Repairing a ‘dynamic invalid drive’ in Windows

Not too long ago I was required to disconnect my SATA hard drive in my PC (for various reasons) with the intention of just plugging it back in after, no big deal…except that it was.  When I plugged it back in, it was not found in the familiar >Computer< section in Windows (I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate) alongside all my other drives.

So then I started to investigate, starting with checking the BIOS settings, sure enough, in the BIOS my SATA drive was indeed detected so naturally the problem would have to be with Windows.  So I check >Device Manager< and there sits my SATA drive but inaccessible.  So, frustration growing, I go to >Disk Management< (Over » Windows 7 Start Button “Start” type in » Perform (Edit-Box) “diskmgmt.msc” [ENTER]).  Once I’m there, much to my annoyance, my 250gig SATA drive is listed as being a dynamic invalid drive and is completely inaccessible.

Disk 0 - Completely unusable.

So Windows then gives you the option to revert the drive to a ‘basic drive’ allowing it to be usable once again except it assumes that you have access to the drive already and that you’re able to back up your data before doing so because once you convert it all your data will be lost. Yes, well done Microsoft, If I could access the drive in the first place there wouldn’t be a problem to begin with now would there?

So then I turned to Google and found a $300 application that was capable of reverting my drive back into a usable state, luckily I obtained it sans having to pay that amount and just as well because it did not fucking work! After an hour or so of forum-reading and whatnot I found a small, 2.82mb Open Source application called Testdisk 6 which not only duplicated my data from the inaccessible drive to an external source, but managed to convert my hard drive back to a ‘basic’ usable one in a few seconds without formatting the drive.  Check out this site for a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this.