How do I recover all the data on a drive that has been formatted.

I have a computer where the owner used the command

format c:

All data on the drive is now gone.  I want to be able to recover all the data exactly how it was.  Is this possible?  What tools should I use... something free and something that boots from a CD would be best.


Cheers,
IceRaven.
LVL 7
IceRavenAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
CrazyOneCommented:
Take a look at this comprehensive list of file/data recovery programs and services.
http://crazyone.tekmasters.com/datarecovery.html
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sunray_2003Commented:
WHole slew of tools here : Q_20774841.html
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sirbountyCommented:
Try one of these:
 Winternals has some great products -
   Disk Commander http://www.winternals.com/products/repairandrecovery/index.asp (part of the admin pak)
   File Restore http://www.wininternals.com/products/repairandrecovery/filerestore.asp?pid=fr

Or perhaps one of these will help:
  Easy Recovery from http://www.ontrack.com/freesoftware/
  File Recover 2000 http://www.filerecover.com/
  Drive Rescue: http://63.141.194.5/rescue/index.html
  File Rescue 2.5 Web: http://www.file-rescue.com/
  PC Inspector file recovery http://www.webattack.com/get/pcinspector.shtml
  Restorer 2000: http://www.restorer2000.com/
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sunray_2003Commented:
IceRaven,

The PAQ that i had listed has been collected by CO. The same or more tools might be mentioned in his website link.
If any of the tools help you , give entire credit to CO..

Thanks
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CrazyOneCommented:
I am the one that compiled the list. I have spent quite a bit of time putting it together and I just updated it two days ago. It is a very comprehensive list and I have tested many of the programs listed. I would recommend starting with GetDataBack.
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CrazyOneCommented:
Thanks sunray :)
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sunray_2003Commented:
NP , CO..

I didnot know you were going to be online today .. LOL !!

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CrazyOneCommented:
Yeah I underdatand sunray. No problem. I am here just part time now. :)
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gonzal13RetiredCommented:
Be sure that you do not any new file or program to the HD, since that will corrupt the data. There are if needed companies that restore HDs such as yours if needed.

gonzal13(Joe)

Ah, it just so wonderful to have so many wonderful helping experts. I even had one expert help me with my Visual Basic Homework! The professor is not any help. I brought in one assignment to have him help me on the syntax. He did that but did not tell me that I misinterpreted the instructions on the appearance! Now I have my self an online tutor!
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IceRavenAuthor Commented:
I have tried about seven of the products listed so far.  Nothing has been able to get back the files!  Does anyone actually have any experience with a formatted harddrive and trying to return it to its origonal state.  I am getting really frustrated.  Could someone please point me in the right direction, software that can be run from a floppy/cd that will actually return the files and partition to their origonal state after a format.

Cheers,
IceRaven
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sirbountyCommented:
I've also had good success with GetDataBack to the point of retrieving data from a wiped partition...
Have you tried this one?
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IceRavenAuthor Commented:
GetDataBack would only run on the local computer I could find no way to load it to a floppy or CD.  If it can and I just didn't understand how, could you give me some brief instructions on how to get it on a floppy/CD.

Cheers,
IceRaven.
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sirbountyCommented:
Can you install the drive as a slave in another system?  That'd be the easiest way...
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IceRavenAuthor Commented:
Lets just say that the computer is so disgustingly filthy, that I hate having it in my house (it really stinks) and I have been touching the on/off button with my foot.  I sure as hell don't want to open it.  The computer doesn't have a network card either.

Cheers,
IceRaven.
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sirbountyCommented:
LOL - okay, I hear you there...been there-done that. :$
Sorry - I've only used it on a network...
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tituba2Commented:
If you don't want to slave a drive, then your only real option here is to go to a data recovery service.  You REALLY need to have to have what is on this drive as it is expensive.  Be prepared to pay anywhere between $1,700-$3,000 to have this accomplished.  
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tituba2Commented:
CrazyOne - what a great list!  Thank you for posting it!  Do you have anymore lists out there (virus, etc.)?  
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CrazyOneCommented:
>>>Do you have anymore lists out there

Yes but I haven't gotten around to putting thm on my web site. Don't know when I will get around to doing it because I have been having some health issues lately that have prevented me from doing much on the computer.
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CrazyOneCommented:
Ice most of these programs require running from windows. So I think your only choice is to get the disk out of this machine and slave it. Find somebody who is willing to do it for you. :)
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IceRavenAuthor Commented:
I have taken the plunge, the drive is slaved an PC Inspector has currently found 1315 files with 11 minutes to go.  So it's looking good.  Now what I need to do is get some help on how to best restore the computer to the user, I was thinking something like this.

Install Windows 98
Patch
Install AVG
Install SpyBot
Install iTunes
Copy over all Documents *.doc, *.xls, *.txt
Copy over all Pictures *.gif, *.jpg, *.bmp, *.png
Copy over all Music/Video Files *.wma, *.mp3, *.wav *.mpg, *.avi
Make sure all Music files are in the library

Am I forgetting something, a type of file or some other step that I should do.

Cheers,
IceRaven.
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tituba2Commented:
Their mail.  If Outlook Express - *.dbx  - if Outlook *.pst
Outlook Express addressbook.

Internet favorities

If they used Quicken, the qdb file.

I'd also install Adware and Spyblaster as well as Spybot.  
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CrazyOneCommented:
Install a firewall before allowing the machine to connect to the internet.
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gonzal13RetiredCommented:
If I were the tech, I would have sas you did install a master HD. I would give the customer the HD at cost. At this point I would reinstall windows. Suggest to the customer that he can reinstall the programs, thus saving him money.

Oh, I would make sure the customer has Norton antivirus and Firewall or McAfee.

The alternative would be to install the programs yourself but this is time consuming, transfer all the data to the new HD and reformat the old HD.

gonzal13(Joe)
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tituba2Commented:
I always put Acrobat Reader 6, Winzip an download Flash.

If this customer does not have a restore CD, then you are going to be spending a good deal of time tracking down legacy drivers (video, modem etc.) and resolving conflicts.  I'd make sure the customer knows up front the cost of this project.  I charge by the hour but when I have to do a rebuild, then I charge a flat fee.  Keep in mind, had this customer taken this formatted hard drive to a company that does these restores, the fee would have been in the range of $1,700-$2,500.  And then they don't put the programs back on the new hard drive.

Good luck.  Make sure to close this question by accepting an answer.
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IceRavenAuthor Commented:
Thanks all,

Well the job is now done.  The user hasn't picked the computer up and it did take me considerable time to download and find the drivers, I even installed a network card so it was easier to shift the data about.  As for the cost, yeah that would have been about what I would have charged, however this one I am dong for free.  I can't bring myself to charge the Pastor of the local church, maybe I should drop a hint about rewards in the afterlife ;) but I do wish I had my weekend back!  

Cheers,
IceRaven
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