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I am using a 32-bit Windows XP desktop PC. I gave a friend of mine my internal 1.5TB hard drive to copy a lot of files for me. When he gave it back to me I tried reattaching it to my desktop but Windows couldn't read the hard drive or recognize it, so I tried using TestDisk to recover my MFT table but even though it managed to write the MFT table and I actually managed to browse through the files and recover some of the data, Windows still couldn't recognize the hard drive (Even after making the partition active and giving it a new letter).

This is what the Disk Management on Windows shows me:

(Click images to enlarge)

And it does not allow me to change the drive's letter, so the drive is not showing when opening "My Computer" or listing the drives.


I tried using one of the commercial applications out there named Aoemi Partition Assistant, but it went as far as showing me this:


I tried to rebuild MBR and then convert the disk to MBR, but the used size would dramatically change to 450MB! And when trying to use that same software to change the drive's letter, it fails with an unknown error and asks me to use Windows Drive Management to change the drive's letter which is not doable!

I am currently clueless on what to do, as I’ve been going in circles for 3 days now, and I am really afraid I'd damage it (I am hoping I haven't done that already, since I can still recover some of the data using testdisk).

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Are you saying you can't access the drive from Windows Explorer? If so, can you right click on the E drive and change drive letter - see if that helps?# – Dave Aug 14 '12 at 11:32
It's the drive with no letter, and the Disk management does not give me the option to change it :S – Madi D. Aug 14 '12 at 11:35
Does it give you an option to convert it to a dynamic disk ? – Dave Aug 14 '12 at 11:36
The Windows Disk Management doesn't give me any options at all (Just added a 3rd screenshot above to show it).. – Madi D. Aug 14 '12 at 11:44
your friend probably converted it to a dynamic disk when he mounted the drive - your system can't understand it. – SeanC Aug 14 '12 at 18:50
up vote 2 down vote accepted

the clue is in your second picture - the disk is a GPT Protective Partition. This means the data has been accessed on a system that does not properly understand GPT disks. The only Windows systems that understand GPT disks are XP (64 Biit only), Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

The only way I have seen to retrieve the data without cost is to boot using a linux live CD, and shrink the partition as much as is allowed, and create a new partition.
Copy as much data as you can, and repeat the cycle until you have all the data.

the cost method: (currently $36)

alternatively: (you will lose your data)
select disk X where X is your drive
clean - but this will set the whole disk as unallocated, and you will lose your data

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I actually just backed up the data on the drive and was going to do your second option :), it seems like the only solution at hand. – Madi D. Aug 16 '12 at 7:29

In the image you supplied the disk shows up as 1.4TB, which is about 1.5TB after marketing has rounded the value.

The red arrows on same image shows the used space. This is how much files are on the disk. (not how much of the disk is used).

All in all I see nothing wrong. It is a working 1.5TB disk. It was partitioned using GPT which is a newer standard. I can understand that a 12-ish year old OS (XP) has a problem with that. But you already got it working. Is there any problem at all if you just 'open' the disk and access the files on it?

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Hello Hennes, apologies on not being clear on the issue, i just added a picture of what the Windows Disk Management shows me. I also tried to use an External Enclosure to connect the HDD to my windows7 laptop, bad sadly the laptop couldn't see the Enclosured HDD. – Madi D. Aug 14 '12 at 11:23

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