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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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Maxtor One Touch

by pysces83 In reply to Backwards OS Install Trag ...

You said the Maxtor One Touch kept "timing out". I presume this was the software which came with the Hard Drive and that Windows reconised the External Hard Drive - couldn't you have copy and pasted all your data to this external drive as a short-term backup before the installation? It would have taken a while, but you could have grabbed a coffee or something.

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been there tried that

by deICERAY In reply to Maxtor One Touch

Nope, I tried both the software and manual transfer - it timed out in both the software and a copy/paste, and drag and drop. I had run this external for a long time under XP with only an occasional 'that didn't work, try again' thing. In fact, now that I think of it, I had a lot stored on it, and when I installed LOSE7 I then transferred the files to my SATA so that I could access them directly (I work with them a lot). Later, I decided to clear the external for use in backing up! The clearing went well, it was the restoring that didn't fly... so many ways to make a fool of oneself.

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So... the bottom line...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to been there tried that

Before installing any microsoft OS, physically unplug all other drives than the intended install drive. (Also disable in BIOS all other drives and "drives" available, I have had various removables as C: because I didn't).
Just to be sure. You never know, but even Microsoft cannot screw things up without electricity, so the powered-down drives are safe.

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Windows Vista/7 copy

by rwatters In reply to Maxtor One Touch

Meh, if you're grabbing a large chunk of data spread across a ton of individual files I still have issues with Windows 7's copy. They swear it's fixed from back in Vista's day, but it's still a pig of a copy function that still just doesn't work like it should for me, so I could see a large copy operation going to a USB drive as timing out or having other issues. If you're doing a large copy job, copy+paste isn't the way to go. I use robocopy, and highly recommend it.

There's a tip for you going forward deICERAY, check out robocopy. Ntbackup is fine for some things, but if you've got the drive space to spare on your external, I like using robocopy. It will do file comparisons and only copy new files. It's easy to set up a batch file that can be run under scheduled tasks to automate your backup during the wee morning hours. Then if have an issue with your original copy, you don't have to worry about extracting from a .bak file, you just nab it right off your external drive from the mirrored directory structure. Be careful with making sure you have your source and destination straight if you use the /MIR switch, but otherwise it's a great utility.

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Excellent suggestion

by deICERAY In reply to Windows Vista/7 copy

I will look into that! I have a screen capture image somewhere of LOSE7 sending me a copy message; I was copying about 20GB of data from one SATA partition to the other on the same drive, and it assured me it would be done in just "over 1 day" and later timed out. So it robocopy runs under XP, I'm interested!

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This thread has evolved into something useful...

by jeslurkin In reply to Backwards OS Install Trag ... least to me.

Thanks for links, info, recommendations.

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How the heck did that happen?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to This thread has evolved i ...

Somebody form a committee. We need to study this so it won't happen again.

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minor update of the backwards migration

by deICERAY In reply to How the heck did that hap ...

It seems the results from the Recuva utility have been less than helpful; most of the files are 1k crap from browsers, data files from programs, tiny icons, and broken images; I am getting indexing errors every few minutes (three since I started typing here!), which I believe is because the IDE drive is so messed up. Yesterday I organized the recovered files into smaller directories and deleted tens of thousands of those useless files. Then I copied them onto the SATA so I can then format the IDE again and get a clean drive to use as the D drive going forward, only a power outage in last night's storm happened halfway through the copy/paste and now I have to figure out what got copied and what didn't. Hopefully the index problem will go away then too. By the way, when I loaded up windirstat to examine the IDE, the raw recovered files seemed to know where they had originally come from, even as they sat in a huge \RECOVER directory, all mixed together - that was weird).
What a strange trip this has been. Thanks for all of your help to everyone. I hope somebody can get some clarity and some useful, protective procedures out of this; I've certainly learned a lot!

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Are you sure you've done all you can to recover?

by AnsuGisalas In reply to minor update of the backw ...

I don't know myself, as I'm no expert on recovery apps, but just make sure you've exhausted your options before you pull the plug. Remember, don't make it worse in a hurry. Didn't the files originate on a different drive, and you wiped that first?
Have you checked both drives for recoverable materials?

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Temporarily, turn off the indexing.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to minor update of the backw ...

In Windows Explorer, right-click the drive the IDE drive, click Properties, and uncheck the Indexing box. It may take several minutes.

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