Partition data lost (xp after vista)


Hi guys, got a big issue so here it is:

Yesterday i decided to put xp back instead vista so i ve putted all my data (190 GB :/) into D: partition thinking it s safe there so i can format C: partition.
So what i did is: i formated C: partition, installed xp logged on n i see only C: partition (127 gb) like i created it without any trace of D: partition :/
In disk managment it only shows those 127 gb n nothing else. When i wen t back for vista dvd there it was displayed 127 c: and 200 unallocated disc space so i did nothing from then since i m afraid of losing that data (+ realising what an id..t i am). I m using one 320 gb disc btw.

So what i m asking is : is there any way that i can get my D: partition back intact since i cannot even stress enough how much i need it. Was searching for solution but i found nothing atm so i hope u can help me :/

Cheers n sry for bad english.
You need to install XP SP2. XP SP1 still had the 127GB limitation on it. Installing SP2 will allow the full drive to been seen and used.
Woooo.... 200gb unallocated sounds like you may have removed the second partition. If you are using an early XP disk released before SP1 came out in 2002 you will need to go for SP2 and now even SP3 being available. SP2 is available at

The actual 137gb limit is what was addressed in the first service pack there. If you are using an SP1 or SP2 disk already you may have deleted the D partition rather then seeing C reformatted. One alternative before hooking up the drive on another system for data rescue would be booting with a live fo cd Linux distro like ubuntu since that can copy files from MS as well as Linux partitions.
First of all thx for quick support guys, much appreciated.

After installing SP2/3 i found under disk maintenance that i can see 170 GB of unallocated space and i cannot see partition D: since it s deleted i guess.
Thing is that i infact own a copy from 2001 so that fact got me on the wrong way. I wasn t paying attention on partition size when i was installing xp cause i thinked that it s C: from vista that should be 100 gb in size. But seeing now that C: partition is 130 gb i think that my xp installation didn t recognize any of partitions just that amount of disk space so i just created that c: partition :/

Since i think partition is gone now i found at other thread R-Studio program for recovering such data so i got my hands on it and i scanned disc and it found many files (as i hope almost all) but with names like 12435. So now i m afraid to go any further cause i m not sure what s the safe way of restoring it. / If i restore them on C: partition, would that be safe?
Another little freeware that might help runs in both XP and Vista alike for recovering deleted files called Recuva. A retail program called Active Undelete is also available.

Since that's an old XP disk seeing the limit when going to install WIndows a 3rd party partitioning tool like GParted can see partitioning and formatting done easily where you won't run into this problem of not being able to see what is what until the service packs are on.
Thanks a lot for quick tips n support. Finnaly i managed to restore complete D: partition so i ll just briefly post what helped me if someone else might find it usefull in future...

I ran another scan with R-Studio that found whole partition and more (i m pretty sure even tho all data was named completely different) so i decided to go for it but i had some issues buying it actually from my Country so i was searching a bit more. Ran scan with Pandora and Recuva that u recommended but they didn t managed to go Further than C: partition even tho they found all data that was located on C: cause my D: is still unallocated duo my "fear" of overriting data more... so i searched more and i found rly good solution.
It s called File Scavenger and with it i restored complete data wich was on D: + 7 more volumes with some strange data that i don t remember i guess. Thing that made me use this one is fact all my data had right names and info + "tree" view so i managed to find most important ones in a sec. Scan took about 2 hours tho.

So case closed, cheers :smile:
Glad to hear you were able to find all of your files regardless of the tool used. If you plan to keep on using the preSP1 disk however you may still want to grab a copy of GParted live for cd and review the guide for it as well as seeing what it looks like.

The general documentation showing how various things are done with the Gnome Partition Editor the full name for the tool can be looked over at

Once used a few times you will be wondering why you never thought of using before! The main download page is seen at

When first coming across this some time ago I used several releases until the 0..3.3.0 came out and still use that one. The downloads are 35mb iso disk images you burn to a cd-r and boot from in order to run the tool live. That gets you past any reserved drive space by Windows problems.