is there any way to rehabilitate (save the files) a disk which has lost its partition information ?



System: WinXP Pro; P III, 640mb Ram
Two disks -- Disk 0 ( C: and E:, 80 Gig total)
Disk 1 ( D:, 60 Gig)

The D: has suddenly lost its partition information (MBR?) and the system can
no longer "see" or find D:. Windows boots up properly to C:, and
identifies the second partition on disk 0 as E: (the correct designation).
The computer CMOS knows it has a Disk 1 (drive D:), and correctly identifies
it. But Windows cannot see D:.

I use D: as my backup and reserve storage disk. So the system still
functions quite well. But all my backups are now inaccessible ( Norton
Ghost images, other files, pix, etc.).

Device Manager knows the disk is there, and reports it is "working
properly". Windows Administration - Computer Management reports the disk as

The disk is a Maxtor. I used their software to test it (booting from A:
with their supplied software and Caldera DOS) -- and the Maxtor software
reports that everything about the disk is fine, except it has no partition

I opened up the machine and checked and reseated all cables. I tried using
Device Manager (which saw drive D: and reported it as "working properly") to
remove D: -- and Windows saw the drive on the next bootup as a new drive.
But even though it saw it, it did not appear in Windows Explorer.

I tried using my WinXP Pro disk, repair option, but telling it I wished to
check my Windows installation simply resulted in booting up and seeing no
D:. ( I could be doing it wrong, since I have never done this before).

Using the command prompt -- and attempting to change to D: -- either it
tells me "the system cannot find the drive specified," or, on other
bootups, trying to use Chkdsk, it has told me it "cannot open volume for
direct access.".

Using the "Computer Management" console from Administrative tools --
Computer Management (Local) | Storage | Disk Management -- D: is currently
reported as "unallocated". (on earlier bootups, it was reported as
"uninitialiized.") It *was* an NTFS disk (originally FAT, and converted to
NTFS some time ago). I am guessing that the MBR on this disk has gone

While the Management Console tells me I could create a "new partition" on
this disk, I would rather not -- as I understand it, that would wipe out all
the data I have on it.. While the table may be shot, I am guessing that
most, if not all of my actual data is still there.

Isn't there supposed to be some sort of backup MBR or file table held on an
NTFS disk? If so, how do I restore it?

Is there any feature of WinXP, or really good software out there that can
rebuild a partition.

Any help will be much appreciated.




You could try something like Partition Magic to see if the disk is active or not.

This program I have found to be very useful when dealing with H/D problems.

Brian K

Unallocated space suggests the partition has been deleted. Windows doesn't
see unallocated space.
Partition Magic and Acronis Recovery Expert have an undelete function. A
look at your disk with Partition Magic would certainly help your planning.


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