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RECOVERING DELETED FILES

Posted on 2000-02-18
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a NT workstation (FAT16) Computer and during a routine backup operation several directories were deleted. They where not in the recycle bin ...
There has been no defrag etc. and the computer was shut down after the error was found!
As there is alot of important info on these files... I'd like to recover it...
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Question by:MAVERICK
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33 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:lanos
ID: 2534658
If you still have the File and driectory infos you can use the cmd line (MS-DOS window) tool recover. Syntax recover \\dirve\dir\file (also listed in WINNT Start button -> Help -> Commands 'r'.

If not get a copy of norton utils. It contains a good recovery tool. If you decide to use a 3rd party tool, make sure that you install it on another computer and try to recover your files by connecting your HD to that machine. Doing so none of the information of your trouble system will be overwritten.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2535139
Norton Utils can be run from the bootable CD without affecting your Hard disk. I hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:lanos
ID: 2535179
SysExpert: Don't they have the Emergency Recovery Boot disk anymore.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 2535356
Boot to a DOS 6.22 floppy with UNDELETE on it and use that.  Any DOS based undelete utility should work, but I'm guessing that'll be the easiest to come by.  Naturally, you're aware that even though you shut down as soon as you realized it, if any file (temp, pagefile, etc) used a portion of the deleted file's space, it's going to be permanently lost.
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Expert Comment

by:thunderchopper
ID: 2535755
leew: to the best of my knowledge undelete will only undelete files but not restore deleted directories.
The easiest way is if you have a very old version of norton utilities (yes, the versions that ran under DOS in text mode, with norton integrator). Then boot from a DOS floppy, use norton recover directory to restore the directory structure, and then you can use undelete to recover the files within.
Otherwise get hold of a newer version of norton utilities and do as Ianos said - connect your HD to another machine. Alternatively you could try to copy the new recovery tool from norton utilities onto floppy and then use it, but I doubt it will fit.
A couple of donts : 1) do not write to your harddisk, including installing programs 2) under no circumstances run stuff like defrag or scandisk 3) since the directories are not in your recycle bin, it might be dangerous too boot up. Probably your system is configured to use dynamically sized swapfiles, and in any case booting will create various temporary files. It is only a matter of chance whether these are written over a disk sector that was previously occupied by your precious directories or not.\

Hope this helps ...
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 2536750
Ah yes, I somehow glazed over the "directories" part - the win31 app that used to come with dos 6.22 I believe could handle directories, but the dos based one couldn't.  Therefore, you would need an older version of PC Tools, Norton, or other 3rd party undelete software.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Dassa
ID: 2537008
Personally I would be more concerned with how the directories became deleted in the first place.  You can recover the deleted directories using the methods discussed above but what good is that if this type of thing keeps happening.
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LVL 5

Accepted Solution

by:
compmania earned 200 total points
ID: 2537126
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2537609
Thanks for all the tips.
I own a copy of systems works 2000. I want some good advice from some experts before I try anything which I cant recover from!
I installed a 500Mb (Win95OSR2) drive as a replacement boot partion so I would not alter the files on the main drive.
It is made up of 4 partions. The Old C Drive contains the NT boot files

Dassa: I wont be making the same mistake twice. As soons as I recover the directories, I'll copy them to CD-Rs
As the files are relatively large (total 500 Mb) It's normal practise to copy them to CD-R. I was just a little slack with my backup proceedures!!!

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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2537613
Leew: The temp file would be on C Drive.
The directory needing recovery is on D drive
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Expert Comment

by:foulc
ID: 2537904
You can use the undelete command , but you should be ware that you have to type
LOCK <Drive>

before doing undelete
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2538802
ok.. but would Norton Systemworks 2000 do a better job?
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Expert Comment

by:foulc
ID: 2539612
No, Norton Systemwork just keep your "deleted files" in a directory!
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2539825
foulc: why are you giving an answer?
You are not answering MAVERICK's question and "locking" it. His question is how to recover it.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2540972
I'd prefer the question to remain open for discussion... until the best method
is established.

An old friend once said the secret to success is to ask advice from everyone!
I'm sticking to that!
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2541027
Did you try the one I posted???
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2544058
I went to the URL.... the demo only does 3 files, which is useless and I haven't been able to buy a copy locally (I'm in australia)

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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2544064
BTW has anyone ever used "Lost & found" from http://www.powerquest.com
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:lanos
ID: 2545747
Try this link and search for File recovery

http://32bit.bhs.com/ 

You will find Demos and Shareware including Executive Software network undelete, File Rescue V2.0, Recover NT and Recover NT Express. Hopefully one of these will help you. Don't forget to Register :)
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:DVincent
ID: 2546539
have you tried a dos undelete command
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2546576
Maybe the dir's are just programs you deleted and don't remember doing.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2549569
"I'd prefer the question to remain open for discussion... until the best method  is established." See Above!!

The problem with DOS undelete is the loss of directory structure.

The directories are achived files and downloads which cannot be re-downloaded. They were deleted by accident though i dont remember precisely how they were deleted!!

Oh and BTW the boot drive I'm using on a separate HDD can either be Win95 OSR2 or Win NT4

 
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2550967
Get an imaging software like Ghost and make an image of yor partition onto your 2nd HD. Then boot from the Norton System works and run the utils from the CD - No install !! Remember to save whatever undo files it asks for. This has a better than 90 % chance of succeeding and you have the undo and images file to fall back on.  I hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:pharries
ID: 2551014
Have you checked the tape to see if there are copiesof the files onm it?
0
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:1cell
ID: 2552434
"""""" BTW has anyone ever used "Lost & found" from http://www.powerquest.com """"""

This is what I was going to recommend while reading through this entire thread.  Does exactly what you want.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:alienyz
ID: 2552816
There is a software call Encase that I have the demo version, it is able to look at my hard drive and show me files that is already delete, and they say that the retail version is able to recover the files, go to http://www.guidancesoftware.com/
but the retail does cost A LOT. so unless it is vital files that you NEED to recover, encase wouldn't be of much help.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2572296
As far as I've been able to determine from demo's the best program to recover the most files is RecoverNT from LC technologies.... Compmania suggested Recover98 which is closest...
I'm still trying to source the full version locally...

With so many good suggestions ... any ideas on who gets the points?
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:1cell
ID: 2573221
Lost & Found, though you have to pay for it, is definately the most reliable.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2576262
I've pretty quickly figured out that I'm going to have to pay for something ...
Lost&found didn't seem to sort out the directory structure...
the other thing that might cause trouble with lost&found is the key disk... if that gets damaged..... your in trouble and its difficult to replace .. and has to be used write-enabled..

Lanos: ... I noticed later that you suggested RecoverNT....

0
 

Expert Comment

by:BeReal
ID: 2632521
What about Restarting in MSDOS, and then typing SCANREG/RESTORE...that worked for me and others I know..good luck.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2632714
Bereal MSDOS based recovery looses directory information.

I'm in the process of obtaining a copy of "lostnFound" .. recoverNT/98 seem to be unavailable in Australia

Unless anyone has any better solutions I think I'll award 50 points to lanos and compmania

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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:ianB
ID: 2675747
Community Support has reduced points from 150 to 50
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:MAVERICK
ID: 2682405
Check out question below
http://www1.experts-exchange.com/bin/Q.10311768

Lanos, A second "dummy" questin will be posted for you :)
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