Cannot Access Some Partitions in External HD from Windows 7

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by ggrantin, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. ggrantin

    ggrantin New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm having a problem not being able to access 2 out of 3 partitions in an external HD.

    Samsung HD753LJ (USB) 700GB
    Partition 1: 200 GB / NTFS
    Partition 2: 200 GB / NTFS
    Partition 3: 300 GB / NTFS

    I once had a dual-boot Windows XP Professional SP3 and Windows 7 Professional. Partition 1 could be accessed from both OS, but Windows 7 could not and still cannot 'see' Partitions 2 and 3. While it was still a dual-boot, switching back and forth between the systems was the only way I could access the data in Partitions 2&3 from Windows XP. Now that I have a clean install of Windows 7 only, (stupid me to have forgotten this problem) I cannot access the files at all.

    I have tried restarting the system, reinstalling the HD driver, replugging the HD, and the problem still persists.

    What I have managed so far:

    > Under 'Device Manager'
    >> No warning. All drivers are updated.

    > Under 'My Computer'
    >> Only Partition 1 is listed and accessible

    > Under 'Computer Management' > 'Disk Management'
    >> All three partitions are in the disk's table. The 2nd and 3rd partitions are listed with blue bars, total space allocated and no other information. An attempt to get Properties or assign drive letters produces an error message "... Disk Managaement control view is not up-to-date ... ".

    > Under 'partdisk'
    >> 'list disk' shows correctly sized Disk at 700 GB
    >> 'list volume' shows only up to Partition 1 of the external HD.
    >> After selecting the external HD, 'list partition' shows all 3 partitions with correct sizes and offsets.

    > With MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition
    Disk 1_______
    G: Partition 1
    *: Partition 2
    *: Partition 3
    >> All 3 partitions can be explored (whew ...)
    >> The two 'missing' partitions were not hidden.
    >> However, when assigning the drive letters to the partitions, the drive letters only stay in front of the partitions' names until I clicked Apply. After which, the asterisks came back again. (I haven't found any way to assign the drive letter in Partition Wizard Bootable CD.)

    I have been Googling, Binging and searching this forum for hours, and to my limited knowledge, still cannot come up with a solution. Unfortunately I have no other HD at hands with a space large enough to backup all the files from Partitions 2&3 with a live CD then try reformatting them.

    Any suggestion is very welcome. Thank you in advance :D

    Grantin
     
  2. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    This isn't really an answer to your problem but a suggestion as to how to resolve your situation.

    I don't know if this will work or not, but it's worth a shot.

    I'm assuming that you really need to get the data on these partitions back.

    First, you could try plugging the external drive into another computer and see if it can see the partitions.

    If not I know it's a hassle but I would try reinstalling Windows XP as a dual boot again.
    If you can then access all the partitions on the external hard drive as you could before from Window XP, copy all the data from those partitions to another external hard drive.

    External hard drive are cheap if the files are important it's worth it.

    You say the MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition will let you Explore the Partitions, Will it let you copy the data to someplace else?
    This would be the easy out, and eliminate the installing XP step.

    Once you data is saved I would reformat the external hard drive getting rid of all the partitions and start over again.

    If you can't get into the partitions once you have reinstalled XP and another computer can't see the partitions either then I don't have a clue.

    I don't understand why Windows 7 wasn't able to see the partitions when you were dual booting to start with.

    Mike
     
    #2 MikeHawthorne, Sep 24, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  3. ggrantin

    ggrantin New Member

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    Thanks a lot, Mike.

    I'll definitely try hooking it up with another PC as soon as I can borrow one. You're right, the prices of HD have gone down, and it's worth to have a double-triple copies of these documents.
    The Partition Wizard allows me only to view the directory tree, and not read-write access to the files themselves. I am currently having it check for harddisk error in Partitions 2&3 blocks, though that should not have prevented Windows 7 from reading, while allowing Windows XP to do so.

    Grantin
     
  4. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Mike's suggestion is excellent... (Ya beat me to it Mike!) but allow me to offer a slightly different twist on the same idea... that "other computer" could be your own current machine...

    What you need here is a "linux live" or "XP live" cd or dvd that you can boot from. Get the disk going. Copy all your files out to your current hard disk and take ownership of them. Repartition and reformat the external drive using Win7 so you know it's accessible. Then copy your files back. These are not complete operating systems, rather they are hacks put together for the express purpose of getting people out of these kinds of predicuments...

    Windows:
    UBCD for Windows
    Ultimate Boot CD - Download the UBCD

    Linux:
    The LiveCD List
     
    #4 CommonTater, Sep 24, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  5. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Probably because they are all primary partitions and at least 2 of them were marked as bootable.
     
  6. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    The Linux DVD is a good idea.

    I have a Ubuntu DVD that I keep just in case of a situation where I can't use Windows to access my files.

    It will boot my computer and allow me to backup recent material before doing a restore if Windows crashes.

    One other thing you might check out is, a free program called EasyBCD.

    Download EasyBCD For Windows 7

    It can show the boot status of the partitions.
    If Commontater is right about why Windows 7 can't see the partitions then EasyBCD maybe able to change the boot structure on them so that they are not set as bootable.

    It's easy to use and something that needs to be done when removing one operating system from a dual boot setup.
    I used it recently while removing Windows XP from my old computer which was booting XP and Windows 7.

    I have two internal and two external hard drives. Both internal drives are backed up on each of the external drives.

    Mike
     
    #6 MikeHawthorne, Sep 24, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  7. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    Prices for external HSs have come down. Do some research before you buy. I'd avoid the WD externals that have Smartware with them. There are a lot of problems. The Smartware is crappy backup software and there is a virtual CD that you cannot delete. Here is a link to their forums Western Digital Community - Western Digital Community so if you want to look.
    Joe
     
  8. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Yeah they're a problem all right. WD makes the best hard drives, far as I can tell but whoever put those "virtual cd" things together should be looking for a new job.

    Rather than buy pre-packaged junk, I'll take a 2.5 or 3.5 inch internal drive and put it in an externa sleeve. The result is exactly like a regular hard disk except you can pick it up and march it around as required.

    Welcome to Vantec ? Leading Brand of Storage, Thermal, and Mobile Accessories! - PRODUCTS
     
  9. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    I have a Lacie, and a Maxtor, both 500 Gigs.

    I only run my external drives when I use them, so 99.9% of the time they are turned off. As a result they get very little use or wear and tear.

    I never install any of the software that comes with them, I just plug them in and use them.
    I use my own software to do backups etc.

    As I said before I have both of my internal drives backed up to each of the external drives.
    I should have a third drive with both drives backed up that I keep someplace else, but I would never keep it up to date. If my house burns down I'm out of luck.

    I suppose I could sign up with one of those off site storage some places.
     
  10. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    My personal setup for this machine is an external 1tb drive for the 500 in my machine and the 500 in my smarter half's. The network also has a NAS with 2X2tb that houses our movies and music as well as 500gb backup for the kid's systems. There are at least 3 copies of everything... but you are right, if we ever had a fire we'd be screwed...
     
  11. ggrantin

    ggrantin New Member

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    Thanks CommonTater!

    It's great to have a confirmation. I've hooked up the HD with another PC, also Windows 7, and got the same problem: Partition 1 shows up, while 2&3 just sat there blank in the table. I guess it's an OS-specific issue.

    A quick check with EasyBCD showed only one entry in the bootloader, and only C:\ as a bootable drive.

    I had an Ubuntu live CD ready, but nowhere to load the data off to. Now that I have my ancient 180GB 3.5" formatted and running, will try to see if I can at least backup the data via live CD as you guys suggested before attempting anything else.

    Grantin
     
  12. ggrantin

    ggrantin New Member

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    An update of sort:

    Backed up the data from the problematic drives to a new HD with a live CD (Ubuntu 10.x Desktop) then formatted the two partitions in Windows 7. Now all the drives are visible and accessible again.

    Thanks a lot Mike and CommonTater! :D

    I'm still wondering why it was a problem under Windows 7, though. Hopefully someone could still shed some light on it. Is there any other solution less of a... ah, hassle, than this backing up and reformatting business?

    Grantin
     
  13. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    Ya gotta love Linux live CD's.
    Excellent results Grantin even if requiring a bit of work.
    I would like to know how this situation happened as well, if only to avoid the cause in the future.

    I know of a situation that seems to be unique to Win 7, it occurs when an external drive somehow ends up with the same GUID
    as the Win 7 drive.

    Win 7 won't recognize it and Disk Management will show it offline with the explanation that there is a disk ID collision.
    Disk Management will allow you to fix this but doing so could cause boot issues with Win 7.

    I've never seen this with XP.
     
  14. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    I don't have the exact answer here but from what I've been able to adduce so far is that Win7 had changed the way disks are partitioned so that you can now have only 1 primary partition on a drive, returning us to the Win95 days of Primary and Secondary partitions. Why they would do this is beyond me but this does appear to be the case.

    I'm also guessing that it didn't like finding two bootable partitions on an external drive. But one might logically expect that such issues would be ignored on USB and Firewire since it must be obvious that one of the main reasons for such a connection is to transfer data off of replaced drives. But then it's Microsoft... it doesn't need to be logical.
     
    #14 CommonTater, Sep 25, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  15. aamerraza2003

    aamerraza2003 New Member

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    hi gays i have found the solution
    the partition table is not correct.so use diskgenius app. or u can find it in hirens boot cd 13(free to download).
    just boot the computer from hirens boot cd ,boot in to win xp, run disk genius in partition section.
    rightclick on your external hd and select correct patition table.then again rightclick and click on save partition table thats all
    thanks
     

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