Disk Management

Recover a Deleted NTFS/FAT32 Volume in Windows XP/2003

How can I recover a deleted dynamic NTFS or FAT32 volume in Windows XP or Windows 2000?

When you delete a dynamic volume, the OS erases the volume’s file-system boot sector (sector 0) and removes the volume entry from the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Disk Management snap-in private region database. However, as part of this process, the OS leaves the rest of the drive intact, including the data. Both FAT32 and NTFS store a backup copy of the boot sector. You can copy this boot sector back to sector 0 and restore the volume as long as you know the original volume size.

To recover an NTFS volume, perform the following steps:

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  1. Open the Disk Management snap-in (go to Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, and select Storage).

  2. Recreate the original volume by right-clicking the unpartitioned space and selecting New Partition from the context menu; specify the exact size of the original volume in the process, but don’t format the volume (you must know the original volume size to recreate the volume because the Disk Management snap-in rounds partition sizes).

  3. Use dskprobe.exe to recover the backup boot sector for the NTFS volume from the end of the deleted dynamic volume (because you’re restoring a dynamic volume, you might need to use dmdiag.exe to find the backup boot sector). See the Microsoft article "Recovering NTFS boot sector on NTFS partitions" for an explanation of how to copy the boot sector.

  4. After you rewrite the NTFS boot sector, quit Dskprobe.

  5. Go to the MMC Computer Management console Action menu and click Rescan Disks to mount the volume for immediate use.

To recover a FAT32 volume, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Disk Management snap-in (go to Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, and select Storage).

  2. Recreate the original volume by right-clicking the unpartitioned space and selecting New Partition from the context menu; specify the exact size of the original volume in the process, but don’t format the volume (you must know the original volume size to recreate the volume because the Disk Management snap-in rounds partition sizes).

  3. Use dskprobe.exe to recover the backup boot sector for thedeleted dynamic FAT32 volume from sector 6 of the logical volume and write it to sector 0 of the logical volume. See the Microsoft article "Chkdsk Does Not Use Backup Boot Sector to Fix Corrupted FAT32 Boot Sector" for an explanation of how to copy the boot sector.

  4. After you rewrite the FAT32 boot sector, quit Dskprobe.

  5. Go to the Computer Management console Action menu and click Rescan Disks to mount the volume for immediate use.

Original tip by NTFAQ at:

http://www.ntfaq.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=25375

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