How do I recover a partition table without losing data?
Before using the hard disk, you must partition it first. When your hard disk has been partitioned, a partition table will be generated. It facilitates the hard drive to run in a good condition.
While managing their hard disks, e.g., updating the OS, converting partition table, or making some modifications; some users might meet issues. For example, they might accidentally delete partitions.
The corrupted partition table is one of the severe problems.
Partition Table messed up (conversion GPT -> MBR)
I tried to convert my external 2TB HDD from GPT to MBR. The process didn't finish so I decided to cancel the process after a few hours. Now Windows Disk Management recognized the whole drive as unallocated. The table is really messed up because it's half GPT and MBR.
I know that the data is still on there. Can I repair the partition table so I can access my data again or do I have to use data recovery tools to get it back?
- Question from Tom’s Hardware
Rest assured; this article can help you fix partition table. Before that, let’s figure out what is partition table first.
What is partition table in Windows?
The partition table is a table on the disk, which summarizes and describes the size and location of the partitions. It is located in the first sector (cylinder 0, head 0, sector 1, MBR) of a hard disk.
The partition table generally has two schemes for storing partition information, the traditional MBR (Master Boot Record) partition table and GPT (GUID Partition Table) partition table, including the start and end locations of the partition on the physical disk.
This allows your operating system to know which sectors belong to which partition and which partition is bootable.
Pitifully, partition table error is not very rare. You may encounter a GPT partition table recovery issue as well as an MBR partition table recovery issue.
Some common manifestations and possible causes are listed below, check if you have encountered them.
Common manifestations of partition table error
- "Invalid Partition Table" Warning.
- "Operating System Not Found" Warning.
- Unable to enter the Windows interface when booting the computer.
- Inability for OS to correctly recognize the hard disk.
- Inability for OS to use Fdisk to partition.
- Unable to delete the partition.
- Non-System Disk Or Disk Error.
Common causes of partition table issue
Many factors that cause partition table loss or failure as shown below.
- Virus attack. Boot sector viruses can do massive damage to your partitions.
- Power outage. Sudden power failure during your normal computer operation or partitioning process may cause bad sectors on the disk or loss of partition.
- Improper operation. Improper operation or misoperation when reinstalling the system may cause the disk to initialize and cause all partitions to disappear.
- Improper ejection of external devices. When using an external device such as a USB flash drive or a mobile hard disk, the partition table may be lost due to sudden changes in current when plugging or unplugging.
- Malfunctioned update. Sometimes updates bring problems as well. Some users have noticed the computer won’t start after Windows update.
How to recover partition table?
When the partition table gets corrupted, it is in urgent need of a remedy to recover it.
Method 1. Fix partition table using the Troubleshoot tool
With a Windows installation CD, you could boot the computer and fix partition table with the Bootrec command.
- If you meet the bootrec/fixboot access denied error, please seek for help in the guide.
Step 1. Turn off the PC compulsively by pressing the power button for 10 sec > power on and off > repeat this cycle 3 times > enter the winRE (Windows Recovery Environment).
Step 2. Insert the installation CD or DVD > restart > boot from the disc.
Step 2. Next > Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > Command Prompt.
Step 3. Input bootrec /fixmbr > press Enter > input bootrec /fixboot > restart.
Method 2. Recover partition table effortlessly
Using commands can be a good option for users who are familiar with commands and troubleshooting; but for users without that expertise, the process will be challenging.
Given that, you might as well choose a Windows partition manager tool to help you. Here is a good third-party tool recommendation, AOMEI Partition Assistant.
To restore partition table, a powerful embedded feature can be your helper: "Rebuild MBR". It assists users in easily recreating MBR to fix errors.
Apart from that, this tool is equipped with more amazing features. Using it, you could scan hard disk for deleted partitions within several seconds to minutes.
Apart from that, it can leave you with an impression in more aspects.
- Easy to operate. Offering an eye-pleasing and simple user interface and guide, it is easy to handle.
- High efficiency. It helps manage your partition and disk smartly and effectively with a bunch of features.
- Highly compatible. Work well with Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vitsa, etc.
Now please follow the steps to fix it.
Step 1. Install and enjoy the AOMRI Partition Assistant Pro demo version.
Step 2. Right-click on the unbootable system disk, and click Rebuild MBR.
Step 3. Choose the corresponding Operating System of your device to set the type of MBR on it, then click OK.
Step 4. Preview the operation that is about to carry out, then click Proceed > Apply.
Then you will have successfully perform MBR partition table recovery.
How to achieve lost partition recovery?
In addition to the need to rebuild MBR to recover partition table, users may also face a partition loss due to partition table errors.
When a partition gets missing or lost, precious data and files will be lost as well, which is the last thing that users want to meet.
Here are several ways to perform lost partition recovery.
Method 1. Recover lost partition with CMD
If you need to initialize the hard disk to repair your damaged or missing partition table, you can try to do it manually by using Disk Management.
Step 1. Run Command Prompt as administrator > input diskpart > list disk > select disk 0.
Step 2. Input list volume > select volume 1. Input the actual number of the lost partition.
Step 3. Input assign letter = x. Choose a letter different from all the existing letters.
Method 2. Recover lost partition via AOMEI Partition Assistant
For safety's sake and to save your time, you may also utilize the “Partition Recovery Wizard” tool in AOMEI Partition Assistant prepared for you.
This feature is also very helpful to recover accidentally deleted partition no matter what Windwos operating systems you are using: Windows 11/10/8/7, etc.
What's more, multiple file systems are supported: NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ext3/ext4/ReFS, etc. If you are using an ext4 partition, you could also recover ext4 partition easily.
Now, let’s follow the steps below to recover the partition.
Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant.
Step 2. Click Partition Recovery Wizard on the left side of the window. Then Select the deleted partition to be recovered, then click Next.
Step 3. Here you can see 2 modes of searching. It’s recommended that you use Fast Search for time-saving purposes, if it doesn’t work, utilize Full Search. Click Next to move on.
Step 4. The lost partitions will be listed in the list box, select the partition that needs to be recovered, then click Proceed.
After that, when you see the congratulation notice, your lost partition has been back.
In this post, the method to recover partition tables and to recover lost partitions have been introduced in detail. besides, we would like to offer you some more suggestions.
To prolong the service life of your hard drive, here are some hard drive maintenance suggestions prepared for you.
- Keep the working environment clean.
- Use anti-virus software to check and kill viruses on the hard disk regularly.
- If your hard drive is an SDD, please reserve enough storage space to prevent the SDD from slowing down or even crashing.
- Replace the firmware timely, such as BIOS, to reduce the wear and tear of the memory chip and maintain the performance and life of the hard disk.
Also, to prevent any data loss from GPT/MBR hard disks, it is a better bet to back up your data from time to time. Using AOMEI Backupper to create backups for Windows is a good idea.
Or, if you are facing data loss on hard disks right now, try to seek help from MyRecover, which can assist users to locate their deleted or missing files fast within only 3 steps.