Two partitions disappeared, 3rd grew in size on 3TB drive

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Ajabu
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Joined: 17 Dec 2012, 20:24

Two partitions disappeared, 3rd grew in size on 3TB drive

#1 Post by Ajabu » 17 Dec 2012, 22:28

Help! One of my partitions has eaten the other two. Two of three partitions have disappeared and the third, which is showing up on "Disk Management" as healthy (NTFS, Primary Partition) has doubled in size.

I am on a Windows Vista computer and am using a 3TB external hard drive, Western Digital My Book Essential, model WDBACW0030hbk-01. I split the 3TB drive into three partitions, each just to hold data (no operating system): (1) 488GB; (2) 488GB; (3) 886GB. However, the capacity of the third is now approx 2795GB. The files which I can see are all original to the third partition and don't take up too much space. So most of the used space seems to be from the original files which were in the first two partitions. The partitions have disappeared as have the files. But the files are clearly still there somewhere.

The reference points for the first two partitions seem to have disappeared. The question is, how can I get these two partitions back so that I can retrieve my data?

TestDisk shows me the following drives:
TestDisk 6.13, Data Recovery Utility, November 2011

Disk /dev/sda - 200 GB / 186 GiB - TOSHIBA MK2035GSS
Disk /dev/sdb - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - WD My Book 1140
>Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - WD My Book 1140
Drive E: - 1447 MB / 1380 MiB
Drive F: - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - WD My Book 1140
I don't know what the difference is between sdb and PhysicalDrive1, but I've usually been selecting PhysicalDrive1. Is this correct?

For the partition table, I don't know which the right option is: Intel, or EFI GPT, or None. Some sites suggest I need to select EFI GPT for a 3TB drive. I've tried both (don't know enough about "none" to use that option) and both give me errors (see below).

With Intel > Analyze I get the following errors:
Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - CHS 45599 255 63
Warning: Incorrect number of heads/cylinder 1 (NTFS) != 255 (HD)
Warning: Incorrect number of sectors per track 1 (NTFS) != 63 (HD)
1 P HPFS - NTFS 0 4 5 45599 165 6 732558080 [My Book]

Bad relative sector.
No partition is bootable
Quick Search only gives me one partition:
Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - CHS 45600 255 63
>* HPFS - NTFS 0 4 5 45599 165 6 732558080 [My Book]

Structure: Ok. Use Up/Down Arrow keys to select partition.
Use Left/Right Arrow keys to CHANGE partition characteristics:
*=Primary bootable P=Primary L=Logical E=Extended D=Deleted
Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, T: change type, P: list files,
Enter: to continue
With EFI GPT > Analyse I also get errors:
TestDisk 6.13, Data Recovery Utility, November 2011
Christophe GRENIER <grenier@cgsecurity.org>
http://www.cgsecurity.org

Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - CHS 45600 255 63
Current partition structure:
Partition Start End Size in sectors

Bad GPT partition, invalid signature.

P=Primary D=Deleted
>[Quick Search]
Try to locate partition
If I ignore the bad GPT partition and invalid signature and run a Quick Search, I get a screen flashing up warning of incorrect numbers of cylinders... before TestDisk gives me the following page:
TestDisk 6.13, Data Recovery Utility, November 2011
Christophe GRENIER <grenier@cgsecurity.org>
http://www.cgsecurity.org

Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 - 3000 GB / 2794 GiB - CHS 45600 255 63
Partition Start End Size in sectors
>P MS Data 256 732558335 732558080 [My Book]

Structure: Ok. Use Up/Down Arrow keys to select partition.
Use Left/Right Arrow keys to CHANGE partition characteristics:
P=Primary D=Deleted
Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, T: change type, P: list files,
Enter: to continue
I have tried to do a deep scan to look for the missing two partitions but have stopped this. It appears the process will take a few days to complete on a 3TB drive so I'd like to make sure I'm doing the right thing before I proceed.

I have tried various options under "change disk geometry" but as I don't know enough about that, I thought it best to leave it with the defaults.

Any suggestions on how I retrieve the pointers for the first two partitions would be very much appreciated!

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