How to restore deleted or lost partition tables and fix MFT/MBR without Windows
Posted by Andre V. on 02 April 2011 10:26 PM

Scenario: Your partitions table is corrupt, unreadable or deleted. And you can't access your OS like Windows/Linux.

Solution: Use TestDisk. It'll restore your broken scenario back to how it was when everything was working.

In summary, TestDisk helps you:

  1. Fix broken partition tables
  2. Recover deleted/lost partitions
  3. Rebuild MBR (Master Boot Record)/Boot Sector
  4. Fix MFT (Master File Table)
  5. Make non-bootable disks bootable again
  6. Repair filesystem errors (First attempt to fix as stated in Step 4 of this article.)


Here's how to work with TestDisk...

Step 1: Launch Parted Magic. See instructions that came with your order on how to do this. Or see here.

Step 2: Go to: Start » System Tools » TestDisk

Step 3: Press "Enter".

Step 4: Select the drive you want to work with. Press "Enter". Below is sample screen shot...


Step 6: Select [Intel]. Press "Enter".

Step 7: Choose option appropriate for your situation as you see below...


If you want to fix MFT/MBR, then:

  1. Scroll to: Advanced
  2. Choose the drive partition with Up/Down keys. DO NOT press "Enter" yet.
  3. Use left-right keys to choose: Boot. Press "Enter".
  4. Use left-right keys to select either: Rebuild BS/Repair MFT

Here's an example screenshot that covers Step 2, 3 above...

When to choose "Rebuild BS":

BS or MBR as it's often called, has 2 purposes.

  1. It contains information about disks partitions. If it's erased or damaged, you'll loose access to data. There will be no disk present. It'll seem as if your hard-drive is "gone".

  2. It contains code to start loading up your OS (Windows/Linux/MacOS) when you turn on your computer.

Choose "Rebuild BS" fixes #1 only.

When to choose "Repair MFT":

This contains information about every single file and folder on your computer. It tracks everything about your files/folders like their size, their attributes, where they're located, etc...

Choose "Repair MFT" if your drives MFT is corrupt.

If you want to restore a lost/damaged/deleted partition, then:

  1. Scroll to: Analyze
  2. Press "Enter". This will search your drive partitions and present you with a screen like this...

  3. You can now select which partition to restore with Up-Down keys.
  4. When you're ready to restore it, press "Enter".
  5. Now you can either select with Left-Right keys "Deeper Search" if your partitions were NOT found. Or select "Write" to restore the selected partition. In which case, your problem is solved.

Step 8: When finished, restart PC: Start » Logout

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