OK, for one reason and another - mainly that my system kept crashing - I decided to re-install Windows.
I ran the Windows XP Setup disc and it installed Windows on the HD I wanted - but has corrupted my 2 data drives with over 800Gb of data on them!!! :(((((
Now, I HAD backed up the majority of the drive (about 99%) - but not all of the data and it's the lost 1% of data that I'm after (naturally!).
The 2 discs concerned are now recognised by Windows but it reports that both drives are unformatted.
I'm pretty sure the data is still on the disc as I didn't format either disc when Windows Setup gave me the option but I don't know if I can or ever will be able to access it.
Is there any way that I can fix these 2 discs so that I can recover the lost data or have I learnt a salutary lesson today?
What about these programs that claim to be able to recover lost data from corrupted hard drives, even ones that now report as being unformatted? Are any of them any good or likely to be of any use to me here?
I've found a program that's free called TestDisk - click here - that seems to have recovered my data.
It's found and repaired the 2 partitions that were on what was my System HD - including all my e-mails from the last month that constituted the 1% of my data that hadn't been backed up and that I thought I had lost forever.
It's now analysing - and, hopefully, about to repair - my Data HD. This one isn't so much of an issue if it doesn't work as I have the data on another PC. It'll just save me hours of hassle in transferring it back to my main PC if I can recover this HD as well.
So it's safe to say that this luvverly little program comes highly recommended by yours truly!!
I'll let you know how I get on with the last HD and, if it is recovered as well, I'll tick this off as resolved.