A couple of weeks ago, my Windows 2000 hive files got corrupted. How, I do not know, and lacking backups, I set out to reformat (a semi annual occurrence (formatting, not hive corruption)).
When it was all said and done, I was slowly plugging in my secondary HD’s (2 IDE, 1 SATA and 1 USB (~570 GB total)), all of which are in a Dynamic Disk Set.
I am not going to go into much detail on Windows Dynamic disks, suffice to say they are useful... and risky. Within a set, disks know about each other, so when you plug in one, it will let the system know what others are expected, and sometimes refuse to function without the others (even in a non RAID setup).
I started with my external enclosure, plugging it in and going into Disk Management and accidentally selected “Import Foreign Disk.” Normally when you plug in a Dynamic Disk that is a member of an already active set, the disk will be offline and must be reactivated, and is something I did quite frequently when I would plug back in the drive in question... this time my mouse finger was just too fast for my eyes and when I realized what I had clicked it was too late. To my horror, it nuked its membership in the existing set and listed the entire drive as unallocated.
Hoping that it could be restored, I shut down and added the other 3 drives. Getting back into Disk Management... I found the set, including the 160 gig partition that had been nuked (on the physical disk) as missing (ie with the red x), right next to a 160 gig drive listed as unallocated.
I dug a bit and found a demo of GetDataBack for NTFS. Lucky for me, it could identify and recover all of the files I had feared lost, so I plunked down $80 dollars for the full version of it (recovery was of course disabled in the demo). A lil pricey, but I F-ed up and I deserved to pay for my stupidity in this case.
The moral of this story? Be very careful when you Import a Foreign Disk under Windows, as you will lose your normal ability to access your data on the drive.