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External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 08 Jan 2013, 06:24
by jayceepho
Hey all,

I've been browsing through the web for about 2 days now trying to see how I could recover my hard drive. Here's the story in a pinch.

- I own an external 3TB Harddrive (originally formatted under a MAC system) and is cross-use with MAC and WINDOWS platforms
- I connected the HDD to a Windows computer ('My Computer' could not find drive, so I decided to hit up the Disk Management options)
- I assigned the drive the letter (and now knowing this, overwrites the original Apple Partition Map, with a MBR)
- I can't access the drive at all, and gives me prompts saying to "Format the drive before it can be used" or something similar
- When I hit 'P' to list files within TESTDISK, it shows me ONLY the original files that come manufactured with a Seagate Drive
- I didn't go about formatting, because I know that my files are still on the drive (evident to using PHOTOREC to recover the lost files)

GOAL: To retrieve the ORIGINAL file trees so that I won't have to rename every one of my video, graphic, animation, etc files (because I'm a video editor) and to put the hard drive back into the state of how it was before I wrote over the partition tables.

To my understanding from days of research, I found that this is possible, although, I don't know how to achieve this goal without a step-by-step process. I really found this forums to be informative, and am not usually the one to register and create posts on general problems. But I need the community's profession on this as to how I can get my hard drive into working order again.

If there's any other information needed, please ask.

Thank you so much! :)

Re: External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 08 Jan 2013, 09:22
by Fiona
Partition map is almost not used anymore.
Do you have a Power Mac or an Intel Mac?
What file system did you use?
To support partitions bigger than 2.2 TB you should/must use GPT to prevent loss of data.
How did your disk appear before?
Assigning drive letters it's only possible if your partition and file system already exists.
If not, might be possible that it must be created?
Did you use a single partition over the whole space?


Re: External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 08 Jan 2013, 14:51
by jayceepho

Thanks for the reply!

I am currently using Win 7 when it happened, the hard drive was originally formatted from a MAC platform.

I tried using the Intel/PC table partition, as well as the EPI and MAC partition tables, although I didn't let them run into deeper search.

Before, my disk appeared as a normal (HFS?) system, I mainly use a Win 7 to edit and I have MacDrive to help me connect to it.

Currently, the drive is under an MBR partition map, and it reformated back to factory settings. Although, I know my original files from the MAC partition maps are still there because I can use PHOTOREC to recover them, but they're all scattered in multiple file names.

Situation seems generic, but the fact that it went from an HFS, to an NTFS and reformatted back to factory, though I can still reach my old files feels like I can get it back to the file system it was before.

Also, the drive is a 3TB drive, if that helps.

Thanks again

UPDATE : I forgot to mention that it's currently in GPT map scheme, with an HFS+ partition. I can still see the files while using Stellar Phoenix, so there must be away to revert it to its original file system.

Start Situation [ HFS (using Mac at this time) > RAW [unallocated] (using WIN at this time) > NTFS [files gone, but could be retrieved with unoriginal names] (using WIN at this time > HFS+/GPT [files still gone, but could be seen in Stellar] (using MAC at this time, partitioned with Disk Utility) ] Current Situation

Re: External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 09 Jan 2013, 04:36
by jayceepho
Disk Utility:


From an INTEL Partition Table Option




From EPI/GPT Partition Table Option


From MAC Partition Table Option


Re: External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 10 Jan 2013, 02:33
by psylosyfer
PhotoRec is the only utility that actually shows the files on 3 hidden partitions, put there by a virus using an APPLE disc overlay.
Does anyone know of a tool that will delete the files and merge that partitions? ALL I need is the "opposite," of PhotoRec!

Re: External HDD on Windows, overwritten Partition Map

Posted: 10 Jan 2013, 09:13
by jayceepho
I also just bought another of the same external hard drive today, 3TB Seagate Backup Plus. Maybe I can take the partition table from the new one and replace the values of the one with my lost data?