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Backwards OS Install Tragedy

I was running WIN7 and being frustrated by its quirkiness, its complete lack of backwards support, and lack of drivers for XP programs. I decided to go back to XP.
I thought installing WIN7 was a mistake, but the install program of XP caused the biggest mistake of my LIFE.
Under WIN7, my 500 GB SATA drive was C: and E:, with assigned to the 200GB IDE drive.
For some evil reason, XP (and I did not find this out until hours after the install) decided that the IDE was C.

I lost basically my last five years of work - 160 GB of files. Sure, some is backed up on DVD, and maybe I can find a few GB of copies. Part of the install was motivated by the fact that I could not get the WIN7 system to burn DVDs to back up my data. So I had planned to back it up after the XP install.
All of my graphics work, my entire website, all my raw photography images all the way back to 2006, tens of thousands of pictures; all my writings, over a thousand handmade scans of 35mm slides and negatives, and a host of other files and programs and data; I was using that partition as a temp storage for the install!
So users beware; XP and WIN7 see hardware in fundamentally different ways. Apparently WIN7 sees a SATA as primary, and XP sees an IDE as primary.
I am devastated. I'm not whining, I am warning. There was no way to tell that XP had altered the lettering of the drives by looking at the install screen. There's nothing I can do now; I cannot afford to send the drive to have the data recovered.
So - be careful out there.

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tough love

by deICERAY In reply to Drive letters are relativ ...

yup I accept final responsibility; and I admit there's nothing I can do about the tough crap attitude. To quibble, the SATA drive HAD been running under XP for a long time, and was there when I upgraded and downgraded. So XP knew about it in my mind.
WIN7 sucks for other reasons than you listed. But, I'm busy now restoring the system and am calming down a little. Thanks for your comments and enlightenments; I'm the first to admit there's a lot to learn and a lot to be wary of.

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"...XP knew about it ..."

by CharlieSpencer In reply to tough love

"...the SATA drive HAD been running under XP for a long time, and was there when I upgraded ..."

But when you downgraded, the SATA drivers that had been added to the original XP installation (and were present by default in W7) were not accessible to the XP installation process. The installation process can only use what's on its installation media, not what's included in the OS it's replacing.

Sorry to be brutal earlier, but I wanted to get the technical facts posted for the benefit of future OS downgraders.

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we back up

by PurpleSkys In reply to encouraging

our Win7 Pro 64-bit pcs to an external hdd once a month...never have had an issue yet

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We image all of our XP PCs to huge secondary drives.

by Ron K. In reply to we back up

Once a week, every week.

I create an image before I install new software, just in case I don't like it. If I do like it it gets incorporated into the next backup image.<br>
I've thought of going to network attached storage but what we're doing is working do far.<br>
I've restored images several times now. Every one went without a hitch.<br>
We use Acronis True Image Home 2010 PC Backup and Recovery where formerly we used Ghost 9. Since Symantec quit making Ghost we went to Acronis.<br>
I generally say that your anti-virus, anti-malware and other security tools are only as good as your latest clean image.

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well said

by PurpleSkys In reply to We image all of our XP PC ...
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this is also off the mark

by deICERAY In reply to We image all of our XP PC ...

Again, I tried and tried and tried under WIN7 to backup, it wouldn't it timed out both on the external and the burner. In case you missed it, I'm retired, I don't have HUGE SECONDARY DRIVES lying around to backup to, and even if I did I have zero confidence in WIN7 working with them.
I completely agree with both your strategy and advice, as long as you agree they have nothing to do with my situation.

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Sorry for your lost data

by rwatters In reply to this is also off the mark

It sucks that you lost the data, but I can tell you that we've had a lot of success with Windows 7 64bit that we've been moving our install base towards. Generally haven't had any issues with any hardware, but we've been installing to standard Dell boxes that were geared towards a corporate environment, so may have had more general hardware in place than you had.

It won't help you this time, but here's some more information if you decide to move things around again. Not going to hit on the SATA thing because it's already been covered upthread well enough, Windows XP doesn't recognize SATA without a storage device driver.

As you install the OS, Windows does tell you at least the size of the drive that it's looking at installing on. If I remember from your full story post, this would have been your first hint that something wasn't exactly kosher, as the drive size was different. It should also have told you how many drives it saw. When it only saw one drive to install on, that also should have red flagged for you. When you're working with something like an OS install, if there's a chance you could lose data with a misstep, it pays to double check things as you go along so you're sure about what's going to happen with the install.

You had years worth of work that was at risk it appears, and you can't really blame the OS installation for the lost data. If you've been accumulating this data for as long as it sounds like, at least a good chunk of it should already have been backed up. A backup doesn't mean it's sitting on a drive that you've decided is a backup drive, it needs to live in more than one location.

I realize that you'd repeatedly stated that you weren't able to backup your data as your external drive would time out and you couldn't get it to write to your dvd writer. To me, I'd say that best practice would have been to remove that hard drive before doing the OS installation so there was no chance of overwriting that data that was your only copy until you were sure you had a stable environment to get it backed up. Failing that, more attention to the information that the install was giving you about what it was doing should have gotten you to back out before you overwrote your data.

The real lessons here are to back up your data more frequently so you have more than one copy of your data, and to more closely watch the information that your computer is giving you when doing massive system altering changes.

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all too true, except;

by deICERAY In reply to Sorry for your lost data

Except that during the XP install I'm sure there were three choices, C, D, E, which was what I expected to see. The size clue may have been helpful, except that they were all around 200GB, all three, so YES I was being casual in my selection, and yes I was too trustful that all was well, and choosing C might have been done more cautiously, although why I would have paid attention to the other drives is lost to me, ignorance being the operative state, trusting that C is C, you know? Finally, having calmed down a bit from the shock of loss, I have realized that I must have copies of everything up to the install of WIN7 in terms of images and photos, so ultimately all I've lost is my cool (what was left of it) and the photos and work done since the upgrade to WIN7; having gotten some of it back is a small consolation, but better than nothing. Removing the D drive would never had occurred to me, as I obviously assumed C was C! Wiser I am now. Thanks.

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the idea

by PurpleSkys In reply to this is also off the mark

was to have done the back up BEFORE (while still under XP) installing win7 in the first place and you don't need to have huge secondary drives kicking around either, just something large enough to back everything up before installing Win 7...before installing Win 7 on two computers here, they were backed up before the installation.

I also am not knocking the "warning" that you are trying to say, but I'm also trying to warn others to BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP before doing any kind of program installation, especially if it's a new OS.

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just a slight correction

by deICERAY In reply to the idea

The data that was created before WIN7 is restorable; it's on old HDDs, and CDs and DVDs here somewhere. The truly lost data is everything after the install, and I got WIN7 the day tigerdirect released it. Yes, I should have realized I was going down a dead end when I couldn't back up the new data. SO I waited too long and lost too much, and had I been able to, I would have backed up as I always have, up until WIN7, which I think I am going to refer to as LOSE7 from now on.
Yup - BACK UP if you can! If you can't don't put it on! Got it!

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