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Recover overwritten file

Posted on 2005-05-10
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I accidentally replace the current version of my file with the old one. Do you know how to recover it? This is really important file. I tried Goback software, but it didn't find any revisions of my file.
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Question by:ithawaii
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by:rindi
ID: 13975207
Having overwritten your file, you have lost it. you can only get it back from a backup...
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by:nobus
nobus earned 600 total points
ID: 13975468
If it is a really important file, you should have a backup of all versions. This is no help on your current situation, but will help you in the future.
There may exist specialised softwares that can recover overwritten files, but :
1- they are not easy to find
2- they will cost much

here is what MS says about it :

A number of claims have been advanced over the years regarding forensic techniques that potentially could be developed to recover overwritten data. The theoretical bases for these techniques range from checking for physical evidence to using magnetic remanence signatures to remove "layers" of data. We aren't experts on such techniques, and can't comment on the scientific validity of the claims.

However, can say this: there are no commercial products today that would enable an attacker to recover data that has been overwritten using a tool like the new cipher.exe. While it may be possible to build specialized equipment to recover overwritten data, the engineering would be esoteric and the costs would almost certainly be higher than the value of any data that it might recover.
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r-k earned 600 total points
ID: 13978474
"I accidentally replace the current version of my file with the old one"

Keep in mind that when you "replace" a file, what usually happens is that it puts the new file in a new location, and then deletes the old one, i.e. the two files occupy different locations on disk.

There is a fair chance that the old file (which is really the new version in your case) may still be sitting on disk somewhere. Some of the popular file recovery programs _may_ be able to find.

If the file very important, don't do anything else on that disk. Instead attach that as a slave drive to some other system, then try the various file recovery programs to see what they can do. Most have a free demo version so you can try first. There is list of many such program in the folowing thread:

 http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_21419883.html

Good luck.
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by:charlietou
ID: 13978605
Yeah, I had a client ask me to try to recover a file with months of work put into it, which was replaced by a blank file of the same name.  I have file recovery software, but after calling their tech support, the guy told me that if a file header is overwritten and now points to a different file than the one that was overwritten, there is no way to get that file back.
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by:charlietou
ID: 13978618
Sorry, the "yeah" referred to "there's no way to get your file back," not the post immediately above.

CT
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by:ithawaii
ID: 13983743
guys, i tried "R-Undelete", "Stellar", "PC Inspector's File Recovery". Still no luck. Does it mean that there is no way? :(
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by:nobus
ID: 13985208
Unknown to me
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by:r-k
ID: 13986680
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by:_
_ earned 300 total points
ID: 13993083
You can try a disk editing utility. If you know what you are looking for and the area where the file was has not phyically been written over, you might get lucky.

Disk Investigator (freeware):
http://www.theabsolute.net/sware/dskinv.html

or:
http://www.x-ways.net/winhex/forensics.html 
Download link on there for Eval version
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Expert Comment

by:zilarik
ID: 14061756
If you overwrote the file by dragging an old version from another folder into the one where the newer version resides, I believe you might be out of luck since it most likely overwrote the physical area where your newer version resided.
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by:ithawaii
ID: 14217912
sorry for letting you guys wait for so long. Thanks for your efforts in helping me, but maybe there is no way to recover an overwritten file (not yet, i hope). Eventhough I couldn't find a solution for my prob, but the points will go to whoever tried to help me. Thanks, appreciate it.
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by:_
ID: 14217972
Thank you much.

Sorry to hear nothing worked.  : /
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