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The 300 GB harddisk has 2 partitions,90 GB and 200 GB! I can see the drives in windows(XP) but unable to access them, the file system is shown as RAW, 0 used space and 0 free space!..chkdsk returns the error "unable to determine volume version and date. chkddsk aborted." Is the MBR corrupt? How do I restore it?

TestDisk tool isn't recognizing the partitions and says invalid entry for heads/cylinder, 15 and should be 255 and suggests to change it..Should I go ahead and change it?

Please advise!

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This question seems related, maybe you will find a useful answer on it: superuser.com/questions/8881/… –  Gnoupi Nov 6 '09 at 16:19
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5 Answers 5

For DATA recovery, I normally use both D.A.R.T. XP or more recently Recuva. Recuva is nice and free and simple. But DART XP to me seems to work deeper, faster and even on RAW HDD if I remember correctly. I do believe it also have a rebuilding feature to make HDD readable for recovery of data.

Personal Usage of DART XP

D.A.R.T. XP

Recuva - Free

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If TestDisk isn't working, I don't know what to propose to recover the partition table. Maybe someone will have better propositions.

However, recovering data from a RAW hard drive can be attempted with another tool from the maker of TestDisk: PhotoRec.

PhotoRec is initially designed to recover photos from a memory card, but it actually works with other documents. It won't help you to recover the partition, but if nothing else works, it can allow you to recover some essential data from it.

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my tool of choice:

WinHex is in its core a universal hexadecimal editor, particularly helpful in the realm of computer forensics, data recovery, low-level data processing, and IT security. An advanced tool for everyday and emergency use: inspect and edit all kinds of files, recover deleted files or lost data from hard drives with corrupt file systems or from digital camera cards.

if it's just data recovery you want, the 'lite version' Davory should suffice.

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I used Powerquest Partition Table Doctor or Active@ Partition Recovery (I installed both but don't remember which one made the trick, I guess both work though) to fix a damaged partition (all the data was made available again).
Prior to that, I had successfully recovered most of the data on this partition to a backup drive using GetDataBack.

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Following this thread, and following an SSD failure, I tried D.A.R.T. and Recuva (and a few others) - none of those could make sense much of the disk (which had been running Windows 8). However, R-Studio did a much better job, and I was able to recover basically most of the data I cared about (a few things were beyond help). It is a retail product (but fairly priced, for what it does) - but with the free download you can run a scan and view the files it manages to find (hint: when viewing the results, if available, choose the first thing it finds, probably in black - the other ones are more speculative "this might be a file system, not quite sure"). Since it actually understood the disk, I was more than happy to part with my money.

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