Corrupted/Invalid partitions and volumes
You have worked overnight, and are looking forward (as if) to the meeting with the board of directors the next morning. You finish typing and looking through the documents in your laptop, saving and making sure the details are right. You then retire for the night, thinking (worrying) about the events that are about to occur in the morning.
Then, the next morning, you switch on you computer, only to reel in horror that you can’t turn on the computer! You get the error message, “Invalid Partition Table” and can’t even boot up your laptop!
If you see the error message (which by right you shouldn’t), then it is possible that your master boot record is corrupted or contains information which the system (in most cases, Windows) deems invalid.
Once this happens, you lose the ability to access that particular partition or drive volume, and in turn, can’t access the information inside that partition.
However, data inside the partition is not lost, just inaccessible.
Recovery from corrupted/invalid partitions and volumes
As in all recovery work, the first things you need to do is:
- check for any physical failures
- create a disk image
This step is necessary so that recovery can be done on that image, instead on the actual drive that has lost the data.
The reasons for doing all the checks and backups are to ensure that you do not lose all chances of recovery, the hard disk platter gets physically damaged or data gets overwritten.
To check for physical failures, ask yourself if you heard any clicking and grinding sounds. Sounds which are a good indicator that your hard disk is suffering, or going to, suffer from physical damage. Thus you need to consult the advice of a professional data recovery service provider.
Things you need: another working computer, recovery software and ample hard drive space to store the entire contents of the data loss hard drive.
First, you need to physically remove your drive and connect it to another working computer or laptop. If you do not know how to remove your hard disk and connect it to another computer, ask an experienced friend or ask you local friendly computer store to do it for you. In fact, if you are not confident at all, it is best to print this guide for them to follow.
Once you have connected the drive to another computer, its time to recover the actual data! Well, not really since you still need data recovery software to recover the data.
You need to download recovery utility. From this point on, I will be referring and using the data recovery software and data recovery tools (free).
Download ADRC data recovery tools here.
Remember! Do not for whatever reason whatsoever, install anything, even if prompted or urged by the manufacturer or any other friends who are “expert” in all things computer related.
Once you have downloaded the software, unzip it and double click on the application.
What you are doing now is to create an image of the corrupted drive, and proceed with recovery work on this image, and not on the actual drive. This is to protect the integrity of the data on the original drive in case anything goes wrong, you can still refer back to the original drive in its initial state of data loss.
To create an image, you want to use the Image Backup/Restore function, which is under the tools menu in ADRC’s data recovery tools.
You should see there are two radio buttons. Select Create Image From Disk.
Then, in the lower drop down menu, select the drive you want to clone. Save and image file name, and then wait for the operation to finish.
Once you have created and image, you want to recover from this image.
Data Recovery Express
To recover from an invalid or corrupted partition, there are several softwares which can be used. However, in this particular guide, we are referring to ADRC’s data recovery express, which costs US$6.99. The software is relatively powerful and is priced cheaply, thus there is minimal risk.
Download ADRC’s Data Recovery Express.
Run the software (just double-click on icon). Under the settings tab, you would want to check the “raw disk scan” option. Then, select the image you have created, and click “Begin Scan”.
And now we wait for the automated recovery process to finish.
As long as you have not done anything after realising that your disk partition has been corrupted, your files should be remain intact. In fact, ADRC recovery express can repair files that have suffered corruption, so long as the corruption is not severe.
Now go onto your next headache! The board meeting! And remember, to have several backups!