You sit on a chair, power on the computer on your table, and when it boots up, you suddenly figure out that one of your GPT partitions is missing. With that, the precious data stored in that lost partition is gone too. But hold on—don’t go into panic mode yet. That’s because, in this article, we will show you how to recover your lost GPT partition in a plethora of ways. We will also showcase the top reasons for GPT partition loss and how to prevent it. Without wasting any more time, let’s dive straight in.
What is a GPT Partition?
To store any form of data on your disk drive, you need to create specific partitions on it. GPT or GUID Partition Table is a style of partition creation introduced by Intel in the later years of the 1990s. It stores the information in the partitions in a set structure. As a result, this allows the operating system of your computer to find and access any data in your disk drive easily.
Difference Between MBR and GPT Partitions
MBR or Master Boot Record is another type of partition style that first appeared in 1983 along with the DOS 2.0 OS. Although MBR is still a widely popular partition style that is satisfying many people’s needs, it is slowly being overshadowed by the GPT partition that supersedes MBR in many ways. Let’s make a quick comparison of MBR and GPT to see what makes them different:
MBR can be used in disk drives with a maximum capacity of 2 TB, and it can only support four primary partitions. While it’s possible to add more partitions to a drive equipped with MBR, to do that, you need to replace one primary partition with an extended one. Therefore, if you want to work with a disk drive that has a larger capacity than 2 TB, or you want more freedom with your partitions, you should choose GPT instead of MBR partition style.
Whether it’s the data storage limit or the maximum number of partitions you’re allowed to create in a single drive, GPT exceeds MBR in almost everything. It also replaces your ancient-looking BIOS with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), making it easier to access and make changes on your computer’s boot screen. Also, when it comes to data recovery, the performance of GPT far exceeds MBR by a large margin. It creates multiple copies of the partitions and boot data, and stores them all over the disk drive for an easier recovery.
Why Did I Suffer from GPT Partition Data Loss?
There can be various reasons for GPT partition data loss. In most cases, this happens because of several factors that you have no control over, and as a result, it’s inevitable. However, it can also occur because of certain actions taken by the users. In this section, we will show you the aspects that might lead to a GPT partition loss.
If your PC suddenly shuts down in the middle of the GPT partition activities, such as data formatting or writing, then it can lead to GPT partition loss. Moreover, it might also cause the data of the GPT partition to suffer from corruption.
Failed Partition Type Conversion
When you try to convert your disk drive partitions from MBR to GPT, the partitions stay in a vulnerable state during the conversion process. With that in mind, if an accident happens when your partitions are in that state, such as an unexpected system shutdown, it can lead you to suffer from a severe loss of partition data.
Format or Accidental Deletion
Accidents can happen to anyone and come without prior notice. One of the biggest reasons for GPT partition loss is the accidental deletions or accidental formats performed by PC users. This often happens when people use the terminal or Command Prompt, and execute a wrong command. The execution of any wrong commands in such terminal-based programs might lead to catastrophic partition data loss within a few seconds.
Malware attacks are a large cause of the loss of GPT partition data. Cyber crooks use malware or ransomware that attacks your partitions to delete or encrypt the partition data and ask for hefty ransoms to decrypt and give it back.
Partition Table Corruption
When the partition table suffers from corruption, your device’s OS (operating system) might be incapable of accessing the stored files. In most cases of partition table corruption, the actual data location in the partitions is still safe. But your OS is unable to locate and view the data, leading you to believe that you have lost your data.
Note: Executing the “bootrec.exe /fixmbr” in the command prompt is the fastest way to fix the partition table corruption.
Guide to Recover GPT Partition Data
Now you know the main reasons for the GPT partition deletion. It’s time we took a look at the available solutions for GPT partition data recovery. Please remember if you already backed up the partition data using native solutions, such as OneDrive and Time Machine. Other cloud storage apps, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, also work. In those cases, you can effortlessly restore the deleted data after fixing your GPT partition. However, even if you didn’t back up your partition data, don’t worry. In this section, we will show you how to recover the GPT partition data without a previous backup.
Restore GPT Partition Data Using Data Recovery Software
If you suffered from GPT partition loss, and you don’t have a backup for the lost data, you can always use a professional third-party data recovery application to recover it. Please remember that you should go through the data recovery process as soon as possible after you have discovered the data loss. Also, you shouldn’t install or save anything new to your computer before performing data restoration. Otherwise, any newly saved data or recently downloaded application might overwrite the partition data making it difficult to recover.
Therefore, we recommend you download the data restoration application in a separate storage media, such as a flash drive. This will prevent any possible data overwrite to make sure you can recover most of your data without any issues. Without further ado, let’s demonstrate using data recovery applications to recover GPT partition data.
Important: Although there are multiple data recovery applications in the market, you should always do proper research and only choose those from a credible company. Make sure that the app of your choice has positive reviews and is approved by the data recovery experts.
Restoring GPT Partition in a Windows Device
Follow these steps to recover GPT partition data through data recovery software for Windows:
- Download and install a Windows data restoration software of your choice and launch it.
- Once the application opens, you will see a list of available drives on your computer. Click on the drive that has the partition you’re trying to recover.
- Some data recovery applications have a function that helps you distinguish exactly what to look for and how to proceed with the data search. If your data rescue software has the feature, choose the “Search for lost partitions” option. If that isn’t the case, skip to the next step.
- Next, click on the “Search for lost data” or the “Scan” button to start the scanning process.
- When the scan is complete, it will show all the recoverable deleted files and lost partitions. Select the partitions you want to recover the data from.
- Some applications will require you to scan the partition again to look for the recoverable files. If your application requires you to do it, scan the recovered partition again. If you can already review the data inside the partition without going through another scan, move on to the next step.
- Review and select the files you want to recover. After that click on the “Recover” button.
- Now, select a location where you would like to store your recovered files and press the “OK” button.
That’s it—the files you chose will be sent to your selected location. To avoid losing your files again, we recommend that you save the recovered files in a different place from their original location. Our suggestion is a storage media other than your computer’s disk drive.
Rescue GPT Partition Data on a Mac Machine
In most cases, Mac users can recover their entire partition in one go instead of recovering the files located inside the partition. Here’s how you can do it:
- Download and install the desired data retrieval software for Mac and run it.
- Click on the “All recovery methods” drop-down menu and select the “HFS+ Rebuild” catalog. After that, click on the “HFS+ Catalog Rebuild” option.
- The scan will initiate immediately and once it’s complete, your lost GPT partitions will revert to the state they were before the corruption or data loss.
Contact a Professional Data Recovery Company
If you have done everything you can but still had no luck, it’s time to contact a professional data retrieval company to assist you with GPT partition recovery. Any renowned one has industry-grade tools, software, class 100 cleanroom, and professionally trained data recovery experts to fix all kinds of data and partition loss issues. Thus, once you have performed proper research about the nearby data recovery companies, contact them, explain your problem, and send your disk drive for inspection.
Once the assessment is complete, the experts will quote a recovery price. If you agree, they will continue with the data recovery at the center and likely finish within a few days. Please note that it might cost between $100 and $700 depending on the amount of damage to your disk drive. However, if the data in the lost partitions is important enough, spending a few hundred bucks for getting your precious data back is a good deal.
Tips to Prevent Future Data Loss
In this section, we will showcase a few tips that will prevent data loss in the event of another unexpected GPT partition loss or drive failure.
Backup Your Data Regularly
The best way to prevent future data loss is to make copies of your data regularly and back it up in different locations. This way, even if your GPT partitions fail in the future, your data will remain intact. On Windows, you can go to “Settings” and set up automatic backups that will upload and sync your computer’s data in the OneDrive regularly. Mac users can use their native app Time Machine to back up their data in the iCloud. You can also keep a copy of the data on an external hard disk drive. No matter the method you use, backup your data regularly to keep it safe.
Remove Your Disk Drive Following Proper Safety Protocols
Whenever you try to disconnect an external storage media from your computer, you should always eject it before physically removing it. Sometimes, your computer and the external storage media might still be in the middle of transferring and writing data. Ergo, if you remove it from the machine without ejecting it first, it might lead to severe data loss and partition corruption.
Always Use Antivirus
Cybercriminals are always trying to infect new devices with malware to steal your precious data and ask for a hefty ransom. That’s why you should invest in a professional antivirus to keep your computer safe from cyber threats.