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  1. #1
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    What is a MBR partition? Why does it use half the HD? How to retrieve data from it?

    Back in February, tired of sorting out problems with the wife’s PC, I decided to do a clean install of Win 8. She uses it mainly for email, browsing the web and VOIP. As she has hundreds of emails there, and not sure whether Macrium backs-up emails, I started a thread ‘How to back up Thunderbird email’.

    Using the suggested Mozbackup, the emails were copied to the laptop via a flash drive. As that was successful, an image of her PC was created. At this point chaos ensued, although I still don’t know why, but have a feeling that Macrium was trying to put it on the flash drive, which was no longer present, and then tried the internal HD. Whatever the reason, all her pictures and docs had disappeared, as had the images for both our PCs on the ext. drive. In their place a mysterious ‘removable disk D’ appeared, containing only Folder Thunderbird and a PVC file T/Bird which will not open as corrupted.

    Much of this only became apparent when the time for the March images came. Further details, if anyone wants the full gruesome story, can be found in the above thread and also ‘Should the HD be reformatted before a clean install of Windows’.

    Since then I’ve been searching for her missing docs. They must be there somewhere, as Recuva produced a list of hundreds, if not thousands of files, useless as it consists of meaningless strings of numbers and letters. The only ones with usable identities were pictures. Ten were restored as a test, of which 7 were OK, but are not needed as all our pictures are on my PC, the laptop, images of both these and most also on DVD, so are easily restored.

    Partition Wizard shows 149 gig for the MBR partition, 90 for C, 10 gig for Recovery and 48.8 (48.6 free) for what has now transformed into Local drive D, but which is empty. This is about right for a 250 GB HD. The missing data must be on MBR, but how to access it? Also, as the lost data is unlikely to exceed 1 GB, what on earth else is in this enormous drive?

    Help needed, as I would like to find the missing files before reformatting the PC. TIA

    George

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    The MBR is the Master Boot Record...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record

    Partition Wizard (version 9) shows the entire size of my hard drive in the MBR partition, then how my 3 paritions are allocated (System, C: drive, Recovery).

    So, what you're seeing is correct. (90 + 10 + 49) = 149.

    Regarding your data, you might check out the documentation for the Partition Recovery Wizard in Partition Wizard.

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    georgelee (2015-04-05)

  4. #3
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    There are free programs that profess to recover files, Wise Data Recovery just to name one of several. There are pay-for programs that profess to recover files.
    Then, if we are talking MONEY, there are a few blockbusters that businesses use, I don't have the names, 'cause my backup/restore program so far works.
    Then, if the files needing to be recovered are valued as gold, there is one more option I know of, and it will cost you gold -- a business-oriented computer store with a serious computer tech who will quote you on a reasonable but very thorough recovery process along with reasonable expectations along the way. Bring gold, you will need it, they will want it.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  5. #4
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    @RolandJS. My wife wouldn’t pay a professional to recover the lost docs, their value probably consists only in serving as an excuse to criticise me. Returning from shopping this morning and finding me using the PC, she asked what I was doing, I replied “trying to restore your lost docs”, to which her response was “What docs?”

    Later she asked if I had a copy of a long article about a train journey from Aberdeen to Penzance, almost the entire length of the UK, which I had emailed to her, and was happy to hear I have it in my Travel folder. I don’t think there was much else there except photos and a few other items I was asked to download for her, as she doesn’t seem to know how to download anything except email.

    At the moment I’m making one last attempt, using Wise Data Recovery. It’s been running over an hour, has found 88000 files and has only reached the 63% mark. Despite asking it to search for document and email files, the overwhelming majority relate to EFI and System Volume Information,
    so it’s unlikely to produce anything useful.

    @jwoods. Thanks for the explanation of MBR. Strange there is only 149 GB when the original documentation states 250. Perhaps it’s a typing error.

    Partition Recovery Wizard in Partition Wizard caused me a great deal of hassle. The first attempt ended when the cursor stopped responding to the mouse. Clicking Ctrl/Alt/ Delete a few times failed to bring up Task Manager, then the machine closed down. Switching on brought a message about repairing the fault, then repair failed. After rebooting all was well, I looked a few times to see how it was progressing, but then left it too long, as the scan had presumably completed and the PC closed down, so all the data lost. The same thing happened on the next attempt – it must be assumed that the scan speeds up towards the end, as there should be some time to react between the end of the scan and closing down. I gave up at that point.

  6. #5
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    A worrying message;

    “Scan completed, we have found about 108422 files for you. The program is intelligently building a new directory. Please wait.”

    Worrying because it said not to install on the same drive as the one being searched, so I installed on a flash drive with just under 2 GB free space. Is it going to try and create it on the flash drive or the C drive? Does this mean it is going to install everything, including any malware that has been quarantined by AV programmes and subsequently deleted, possibly lingering in the recycle bin?

    PANIC OVER, but unsure what to do next.

    It hasn’t actioned anything yet, and I haven’t touched the APPLY button.
    Claims to have found 139604 files, 3120.31 GB, which is impossible.

    I am tempted to try restoring LOST FILES. 9467 files,895.06 MB, except that there could not be anything like this number, unless mainly comprised of system files.

    Is it best to abort the lot?
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-04-05 at 15:24. Reason: Highlight

  7. #6
    jwoods
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    I would let whatever tool you are using run to completion...aborting out of a tool that is doing a recovery or repair could create bigger issues.

    The flash drive may not have enough space, so I would try to use an external drive.

    I wonder if you misread the total file size...3120.31 MB makes more sense.

  8. #7
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    jwoods wrote "I would let whatever tool you are using run to completion...aborting out of a tool that is doing a recovery or repair could create bigger issues.

    The flash drive may not have enough space, so I would try to use an external drive.

    I wonder if you misread the total file size...3120.31 MB makes more sense."

    Your opening sentence is somewhat worrying, having done it on

    occasions in the past after realising I’d made a mistake, but in this instance I think it safe to assume that after sitting there for 2.5 hours waiting for my decision, it was not actively restoring anything. In any case, a clean install is on the agenda.

    I decided to take the ‘export the scan status’ option, although unsure exactly what this meant. The first attempt was using the new 1 TB drive, but the PC could not see it, although a subsequent test on my machine showed it to be intact. Next up was the old 2 TB drive used for the February upheaval, but since reformatted and brought back into use. This was successful, according to Wise Data Recovery, but I am unable to find it on internal or ext. drive. After clicking on close I realised it would be safe to restore the Lost Files item to the ext. drive for examination, but it was too late.

    Although 3120.31 GB is clearly shown, I also wondered whether it should be MB. I would have taken a screen print, but too much effort to take it on from a flash drive (if possible) then send it from this PC.

    It occurs to me that although initially selecting restore document and email files only, that might have been missed on the final attempt. I may try the exercise again tomorrow, or proceed straight to the reinstall.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-04-05 at 19:22.

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