Recovering Data

leftfooter used Ask the Experts™
I have a 120gb Western Digital drive, of which there were 2 partitions on. I wanted to merge the partititions and just have one partition with access to all the space on the drive. I used the merge wizard in Partition Magic to do this. The program did not complete the task successfully (got hung half way thru). Now when I go into "My Compter" the same drive letters are showing and when I try to access them it tells me that the drive is not formatted and would i like to format it. Of course I declined this helpful request, but am now at a loss as to how to recover my data (over 90gb worth). Any ideas???
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Take look at these.


File Recovery is a data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. The current version 3.x replaces the previous version 2.x, which is now over 6 years old.

For 9x/NT/2K/XP. Restore deleted files that are no longer in the Recycle Bin!

Tool to check and undelete partition
Works with the following partitions:
- FAT12 FAT16 FAT32
- Linux
- Linux SWAP (version 1 and 2)
- NTFS (Windows NT)
- BeFS (BeOS)
- Netware
- RaiserFS


EasyRecovery DataRecovery is a simple, yet powerful tool that recovers data that is lost, inaccessible or deleted. It's the ultimate do-it-yourself solution for nearly all causes of data loss (except physical hardware or system problems) where your hard drive and system are fully functional.

File Rescue 2.5

GetDataBack for FAT
GetDataBack will help you retrieve your files if the hard drive's partition table, boot record, FAT, or root directory have been damaged by a virus, formatting, fdisk or power failure. GetDataBack can even recover your data when the drive is no longer recognized by Windows.

GetDataBack for NTFS
Recover your files when the data is no longer accessible due to formatting, fdisk, virus attack, power or software failure. Get everything back even when the drive's partition table, boot record, Master File Table or root directory is lost or corrupt.
Hard Drives
Floppy Drives
Drive Images
Zip/Jaz Drives

Norton Utilities/SystemWorks
The Norton Protected Recycle Bin helps you recover deleted and overwritten files.
The UnErase wizard helps you retrieve files you've accidentally deleted.


Data Recovery
Fast File Undelete


File Recover 2000


File Restore
If you've deleted your data and you want to get it back, you need FileRestore.
FileRestore is a simple, easy-to-use tool for recovering files that have been lost or deleted from your Windows system. Designed for Windows XP, 2000, NT, Me, and 9x

Disk Commander
In virtually any situation where you need to recover lost data from a Windows system, Disk Commander is the solution. Disk Commander performs a wide range of data recovery operations.

As a tool to 'UNDELETE' files that have been accidentaly deleted.
This feature is implemented for HPFS and NTFS only.


Emergency Undelete
I believe this is free
For Win2000 and NT may work on XP


Hard Drive Mechanic
It's true. Even if you just re-formatted your entire hard drive, you can still get all of your data back because, unlike what most people believe, formatting does NOT erase your files! With Hard Drive Mechanic's Unformat Feature, you can restore all of your valuable data in about 10 minutes!
demo version:

Filerecovery for Windows
Filerecovery for Windows® is a safe and affordable do-it-yourself data recovery solution that is designed to recover deleted files from all types of media such as Hard Drives, Floppy Drives, SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Sticks, and other types of removable media.

You know how upsetting it is to accidentally delete a file that you need—it takes just a moment to lose hours of work. Undelete file-recovery utility captures ALL deleted files including those that typically bypass the Recycle Bin. You can even recover files you purged from our Recovery Bin. With our Emergency Undelete feature, you can recover files deleted prior to Undelete being installed on your system (provided they have not been written over). Buy Undelete and you'll never again be at the mercy of lost data.

Fast File Recovery
A definite must for the PC guru! It will allow the user to perform all data recovery tasks associated with disks which are not physically damaged.

File Scavenge
File Scavenge is the most comprehensive, award-winning file undelete and data recovery for NTFS volumes on Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Active UNERASER is a compact and powerful undelete utility that can recover deleted files and folders on FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS systems. It can even restore files from deleted and re-formatted partitions.

Undelete 3.0
Undelete 3.0 restores accidentally deleted files within seconds from anywhere on your system. Version 3.0 includes new SecureDelete, full Windows XP support and expanded search options.

FinalData Data Recovery
FinalData Data Recovery Solution will recover files that have been lost by   quick formatting, FDISK, FAT damage, MBR damage or directory   destruction. It recovers data from FAT12/16/32, NTFS, and EXT2, EXT3.

BadCopy Pro
BadCopy Pro is a leading data recovery tool for floppy disk, CD-ROM, CD-R/W and other storage media. It can effectively recover and rescue corrupted or lost data from damaged, unreadable or defective disks. Various damage situations and all file types are supported.

Directory Snoop
Directory Snoop is a low-level forensic utility that can recover erased files in an emergency, wipe sensitive data, and search for hidden data at the cluster level. Step through your File Allocation Table (FAT) and map individual clusters back to the file that owns them. Purge orphaned (and possibly sensitive) file names right out of the directory structure. $29 shareware for Windows 95 through XP (NTFS drives not supported).

Or Data Recovery Services
Ontrack offers a full range of data recovery solutions to address your data loss needs. Unlike other data recovery companies, Ontrack provides exclusive and patented solutions that do not require you to send in your media for recovery. In situations where the hardware is functioning normally, our patented Remote Data Recovery service and EasyRecovery software solutions can solve your data loss needs safely and effectively in a matter of hours. If another company claims that there is no alternative to shipping your drive, it's because they don't offer an alternative. For situations in which the hardware is physically failing, our In-Lab services will utilize our Class 100 clean-rooms to retrieve your mission critical data.




Total Recall
Our recovery and forensic technology is used by support and call centers as well as data recovery providers world-wide.

ESS Data Recovery
ESS Data Recovery, Inc. has been removing barriers in the data recovery and computer forensics market ever since its inception
Powerquest's tech support is pretty good, they recently sent a utility to a client who pulled the plug on his laptop in the middle of an operation that was able to recovery his partitions. The price per incident is $30.00, but is well worth it. (800) 757-5049


The LangaList Standard Edition

More "Linux Inside Windows" Options (Pt 2)

Then I discovered Knoppix Linux, a German distro that boots and runs totally from a CD, comes complete with all the current popular Linux apps preinstalled, and is free for the download and cost of a blank CD.

All it takes to run it is the BIOS set to boot from a CD, putting the CD in, restarting, and less than 3 minutes later on my aging 800MHz PIII it has loaded itself, automatically detected everything, established a network connection, and opened an HTML info page in its browser (Konqueror). All this without ever touching the keyboard or mouse.

For a totally effortless 'installation' of an OS to only play with, I can't imagine it getting any easier than this. FWIW, Gordon

Thanks, Gordon!

The LangaList Standard Edition

More on Knoppix

Fred, I myself am a Knoppix user, after it was handed to me at a LAN party. I was amazed at the ability of this little CD. I soon realized that I was able to get into any machine, quickly, easily. The security measures of NTFS and Windows were no match for Knoppix. Even setting passwords for single files, I was able to print those "secure" files in minutes. I was able to make many changes to the system, with no passwords or any type of authentication. Very nice. Best of all, when I'm done with the PC, I just shut down the pc and its normal user never knew I was there, unless I want them to know. This can be a great tool for IT people who need this type of resource. Its also VERY dangerous in the wrong hands.  So far, everyone I have showed this OS to has been impressed. I am starting to see it on eBay, and it has been able to setup each pc I have put it on. It does not seem to like new Radeon cards, and large LCD's, but I seriously doubt that will pose a threat in the future. Thanks to all the good people that helped with Knoppix. What a great OS, and very fast, considering that it runs from CD and has to decompress the applications it uses. I understand that a simple swap partition will help as well, my tip for other soon-to-be Knoppix users.... Thanks for the newsletter, much appreciated.---Troy

I agree, Troy, and also was intrigued by its potential not only as a painless and safe way to try Linux without diddling with your existing setup, but also as either an emergency recovery disk, or as a total system "lifeboat."

You see, Knoppix isn't just Linux-on-a-boot-CD. It uses data compression to put not only a complete, working version of Linux on your CD, but also some 900 (!) additional tools including Open Office (a complete office suite, analogous to Microsoft Office), two browsers (Mozilla and Konqueror), a virtual desktop manager, CD burner software, partition managers, the "Evolution" email tool (similar to Outlook), and lots more--- even the same module that Lindows has, that allows Linux to run some unmodified Windows software! In all, the single Knoppix CD holds about 1.7GB of software. The full list of what's included is here  Take a look--- it's incredible!

Because Knoppix comes as a fully self-contained and preconfigured setup--- apps and all---  and because it automatically recognizes and supports many types of graphic cards, sound cards, SCSI devices and other peripheral devices, I thought it might be great as that "lifeboat" I mentioned: If your normal setup won't boot, you could boot from the Knoppix CD and instantly have access to your hardware, to the internet, to email, and more.  As long as your hardware itself is working OK, Knoppix probably will run just fine.

While this could be handy in any office or home, I thought it could be absolutely great for laptop users: If you were on a trip and the worst happened--- say your hard drive got totally scrambled--- you could use the Knoppix CD to get back online in just a minute or two and stay productive until you had time to perform more complete repairs.

Alas, as Troy states, Knoppix and LCDs don't always get along. When I tried booting my IBM ThinkPad (a fairly recent model) on Knoppix, the screen ended up in reversed colors and odd contrast ratios--- a psychedelic and unreadable mess. I couldn't even read the menus to try to adjust the screen. So: Scratch that idea. (Yes, there are ways to boot to a normal Linux command line in Knoppix and change various settings manually, but this is quite different from the boot-from-CD simplicity that is Knoppix's best feature.)

But on a normal PC with a normal screen, Knoppix is great either as a testing tool or as an emergency lifeboat. In fact, as a test, I wrote this newsletter item in Knoppix: I booted from the Knoppix CD, ran Open Office, fired up the word processor, and wrote these words.

I've added a Knoppix CD to my office  toolkit for use in emergencies. But for more all-in-one distributions, small- or zero-footprint Linux versions, and options for "lifeboat" applications.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial