Hard drives play an important role in our computers. They provide you with a safe, efficient, and effective way to store your important electronic data.

However, at times, these drives can fail leaving you with corrupt data or vanishing partitions. If this does happen to you, there are many free data recovery programs to help assist you in saving your data.

At certain times, one or more partitions may not appear when you click on Start > Computer, but they will appear in Disk Management. This situation arises when Windows is either reinstalled or an external drive is disconnected incorrectly. To recover missing partitions or complete drives, we recommend a freeware program called TestDisk.

Running in a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux environment, TestDisk can attempt to recover your missing partition. Please note that hard drives can fail and certain files may be corrupt, thereby making the data unrecoverable.

By following the guide below for a Intel optimized Windows PC, there is a strong chance that TestDisk can recover your missing partition.

1. To begin, download TestDisk to your preferred download location.

2. Next, extract the downloaded zipped file.

3. Open up the extracted file and right click on the testdisk_win.exe and click Run as Administrator. If your User Account Control Window appears, click Yes.

4. You will now be greeted with the TestDisk interface; to navigate around, use your keyboard’s arrow keys.

5. In the first menu, move the selector to No Log, and press the Enter key.

6. TestDisk should now display all of your connected drives, including any hidden hard drives. Select your hidden hard drive and then select Proceed. Press Enter to select.

7. In the next menu, select your partition type which should be Intel/PC partition. Then press Enter.

8. Now, tell TestDisk to Analyze the drive. This will search for any hidden partitions. Hit Enter to select.

9. After analyzing the hard drive, TestDisk will display all of the partitions on the drive. Select Quick Search and press Enter.

10. Once the search has finished, tell TestDisk whether or not the partition was created by Windows Vista/7. If Yes/Not Sure select Y, otherwise select N.

11. Here TestDisk will indicate if the partition of your lost drive is bootable. If the Structure shows as OK then press Enter.

12. Next, select Write to write the partition structure to disk. Hit Enter to select Write.

13. Confirm write to the partition table by typing Y and hitting Enter.

14. Once the writing has completed, TestDisk will ask you to reboot.

15. Close TestDisk and reboot your system.

16. Once the system reboots your hard drive partition should become available to Windows for it to be read.

During the process of running TestDisk, you may find that scans can take a long time. Allow the process to complete and do not close TestDisk.

When exploring TestDisk or by viewing the screenshots above, you will notice that TestDisk can perform many more tasks as well. TestDisk has the ability to backup data from a failed drive, fix a corrupted MBR, and many more. Be sure to understand each function before following through with the process.

Please note that TestDisk is not perfect. It is a free program that does not come with a warranty. You will be running TestDisk at your own risk. If you run into trouble or would like assistance, please create a new thread in the hard drive section of the forum.

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