need assistance making my OS partition visible again

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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jjabiz
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Joined: 20 Aug 2012, 22:14

need assistance making my OS partition visible again

#1 Post by jjabiz » 20 Aug 2012, 23:16

I've managed to hose my Dell Studio 1537 laptop and now can't get it to boot up. None of the standard Windows Repair tools/options are available... F8 doesn't work, no System/Restore points can be found because they're on the unreachable C drive, etc. I've scanned the web for a couple of days now, learning a lot and trying a few things but so far, no luck. I believe my data and OS are still on the hard disk, and I'm hoping with some help in correcting the partition definitions and/or boot info, all will be well... maybe I'm dreaming.

I do have the Vista Reinstallation DVD which I've been able to boot up on and it allows me to either reinstall a fresh image (which I'll only do as a last resort), or to use the recovery tools... which I did. I was able to open a Command Prompt and can access the D drive (Vista Recovery) and X drive (Dell Utilities), but I can't access the C drive.

Within the Command Prompt, I also tried the BOOTREC tool.
- The /ScanOS option reports "Total identified Windows installations: 0" <-- Not good!
- The /FixMBR /FixBoot options report "The operation completed successfully." but this appears to have no effect after rebooting.
- The /RebuildBcD option also reports "Total identified Windows installations: 0"

Next, I used the AVG Rescue CD. It's smartctl tool reports "some problems with disk!"
/dev/sda:
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Extended offline Completed: read failure 90% 2259 20692032
# 2 Short offline Completed: read failure 50% 2257 20692032

Initially, only the #1 entry was present, but I believe I accidentally changed something and now the #2 entry (shown above) is also appearing.

The AVG Boot Sector check reports that one file was scanned and no infections exist, so hopefully that means no virus headaches here.

Running TESTDISK identifies 3 partitions on the only hard drive (/dev/sda - 320 GV ATA Hitachi HTS54323). I followed these steps:
- Entered the partion table type of "Intel".
====================================================================
- Entered the "Analyse" command, which shows the Current Partition Structure of:

Partition Start End Size in sectors1 P FAT16 >32M 0 1 1 4 254 63 80262 [DellUtility]
2 * HPFS - NTFS 1279 209 24 38913 254 63 604593085 [OS]
====================================================================
- I then ran the Quick Search and answered Yes to the prompt "Should TestDisk search for partition created under Vista?" It now shows the Partion Table as:

Partition Start End Size in sectors1 P FAT16 >32M 0 1 1 4 254 63 80262 [DellUtility]
2 D HPFS - NTFS 5 0 1 1279 254 63 20482875 [RECOVERY]
3 D HPFS - NTFS 1279 209 24 38913 254 63 604593085 [OS]

NOTE: Notice that partitions 2 and 3 are marked "D" here, possibly because they overlap?
====================================================================
I then performed a "Deeper Search" and which shows a Partition Table of:

Partition Start End Size in sectors FAT16 >32M 0 1 1 4 254 60 80259 [DellUtility]
HPFS - NTFS 5 0 1 1279 209 23 20480000 [RECOVERY]
HPFS - NTFS 1279 209 24 38913 48 31 604593085 [OS]

If you can offer some assistance, I'd be forever grateful.

Much in advance thanks, Juan

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