Hello All, I am in a bit of a computer crisis right now...

I am quite knowledgeable when it comes to fixing computers however I am currently having a hard disk issue that I've never experienced before.

I was reformatting my Uncle's Computer (XP Pro, P4, 2.4Ghz, 2.5Gb Ram, 80Gb IDE Drive) I installed a new copy of XP Pro Service Pack 3 and everything was working great, I then added all the files i had backed up to the PC as well as some software that I am familiar with and have used many times. I started having issues when it wouldnt let me install Office 2007 Enterprise Edition, and my copy is a genuine Office DVD, it was not allowing the setup process to start because it was saying the OSETUP.DLL file was missing or corrupted, however after hours of trying different ways to install, I tried the DVD on another computer and it worked perfectly.

I thought it might have been the seriously old DVD drive that I had put into the PC so I switched it out for a new one and connected it up. Immediately upon powering up the machine it was saying that it didnt have a boot disk or any boot media, although it was working perfectly before that. I took out the DVD drive and it was still saying that it had nothing to boot from and my hard drive with the fresh windows install looked fine in the BIOS.

I removed the drive and connected it to my main computer with an IDE-USB adaptor, my computer could not see the drive but it did make the Plug in connection sound. I opened disk manager and found that the drive was not initialized, so I initialized it. The drive then showed Unallocated.

It is still unallocated and all of my programs are telling me that it has no data at all on it when i know for a fact that it has valuable pictures, documents and other files as well as a full WinXP installation. At no point did I format the drive to make it unallocated not was any of the data overwritten, it just became unallocated after it was initialized.

That data is VERY important and I do not have it in any other storage, I cut the files when I should have copied them.

Anybody with some insight on the situation, please reply, I need to get this PC back to my Uncle tonight!

Thanks in advance for your time

Matt Lemcke

Well it looks like the files you transferred were corrupted, you definitely should have copied them. The only thing you can do is try to find a good data recovery program.

Check out "Recuva" and do deeep scans.

Use the computer as little as possible otherwise and I'ld recommend doing all of it in safe mode if possible.

Best way would be to just take that drive out, slave it to another computer with Recuva installed, boot up to safe mode and run the scan. This keeps you from writing over your files with temporary files or newly created files.

Also check out "Partition Find and Mount" for some issues.

Finally a sometimes simple quickish fix can be to pop in a LiveCD version of OpenSUSE/Ubuntu/DamnSmallLinux or some other 'out-of-the-box' OS.. ANYWAY just boot up and mount the drive. Sometimes you need to look up *how* to mount your xp's ntfs drive for whichever version of linux you use.. but to simply mount it, unmount it restart and mount one more time can fix some issues caused by power failures.

There are some basic partition table tools in the terminal on most linux distros which are also helpful if needed.