Hard Drives showing unallocated after xp install

Was having problems with Windows on my PC and needed to do a fresh reinstall. Here's what I did:

1) First, booted pc from XP cd and attempted to repair my existing copy of Windows (Didn't work)
2) Again booted from the cd, when I arrived to the screen to select which drive/partition to install on, I realized I still had external and secondary still connected. So I exited the install, disconnected both drives, and then went through the entire format/install process.
3) Windows booted fine, installed my drivers and starting getting my system back in order.
4) Turned off the machine, reconnected my secondary SATA and external hard drives.
5) Upon returning to Windows, both drives are showing as unallocated space.

This is the third time I've reinstalled Windows on this PC in the last year and sadly, the second time I've came across this exact issue. On the other instance, I remembered to disconnect my secondary drive before even inserting the Windows CD, and when I reconnected the drive after the install, everything was PERFECT.

The first time this happened to me, luckily my external was off, so there was only one drive that was not functioning after the install. I wasn't quite as prepared for this situation and tried using the Western Digitals Tools that were included with the drive, which immediately formatted it thinking it was a new drive that needed setup. Data recovery still worked, but on a 1TB drive, it takes well over a week, and since the data has to be recovered to another location, I lost approximately 1/4 of the stored data as I simply had nowhere else to dump it. There is NO reason that XP should be touching my secondary or external drives during any type of reinstall, so the data is surely still on the drives and in good working order, I just need to find the answer to getting Windows to recognize the drives as formatted, operational data.

The SATA 1TB drive is showing as 931GB of unallocated space, so its not an issue with Service Packs. I am logged in as the administrator, so its not an ownership issue. And I just ran a complete scan with EASEUS Partition Master, which returned no results for lost partitions on the drive. My only option from within Disk Management is to format the drive, which simply isn't an option.

At this point, I'm completely out of ideas and about ready to call Microsoft and give them a piece of my mind, but I already know thats still never going to get my data back, so I'm hoping someone out there has some insight.

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  1. Try this site and the freeware program it offers. Use at own risk of course.


    It sounds like you need to recover the partition.
  2. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Downloaded the software and ran it.

    When I select the drive it says
    'Partition sector doesn't have the endmark 0xAA55'

    I ran the quick search and deep search, at the end it returned to the current partition structure screen but still didn't show any results?
  3. Is the new xp install updated to SP3? Was the original install cd pre-service pack 1?

    Original XP could not see partitions over 137 GB. If the two problem drives are bigger than that, this could be the problem. Update to SP3 and you should see the drives just fine.
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