to it, F:\ had completely dissapeared from my computer, thinking this was odd, i rebooted, and XP tried to scandisk, but failed because the drive - while recognised - isn't a valid XP disk (wtf?)
once logged in to windows, F and G were still missing.

The obvious answer is that the disk is utterly f---ked, but, because there is over 3 years worth of files, documents, work, mp3, pictures.. I don't want that to be the case.
So does anyone have any suggestions for recovery etc?
You said XP recognizes the drive even though it cannot read it? Does BIOS recognize it correctly? If you go into Computer Management, what does it say?

I would enable SMART in your BIOS if possible (assuming you haven't already done so). It will tell you on bootup if the drive is bad.

I would check your cables on the drive itself and make sure they are all seated firmly in their sockets (incl power). If you have an extra IDE cable lying around (even the older 40pin version), I would try it. Also check the Master/Slave jumper. I once had a drive that would intermittently fail because the jumper was really loose.

I assume the second drive is set up as Slave and your main OS drive is Master? Try hooking it up as Master on the other IDE port, although you'll have to remove your optical drives first.

I suppose you could try hooking it up as Slave on another PC as a last resort to see if the problem is related to your PC, although I cannot see why this would be the case.

As to recovery: I think you'll have to ask yourself if the data on your drive is worth the amount of money it will cost to have the data professionally recovered...
The same thing more or less happen to me. What I did is removed the problem drive and let it cool down. I then found a 98 machine and slaved it. I was able to access it long enough to back up the files to the master drive.

Its not scientific but sometimes you can a few more hours of life from dying drive this way.

Oh yeah I forgot to ask, is it FAT32?, I hope for your sake it is.

Good luck


I may actually be insane.
In answer to those questions :
XP doesnt recognise the disk, sorry i should have been clearer.
its scandisk at startup that recognised it, but then went on to tell me that it couldnt scan it due to it not being a "valid xp disk"
The bios does recognise that there is a 40gb drive attached.

SMART? Can't say that I've heard of it before, i'll reboot in a second and have a look through my bios for it..

Cables, first thing that i checked. I'll give the jumpers a look over too in a minute.

Unfortunately i dont have another PC, If it comes to that tho, I will try it at a friends house. But i have just (well, about 3-4 weeks ago) bought a new motherboard, so i hope this isnt the problem

And yes, I had the sense to put my data on a 30gb FAT32 partition of the drive. The other 10gb is NTFS, but i cant even remember whats on there... so it cant be that important :)


Because your data partition is on FAT32 you should be able to use a win98 boot disk to see if the partition and your data is still there. You can get the files for a 98 disk HERE


I may actually be insane.
Ok, I tried the boot disk (I just use an Old WinM.e. CD and booted to DOS) and I received the following message - "File Allocation Table Bad, Drive C"
Obviously its drive C, as it cant read the other 3 NTFS partitions available.

I looked that up on google and found this :
When I turn on the computer I get an error message: File allocation table bad. What is a file allocation table?

A file allocation table tells the computer where all the programs and files are stored on your hard disk. If you get this error something sinister has happened to your disk's primary file allocation table (FAT). DOS won't automatically use the backup FAT and keep working. It may be possible to use DOS DEBUG to copy the backup FAT and replace the damaged primary FAT, though the process is incredibly cryptic, so use your favorite disk utility to recreate the FAT. A bad FAT may be an indication that the drive is about to go bad. After you recover the disk by re-creating FAT, backup your entire disk, reformat, and restore your files. Be vigilant about backing up your data.
I don't know if anyone is familiar with debug, but i'm sure you need to be some sort of scientific genius to actually use it :p

So does anyone know of a utility that will allow me to replicate the table?


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
Try downloading a demo recovery program like R-Studio 2.0 (it's in download.com). If it sees your drive and its files, then I would buy that and transfer all your data to your other drive. I think it is a possibility that this will work, considering that your BIOS recognizes the disk.

Originally posted by SPeedY_B
But i have just (well, about 3-4 weeks ago) bought a new motherboard, so i hope this isnt the problem
I bought a new motherboard, cpu, ram etc about 3 days before my old HDD died, except this was my main HDD and it wouldnt even find it in BIOS. Odd how they tend to die with new mobos isnt it?

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