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Fix for: hard drive lost partition

By Jesse | April 7, 2011

We have had a number customer machines over the year that have “forgotten” their partition information.   Generally the behavior when this happens is that for os partitions, the machine doesn’t boot, or for data partitions the drive is missing and if you go into computer management, you see a now blank drive, and when you click on the drive it may ask you to initialize the disk..

DONT INITIALIZE THE DISK….   just leave it …

If the missing partition is a data partition and your machine is still bootable goto :

Download the version for your OS and install it.. If you’re running Vista or Windows 7 make sure you run it as administrator.  The instructions for recovery are here:

In addition, I’ve had some scenarios where when I go to write the partition information back to the disk, I got a Partition: Write Error.  I found that it was an erroneous error and that the application had successfully repaired the partition table.  Also to get it to re-read the partition information information, we rebooted the machine.   After boot drives showed back up.


If your machine is not bootable, download a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD which contains a copy of TestDisk.  then just follow the on screen prompts and launch testdisk (which believe is buried in the PartEd Magic portion of the dvd).  Once TestDisk is running, follow the above instructions for testdisk.

We have had luck recovering FAT, GPT, and NTFS formatted partitions with this tool.  With an almost 100% success rate.

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