I have a 500GB hard drive which I primarily use for data storage. It worked just fine on my computer. My Windows 7 installation and applications are on a different drive so this storage drive is not essential for Windows to work.

On a storage hard drive, I have two partitions:

  • S: - 26.29GB, NTFS
  • T: - the rest of the capacity, NTFS

A few days ago, I removed the storage HDD from my computer and took it to a friend of mine who uses Windows XP. When attached, the disk was showing both partitions in Windows Explorer. However, T: did not show a label (it was labelled Local Disk) and I could not access it; Windows kept prompting me to format the partition before I could use it. I did not pay much attention to it, since the majority of the files I needed were on the S: partition.

However, when I reattached it back to my computer, the file system corruption remained and now I cannot access data on the T: partition any more. Windows 7 is prompting me to format it. Disk Management shows there are now two partitions with some unallocated capacity:

  • S: 26.29GB, NTFS, unaffected
  • T: 48.24GB, RAW (what's this?)
  • 391.23GB is unallocated

If I cancel the partition formatting it says:

The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.

I'm sure the files themselves are intact, since there was no data formatting or deletion, it's just that Windows does not understand the structure any more.

How can I fix this issue? I have some very important data on the T: partition, so formatting it is out of the question. Is it possible that Windows XP messed up the file system information and now Windows 7 can't see it too?

  • Restore the important data from your regular backups. – ta.speot.is Jul 11 '11 at 10:10
  • 1
    @todda I already did, but the backup is on 2-week basis, so there's still some data missing. Can you please advise on an actual problem that I'm asking about? – Nikola Malešević Jul 11 '11 at 10:17
  • You are gonna need some pro help. – surfasb Jul 11 '11 at 10:28
  • Clearly not regular enough – ta.speot.is Jul 11 '11 at 23:19

I've got great results with retrieving data from drives with corrupted file systems in the past from Test Disk: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

It's not pretty, but it's effective.

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    Seconded. I had a USB hard drive formatted with NTFS as well. Took it to work, and it stopped working when I connected to my home PC again. Fixed the partition table with this tool and it was fine. – Edgar Jul 11 '11 at 11:30
  • Sweet, I didn't know it fixed tables as well. I just used it to recover the files, then re-formatted the drive. Awesome bit of software. – donrosco Jul 11 '11 at 15:46
  • Thanks. I managed to salvage data even without this utility, but it appears it would be much easier had I used it in the first place. – Nikola Malešević Jul 11 '11 at 16:53

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