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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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Why not just convert the FAT 32 drive to NTFS?

by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to not only that

It's pretty easy to do...then both drives will be compatable....plus NTFS has more security control.

See this page for converting to NTFS....I've done it plenty of times....it's never messed anything up on me.


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it works

by danerd In reply to Why not just convert the ...

hi darryl, i did what you suggested and it WORKS, thank you for your help.

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No Problem...

by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to it works

I've done that a number of times & never had a problem converting the file system.

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

Recuva, a program from the makers of CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/, is a free file recovery that actually allowed me to recover over 200,000 files, about 20% of what was on the drive.
For all the "Backup chidings", I tried and failed in WIN7 to backup to an external (timed out) and to DVDs/CDs - transfers stopped responding - with both an internal and an external burner, so I had no alternative but go for the reinstall. So, some recovery is better than none, I hope this cautionary tale serves its purpose.

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Recuva is a good tool

by XnavyDK In reply to encouraging

as you said it only recovers what its been designed to do, essentially files that have not been overwritten just erased. there are deeper alternatives that are not free and can recover more if they are that critical. Check them out before you give up. Hirens Boot CD has another recovery tool that can be more thorough but can be buggy.

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Thanks for the idea

by deICERAY In reply to Recuva is a good tool

I'm retired and cannot afford a professional recovery utility/service. but it is good to have the reference. I am resigned to working with what I have recovered, and have spent some time telling others about this - to a person, they have all said - "I didn't know that!" That, being XP doesn't see a SATA as a primary drive. They were all grateful for the revelation, so again, thanks to Palmetto.

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To be an *** and state the obvious...

by Ron K. In reply to encouraging

you could've taken out the IDE drive with all of your backups, since they weren't really backups because they only existed in one place. Good backup software, which you should've been using all along would've allowed you to retrieve single files, or an entire drive's worth.

If people don't backup, meaning the data isn't stored in only one location, I feel bad for their lost work and often wonder if they adopt a better backup system in the future.<br>
I've got roughly 50 grand's worth of music on this computer. You can believe that it's backed up, on-site and off-site in case of a disaster here. <br>
If this computer gets hit by some nasty virus or whatever I've timed my restoring of an image at 15-20 minutes. <br>
Your backup strategy, to beat a dead horse, should've started when you had a clean copy of XP, with your programs and data, before going to 7.

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nope, not accurate at all

by deICERAY In reply to To be an ass and state th ...

First, what possible reason would I have had for removing the IDE? It WAS MY DRIVE! Who worries about the D drive in an install? Again, I was already in WIN7, and it was not allowing me to back up, it would time out on both my external and my burner. So there was zero hope of getting a good backup of the data under WIN7. There was every expectation that the current C Drive would remain the C Drive - the discussion here is the first time I, and all of my friends, have ever heard that XP and WIN7 see hardware fundamentally different. I've backed up my data all the long, but ever since WIN7, I couldn't. Tried, failed. I didn't care about the OS IMAGE, it was the files and data I put(I thought) safely on the D Drive that was destroyed. So you've beaten the wrong dead horse, my friend, and it's laying behind the cart at this point. Since I went back to XP, both the burner and the external work fine for backup! WIN7 sucks. Period. But thanks for the comments.

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Drive letters are relative.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to nope, not accurate at all

Drive letters are assigned by operating systems, not by the BIOS.

A 'fresh' (non-upgrade) OS installation process cannot know the drive letters an existing OS uses. Drive letter were assigned by the existing OS (in this case, W7), were valid only while that OS was booted and running, and could not have been recognized by XP (or other version of Windows, or *nix, or any other OS installation process). The BIOS made both your SATA and IDE drives available to the installation process, without placing any 'priority' or 'default' on either of them as you keep insisting. Since the XP installation process is unable to recognize SATA drives without user intervention, all it could 'see' was the IDE. (Technically, what XP didn't have drivers for was the SATA drive controller.) When the actual writing of files began, it assigned that the letter C: to the only drive it could access.

A Linux installation would not have assigned drive letters at all. Depending on the age of the distribution, it may not have seen the SATA drives either. I don't know what an OS X downgrade on Apple iron would have done.

XP doesn't see hardware 'fundamentally different' from W7, or from any other OS. No OS can see a device it doesn't have drivers for. XP doesn't have drivers for SATA controllers on the installation CD. NT and 95 didn't have USB drivers. Some Linux distros struggle with wireless cards. W7 didn't have drivers for your burner and external drive.

You attempted a major operation based on several false assumptions (a ten-year-old OS would see a much newer SATA drive, your data drive would be ignored, the drive letters would remain the same across OS installations) and KNOWING you didn't have a successful backup. That doesn't mean W7 sucks (or XP either), and the fault doesn't lie with Microsoft. I'm sympathetic, but take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

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

I declined to get into a further pointless pissing match, you've covered this well without making it personal.


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