I really hope someone can help me here I've turned my computer into a 20lb paperweight. Now I'd just deal with it and reformat had I not been a complete tool and didn't backup all my files to cd.

This is what happened, I had 4 partitions on my harddrive and had decided to merge them as I was running out of room on the main partition so I installed Partition Magic 7.0 Pro and chose to merge the first two adjacent partitions C and D. I ran it and as it was finishing up I saw some errors flash by but it went too fast for me to get the numbers, I assumed that some of the files had been corrupted during the merge and wasn't too worried. The system went into automatic reboot and during the boot screens after it checked the PCI device listing I got this:

A disk read error occurred
Press CTRL + ALT + DEL to restart

So I did but I just get the error again, this is when the faint stirrings of panic begin to set in but I have followed the directions and created the disks Partition Magic asked me to make just in case of emergency so I take a deep breath and boot from the bootable disk they had me make and run the other disk that has a limited version of the program on it. Unfortunately all it tells me is that I have partition table error #113 and the only operation it offers me to perform is format... only wait... I don't want to lose everything!

Now I'm panicking. I do a little more looking around, run my XP disk but I'm not well enough versed in DOS to really know what to do there to rescue the files and while I'm poking around I see that XP says I have a partition C that is about half the harddrive and the rest is unpartitioned space... I figure that can't be right since I had 4 partitions and I only attempted to merge 2 of them so there should at least be 2 left and then maybe the rest is unpartitioned cause the merge didn't work. So I boot from a 98 boot disk and there it is again... 1 partition and the rest is unpartitioned space - half the drive is unpartioned and half is so it seems the other 2 partitions E and F have somehow merged.

Please please please tell me there is something I can do to rescue the information... I've done nothing as of yet - thought about installing XP on the C drive (the only existing partition) but I'm thinking that it might be the space holding the majority of my files which were on E and I don't want to do anything without getting some advice first. If there's anything I can do about this, any way to retrieve the information... or better yet fix the error and not have to reformat (not likely I know but I can dream can't I?) any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.



The big question is: Do you have backups? If so, re-partition and start it over.

This is precisely why I do not recommend people use Partition Magic or any other partitioning modification schemes. The partition is the core of your volume... and by moving it around, you are changing the disk structures installed.

If it was that easy to do, and risk free, don't you think the major distros (Win, Mac, Linux) would come with this simple free utility? Nope.

I think your drive is cooked. Re-reading that you didn't backup, well, you are cooked too.

Don't mean to be a smarty, but prepare for a long night ahead as you rebuild the computer from scratch. I have unfortunately seen this too many times. You will know next time to backup and then check those backups before proceeding.


Well, before you throw all hope out the window, you might try taking your hard disk to a local computer store and pay them to do a data rescue on it. Since you haven't installed anything on it yet, it's very likely that you'll be able to recover all your data. This can run a decent amount of money, but it can be well worth it.

Also, you might run the windows xp cd recovery and see if it's not booting because the partition isn't set to bootable and active. Eh, I'm not exactly sure of the commands to do that, but I know it's in there somewhere...

It looks like the fixboot and bootcfg commands might be useful. http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;314058 will give you some info.

I spoke to a shop this morning and they said they should be able to retrieve everything so I'll spend the $80 and smile while I'm doing it. I should have backed everything up but the majority of the really important files were on the partition I wasn't merging, there were four and I was only merging two so it just didn't occur to me the others would be affected. Thanks for the help :)


Your Remote Technical Support Assistant -

DO NOT USE PARTITION MAGIC AGAIN, unless it is the newest version. The older release has a bug that makes it screw with Windows XP to the point where you can't use it (sounds kinda like what your problem might've been)... so check first!

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