Most of what we do is digital. Personal projects, work, school — we have files for everything, and the list goes on. Losing an entire NTFS partition can be rough, especially if you didn’t have a backup of your data.

Worry not, for this article will guide you through various methods you can use to recover an NTFS partition without losing data. We’ll also cover what you can do to protect your data from being lost in the future.

Can I Recover Data From a Deleted NTFS Partition?

Yes, recovering data from a deleted NTFS partition is possible. In some cases, the entire partition can be recovered. However, your chances of success will vary based on how long ago the partition was lost and what the drive has been used for since then. If you need to recover an accidentally deleted NTFS partition, you must act with haste.

When you lose data, it’s important that you stop using the drive until you can perform recovery. Continued use can result in your data being overwritten with new data, severely reducing the chances of recovery. Therefore, if your NTFS partition has vanished, be sure to read the entirety of this article before attempting recovery.

How to Recover NTFS Partition Without Losing Data

We’ll show you multiple ways you can recover your NTFS partition without losing data. Since this is a somewhat complex problem, most methods will require the use of third-party tools.

For extra security, creating a byte-to-byte image of the drive and recovering data from that is recommended to preserve the original data. If this isn’t possible, you can work on the machine directly.

Method #1: TestDisk

TestDisk is a very popular partition recovery tool in the data recovery space. Enthusiasts and businesses alike use it as a free means of recovering their lost or deleted partitions. The biggest appeal for this tool is that it’s free (funded by donations) and open-source.

It uses a command-line interface that may be challenging for some, but you should have no problems if you follow our instructions:

  1. Download TestDisk and extract the contents of the zipped folder.Downloading TestDisk
  2. Open testdsk_win. If Windows alerts you to potential risks, simply click More info then Run anyway as it’s a false positive.Opening TestDisk
  3. Press Enter on the Create option.Choosing to create a log file of the changes
  4. Use the up and down arrow keys to choose the drive that the partition was located on. Press Enter to Proceed.Selecting the drive that contains the partition
  5. Choose your partition table type. If you’re unsure, TestDisk automatically selects the partition table type it believes you have. Press Enter.Choosing the partition table type
  6. Press Enter to Analyse.Beginning the analysis process
  7. Press Enter again to begin the Quick Search.Quick searching the drive
  8. Select the missing partition and press Enter.Selecting the discovered partition
  9. If you’ve found your partition, move across to the Write option and press Enter. If not, choose Deeper Search.Writing the lost partition
  10. Press Y to confirm.Confirming the write command

You will be prompted to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Once you reboot, your partition should be restored.

Method #2: Disk Drill

Disk Drill is a data recovery tool that allows you to scan your drive for missing NTFS partitions and recover data from them. Unlike TestDisk, Disk Drill comes with an interface, making it much easier for casual computer users to recover their data. However, it can only recover the data from the partition, so you will need to create a new partition to store the data once it’s recovered.

  1. Download Disk Drill and install it. Open it.Download Disk Drill
  2. Select the drive that had the partition before it was lost. From the dropdown on the right, change All recovery methods to Search for lost partitions. Then, click Search for lost data.Searching for lost partitions
  3. Click Done.Finishing the Disk Drill scan
  4. Expand the dropdown next to your drive name, then select the lost partition. Click Search for lost data.Searching for lost data
  5. Click Review found items when the scan has finished.Review what data was found
  6. Select the files you want to recover. Use the Recover chances column to determine how recoverable each file is. When ready, click Recover.Recovering files using Disk Drill
  7. Select your output location. It’s recommended you recover to a separate physical partition to avoid overwriting your data. Press OK.Finalizing the recovery process

Disk Drill can be used to recover data from almost any type of storage media, including RAW partition recovery. As demonstrated, it can even discover lost partitions and recover files from them. 

Method #3: DiskPart

It could be that your partition isn’t appearing because it simply doesn’t have a drive letter. Without a drive letter, Windows may not be able to locate your data. If this is the case, the solution is super simple and only requires a few commands be entered into Command Prompt to rectify the problem.

  1. Right-click Start and click Windows PowerShell (Admin). Click Yes if prompted by UAC.Opening elevated PowerShell
  2. Type diskpart and press Enter.Running the Diskpart command
  3. Type list disk and press Enter.Listing the available disks
  4. Type select disk 1. Replace 1 with your disk number. Press Enter.Selecting a disk
  5. Type list volume and press Enter.Listing the available volumes
  6. Type select volume 3. Replace 3 with your volume number. Press Enter.Selecting a volume
  7. Type assign letter=d. Replace d with any available drive letter if you already have that assigned. Press Enter.Assigning a drive letter

Method #4: Repair System Partition

Your partition table holds all information pertaining to your partition structure. It tells the operating system exactly where to find your data. This, along with the Master Boot Record (MBR), are essential for you to boot your computer and use it every day. But, if your system partition is corrupted, the files required to boot Windows may be compromised, preventing you from loading in and accessing your data.

To fix this, you can recreate system partition files. A Windows installation disk or bootable USB with a copy of Windows is necessary to complete this method. These steps will show you how to fix the partition table without losing data by restoring the Windows boot files.

  1. Insert your bootable media and boot into it as you start your computer.
  2. Click Next.The Windows setup overview screen
  3. Click Repair your computer.Choosing to Repair the computer
  4. Click Troubleshoot.Selecting the troubleshoot option
  5. Click Command Prompt.Opening the Command Prompt recovery window
  6. Type diskpart and press Enter.Opening Diskpart
  7. Type list vol and press Enter. Make note of the volume associated with your system partition.Listing available volumes
  8. Type exit and press Enter.Exiting Disk Part
  9. Type bcdboot C:\Windows and press Enter.Creating Windows boot files
  10. Exit the command prompt and click Continue.

Method #5: Data Recovery Service

If you haven’t had much success using the above methods, or if you feel these methods are too intimidating for you to attempt, you can always rely on a professional to take care of it for you. 

Using a data recovery service takes the pressure off yourself and gives you confidence knowing your drive is in capable hands. Data recovery professionals work in a controlled environment and make use of industry-grade equipment, an unmatched level of service when you compare it to a recovery tool.

  1. Go to the Data Recovery Center webpage. Click Start Recovery.Starting the recovery service process
  2. Choose the type of service you want and fill in all of your details.Choosing what type of service you need
  3. When ready, click Complete my work order.Finishing the work order

How to Repair a Damaged Partition

If your partition is visible, but you’re unable to access it, you can try repairing it instead. In many cases, formatting is the go-to solution. However, avoid formatting the partition. While formatting is often a good way at repairing a damaged partition, it will also wipe all of your data.

Instead, we’re going to be using an error checking feature that’s built-in to Windows. This feature makes use of CheckDisk (CHKDSK), but doesn’t require you to open a terminal and run through a series of commands.

  1. Open File Explorer. Right-click the drive that has the damaged partition and click Properties.Accessing the drive properties
  2. Click Tools, then Check in the ‘Error checking’ area.Starting the error checking process
  3. Click Scan drive.Scan the drive for errors

How to Prevent Partition Damage in the Future

So you don’t need to go through the hassle of recovering an NTFS partition again, take note of the below tips to help avoid a situation like this and prepare yourself in case it happens again.

  • 🦠 Use antivirus software – Viruses can attack your file system and corrupt your data. Use reliable antivirus software to protect your computer from attacks.
  • 🤔 Make careful decisions – Data loss is often the result of human error. This can happen by accident if you make a mistake when trying to delete the recovery partition on Windows. Think before making a decision and always do research before making changes.
  • 💻 Monitor S.M.A.R.T. data – Disk Drill has a built-in function that monitors your drive’s S.M.A.R.T. data. This data monitors your drive’s health and alerts you to any potential problems that arise.
  • 🔌 Power down properly – Holding the power button on your computer isn’t the right way to turn it off. Always make sure you’re powering down by right-clicking Start and clicking Shut down. This safely stops all running operations.
  • 👍 Make backups – Saving the most important tip for last. Backing up your files is a surefire way of protecting them from loss. In the instance that your partition does become damaged, you can simply restore copies of your files from the backup.

Conclusion

Losing an entire partition is rough. Thankfully, there are recovery solutions that exist to restore your partition and recover your data. Using one of the methods outlined in this article will help you recover your data and get you back up and running in no time.

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Jordan Jamieson-Mane

Jordan Jamieson-Mane is a freelance content writer with a passionate interest in technology. Starting from a young age, this interest gradually turned into a career, with Jordan studying in the field of IT and moving into...

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Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.