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I was searching through the internet trying to solve this problem and saw an answer in this site and it looked you really now about this subject. Of all the other webs I checked, this one seemed that had a better solution. I tried to understand the process you answered to someone else using TestDisk but wasn't really sure if it applied to my case. I don't know how rewriting of the corrupted sectors can restore the partitions, cause I'm a novice concerning HDD repairing. Now I'll try to explain the details as clearly as I can. Hope you can guide me a bit.

This IDE HDD is one I had as internal HDD in my PC with Windows XP. One partition was for WinXP and the other for general files. Once I traveled, I took this HDD with me and bought an USB/IDE-SATA adapter. I used 2 times with a Windows 7 laptop and the 2nd time it presented problems. W7 would ask me to format one of the partitions, which was weird because I only used it play mp3's (Partition 2) and used .lrc files (Partition 1). Then I just ignored that request cancelling it and when I was done, I just shut down properly and disconnect everything likewise.

After I got back (didn't use it since), I tried to plug it in the same way in a W7 laptop, hoping it had been a lapse last time and now "fixed" itself. It didn't and all the HDD now appears as unallocated.

Until yesterday, I was really hesitant for not having done this in the past. I have decent knowledge in computers, but I care about my data, so I didn't do anything until yesterday when I started to do scans with EASUS Partition Master, MiniTool Partition Wizard and now Paragon Partition Manager (scanning for Partition Recovery) . With the first two I did Quick and Complete scans with no results and with Paragon already did the Quick one and now, like 1 hour ago, started the Complete Scan and so far it hasn't shown any progess at all. I did use TestDisk once for this problem, but I didn't know much about its tools, so I didn't risk it. By the way, I'm using WinXP and have a brand new external USB HDD if backup needed.

How do I get these partitions back?

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If none of the program you used detect any paritions that were there then your unlikely to have any luck recoverying the partitions. It sounds like a hardwware failure happen. File recovery might be possible but also unlikely at this stage. –  Ramhound Apr 23 '13 at 11:24
    
You can try TestDisk or other data recovery tools (be sure to write any recovered data only to another physical disk), but none can guarantee recovery of all your data. –  Karan Apr 23 '13 at 15:16
    
Thank you all for the answers. It would be very helpful if anyone could explain to me how use TestDisk for this case, for I'm not familiar with this software. –  user219046 Apr 23 '13 at 15:31
    
I've use the Analyse function in TestDisk. At first says "No partition is bootable". Then after quick and deep search nothing appears under each column and when I press to continue it says "No partition found or selected for recovery". Could it be a MBR problem and just need to "Write TestDisk MBR to first sector"? Or maybe CHKDSK could fix it? (Though I don't see it in "My Computer", so I'd have to do it through systemsymbol) If CHKDSK might work, what's the correct command to do this? Many thanks. –  user219046 Apr 23 '13 at 17:22
    
Forgot about a message after the deep search that said "Partition sector doesn't have the endmark 0xAA55" . I don't know what the endmark is in a HDD, but maybe somebody knows what that means and how that can be used to solve this. Also, trying to remember when it happened, I may have unplugged (or turned off) the HDD w/o removing safely. Not completely sure, but there's a fair chance I did. Maybe that could give another perspective to the problem. –  user219046 Apr 23 '13 at 22:54
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