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Apologies for misusing some terminology here... I'm attempting to fix a friend's laptop (Dell Inspiron 1545) which was suffering from the error "disk error press any key to restart" on every boot, straight after POST. (Not intermittent, I always received the error).

I tried the drive (250GB SATA) in another machine, and used Window's disk management console to see that it recognised the drive as having 3 partitions.. one was the recovery NTFS partition which seemed perfectly fine, another was the OS partition which was displayed as RAW. It had a drive letter assigned but I could not access the data.

So I tried the program TestDisk which seemed to display the partition as NTFS.. I did nothing but quick scan/save however that has had no effect.

I'm not sure where to go from here.. should I be able to tweak the settings/findings in TestDisk? or should I give up? I can recover the data using Recuva pretty well - but as it's a friend's machine it would be great if a simple fix for the partition table would bring the whole machine back to life as it was.

Does this screenshot help? It shows the findings of TestDisk...

Many thanks for any pointers you can give :)


After running a deep scan with TestDisk, it provided the following summary Looked slightly odd, but I saved it and now windows doesn't give either the OS or the Recovery partition a drive letter. Does the summary give any suggestion as to how I could proceed? maybe the start/ends are correct but the partitions shouldn't be split in two? Or maybe it's time to give up and format :D

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When it comes to data recovery, nothing is ever simple. That said, I've had pretty good luck with TestDisk ability to recover lost partitions. – mvp Apr 25 '13 at 9:36
When using TestDisk - do you just stick to the semi-automated Scan/Save process - or is there anything else if that fails to work? I haven't done the deep scan so maybe I need to try that first.. – Tabloo Quijico Apr 25 '13 at 9:42
I did deep scan - it takes a while, but seems to find partitions reliably even if you dd start of disk with 0's. – mvp Apr 25 '13 at 9:47
Thanks, have added further comments in the original question. – Tabloo Quijico Apr 26 '13 at 9:17

I've been consistently successful with Spinrite. As long as it's not a mechanical problem, it works really well.


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Thank you for the suggestion - I should have maybe said in the question but I'm not looking to pay for any solution but just stick to the free options. It's more an educational exercise really :) – Tabloo Quijico Apr 26 '13 at 9:16
Please let us know how it goes, I haven't been able to find an alternative free solution.. – Pedro Bezunartea López May 8 '13 at 20:52
Pedro - please see my answer, maybe mine was a very simple case but chkdsk did the trick! – Tabloo Quijico May 12 '13 at 20:29
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I was probably overthinking this issue a tad. All I had to do was run a chkdsk /f and it fixed the problem, drive now appears with files accessible :)

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