NTFS partition not visible..!

June 27, 2009 at 00:26:06
Specs: Windows XP
Hi... im really desperate for help cuz this deals with important data to be recovered!
Here's the description:
(PS: The post was made a long one so that i could give maximum information for the troubleshooters. Pls. do not avoid helping me for the length of it!)

Two days ago the power went off multiple times when the PC was on and i was forced to fast shutdown it (by holding the power button down continously). The next day when i booted up my pc.., the following error showed up:

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt C:\windows\system32\config\system"

I tried to rectify it using instructions at the following link but decided to drop it down at part2 since system restore never works in my PC.

Finally decided to format my C: drive after transferring some important files from C:\ to the the other partitions of this failed drive. This, i tried to do by connecting the HDD of my dad's computer as a secondary master drive and booting my PC from it.

The failed drive is seagate 250GB SATA drive with following partitions: (im giving the labellings of each partition for easy identification further down when both the HDD's would be connected)

All the partitions are NTFS
Partition 1: 43.95 GB Label- Windows
Partition 2: 43.95 GB Label- Common
Partition 3: 47.85 GB Label- Music
Partition 4: 48.34 GB Label- Freeware
Partition 5: 48.79 GB Label- Backups

My dad's drive (40GB) has partitions as follows:
All the partitions are FAT32
Partition 1: 9.32 GB Label- WindowsXP
Partition 2: 9.32 GB Label- Personal
Partition 3: 9.32 GB Label- Extras
Partition 4: 9.32 GB Label- Common

So, as stated earlier i managed to connect both the HDD on my PC's, boot from my dad's windowsXP and fortunately all my 5 NTFS partitions were visible!(Refer image: http://img200.imageshack.us/i/mycom... The drives G,H,I,J,K labelled with blue font are the NTFS partitions on my SATA HDD)
Hence backed up all the dats on my C: drive to other partitions within my drive and the other HDD as well...

Now ready to format the C: drive and make a fresh installation of WindowsXP onto it.. Disconnected the 40GB FAT32 HDD and installed WindowsXP onto my NTFS HDD's C:\ drive with a bootable WindowsXP CD-ROM... Now, begins the problem!

When all was fine and i booted my fresh installation of XP, to my surprise only 3 partitions out of the 5 were visible!!?
(Refer image: http://img29.imageshack.us/i/mycomp...
The following partitions were not to be seen...
Partition 4: 48.34 GB Label- Freeware
Partition 5: 48.79 GB Label- Backups

Thats 100GB of data missing!

Worried, i tried connecting the FAT32 HDD again as a secondary master to my PC with the SATA HDD and made it to boot from the FAT32 HDD...
A relief! I could find all the 5 NTFS partitions listed here just perfectly with all the data intact...
The question: Why are the two partitions not being displayed when i boot from the 250GB SATA NTFS drive?

When i go to Start-->My Computer..>Right-click--->Manage--->Disk management under storage, i see the following:

Condition 1. When booting from FAT32 HDD as IDE secondary master with SATA HDD attached:

All the 5 partitions of the SATA HDD are displayed perfectly...
(Refer image: http://img134.imageshack.us/i/diskm...

Condition 2. FAT32 HDD is detached.. Boot from SATA HDD alone..

Only the first 3 partitions as below as shown!
Partition 1: 43.95 GB Label- Windows
Partition 2: 43.95 GB Label- Common
Partition 3: 47.85 GB Label- Music

Windows does'nt even recognise the remaining 100GB of written data!
Instead next to the 3 partitions listed above, it shows 97.13GB as free space!? How come?
(Refer image: http://img195.imageshack.us/i/diskm...

I'm really really worried with this thing and dont want to go through the pain of transferring all this 100GB of data to other HDD's (which i sure dont have access to and no more space on the other partitions as well! )
Pls. help me find a way to make windows recognise the remaining two NTFS partitions....


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June 27, 2009 at 04:29:03
Do you know what types of partition each of the five were/are? I mean primary or logical drives as part of an extended partition?

You can find that information by using fdisk option #4. DO NOT attempt to change anything on that drive by the use of fdisk. It is perfectly safe to use fdisk for viewing purposes. If the drive is still mounted in the other computer you may also see an option #5, which you will need to use.

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June 27, 2009 at 06:10:12
First my question: What did you use to create the 5 NTFS partitions? Partition Magic?

Second, I see you are already getting some help over at TechSupportForum in THIS thread.


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Related Solutions

June 27, 2009 at 12:18:29
hi all... thanks for all the help ... i do apologize for the double post and the issue that was due to not installing the service pack 2 has now been resolved...
The thread may be closed... thanks again

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June 27, 2009 at 13:56:07
Glad to hear the problem has been resolved. However I fail to see how installing XP SP2 cured the problem. Maybe it's just me.


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June 27, 2009 at 20:50:42
Winxp (without the service pack) does not recognise more than 3 partitions.. or higher volumes!

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June 27, 2009 at 21:54:37
Well but I know without doubt that Service pack has nothing to do with it. All windows platform from Windows 3 and onward adopted MS DOS fundamentals of primary, extended, & logical partitions.


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June 28, 2009 at 04:59:55

WinXP without service packs is not 48bit LBA compliant. That means it can't properly use hard drives larger than 127/137GB. That has nothing to do with the number of partitions.

As XpUser has already stated, Windows can have more than 3 partitions. Can have up to 4 primary partitions or three and an extended partition with up to 22 logical drives.

The issues is strictly one of drive capacity.

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June 28, 2009 at 06:51:01
well.., i've been trying to say the same thing..!
Winxp (without the service pack) does not recognise more than 3 partitions.. or higher volumes!(where i meant the capacity of the drive)

i had Windows XP SP0 and a 250GB HDD...

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June 28, 2009 at 08:15:56
But you are saying that Original WinXP can't see more than 3 partitions. That is not true. You could have 25 drive letters on a 120GB hard drive with XP original and they would all show. That is the point XpUser was trying to make.

I am not trying to challenge you as much as correct the record. Lots of folks come here and search the database for relevant threads. i am just setting the record straight.

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