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Retrieving Lost data`

Posted on 2005-03-18
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have formatted my hard drive by mistake. I didnt do the back up of data. Could any body please tell me if there is any program to retrieve the lost data?  I had Windows XP home on it before I formatted it.
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Question by:jatinderbhui
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7 Comments
 
LVL 96

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 1000 total points
ID: 13573176
You can try downloading the demo of OnTrack software from www.ontrack.com.  The demo should be able to tell you what it can do in terms of recovery.  One thing though, DO NOT install the software to the disk - put the formatted hard drive into another computer as a slave drive.  Then install the software to the C: drive of the other computer and run it.

There may be other programs out there, but this one has a pretty decent reputation for data recovery.
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LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 1000 total points
ID: 13573186
File Recovery

When a file is deleted either from the Network, By a program or from the Command Line, is does not get put into the recycle bin. However the file is NOT erased, instead the information that points to the file is erased. By erasing the pointer, the file becomes "Invisible" to the Operating system. Using Third party software these files can be recovered.

NOTE: remove the offending Hard Drive and fit in in a working PC as a slave drive - Deleted files get overwritten FIRST so just installing recovery software can over-write them.


**********Freeware Recovery Tools**********

Deleted File Analysis http://www.execsoft.com/freeware/freeware.asp
(NT/2K/XP)

PC Inspector http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm
(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS)

OnTrack http://www.ontrack.co.uk/freesoftware/freesoftware.asp
(Also have a Netware version - NOT FREE)


**********TrialWare Recovery Tools**********

Undelete 3.0 http://www.executive.com/undelete/undelete.asp (30 Day trial available)
(NT/2K/XP) - Can run direct from the CD

File Recover http://www.zdnetindia.com/indya/downloads/desktop/info/10204365.html
(95/98/ME/NT/XP)

R-Undelete http://www.tucows.com/preview/254623.html
(FAT12/16/32 NTFS NTFS5 and Ext2FS)

Recover My Files http://www.tucows.com/preview/258313.html


**********Shareware Recovery Tools**********

File Scavenger http://www.webattack.com/features/filescavenger-704-421808.php
(NT/2K/XP) - Supports Reformatted Volumes -Limited to 32Kb file size!

GetDataBack for FAT http://www.webattack.com/get/getbackfat.shtml
(FAT) Works Even After FDisk and Format, Can run Over the network.

GetDataBack for NTFS http://www.webattack.com/get/getbacknt.shtml
(NTFS) Works Even After FDisk and Format, Can run Over the network.

Active@ UNDELETE http://www.webattack.com/get/activeundelete.shtml
(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS) Runs From MMC Console

Active@ UNERASER http://www.webattack.com/get/activeuneraser.shtml
(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS) Runs from DOS Bootdisk

FinalData Plus http://www.zdnet.de/downloads/programs/4/7/en10164547-wc.html
(95/98/ME/NT/XP)



************Commercial Products************

File Restore ($39.00)
http://www.winternals.com/products/repairandrecovery/filerestore.asp

HDR Data Recovery ($485.00) Trail available
http://www.sofotex.com/download/software/8412.html

**********Good Link to More Info***********

http://www.hard-disk-data-recovery.com/datarecovery-pages/data_ntfs_recovery_software.html
Video Tutorial http://www.thepcspy.com/tutorials/article.asp?TID=111
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13580015

First comment:  Remove the drive from the computer and don't use it except to recover data.  From this point until you are "done", it can ONLY be installed as a SECOND drive, and NEVER written to, also never accessed by ANY application other than a data recovery application.

There is no guarantee that anything can be recovered, but at the same time, recovery is possible.  There are a LOT of variables here, you didn't tell us anything about the disc or the program used to format it (NTFS, FAT, FAT32?  98, XP, FDisk, Disk Management, Windows Installation ?????), and we don't know what you have done SINCE you did this [ANY disk activity makes recovery progressively less likely].

The first thing I'd try would be Norton Utilities (part of Norton Systemworks), it has an Unformat program.  However, it may be limited to FAT and FAT32 partitions, and by no means does it work 100% of the time (or maybe even half of the time).  It's just something worth trying.

There are hundreds of other data recovery programs, I'd do a search.  Ontrack is a real contender here, also.

If the data is REALLY important, you might consider a data recovery service (which is also offered by Ontrack).  It will be expensive, probably $300 to $2,000, but it's your best hope of getting your data back.  And even that may not be -- almost certainly won't be -- 100%.

Finally, get out a pad of paper and write 5,000 times:

I will back up my data.
I will back up my data.
I will back up my data.
      .
      .
      .

No joke here.  Even if you yourself did absolutely nothing, at any moment, for any of a hundred reasons, ALL of the data stored on a hard drive can instantly be gone forever.  As a consultant, I see this all the time:

-Company loses it's accounting data (including it's accounts receivable data)
-Graduate student loses his Ph.D. Thesis on which he's been working for years
-Parents lose all of the "baby" pictures of their children.

Data loss causes real, genuine, unrecoverable grief, and sometimes there is NOTHING that can be done, no matter how much the person is willing to spend.  There is just no substitute for backups of data.  And your backup plan needs to provide for "off-site" backup, because sometimes the "loss" is due to fire or theft of the hardware, rather than device failure.  So backup on CD or DVD, and keep a set at work or in a safe deposit box.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:sciwriter
ID: 13584944
Download GetDataback -- it is the best recovery software for this type of situation, because it makes NO changes to the disk structure itself.  Use only passive recovery programs like get data back in such a situation.

http://www.runtime.org/gdb.htm

it works!
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