Win 7 Install - 100MB Partition Wiped Data Drive!


New Member
I've been using the Win 7 RC for quite a while now, and really have enjoyed it. Ordered a couple copies of the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for my wife and I. Got her PC all updated no hitch. Unfortunately, I've been fighting the process on my system all night long. It's just been one thing after another. Apparently the Upgrade disk will tell you your CD-Key is invalid if you don't already have Windows XP or Windows Vista installed before you 'upgrade'.

Anyhow, I finally got everything sorted out. However, I'm extremely frustrated right now by something Windows 7 did without my approval. In order to get Windows to boot properly, I had to disconnect my additional SATA drives so the boot record would write properly, and therefore Windows would load after install. Apparently, Win 7 decided however to take over the lone IDE hard drive I had not disconnected. :mad:

Unfortunately for me, it took that drive which was LITERALLY FULL of videos and family photos and other stuff I had used it to store, and created a partition in it. Yeah, Win 7 decided apparently to destroy all of that data to create a 100MB partition so it can have it's own "Recovery" data in case I have a problem later.

What the heck is with this?! I've literally lost hundreds of photos, videos, and other data that absolutely CANNOT be replaced. This WAS my backup drive to keep all these files safe until I reinstalled Windows 7, and now Microsoft has destroyed all my data.

As it sits now, this drive has two partitions. One of which is 100MB (Recovery) and one is 189GB (Unallocated and has no drive letter, and Windows won't let me assign one). I read something elsewhere which indicated that Windows seems to mess up the zoning of data on the drive when it does this, and that a simple format might actually destroy the boot record on this drive.

Is there ANY possible way to recover any of the lost data?!?
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New Member

In Disk Management, make sure the partition 7 is installed on is marked Active.

I assume 7 sees itself as C.

Open an elevated command prompt and type:

bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

then press enter.

D/L the free PW from here - get the program and the bootable .iso - install prog - burn iso to cd.

Boot the PW cd. It asks about screen resolution. On your keyboard, make sure NUM LOCK is on. Type 1 then press enter.

Rt click the DISK the 7 partition is on and select rebuild mbr. Apply ( at bottom left of screen).

Click the DISK the 100mb partition is on to highlight it and in the left pane, select Partition Recovery. a Quick Scan will do.

When done, select the partition(s) you want to keep on that disk and APPLY. ( i.e. select the original partition(s) you had on that disk before the install).

When it is Recovered, make sure none of the partition(s) on that DISK are Active - if there is one, rt click it >Modify>Set as Inactive, Apply.

Boot into 7 you should have all the data ( except the first 100mb or so -that was overwritten )
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New Member
Thanks for the detailed information. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to view this website for a while for some unknown reason. Kept getting an error message any time I tried to visit the site.

Anyhow, I ultimately ended up using ZAR to perform a recovery on the hard drive. Was able to copy 188GB of data off the drive onto another hard drive and thereby appear to have salvaged pretty much everything. There were several folders/files which it said were lost, however the detailed info on those folders leads me to believe ZAR had actually found 'deleted' material from long back when I used to run Windows off that drive (and therefore games and such).

Kinda scary to realize how extremely easy it is to recover "deleted" material. Guess if you ever really want to get rid of it you need to do a real low-level format.

Thanks again for your response. :) I appreciate the time you took in trying to help me out. I still may need to do what you've suggested just to make that drive usable again.


New Member
I hope other people read this an UNPLUG the power to all drives except the one they intend to install to .. BEFORE installing.