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So, horror story for everyone.

I bought two spanking new HDD's. MM!! Gbitage.

I removed all my old HDD's, physically labelled them, and was preparing to install all new HDD's (fresh sys install included!)

To make sure what HDD was what, I popped each OLD HDD (data filleD!) into a Thermaltake Blacx toaster.. surprisingly BOTH couldn't be read. I didn't have static on my hands! I'm certain of it. I touched metal, touched wood, before beginning this all.

Thinking that was strage, I hauled up the new sys, installed Win XP (of course!) on the new HDD, and now the two OLD HDD's (data filled!) that were entered into the toaster cannot be read. And they had tons of data on them.

I read about MBR's being nuked and it sounds like that is what it is. But I'm at a loss what to do. There are so many MBR recovery programs out there, I kind of feel overwhelmed. I don't want to lose my data by just pikcing one, yet it seems so close within reach, I'm not panicking anymore..

Anybody have a play by play that I could follow? I just don't want to spend $900 on data recovery centers if I can do this myself..

share|improve this question
Also weird I had connected the Old (data filled!) HDD's to the Thermaltake to a MAC machine, which may have had something to do with the failure of the NTFS formatted MBR info – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 3:59 seems promising.. – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 4:21
… is also related – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 4:36
I'm using XP on this rig but I also have Windows 7 on another machine – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 5:23

Well, you can just insert the XP cd, boot the machine, and start in recovery console mode. You can type help once there to see other available commands. To start the console:

  1. Insert the cd, and boot the machine.
  2. when asked, hit key to "boot from CD"
  3. choose recovery console in text menu by hitting R key.
  4. do the fixmbr thing. If I recall well, any command also there allow the fixmbr /? thing to see brief help about the command.

This used to make the trick for me, I hope it helps you. Other way I have used is using the great Rannish Partition Manager(allows to recover a standard dos MBR), which also allows to setup multiple OSes boot, but you need to be experienced in these matters, and have very safe backups before trying. I used it during years and never lost data, but with these things, all can happen.

From your explanation, am not 100% sure is the MBR thing lost... Sometimes disks come with some weird config in that area, but I hope your problem gets solved easily.

Good luck! I'll keep an eye around here in case I can help more.

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Does this work if the drive that failed is not a system partition? – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 13:41
To my knowledge, MBR onlys stores in main first partition. Wether if it has or not OS installed, or boot files, you can write on it always. As far as I know. Glad you solved the problem. These issues I often just setup a floppy with Rannish Partition Manager, and fix whatever from there and even recover lost linux boots in other partitions, etc. But the other day had to do with recovery CD, in the way I explained above, and worked as used to do in the past. – S.gfx Apr 16 '10 at 7:42
up vote 0 down vote accepted

So for the other drive, it was somehow the boot record, and TestDisk fixed it for me!

Thanks TestDisk!

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please save the glittery graphics for meta. – quack quixote Apr 15 '10 at 16:29
mr killjoy.. this isn't SO anyway.. the unicorn reigns – bobobobo Apr 15 '10 at 17:09
I was just going to recommend TestDisk... – Hello71 May 31 '10 at 2:38
Please do not rollback unnecessarily - your graphic was removed because it doesn't add anything to the answer. – 8088 Nov 15 '11 at 6:15
-1 on the answer for the effeminate unicorn. +1 for the question and great comments. If I could give another +1 to the question, I would.. and if I could give another -1 to the unicorn, I would. – barlop Nov 16 '11 at 22:46

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