How to Recover a Lost Partition in Windows

Disasters can happen, no matter how careful you are with your data. Here, we discuss how partitions can become lost, and what you can do to recover them using free data recovery software.

Perhaps the most common cause of a lost partition is human error. It’s not uncommon to accidentally delete a partition when you’re trying to complete another task. Partition tables can also be damaged by viruses or faulty disk operations. Take the Rombertik virus that spread around in 2015. Attacking the master boot record (MBR), the virus overwrote users’ partition data with null bytes. Data corruption can also lead to partitions not being recognised. If the operating or file system becomes corrupt, it can in turn make partitions inaccessible. Power outages are another cause of lost partitions; outages can affect the drives operations, making the partition inaccessible. Additionally, bad sectors on the disk could prevent a partition from being recognised by your machine’s operating system. The good news, however, is that it is possible to recover a lost partition using data recovery software – our choice for this task is Acronis. You do, however, need to make sure you move fast. When a partition on a hard disk drive is deleted, the system will allow the section of memory to be overwritten with data. But as long as the portion your partition was located remains untouched, you should be able to recover it.

Using a bootable version of your chosen data recovery software on a USB flash drive or DVD/CD is ideal, as there’s less likely of accidentally overwriting the portion of your drive that your partition was stored on. Once you’ve got your bootable drive with Acronis on, go ahead and start the software. Go to Tools, then select Acronis Recovery Expert from the menu. From here, the wizard will launch, and guide you through the partition recovery process. The data recovery software allows you to recover your missing partition automatically or manually. Automatic mode is simple to use. Once you’ve selected the Automatic mode in the Recovery Mode window, Acronis will take you to the Searching for Deleted Volumes window, where the data recovery software scans your disks for deleted volumes. Acronis will first check for unallocated space; if it finds any such space, it will begin scanning for traces of deleted volumes. If a deleted volume is found, it will be displayed in the volume list. You’ll know if it’s a missing volume because its status will display as ‘Deleted’, and you can check the capacity to see if the size matches up with your lost partition. If Acronis hasn’t found your lost partition, you can try using the Complete method, which performs a more intensive search, scanning your hard disk sector-by-sector. Once you've found your lost partition, select it, press 'Next', and begin the partition recovery process. 

Data Recovery