Erased Partition on external hard drive by mistake! Help!

Hi! I had just installed XP on my system and after installing some software from my external hard drive i realized that something went wrong with the install so i decided to reinstall the os. I forgot to switch off my external hard drive and when windows loaded all the files and asked me where did i wanted to install xp and all that, both drives appeared, my internal hd and the external with all my data. I was doing something else at the same time and i wasn't paying all the attention i should have so i deleted the partition of my usb Hd and just after i did it i realized my mistake and in a moment of desperation I removed de usb cable and turned off the ext hd. The file system for that drive is ntfs and there was only one partition. I did not formatted the ext drive, i only deleted the partition.

I need to recover those files, they are irreplaceable and really important.. If anyone has a solution it will be gladly appreciated.
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More about erased partition external hard drive mistake help
  1. Active@ Partition Recovery can scan the drive for a previous partition and restore the MBR/partition table.

    You can also recover the files off the drive to a second drive with GetDataBack for NTFS.

    I've used both of these programs, they both work well. Both programs have demo versions that show you what they can recover before you have to buy them.
  2. I will try that thanks.. someone told me partition magic would also do well.. you know anything about it?
  3. somejoe is a god...He saved my Raid 0 array

    Follow his lead and you can't go wrong. :lol:
  4. No, Partition Magic is for manipulating existing partitions, not recovering them. You need these dedicated data recovery tools to do what you need to do.
  5. Hi thank you for replying.. i have a question, by using this programs do i risk losing data? (if it isnt lost already)
  6. Not really, Active@ Partition Recovery will only write the MBR/partition table back to the drive when it has completed the scan and found all the partition information.

    GetDataBack treats the drive as read-only, and writes your recovered data onto a 2nd drive.
  7. Oh my god you ARE a god! thank you so much! Active partition recovery did the job better and faster than i expected! everything is great! Thank you so much!
  8. i had my whole drive formatted by mistake. i recommend you use ontrack file recovery professional. you will recover most of the data but you will lose their filename
  9. I was in the same situation. I accidently deleted my ext HDD partition when upgrading from XP Home to XP Pro. I read that you said that Active Partition Recovery 5 worked well and it had a demo. I tried the demo and it displayed all of my ext HDD files. So I bought the software to recover my files. It cost me $41.14 (canadian conversion).
    It's a terrific product. My drive was about 250GB and it took about 4 hours to do a superscan but a very short time to recover my files.

    Again, great product. Thanks for the great advice you gave about this product.
  10. Hello,
    Right now I'm scanning my faulty HD with GetDataBack 2.31 (which was a part of Hiren's Boot CD 8.9). Earlier on today I used Active Partition Recovery, but the only way I could repair the partition was fixing the MBR. I didn't do it because I was afraid that maybe I could loose everything if some weird MBR would be written. Specially since I could see the folders and files names... Anyone know it that'd be safe?

    Well, 30 minutes to go until GetDataBack finishes scanning my drive... hope it's all ok.

    Thanks for any info!
  11. what happened to your hd? why are you using this programs, did you erase the partition?
  12. Well... I went to format my mom's HD. I setup there a C drive and a D drive, so it'd be easier to install just windows, since she'd keep her files and e-mail at D. Ok. Booted windows, deleted C partition and BAM! D partition also got sucked in... So, right there I stopped, since i knew data shouldn't have been lost yet. Put the HD in my computer and am trying to recover the data... But just now I found this thread, so I've been all day scared to death that she'd loose her business stuff... GetDataBack is still scanning, just a while till it finishes... hopes all goes well.
  13. if you only erased the partition just use "active partition recovery" it will take seconds and wont erase anything (if its still there) but if you formated the hd use that one you are using.. I repeat, if you only erased the partition just use active partition recovery, because get data back is probably going to take too much time doing innecessary h¿things and messing ups folders and names..
  14. Active Partition Recovery did show me the files, so yeah, all the windows xp installer did was erase the partition info.

    I ended up using the GetDataBack on a friends advice. It took one hell of a long time (about 1 hour!) but in the end it did work.

    So, you're saying that, in Active Partition Recovery, if I had chosen the "Fix MBR" option, there would be no chance at all that i'd loose the data that was there? (Im only saying the data was there because the program told me so when i did a scan...)
  15. I have done the same thing, but here is a tip that might work next time: if you use a slackware startup disk, you can restore a deleted partition without even a second thought. But that is for a ReiserFS partition, I am not sure if it would work with NTFS. Partitioning software just alters the boot sector, I believe. It doesn't actually delete the files in the partition. I believe you can also do the same with Patition Magic, defintely something I would keep in my Windows arsenal of must have utilities.


    God makes the colors, but the color doesn't make you God -Rez
  16. yes, active partition recovery would only write some kilobytes of information and you are done! in less than a minute with no scanning at all.. the other ones rewrite the files and slowly scan stuff they are good when your hd has major issues, like being formated or so.. i know this now.. but i did the same as you when i had the problem.. altough i used active partition recovery after i scanned and then i knew scanning had wasted several hours of my life.. because erasing a partition means that you erase some files that allow the computer to read the hd, you just need to restore them and you are good to go, your files are untouched.. but tell us how was your experience with getdataback?
  17. Hi and thanks for all the feedback!

    So, next time I guess my pain will not take that long and I'll use Active Partition Recovery :)

    GetDataBack is quite a nifty program... It took about 1 hour to scan the harddrive plus 10 minutos to do something else which i didn't pay much attention (sorry :P I think it was indexing the files, or something like that...) and then, bam! The files were all there (in the program!) for me to copy (again, in the program!). So I just selected the folders I wanted, and told it to copy to a folder on my good harddrive. Thats it, the files are perfect, no corruption so far. Its an awesome program! Slow, but awesome! I used the version which is with Hiren's Boot CD 8.9, but there is a newer version around.
  18. i had the same problem of re-installing windows xp and accidently deleting all of my files from my external drive. well actually, it was the technician on the phone who failed to tell me that he was going to delete the partitions on my pc so that i could remove all drives safely. i used a demo of Active Partition Recovery per the suggestions made on this posting and did a super scan. it seemed to have found my deleted files. of course, in order to restore those files i had to pay $41 to acquire the registration key for the program. after attempting to restore the data on and off for 2 days, i called LSoft Technologies, the seller of the program. i only got to a voicemail after several calls and i left 2 messages in 2 weeks requesting for help. i opened a ticket online for tech support, following ALL tedious directions. i got a confirmation and ticket number emailed to me, but no response after 2 weeks.

    Active Partition Recovery IS A HOAX!! whatever number it is up in canada that the website says to call is merely reaching a voicemail box with NO human accessibility. i'm very upset about wasting $41 for nothing. i would like to report this company to a government claims institute. i'm not sure what the previous postings here are talking about when they state successful data recoveries. my experience was far different. is someone from LSoft Technologies writing all these postings??
  19. we are not discussing if its a good company or if they support center meets our needs.. just the capabilities of the program, it is good and that's it. i am sorry they are that bad, but then again this forum is about how can you recover your drive, and this program gets the job done.
    if you already payed and there is no answer i think the way to do it is download it from a peer 2 peer program, this is illegal and i do not recomend it, but in your case is the only fair thing to do..
  20. Well, from your description we don't know exactly what happened to your external drive. If you were following technicians directions and he told you to delete partitions, off hand I'd say that technician didn't know what he was doing.

    No matter what, Active@ Partition Recovery is for one specific purpose - that is to recover a partition that was deleted with a partitioning tool. If anything else on the drive was overwritten, including partition boot sectors, portions of the file system/MFT, directory information, etc. then Active@ Partition Recovery is the wrong tool and will not work properly.

    In those cases, GetDataBack for NTFS is the proper recovery tool.

    Nevertheless, Active@ Partition Recovery is excellent software, works perfectly and precisely for it's specific purpose. I have used it personally and it has perfectly recovered many partitions for me.

    If their phone support is not working properly for whatever reason, try their e-mail support. Sometimes companies have much better response via e-mail than phone.

    I object to you calling the program a "hoax", it is not. There is no conspiracy here for the conspiracy theorist in you, no one here works for LSoft or owns their stock. We simply have used the program with good results.
  21. hello everyone, i just had the same problem. I've tried the program suggested (active partition recovery) but it doesn't find the partition.
    Here is where my situation might differ. I bought this external HDD two days ago, I uploaded all my documents into it, about 15 to 17 gigs and then went on to install Windows back on my PC. During that process, I accidently erased the partition on my external HDD. Now that I'm trying to recover my partition, the "Active@ partition" program sees my HDD as a 232Gig Drive. I went on to Disk Management and it shows the 232Gig unallocated drive. Keep in mind that I uploaded about 15 to 17 Gigs. So my question is, how do I go about resolving this problem. Where you guys, who fixed this problem, able to see the entire drive? Thank a lot for the help

  22. :D GOOD NEWS, i recovered the data with Active Undelete. Now I just need to know how to make my ext HDD normal, so that it'll say 250Gigs like its suppose to. Any here can elaborate to that? thanks in advance
  23. Here is a freeware:

    Smart Partition Recovery
  24. If you use Norton Partition magic or Acronis Disk Director, you can expand the partition.
    Or copy the data to your hard drive and repartition the external hard drive.
    No expense.
  25. It is reporting correctly. There is a difference in the way disk manufactures report the size of a disk and the available formatted space reported by windows.

    check this article for more info:

    or this one:

    and a good discussion here:

    that includes this:

    Various Drive Sizes and their Binary and Decimal Capacities

    Drive Size in GB Approximate Total Bytes Decimal Capacity
    Approximate Binary Capacity (bytes/1,073,724,841)
    10 GB 10,000,000,000 10 GB 9.31 GB
    20 GB 20,000,000,000 20 GB 18.63 GB
    30 GB 30,000,000,000 30 GB 27.94 GB
    40 GB 40,000,000,000 40 GB 37.25 GB
    60 GB 60,000,000,000 60 GB 55.88 GB
    80 GB 80,000,000,000 80 GB 74.51 GB
    100 GB 100,000,000,000 100 GB 93.13 GB
    120 GB 120,000,000,000 120 GB 111.76 GB
    160 GB 160,000,000,000 160 GB 149.01 GB
    180 GB 180,000,000,000 180 GB 167.64 GB
    200 GB 200,000,000,000 200 GB 186.26 GB
    250 GB 250,000,000,000 250 GB 232.83 GB

  26. 232 gb is the total size.. i dont know why they always have less.. mine is a 200 gb but it has 188gb, my 60gb ipod has only 55.8gb.. the formated space of a disk is always smaller than its "actual" size
  27. I too deleted my external drive partition by accident while reinstalling the XP OS. I ended up buying the active partition recovery file online (link above) worked beautifully!! Less than 10 seconds and my partition was re-created and I had access to all the files I thought I had lost. Didn't want to spend $35 for a fix...but this is cheap when you figure it I took care of a lot of stress I was having earlier in the day!!
  28. I'm back with another problem...
    I recovered all my data the other day after deleting the partition...thought everything was good to go, but now when I click on the drive to open it - I get the following errors:
    File or Directory is corrupted and unreadable or Parameter is Incorrect. I haven't done I'm not sure what's causing the problem. If I use the quick scan on Active @partition it doesn't see my folders...however if I do the superscan - it does. I interupted the scan which is how I gave me an error when I tried to recover so I'm re-scanning again.

    Any thoughts on what I did or how to make sure I'm able to recover all my files?
  29. Hi, I hope you can help me I was also doing the same thing reinstalling or actually reformating my hard drive when i noticed that my external hard drive was still connected and already been deleted. So I disconnected my hard drive and reinstalled Windows Vista then found and downloaded some software to help recover the files which worked but now I have no format on my external hard drive and can't see it unless i start to install Windows XP but then I can't format the external HD so hopefully someone can come up with a solution?

  30. i too am having the same problems as pbougie...I was not paying attention and doing a fresh install of XP i deleted the partition on my USB hard drive but didnt format...i downloaded active@ and a couple other programs and my drive will not show up in any of the programs..the drive only had one partiion and had ALL of my files on it...any help getting this drive to show up...
  31. soething similar happened to me; my laptop erased some of the files in my external hard drive on start up. anybody know how I can recover them.
  32. Hey guys!
    I mabe just a huge mistke. One of my friend asked to help him with his comp. I brought my external WD 160 GB when I stored family pictures. Then we decided to reinstall Windows. Somehow when I got choice where to install I didn't notice that drive D (my external WD) was the first options. So I delete partition copied windows files there, then againe made complete format and only after some time I realized what I have done. I unpluged my ext. WD. When I came home and pluged my ext hdd to my PC wasn't shown in My Computer. Please tell me if there is any chance to recover my data???????????
  33. Sorry, sardolik, what you did makes it almost impossible to recover anything. It appears you had a Windows Install disk delete all Partitions on the external WD drive, create a new single bootable partition that uses all of the disk space, Format it, and then write a bunch of files to it. Maybe (not completely clear from your post) you suddenly disconnected the external drive in the middle of this operation, or maybe you disconnected only after it was complete.

    By replacing the Partition and formatting the drive, you have removed all records of the contents of the drive's sectors. Even if the sectors were left untouched by this (except, of course, those sectors that were re-written by the Install routine as new files), the only thing that could have survived was the data in the sectors. It would take a huge amount of time and software help to recover all that data and then stitch them together into reconstructed individual files, because there is no record of how they all are related. Worse yet, I suspect that Windows Install's way of doing the first Format is to deliberately re-write EVERY sector full of zero's while it tests the drive, before putting actual files on it. If the sectors all have been re-written (that is, not just the ones with new files in them), the chances of recovering the original data get into the realm of spy story myths. It MIGHT be technically possible with loads of time and a real recovery expert with fancy tools, but the $$$ involved are beyond my imagination.

    If you disconnected in the middle of the operation, it is highly likely your drive is completely unreadable right now. In that case, since you don't really want anything on it - it only has part of a Windows Install you don't need - your best bet is to wipe it clean by deleting all partitions on it, then start fresh and create a new Primary Partition, then Format it so you can use it again for fresh data.
  34. I'd have tried using PC Insprector File Recovery (freeware) and better yet, is simple enough for anyone to use (at least to view, copy & paste otherwise lost files, deleted or not).
  35. Hey, I made the same mistake as most here in this thread, I managed to delete the partition on my external harddrive. I ended up downloading getdataback for NTFS and scanned, it found my files really quick and I paid for the key. Happy to say I got all my data back.

    The only problem I have now is windows xp won't see my external harddrive, well It did install drivers for it but it won;t actually show up as a drive in "my computer" I'm not to handy with computers so I was hoping you kind folks here could advise me. I am guessing it's not seeing the drive because there is no file system on it because I deleted the partition?? How would I go about fixing it?

    Thank you
  36. PC Inspector will recover from a formatted partition and its free.
  37. For windows vista.

    Use the free tool testdisk.
    In less of 1 minute my partition was back.
    They have step by step instructions page.

    It is free. I was about to buy Partition recovery, I saved $40.
    Good luck to all.

  38. d4n131m3j14 said:
    Oh my god you ARE a god! thank you so much! Active partition recovery did the job better and faster than i expected! everything is great! Thank you so much!

    Once you ran the software and recovered the partition(s) were you able to immediately view all your data on your hard drive? I purchased the software just yesterday and performed the superscan and thereafter was able to recover the NTFS partion but for some reason I am still unable to open my hard drive. I keep getting a message which says the the drive is corrupt and inaccesible. Do you have any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong?
  39. Well I used R-Studio and it did what Active Recovery, UnErase and Easy Recover could not. Definitely try R-Studio, I think it's probably the most advanced.
  40. reading all of these posts is kind of painful, as in I feel your pain. I made the same mistake as many of you - I think the Windows installer could be a little more verbose about what it is doing and when, since most people, including me, are only vaguely aware of what a partition is (and I'm no newbie). And why would any program (or programmer - Bill are you listening) think that i would be ok to reformat an EXTERNAL drive. Having said all of that, I found software on line - that did the trick - I was able to recover and copy all files back to my hard drive the Windows reinstal. (Probably no better or worse than the other programs mentioned.) The moral is, when doing a windows reinstall - first DISCONNECT ALL PERIPHAL DRIVES.
  41. Some Mistakes Happen...
    I was installing FEDORA 11 with windows 7 during which my 160GB Seagate HDD accidentally got formatted. Again I deleted all partions & did quick format & installed windows 7 keeping partition size same as before. I had lots of important data on HDD. So I got "Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery 3.0" software, & run it as administrator. It took almost 4Hours to scan & I got 100% of my data back! :D
    I have a really bad partition lost situation in my office.
    I have 4 phsical disks on my system
    1. Windows system disk NTFS (MBR) for win 7
    2. Mac os x system disk mac journaled (GUI) for leopard
    3. 2 Disks as raid 0 striped on silicon image raid chip (NTFS-MBR).
    On mac os x i accidentaly repartitioned and formatted my raid set from ntfs to mac os. All data have gone.
    To be able to make a partition recovery on windows, i changed GUI to MBR but didnt formatted again.
    Now it seems a 500GB unallocated disk drive.
    Which way do i need use to recover all my files?
    If i use a recovery software it will not get my files back because of striped set.
    I tried acronis disk utility to recover ntfs partition back but it couldnt find anything.
    Now i want to try paragon partition manager but i dont have any idea that i am doing the right thing or not?
    I need the ideas of experts about it. I am not a newbie and know enough to understand disk structures.
    Which way do i have to use?
    Which software do i have to use?
  43. You're more likely to get a reply if you don't glue it onto this post from 2007. Start a new thread.
  44. I too have a similar kind of problem, i have installed windows 7 but due to some problem my data has been encrypted so can anybody suggest me on how to get back my lost data.
  45. See above.
  46. Thanks for suggestion i will start a new thread for this.
  47. Quote:
    For windows vista.

    Use the free tool testdisk.
    In less of 1 minute my partition was back.
    They have step by step instructions page.

    It is free. I was about to buy Partition recovery, I saved $40.
    Good luck to all.


    Used this on windows 7 64bit, to successully recover the paritition on by USB drive.
    Thanks for the suggestion!
  48. Quote:

    This program worked for me to restore my dead maxtor hard disk 2TB capacity with 500GB vital files.

    Then i used western digital hard disk now.

    wd is a smart choice. both maxtor and seagate are bad.
  49. AH! Help!

    I just bought a new External Hard Drive. Was looking to format it from NTFS to FAT32. Then, like an idiot, I accidentally deleted the one and only partition on the harddrive. So now under "My Computer" it doesn't even show up when I plug the drive in via USB. It does show "USB Mass Storage Device" on the bottom right corner where you can safely remove it. But there is no longer an Icon to open up the drive under My Computer. Any help would be appreciated.
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