while reinstalling windows xp (no service pack) on ASUS system (M4A88-T, Phenom II processor) I found that it recognises only 131 gb(unknown format) on 500 gb hdd. I proceeded with doing a clean installation on the 131 gb when after reboot I got a black screen. A friend told me that slipstreaming all the service packs into the installation disk might fix it. I did that and again booted from the slipstreamed cd. It now recognised 106 gb as raw and completely free. Some 800 gb free of unknown format and another 256 gb free of unknown format. I proceeded with installing(clean) in the 106 gb raw portion when after reeboot I got a stop error (0x00000007B). I tried to access hdd using lucid puppy live cd but it recognises only the 106 gb partition and no other. I originally had 4 partotions. I have important data on E partition that going by xp was not used for installation. Has all other partitions being unformatted? How can I recover the data? This was a different xp cd from that used before and I have made arrangements to get it. Should I proceed with fresh installation with that one and see if the installed xp can recognise the other partitions?
Thank you four4magicparts for your reply. Lets see if I can pursue a friend or a neighbor to let me connect the hdd to their pc and try and recover the data using your suggested freeware. On the other hand if you are aware of any bootable recovery devices please let me know. I mean something that will let me recover my data without a working operating system(I have already tried puppy linux). Actually this is my neighbors pc who has been requesting me for the past 3-4 months or so to format only the C partition containing the OS as he suspects there was a virus which slows down the system. I was reluctant at first but yielded to his repeated requests. As far as I was aware formatting only one partition does not harm the data on the other partitions. He has a one and a half years old daughter and all her videos, pictures and some important official documents are in partition E. He has no back up for those. Now I am feeling bad about it. I think my xp cd is the source of the problem. I was hoping that the E partition is untouched but failure of puppy linux live cd to recognise the same has instilled a fear that the partition has become unformated and RAW. Now if I go and tell him that I need to take out his hdd and cary it to some place to recover the data he will most likely start panicking!