Data Recovery

Posted on 2005-03-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Logical drive was FAT32 containing data. Quick formatted it in NTFS and installed win xp professional . But now require recovery of the data. Any possibilities.
Question by:nirmal2k
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 13506979
Data recovery services.  $1000+

You can try the demo of Ontrack's software, but your problem is you've already installed XP.  When files are erased (or a disk formatted), only the tables identifying where those files are are overwritten (typically).  When you start writing data to the disk, you start overwriting the data that was there - permanently - unless you are willing to spend $1000+ on recovery - and even that is not a sure thing.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 13513461
First, next time plan for these things.

That said, FAT32 and NTFS are incompatible; booting from FAT32 floppy breaks NTFS, and booting from NTFS floppy breaks FAT32.

However, . . .

Linux doesn't care if the disk is FAT32 or NTFS, it will read and use it.

Before you do anything, you would need another disk.  Remove the origianl disk you want to fix, and install new OS on new disk.

If you have NT Resource Kit, you can read and copy any and all sectors of the old disk, once you bring it back in as a secondary disk, bypassing the FAT32 and NTFS incompatibility.

It's a long, tedious, hard job though.

File recovery programs do exist, but you really should run them from a new disk, working on the old disk as a read only or similar.

If you did a low level format, the data is gone, forget it and move on.

If you just did an NTFS format from Disk Manager, it may still be there, even possible if you formatted from DOS.

Okay, so what to do about a logical drive?

Well, NT Resource Kit can recover the data, with you using it manually, if you haven't already used Disk Manager to format and repartition the logical disk.  If you have, mostly likely a lot of the data is already gone, and the more you run NTFS, the more goes as it caches to and from the logical drive for the Recycle Bin, etc..

Some hard disk BIOS, like Western Digital, allow you to copy an entire logical drive as an image, to another logical partition, in raw data form, before the OS has formatted or recognised that partition, but the second you bring it online with NT, it starts to get overwritten.  

This time, try to get a CDR or DVDR and burn your data to them; then you'll always have a copy.

And don't do this as backups, just copy and burn the files and directories as files and directories.  There's nothing worse than squeeling like s stuck pig after you do tons of backups, only to find out that you need to be running the exact same backup program to restore the files and directories and don't have it because you've upgraded to a new Operating System.

And the last thing I've learned from this school of hardknocks is:

create a Linux partition and install Linux on at least one partition!  Because Linux can fix any Windows failure, including the Blue Screen of Death, and Linux will always boot up off of a floppy not matter what Windows did to the hard disk boot sector!

That is, you'll always have an Operating System to fall back on, and Linux can now not only read all Windows data and partitions, it can also run most Windows programs.


LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 13570819
Any progress yet?  Just checking one some dated questions.

Author Comment

ID: 13571866
Ok , here it stands . As per suggestion of leew , I called up ontrack and they gave me a link to download the software . I installed it ran it and WOW. Within 20 min of scaning the formated partition I could see all my data and also View it. But as it was a demo version it did not allow me to save them. And most remarkable was that , the data for that 40GB partition was recovered nearly twice that size , even files that I had deleted with SHIFT+DEL before this accident was recovered. I am now on my way to buy the software and also become a partner for it here. Hats off to ONTRACK . To mention I had evaluated nearly a dozen other data recovery software but this one turned out to be the best. Thank you Leew.
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13571883
Glad I could help.

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