Partitions missing in WinXP - help!

By wongnog ·
Okay, so I've gotten myself into quite the pickle.
My problem is that WinXP SP2 can no longer see 2 out of 3 partitions on my main hard drive. It can see the Windows (C:) partition just fine, but the and E: partitions have both disappeared and now say "unallocated space" in Disk Management. So this is how I got to this situation...

My system was running WinXP SP2 just fine with two IDE Maxtor drives, both connected to the primary IDE channel. I was doing some stuff in the registry in order to remove all Microsoft Intellipoint mouse driver entries, following this guide: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321122/EN-US/

When I restarted my computer, suddenly I was greeted with the dreaded error "Hard Disk Boot Failure Insert System Disk Press Enter". I tried a number of steps, like going into bios and checking the boot order, unplugging the slave drive. Finally I booted up my WinXP CD and went into recovery manager.

I tried CHKDSK /P and FIXBOOT on C:\, and both tools reported they fixed some errors but neither of them fixed the boot failure problem. Finally I ran FIXMBR on C and voila, I could boot back into WinXP!

But now I'm stuck in my present situation. After fixing the master boot record, it seems that I've "lost" my and E: partitions. My WinXP C: partition is fine, as is my slave drive F: which is all data. I'm really hoping there is an easy way to fix my problem -- please don't tell my all my programs and data are lost!

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

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by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Partitions missing in Win ...

I feel your pain. ...been there.

I've had good experiences with the tools offered here:
They offer free trial periods so you can see if their programs can help.

I've also had success using a free open-source DOS-based utility called TestDisk - http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
Here's a review on it:

Good Luck.

<edited for typos>

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TestDisk did the trick!

by wongnog In reply to Ouch!

Somebody on another forum mentioned TestDisk and it did the trick in just a few steps. Very easy to use, I just had it run a quick scan and then it was able to repair the partition table. Thanks very much!

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Good to hear it!...

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to TestDisk did the trick!

Glad I could help.

[It is greatly appreciated if you tag all useful responses as 'Helpful' by opening those posts and clicking the 'Mark Helpful' button at the bottom. That way, people with a similar situation in the future will be able to quickly see what ultimately helped. Thanks.]

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I hate to break it to you

by albert In reply to Partitions missing in Win ...

Microsoft does warn that using FIXMBR could damage partition tables:


One of the most respected computer experts in the world is Steve Gibson. You can try his SpinRite Utility. It's not free, but it's reasonably priced for personal use.

Link here:


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