Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Hard drive locked - cannot find Windows installation

  1. #1


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    Hard drive locked - cannot find Windows installation


    Hi all, I joined the forum because Iíve been going around in circles trying to fix my computer. Apologies for huge first post. The post by "aristotletalks" about 3/4 down page 1 of this thread sums up most of the pages I've read and things I've attempted: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...3457b4a?page=1

    Iím running:
    Windows 8.1
    Toshiba Satellite C55A-5300 (pre-installed Win 8 - no install DVD)
    Intel Celeron 1.8 GHz
    12 GB RAM
    500 GB HDD

    Iíll try to be succinct: I canít boot my machine except with the Recovery USB I created from MS website, and when I do that I canít get to System Restore points or Refresh because the ďhard disk where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock and try again.Ē Iíve spent about 12 hours the last couple days on all kinds of forums reading about this and think Iím just going in circles at this point. Iíd really like to recover the data off the drive because my backup HD also just failed this week. Iíve tried:

    EasyRE software (https://neosmart.net/EasyRE/) Ė it says none of the drives are active or mountable

    I ran chkdsk and it was estimating itíd take 60+ days to complete!? (I stopped it). C: was showing up fine.

    Iíve run various diskpart commands and have been able to see the hard disk and that itís ďHealthyĒ, so it looks like the drive is noticed, but it is not "active". When I tried selecting it and setting to "active" the message showed that "disk is not a fixed MBR disk".

    The last thing I did was:
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /rebuildbcd

    All were successful. The last found the valid Windows installation on my C:\ and I typed ďYesĒ to add.

    I restarted my machine attempting to boot up the EasyRE again and it would not boot. The Win8.1 USB is still yielding all the same results, but now in diskpart I donít see the C:\, however I do see it in Ďlist volumeí. Also, the bootrec doesnít find a Windows installation anymore.

    I really think that the drive is OK, but some boot or registry ďstuffĒ is just tangled up (Iím no expert in this kind of troubleshooting). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    This all started after an attempt to update Paragon HFS+ while trying to fix an external HD used on Mac and PC. Everything started freezing up and so I attempted to remove the software, which then made my computer fail to find the C:. I successfully did a System Restore to the previous day, from within Win8.1 (it wasnít having trouble booting). I tried to uninstall Paragon HFS+ again and the same thing happened, but this time the System Restore failed and when I restarted it wouldnít boot.

    I can get more into that if necessary. Apologies again for the gigantic first post, but Iím really at a loss hereÖ

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    hard disk where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock and try again

    Had the same thing happen to me, also windows 8.1.
    the drive is toast
    got a new drive and imaged the drive with a recent image that I had, all is back to normal
    Sven
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Austin TX metro area
    Posts : 640
    Windows 7 Pro 64bit [MS blue-disk set]


    MHN, Did you by any chance have that hard-drive protected by encryption? Or, protection by some sort of Crypto-defense? I'm probably on some rabbit trail, however, I will listen in and learn alongside with you on this hard-drive lock and unlock situation.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1


    Sven, thanks for the input. I'm assuming you had an image on a separate drive? I, quite unfortunately, do not. Obviously if the drive is toast I'll learn from this.

    Roland, I didn't have any encryption or anything other than what a standard Win8.1 OS would be doing. There are still some things I've got on a list to try before tossing it, but so far nothing's worked.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Yes, I did have an image on an external drive. I had to many drives fail on me not to have one.
    If you buy a new drive, get a SSD drive. much faster and they tell me much more reliable

    Sven
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1


    Yes, my plan is to get a 500GB SSD once I figure out if I can get the data off of this one. Thanks again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 138
    Windows 8 Pro


    Try using Kyhi's Bootable Rescue Disk to backup your data. Download the ISO and burn it to a DVD or extract it to a USB flash drive. Boot from the DVD or flash drive and copy your data to a portable hard drive. I would use the 32-bit version.

    Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1


    Well, I've been trying to use kyhi's PE recovery tools but I cannot figure out how to get the C: recognized as a Windows installation. Running diskpart shows the HDD as being there, but there are no volumes on it and no drive allocated to it. I used Partition Wizard to try and check it out and it showed up as "unallocated" (bad disk). I'm not savvy enough with everything else in there, but nothing seems to be able to find the Windows installation on the HDD. As a last ditch effort, I downloaded DiskDrill while booted into KYHI's PE and it's running now and finding what appears to be all the data on the original C. So, if DiskDrill can find data on it, I think that means the disk isn't physically damaged so I should be able to get this system restored somehow. Will report back after it's run...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 138
    Windows 8 Pro


    I would like to make one more suggestion. If DiskDrill fails, make a live Linux USB or DVD and try to backup your files with that. Not long ago my portable hard drive went raw. Every time I plugged it in, Windows wanted to format the drive. I tried it on two different computers and the results were the same. I have used Linux in the past so I wanted to give it a try. I keep a live Linux Mint USB around for just such occasions. I booted with the Linux USB and I could see all my files on the portable drive. I made a folder on the root of C and copied all the files to that folder. I bought a new portable drive and copied them from C to the new drive.

    I like Linux Mint because it is very similar to Windows 7. I don't think you will have any trouble using it. Ubuntu Linux is also very popular.

    I used Universal USB Installer to make the Linux USB but if you search google, there are many others. This is the link to Universal.

    Universal USB Installer ? Easy as 1 2 3 | USB Pen Drive Linux

    If you are unsure about Mint or Ubuntu, watch a couple YouTube videos just to see how they work.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1


    I was able to recover all my files from MiniTools Power Data Recovery (had to pay the $69 license). From some reason, running MiniTools Partition Wizard Pro from Kyhi's Recovery Tool would not correct the "Unallocated" partition and allow me to see the files. I tested 4-5 different data recovery packages (run on the machine booted with Kyhi's USB), and the only one that recovered the data with the original file structure/names was Power Data Recovery...so I paid for it.

    My next step is to try to reinstall Windows on that HD and see what happens. I'm ordering a SSD to replace it but am just curious if I can get the Windows install to work and create an image. Will report more as I complete the process.

    Thanks for the input.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Hard drive locked - cannot find Windows installation
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