Command Line - Can't See Partition

Hi everyone ... Recently, I'm assuming a virus or whatever made my system un-bootable. I have a Dell XPS 420 ... Windows 7 ... a single 500GB hard drive with three partitions.
- partition 1 - the OS, approx 250GB
- partition 2 - docs, approx 20GB
- partition 3 - other stuff, approx 230GB

I booted from the installation disc, and I tried everything imaginable to be able to boot up again, but was unsuccessful. So I made the decision to re-install windows, but before that, I wanted to copy everything off the hard drive onto a portable drive.

Going into the command line tool ... I am able to read from the hard drive fine ... I copied everything from the first two partitions off to an external hard drive. No problem.

HOWEVER ... the system is not recognizing, or not allowing me to see, the 3rd partition. I went into DISKPART and looked, and it does not have a drive letter assigned to it. I can't find it.

My question is ... is there a logical explanation for this? Something I can do? Or is this part of the corruption of the disc that is preventing me from booting?

Related question ... if I re-install the OS on partition 1 ... will partition 3 be harmed and would I still able to see it in Windows when things are back to "normal"? If so, I won't worry about the previous question and I'll just re-install. But if not, I won't re-install until I can figure out how to get that data off the 3rd partition.

Thank you.
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More about command line partition
  1. That's great, if I need it. But that's not the issue yet. The issue is whether there's any reason for that partition not to appear? That partition was working fine - it's completely separate from the OS, which is where the problem is ... so is there any reason for it not to show up when I'm in command line of the system recovery tool? Any good/normal reason? Like - I don't know - "command line has an issue with giving all partitions a drive letter - but don't worry, it'll be fine after you re-install" ... that would be the answer I'd like to hear :) ... or "here's a way to make it visible" ... that would be a good answer too :)

    But maybe it's just corrupted, I don't know.
  2. Best answer
    Hard to answer as the problem could be in the Boot loader (ie 3rd partition info clobbered), or the problem could be in the file allocation table (FAT).
    Re-installing windows may, or may not restore ability to read this partition. It is also posible that reloading windows may make recovery harder.

    I would be inclined to:
    1) Using a Bootable CD with a antivires program see if it can check disk.
    Problem may, or may not, have been caused by a virus - but worth checking for.
    2) try a 3rd party recovery disk such as rgd1101 suggested (others are available just google. If it is in the FAT, recovery programs will check for the backup and retore FAT using the backup FAT.
    3) all else fails and you can not recover data (remember when writing to disk you may lose ability to recover). then go for re-installing windows.
  3. Thanks. So I have the Bootable Windows install CD ... but where would I find a bootable CD with an anti-virus program on it? I just googled for it, and didn't see anything that I was sure would do the trick.

    Also, are we definitively saying it should be showing that 3rd partition, and this is clearly a problem, and not a feature of some kind?
  4. Best answer selected by adamw13.
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