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how to recover FAT

Posted on 1998-09-03
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a Conner FP1060S (1GB, SCSI).
Since the system files (DOS6.22) have been deleted, I connected a IDE HD to the machine and tried to transfer sytem files to this SCSI HD to be able to boot from it.

Unfortunately, all data is lost now !
Dunno if FAT is destroyed...have tried to repair it with Norton Utilities, but told me that the FAT cannot be recovered.
Is there any possibility to use DiskEditor and edit the HD entries manually ?
Any further suggestions what to do ?

INFO:
- there was just one partition on this HD (1,08GB) with approx. 800MB data...important data !

- when I tried to copy the system files from the IDE HD to the SCSI HD (with SYS) system told me that media is not recognized.
From this moment on, FDSIK told me that the file system is "unknown" (system was FAT16 before)

Best regards
-Stavi-

PLEASE DO NOT POST AN ANSWER UNTIL I ADVICE SOMEBODY TO POST HIS COMMENT AS THE ANSWER !!!
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Question by:mitrakis
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by:durcaj01
ID: 1124341
Go to www.hptech.com to download a utlility that uses a combination of reading FAT entries and reading each sector for file info. It is very good at being able to restore files providing you haven't written too much to the disk. The FAT is not so important for the restore provided you didn't have too much of a fragmented HDD(where a file is not stored in consecutive clusters but spread across the disk). Be prepared to lose about 8-20% of the data since it appears you have tried to SYS the partition of a SCSI drive and overwritten the FAT tables.

I think you will have to purchase the product if you want to restore the files.

There are also several utilities you can download to read individual sectors, but to restore 800MB of data this would take an enternity to restore. Rely on the utilities that are out there to do the work for you.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124342
durcaj01,

since the tool "DataBack" is a demo, I think I won't be able to restore the data.
I'll check it out, anyway.

Furthermore, I think I can find most of the data on backups...but I need lots of INI- and CFG-files which I haven't saved on the streamer, yet.

It took me 2 months to configure 12 different camera settings for 3 different framegrabbers on 2 different image processing systems =:-(((

Hope I can restore at least these files.

I would appreciate it, if you could give me links to shareware/ freeware to restore my data on the HD.

Regards
-Stavi-
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Expert Comment

by:avtronics
ID: 1124343
have you tried the command fdisk /mbr??? This will repair the master boot record of the HDD... you can try it.. it won't hurt anything.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124344
avtronics,

was my first action...but it didn't help in this case !

THX
-Stavi-
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124345
Bullsh...!

I got a tool named "TIRAMISU".
It showed me the whole HD content and would be able to restore all the data...but I have to register first (190US$)...

I cannot wait "a few days" and I don't have 190US$ available =;-))

Any alternatives regarding (free) recovery tools ?

-Stavi-

Again:
PLEASE DO NOT POST AN ANSWER UNTIL I ADVICE SOMEBODY TO POST HIS COMMENT AS THE ANSWER !!!
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1124346
Norton Utilities UNFORMAT will get almost ALL data back - everything but directory names.Even an older version will work on DOS 6.22 files.

A lot of people think they shouldn't have to pay for sex,firewood,or software;but in this case is the aggravation really worth it? NORTON is only ~$80 max,and EVERYONE carries it - office supply stores,book stores,even those guys that sell roses on street corners.Most likely a friend or work associate has a copy.In other words,you can get it today.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124347
MATTCEI,

how to use UNFORMAT when system has lost complete FAT, partition table corrupt, wrong clusters detected...??

I got a little bit help regarding TIRAMISU and registration...it works !

I'll be back in approx. 15min. !...stay tuned.

-Stavi-
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124348
...back again...

No chance !
a runtime error occurs when TIRAMISU starts to copy the recovered files.
Seems it's an error in prg-code...

FYI, UNFORMAT from NortonUtils didn't help !
I've heard about DriveWizard (my last chance)...any idea where to download it ?

-Stavi-
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Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1124349
The 'CHKDSK' utility in the IBM OS/2 Warp Operating System
has an option to read-every-data-block, and try
to "reconstruct".  I'm not sure what it will do
if only "partially-successful", i.e., it may "delete"
the "unrecoverable" files.

> I have to register first (190US$)...
> I cannot wait "a few days"
> and I don't have 190US$ available =;-))

If your data is _really_ important to you, *FIND* the money.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124350
...money still not found...but got some useful backups =:-))

(nevertheless, I need some INIs and CFGs which aren't on this backup)

I heard that DOS generates two FAT copies !?
So, would it be possible to replace the damaged one with the second copy ?

Maybe with help of something like DiskEditor from NortonUtils ?

Otta:
Can I use the OS/2 "chkdsk" regardless under which OS the HD was formatted (DOS6.22) ?

Never used OS/2...=;-)

Best regards
-Stavi-
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by:Otta
ID: 1124351
> Can I use the OS/2 "chkdsk"
> regardless under which OS the HD was formatted (DOS 6.22) ?

Certainly.  OS/2 fully supports FAT partitions,
although HPFS (High Performance File System) partitions
are much nicer.

If you had formatted with 'FAT32', i.e., Windows 98,
my answer would have been different.
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1124352
Mitrakis - yes,UNFORMAT will work with FATs gone and partition table corrupted.Simply delete the existing partition,then re-create it and do a standard DOS format.Neither operation will wipe your data.UNFORMAT simply looks for directory header info,then recovers data upto the next EOD.What WILL destroy your data are writes to anything IN the data area.May be too late now.
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Expert Comment

by:jrhelgeson
ID: 1124353
Was this hard drive initially formatted using the floppy that came with it?
Did it used to run EZDisk, or DrivePro?
These are programs that allow users of older operating systems to use the full capacity of their hard drive, it would perform what's called an LBA translation on that hard drive.  Otherwise you'll only be able to see 524 MB of that drive.

If you go into FDISK, and view your partition information and it says "Non-DOS partition" it is most likely going to be your culprit.
You'll need to install that software again onto your hard drive in order to see or retrieve your data from it.

Let me know...

Joel
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124354
jrhelgeson,

no EZDrive nor DrivePro nor anything else used on this HD.
It's a SCSI HD...controller is an AHA-1542B.

FDISK reports "unknown file system" (from the moment I tried to copy system files with "SYS" on it)

MATTCEI:
I have just ONE partition with 100% disk space used.
You mean I have to delete this partition from within FDISK, recreate it, format it and then perform an UNFORMAT...is this right ?
If this won't affect the data in no way, I'll give it a try...but I would like to have one more expert to acknowledge this procedure...just to be sure =;-))

Best regards
-Stavi-
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Expert Comment

by:Mygrace199
ID: 1124355
You could try installing a windows 95 upgrade,I found that when I had a problem close to the same as yours it restored programs to normal.Or save all data you can and Use EZ-Drive to wipe out the hard drive and reinstall your orginal operating system or one you wish to purchase.Remember to always make backups.



Warren
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Author Comment

by:mitrakis
ID: 1124356
...this is something I cannot understand at all:

why the hell do I have to insert the "PLEASE DON'T ANSWER UNTIL ADVISED" phrase in every f... comment I post ?

*********
plz read all the previously posted comments, post your suggestion, let me check it out and wait for my advice...THX in advance !
*********

Mygrace199:

1.) I cannot save any data, coz it's simply not accessable !
2.) dunno what the WIN95 upgrade has to do with my destroyed FAT
3.) be more specific what you want me to do with EZ-Drive

Best regards
-Stavi-
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Expert Comment

by:mlaiosa
ID: 1124357
In all of my experience, I'd say it's hopeless.    Try contacting www.ontrack.com.  They have some very advanced recovery techniques
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1124358
If Fdisk shows the partition table's still intact,you can probably get away with a Format/Unformat.
Well,let's put it this way - if you CAN format it,then you don't need to re-create the partition,which means less white-knuckle time (honest,though - you can do this safely.See if you can find a description of what a Dos format does.You'll see that it does NOT zero out all clusters - just re-writes the headers).Just gotta make sure you use the same cluster size that it was before the problem started (e.g.: FAT16 or FAT32) - otherwise you WILL be writing over the data.
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by:Otta
ID: 1124359
Take a look at: http://WWW.DataRecovery.com

a company which specializes in "recovering"
from damaged media.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124360
Otta,

I think it's time to explain my situation more detailed:

- I was able to restore important data from backups
- all I need is approx. 2MB of INIs and CFGs (which aren't on the backups)

I thought there is a way to restore the destroyed FAT by using a HEX-Editor and change entries manually...

BTW, www.datarecovery.com offers recovery software for NetWare...!? (or have I missed a  link ?)

I brought the HD to a colleague...he said it will take about 24h to restore the FAT (and the data)...without any companys, software or anything else...just with a "DiskEditor".

As you can see, this was the type of information I expected: How to restore the data by myself !

THX anyway for your efforts...but please don't suggest any companys specialized in restoring data.
Maybe I realized it to late that this discussion went into the wrong direction...sorry for that !

Best regards
-Stavi-
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by:Otta
ID: 1124361
> BTW, www.datarecovery.com offers recovery software
> for NetWare...!? (or have I missed a link ?)

They offer recovery from DOS-formatted disks,
from HPFS-formatted disks,
and from NETWARE-formatted disks.

Recovery from NETWARE-formatted disks is probably unique to them;
other "recovery" programs don't have the specialized
software to do this.

> I brought the HD to a colleague...he said it will take
> about 24h to restore the FAT (and the data)...without
> any companys, software or anything else...just with a "DiskEditor".

What's his hourly-charge? 24 times, say, $20, is a fair
chunk of change.  What is his "guarantee" ?

> this was the type of information I expected:
> How to restore the data by myself !

That's the type of information you've been receiving:

durcaj01 wrote:
> Go to www.hptech.com to download a utility that
> uses a combination of reading FAT entries and
> reading each sector for file info.

MATTCEI wrote:
> Norton Utilities UNFORMAT will get almost ALL data back

mlaiosa wrote:
> Try contacting www.ontrack.com.
 
You wrote:
> a runtime error occurs when TIRAMISU starts to copy
> the recovered files. Seems it's an error in prg-code...

You need to contact them, and either get a software "fix",
or get your registration-fee back, since their software
seems to be incapable of performing as advertised.
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Expert Comment

by:mlaiosa
ID: 1124362
It is not very simple to just fix a hard drive on your own with just a hex editor.

Norton's DiskEdit   is one of the best I've seen for doing that sort of stuff.  What I sujust is to find documentation of your fileing system (probably FAT16) and then sit down with norton disk editor and 'check' every value in the boot sector, MBR, Partition Table, FAT, and root directory.
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by:mitrakis
ID: 1124363
Otta:

> What is his "guarantee" ?

No guarantee. It's simply worth a try !
It sounds much (!) better to me to use a DiskEditor to recover the data instead (as suggested) delete partitions, recreate them, then format them and perform an UNFORMAT !!!

> Go to www.hptech.com to download a utility that
> uses a combination of reading FAT entries and
> reading each sector for file info.

.as I said...too much money to pay for !

> Norton Utilities UNFORMAT will get almost ALL data back

.didn't help ! (already posted)

> Try contacting www.ontrack.com

.they only offer "remote data recovery" ! Modem + Software is needed...

> a runtime error occurs when TIRAMISU starts to copy
> the recovered files. Seems it's an error in prg-code...

It's an error, definitely...already kicked this software.

FYI:
- Think it's not the worst asking for help in EE before paying lot of money for recovery specialists, you agree ??
- I would like to try everything by doing it myself first...pay cash for expensive companys should be the last way out, you agree ?
- performed an UNFORMAT but didn't help
- delete partition, recreate, format then unformat it sounds very adventurously to me...acknowledge MATTCEIs comment if you agree with his suggestion and I'll give it a try (think I have only ONE try, eh ?...)

mlaiosa:

this is exactly what this colleague is about to do...
In case it works: wonderful !
If not, I'll get back to the previously posted suggestions, of course.

as already said...let's try the cheaper solution first then the other ones =;-))
In all other cases I don't have to post Qs in EE in the future...I could ask these companys directly, couldn't I ?

Best regards
-Stavi-
0
 

Expert Comment

by:mazzini
ID: 1124364
Three months ago I got an HD with the same problem - no Fat or anything usable to recover data. If I understood it right, you want to recover some INI and CFG files. Well, this kind of file is in ASCII text format, so, you can use Norton DiskEdit to search for unique strings that identify the contents of the file you want. When you find it, save the cluster as a file to another device and so on with the next. INI and CFG files rarely use more than one cluster; so, your chance to find them in only one cluster (with the sectors in sequence) is high.
This process is slow but, in may case, I recovered 12 important program sources using this method, and freely ...  :-)

Regards.
mazzini
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Author Comment

by:mitrakis
ID: 1124365
mazzini,

sounds good to me !
I'll check this out as soon my HD is back from my colleague (in case he wasn't able to restore the data).

THX a lot
-Stavi-
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Accepted Solution

by:
danpaul091498 earned 100 total points
ID: 1124366
It's not easy and a lot of work. Using norton's diskeditor, scan the drive. Go into tools, advanced recovery mode, and choose drive. Select virtual drive and copy needed files to floppy disks.
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Author Comment

by:mitrakis
ID: 1124367
and what to do when FDISK cannot see the drive any more ? =:-((

Unfortunately, this is fact now...
In case it's impossible to recover the data now, just tell me how to access the drive to format it.

THX
-Stavi-

danpaul:
Think this won't work since I cannot "see" the drive now ?...
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1124368
If Fdisk can't see the drive,you've now got a hardware problem.Did this start after you got it back from your friend?
He may have left it jumpered as a slave.
Or you have the cable on backwards?
Can you hear the drive spin up and the heads seek?
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Expert Comment

by:mazzini
ID: 1124369
Diskedit can see the physical drive. So, you can still try to search data ...

Regards
Mazzini
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Author Comment

by:mitrakis
ID: 1124370
danpaul,

was able to save about 700kB of INIs and CFGs.
Then I formatted the f... HD !

FYI, FORMAT and then perform an UNFORMAT didn't help...

.think I'll backup this HD more frequently =;-Q

Regards
-Stavi-
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