The common situation of partition recovery - Partition Table Doctor

Partition Table Doctor

Partition Table Doctor is the only real software for hard disk partitions recovery. When you come up against a drive error (not hardware failure) this versatile tool would automatically check and repair the Master Boot Record, partition table, and the boot sector of the partition with an error, to recover the FAT16/FAT32/NTFS/NTFS5/EXT2/EXT3/SWAP partition on IDE/ATA/SATA/SCSI hard disk drives. It can create an emergency floppy disk or a bootable CD to recover the bad partition even if your operation system fails to boot. Partition Table Doctor manages for MS-DOS, Freedos, Windows 95/98/Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003.

There are two modes for partition recovery: "auto mode" and "interactive mode".

Auto mode
If you can enter operation system, you can install and run Partition Table Doctor and choose "Rebuild Partition Table"

Here we mainly refer to "Automatic", so we choose "Automatic" (after this, in the whole process the users can not operate by themselves, the software will finish the work automatically.)

In the procedure of rebuilding partition table, there are two ways to recover the lost partition:


Automatic will automatically rebuild and recover partition according to your former partition information. Usually we suggest this mode if users do not know much about partition. Of course, if you are not satisfied with the result, you can choose "Interactive" mode.

Interactive
Run Partition Table Doctor and choose "Interactive" in "Rebuild Partition Table".

By this mode, Partition Table Doctor will display all the partition found, you can choose the partition you want to recover.

In the partition interface that Interactive mode has recovered, we can see clearly all the partition information that existed as well as information on file system, volume label, CHS, size and logics of the corresponding partition. With the information, user can locate the partition they want to recover. Also, to verify that whether the partition can be recovered normally and the recovered partition is the partition user want, the software provides a "Browse" function, with which we can choose the right partition:

Click "Browse" and we can get file information of partition under root directory after recovery.

If your operation system is destroyed, you can install Partition Table Doctor to another operation system

And then you can be surer about the accuracy and efficiency, thus know the final result.
If the partition where your operation system locates is damaged and you cannot enter it, you can install Partition Table Doctor in another operation system.

By "Create Emergency Disk", we can create an application under DOS to recover your partition:

Afterwards you can set your BIOS and then start from floppy disk, thus recover MBR by operation mode of Partition Table Doctor in DOS:

DBR recovery
MBR is for the whole hard disk, while DBR is for individual partition.
The first sector of each MBR is DBR. Just as MBR, DBR contains some information that the boot operation system need. If DBR is corrupted, you can neither visit the partition nor start up the operation system of the partition.

If boot sector is damaged, the possible symptoms are:
Invalid media type reading drive
Abort Retry Fail?
File system is displayed as "RAW"
Windows may ask if you want to format the drive
File names contain "weird" characters
"Sector not found" messages
Etc.

Moreover, for partitions of NTFS, the functions of DBR are not all the same as that of FAT partition. For FAT partition, DBR locates FDT and FAT (correspondingly as well as DATA), but not verifying the correctness and reasonableness of FDT and FAT. For partition of NTFS, we need more units to load the file system, which is more complex than FAT.
What if when the DBR is destroyed? Usually, there are methods as following:

Recover DBR by Format
If there is no important data in this partition, or you have backed up the data, the best way to recover DBR is direct high-level format, fast format or complete format. If there is no limitation of partition form and capacity, there would be no difference between DOS format and Windows format except speed. Format is quite thorough, it can completely rearrange the data storage, even "reset" former file fragmentation.
Although this method is simple, it cannot recover data actually especially if you choose some different parameters. If you choose different system reserved sectors, or use clusters of different size, or change the size of FAT table etc, data recovery will be more difficult.

Data recovery by Fixboot of Partition Table Doctor
If the boot sector of a Fat16/Fat32/Ntfs partition was corrupted, it will be marked with X by Partition Table Doctor. If you cannot access a Fat16/Ntfs partition and the partition was marked with X. Right click the partition and choose Fixboot. Partition Table Doctor will automatically check and restore the boot sector of the partition.

If you cannot access the Fat32 partition and the partition was marked with X Right click the partition and choose Fixboot, there will be two choices:

'Auto' mode: Partition Table Doctor will automatically check and restore the boot sector of the partition. We recommend you choose this mode. If 'Auto' mode cannot help you, you can choose 'Interactive' mode. If so, you need input the volume label or a file name (under the root directory). If you do not know what file name to input, follow the file name that is suggested: Boot partition:
io.sys msdos.sys ntldr bootlog.txt Other partitions: _restore recycled

Note: For Fat16/Fat32 partition, fixboot can effectively restore damaged boot sector of partition. For NTFS partition, even if boot sector is correct but MFT( Main File Table ) is corrupted, symptoms are the same. We recommend you download the trial version of Partition Table Doctor to determine whether boot sector of partition was corrupted. Mostly, scandisk that originally in operation system will destroy more than they retrieve. Please stop scandisk after logging on.

In addition, you may use WinHex to recover DBR
WinHex is powerful in disk editor. With backup DBR in WinHex to recover the DBR sector is convenient and fast. But for its strong specialization of WinHex we recommend that you choose easy-to-use software tool for integrity and correctness of the data.