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I'm trying to use the Windows 7 system recovery disk to repair a boot sector, however I'm finding that when I boot the recovery disk, it doesn't list / mount any of my disk partitions, and so I can't perform the recovery.

The partitions are all NTFS formatted, and the drivers used to read the disks all seem to be fairly straightforward Microsoft drivers, so I shouldn't need to load any extra drivers to see my partitions (its a Dell Latitude D530)

Diskpart correctly lists the partitions (complete with labels) - it just that when I attempt to switch to that partition it gives me the "This partition does not contain a recognised file system" message.

Has anyone got any idea how I can work out why my partitions are not visible?

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Did this just randomly happen or did this happen after doing something else? – James T Jun 8 '10 at 4:58
have you tried to run chkdsk on the drive, this is available via the recovery console also! – user33788 Jun 8 '10 at 5:19

Sounds like your windows partition might have been damaged just enough for the recovery console to fail to recognize it.

First check the S.M.A.R.T status on the drive. You can boot it as a secondary drive in linux like you did before, then use smartctl -a /dev/hda. the hda might be sda. Its basically the drive as it is listed under fdisk -l. You probably will have to run these commands as root or with sudo.

The "OK" status that the hard drive reports is not reliable. It can be throwing errors left and right and still report "OK" depending on how the manufacturer set the thresholds. I recommend reading googles hard drive study to learn more link text. The symptoms you describe sound kinda like it could be hard drive failure related. The smart status might provide some insight.

If the hard drive checks out as ok, then boot up a windows live cd like bartpe or vistape and run a chkdsk /f on the drive. You might want to do a backup first. Chkdsk can sometimes be a little destructive with data.

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