How was the partion wiped clean?

  Awestruck 21:10 21 Jun 2007
Locked

I was called out to to diagnose a computer which would not even begin to load windows. It halted at a message saying that C:\windows\system32\hal.dll was corrupt or missing.
The same thing occured in safe mode. The Hard drive had been oddly partitioned with a tiny C: and a huge D: partition which had contained the OS (XP Professional)and all my clients data and programs.
Using either a DOS emergency disk or the XP installation CD I could access both partitions but the D: partition was completely empty, no folders no files.
The C; partition contained a few files and a duff rescue program.
What could wipe a partition so cleanly without my client noticing a great deal of disk activity?

He was meticulous about updating his anti-virus and his two anti-spy programs. He is naturally paranoid about the problem re-occurring after I re-install his OS, his applications and his data.
If I could understand what could have wiped his partition I could help him take extra precautions, any suggestions please?

Regards

Awestruck

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:20 21 Jun 2007

Guess is he hit a key combination at startup to initiate the recovery to factory settings.

This would format the partition and reinstall from a compressed image (the duff C).

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