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Author Topic: All data gone, looking for ideas  (Read 18801 times)

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    Topic Starter


    • Experience: Experienced
    • OS: Windows 2000
    All data gone, looking for ideas
    « on: January 08, 2012, 04:20:51 PM »
    I'm a fairly advanced user but here is something I've never seen before.

    I had an old system running Windows 2000 Pro. A year ago or so I tried to boot it up and it wouldn't start (stuck at the boot screen with AHDCPI something maybe and a single dash on a line by itself below that -- this is before any of the windows boot stuff starts). I thought OK, maybe a disk has gone bad, someday I'll deal with that... I didn't need it fixed then, so I just turned it off and left it alone.

    OK, now a year later, the day has come to deal with it.

    It still wouldn't boot of course, so I disconnected the three drives in the machine, got an empty disk (13.5G IBM) and installed Win 2000 on it in the machine. I put on SP4, then did the update/reboot loop dance until the system was fully updated.

    So the system is running great with this one new (old) disk with the fresh OS install.

    Here's where it gets interesting.

    So then I shut down and try, one at a time, installing the three drives that had previously been in the machine. Because I want to access their data and copy it off to another system.

    Well... after getting past one problem where the bios was booting off HDD-1 instead of HDD-0, I got the system to boot up (booting off the newly installed drive) with the first of the three drives attached. I have the case cracked open and am just plugging drives into the cables (powering off before doing this of course). I have checked the jumpers and the master/slave jumper settings are correct; things also look good in the BIOS with the full drive size and model showing up correctly.

    But. There's always a but, right?

    When the OS came up,  the old drive just was not there. I went into disk manager and I can see it and it shows up as just empty space, unpartitioned.

    I thought OK, so I had an empty drive on the system; I must have forgotten about that.

    Tried the second disk. It shows up (as drive E:, since the optical drive is drive D:)

    But... there's a but here, too. Double clicking on the disk, an error message comes up saying the disk is not formated... would I like to format it now? Well no, thank you.

    OK, that's two.

    Tried the third disk. It doesn't show up at all, and looking at disk manager, it is also unpartitioned.

    All these disks are IDE drives. This system has a Shuttle AK-12 motherboard.

    There is NO WAY that all three of these disks were empty previously. This was a fully functioning system with a ton of valuable data on it. Maybe I'm just in denial about the data being gone, but really I do not believe that all three disks would go bad at the same time (where "time" is defined in a special way as how many times the computer has been used recently... I do realize that a lot of time has passed while the computer was sitting off and idle).

    What is going on?

    I can understand disks going bad, but three disks?

    Disk manager shows all three as being fine (I saw "functioning normally" or something somewhere... forget where).. I think it was disk manager but maybe not. At least it does detect the disks and it reports their sizes correctly.

    Looking for ideas here.

    Hopefully ideas other than "the data's gone" because the drives do seem good. Also fwiw they sound fine, and always have.

    Assuming the data still is retrievable, what could account for this behavior?

    What other information could I provide that would help?

    My favorite theory right now is that I need a motherboard update. But that doesn't seem right. And of course the company that made the motherboard, Shuttle, does not have the driver for this model on their web site! Never buy Shuttle; they abandon their old products.

    Also there's the theory that I had RAID on this system, but I don't think so. The drive sizes are mismatched: 60G (Maxtor), 80G (Seagate), 120G (Seagate).

    Or the theory that the system is doing this to the drives... doesn't make sense either, because it's not doing anything to the (even older drive) with the newly installed OS.

    And I have a theory that maybe there's some IRQ setting that's messed up. This is something I used to be familiar with in Windows, but my knowledge has faded with time as I haven't dealt with it in a while... if that rings a bell for anyone and you have suggestions, please share.

    I can't figure this out. Anyone have ideas on what might be wrong? I strongly suspect all the data is still there.


      Topic Starter


      • Experience: Experienced
      • OS: Windows 2000
      Re: All data gone, looking for ideas
      « Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 05:39:23 PM »
      OK, it turns out I am an idiot.

      Can anyone think of what happened before you read the answer below?

      OK well you don't have all the information I have, so the question is unfair. I just didn't realize the extra information was relevant.

      Extra information: there is an identically-looking other computer right behind the computer I was working on.

      Huh. So. It turns out somehow the two computers got swapped, and all this time I was working on a computer that's set up with UNIX. So now you see how three partitions simultaneously "failing" could make sense, since they didn't fail at all, they just aren't recognized by Windows.

      The other computer, hiding in the back, was the actual Windows 2000 Pro machine with the disks I needed.

      Still have some disk issues with that one (one of the disks is flaking out, maybe) but the big mystery is solved.


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      Re: All data gone, looking for ideas
      « Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 06:15:03 PM »
      Great story...glad you figured it out...
      " Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "