Where's My Data?!


I recently reformatted my main OS drive. I had copied all of my essential documents to a 1TB Samsung drive. Now that my main OS drive is back in business, I find that the second drive appears to be unformatted. Any time I attempt to access the D: drive, I am prompted to format it. When I boot to my Windows CD, the D: drive appears as a 138GB unformatted partition, with the rest unallocated.

Please, please tell me I have not lost the ability to retrieve all my photos, music, spreadsheets, etc. If I reformat the drive, will I be able to recover the files, using a file recovery app such as Recuva?

—Dave Jarrett
Dave, that 138GB unformatted partition is a dead giveaway. That means your OS or motherboard supports only 28-bit Logic Block Addressing, instead of the modern 48-bit standard. Briefly, LBA specifies where on an ATA disk data is located; 28-bit LBA has room to address only 228 512-byte sectors, which gives a 137.4GB maximum size. 48-bit LBA support is included in versions of Windows after XP SP1; you should patch XP up to date if that’s what you’re using. If not, patches are available for Windows 2000, 98, etc. You should also download the most recent chipset drivers for your motherboard. Once you’ve done this, your partition should reappear.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

Around the web