dslreports logo
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery


how-to block ads

Search Topic:
share rss forum feed


Nashua, NH

[hard drive] blank? mbr


I messed up,

wanted to do a fixmbr on c drive, forgot i had an external usb drive still connected (which apparently came up as C: and when i did fixmbr it replaced the MBR on the external drive with one that had no partitions etc, can see the partition and folders and files with "testdisk" can even copy them from the drive to my HD, but cant work out how to replace/modify the the MBR so that it shows the partitions, folders etc, windows shows the drive as RAW and wants me to format it.. what do i do?, if i have to I can copy everything off, to another drive but its over 800g !! moanies ..:( i am hoping there is an easier way.

thanks in advance

Expand your moderator at work

Mountain View, CA

1 recommendation

reply to Sybex500

Re: [hard drive] blank? mbr

You've destroyed the partition table by doing what you did. The good thing is that all your files are intact/there, as long as you do not use any other software or try any other nonsense to try and "fix" or "repair" the situation. Doing so will probably make things worse. Trying to recreate the partition table may cause other problems/issues which could impact your data, so please don't do that.

I strongly recommend you spend a little bit of money (one-time purchase with a lifetime of free updates) and pick up a copy of GetDataBack for NTFS (assuming the drive is NTFS formatted) or alternately ZAR. I prefer the former personally, but the latter has useful features too. Both of these programs (but I can attest to the first one for sure) will be able to get all your files back -- again, as long as you do nothing else to the drive.

If you go with GetDataBack, the option you want to pick is called "Perform a Quick scan (sudden partition loss, FDisk)". The software has the ability to ignore the partition table and simply look for the NTFS MFT on the drive and go purely off of that for comprehension of file sizes, names, locations, etc.. Trust me, it works, as I've used it many times over for different situations.
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


Oakville, ON
reply to Sybex500
If you're comfortable with using Testdisk (which it seems like you are), you can use it to re-create the partition table. Christophe makes a useful guide available to give a high-level (easy to understand) overview on how to do basic recovery operations like the one you're doing: »www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk···_By_Step

A word of warning: be very sure before you write any data to the drive. You have to try pretty hard to get Testdisk to overwrite your data, but it's definitely possible. The steps in that article should be sufficient to recover what you need.

If you're not comfortable with that, you can always follow koitsu's suggestion and use commercial software. I'm sure they're functionally identical.


Lynnwood, WA
·Frontier Communi..
reply to Sybex500
I haven't used any of these data recovery utilities lately (learned to triple check things before I do something that can have consequences ) but before you do anything, create an image of that drive with Ghost or any similar utility, so if something goes wrong, you can always re-image your drive and can try the recovery again.
Wacky Races 2012!

Bloom County
reply to squircle
I have to use TestDisk to fix partitions on 2 separate occasions and it worked very well. Test Fisk can let you see the files it finds on the partitions before you commit the changes - makes it very nice to make sure they are correct.

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Lanett, AL
reply to Sybex500
I can vouch for both Test Disk and GetDataBack as I've used both personally. If you're not comfortable with working in a command line environment I would strongly recommend not using Test Disk.

Here's the catch, there's likely a backup MBR still there, that just needs to be verified and activated and everything will go back to normal (provided it didn't get overwritten as well, or was actually created, not sure what makes that backup MBR).

If you want the easy route, AND want to have a program that could possibly help you with future glitches, GetDataBack is your best bet. Additionally, on the VERY remote chance your drive has actually lost files, GetDataBack uses a "pay to recover" model. The program is free to use up until the point you want to recover data (this is to ensure you can actually recover the data you want without wasting money on a program that might not do it).