Lost partition

I don't know too much and I'm struggling to get my data back from a 200Gb hard drive, can anyone offer a bit of advice.

I use a WIN98SE system to organize all my music files. Two partitions, FAT32: 3Gb in the boot and the remainder in the extended. Explorer was reporting 40Gb of space remaining on D: so all seemed well then, DISK FULL message! Turned off the computer and restarted only to find that drive D: was now missing in both DOS and Windows (C: partition boots and looks fine).

Turned off the computer and have not used the hard drive again except to make a sector by sector copy using Easeus software. Copied fine with no misreads or miswrites, so now I am using Testdisk with the copy.

I am really out of my depth but I sense that Testdisk looks very good and can probably solve the problem if only I knew how to use it.

I should mention that the disk I copied to is a 250Gb.

Anyway, in Testdisk, I get a message saying endmark 0xAA55 is missing. In the documentation for Testdisk I found a note telling me to use Chkdsk/MBR as this would replace the end of partition marker. When I ran Testdisk again nothing seemed to have changed so I was still stuck.

I then tried adding a partition because there was no logical space listed, I used the following:

*FAT32 is shown as 0 1 1 570 254 63 so I used 571 1 1 30400 254 63 Type 0b (the 250Gb drive is given as 30401 254 63 and Testdisk suggested one cylinder less)

Once I entered these details Testdisk gave *FAT32 as before (0 1 1 570 254 63) and listed both E Extended LBA as 571 0 1 30400 254 63 and L FAT32 as 571 1 1 30400 254 63 so all seemed well so I wrote it to disk and rebooted. The DOS situation is still the same, no drive D: but Windows now shows D: although it is inaccessible from Explorer.

I don't know what to try next and I am completely stuck - does anyone know if my situation is recoverable?

Thanks, Guy
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  1. I'm not entirely sure if the situation is recoverable, so to speak, but you can try taking out your disk from the system and placing it within a hard disk enclosure. That will allow you to connect the hard disk to another computer via USB, which you should try doing. Use a computer with a newer OS like XP, Vista or 7, as they've got built-in tools that attempt to recover data from an apparently corrupted drive.
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