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I don't know whether this is the right forum to post this question so please tell me if I should put it somewhere else.

I have a Compaq laptop with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed. I recently dual-boot installed Windows 8 on it. I partitioned my hard drive, using Partition Wizard Bootable, in to 3 parts: C: (Where Windows 7 is installed); D: (An empty drive) and E: (Where Windows 8 is now installed). I took some space from D: and created E: with it. I then installed Windows 8 on the new partition.

Everything worked fine on Windows 8 until I tried to boot back in to Windows 7. It displayed an error screen saying:

"Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.


Status: 0xc000000f

Info: A required device isn't connected or can't be accessed."

When I went back in to Windows 8 and looked at the disk partitions it didn't show any info about the disk. (E.G: Space, Percentage of disk space, etc.) After looking deeper (I can't remember where) I came across an error saying that the hard disk was locked. Whenever I try to open the drive to access my files it asks me to format the disk. Doesn't that defeat the point? I really need the files, they're mostly for my work!

Cheers, Tomas


It's my work computer and we have paranoid admins who don't even let us backup. It's surprising I was even able to burn the disk.

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Restore your files from a backup, you do backup don't you? This will be extremely complex to sort out, if the data is critical I would stop using the PC and send the drive to a data recovery expert or risk losing your data for good. – Moab Oct 13 '12 at 19:27
Can you mount the disk from inside Disk Management? Also, can Disk Management see the format + free space left? – uınbɐɥs Oct 24 '12 at 23:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. try Spinright:
  2. mount the HDD on another computer and try using "recuva" although I am not sure it will be able to read the drive.

Spinrite can really works but can take a couple of days if running on a deep level. You can "find it for free" if you don't have the money but you should of course support the developer if it works out well in the end.

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Thanks, this was a great help! – Newbie Oct 30 '12 at 8:18

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