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Look for free software to recover files from currupt harddrive

Posted on 2006-04-18
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I'm looking for free software that can recover files from a currupt hard drive.
The files are on a NTF drive.
The drive was a FAT32 drive, and I converted it to an NTF drive via Windows 2k3.
A few days after I converted, the drive became currupt, and I was no longer able to boot from it.
I've reinstalled by OS on a different hard drive, and I'm trying to pull up my old data by connecting to my old hard drive via USB external HD adaptor.
When I first connected I was able to see foldes, but now I can't see anything.

I'm looking for software that might still be able to pull some of the data out, even if the data is not complete.

Does anyone have any good recommendations with links?

Thanks
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Question by:Axter
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Expert Comment

by:nltech
ID: 16483643
war1 must be taking a break or something. :)  he's usually pretty quick on these...
see his answer to this question for some free (and paid for) file recovery programs.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21542241.html
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scrathcyboy earned 1000 total points
ID: 16483650
One of the best tools is - getdataback from www.runtime.org
It is NON-destructive in that in makes no changes to the hard drive.
This is VERY crucial when you want to recover data and not overwrite anything on the HDD>
It lets you see what you can recover first, then only if you can, then you pay a modest subscription fee.

Since so many others make changes to your hard disk, try getdataback first, before the others.
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 16483936
If the hard drive is dying, then you may need to send it to a professional lab to recover the data.

The easiest check is to run the Manufacturer diagnostics on the drive.

I hope this helps !
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by:robsonde
ID: 16484367
get spinwrite.

www.grc.com

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by:rindi
ID: 16484427
As has been mentioned above, getdataback is THE recovery software. It isn't free, but also not expensive, and before paying for it you can test it (it'll scan the bad disk and show you what is recoverable, after paying it will recover). If you really insist on free, then download knoppix, boot the PC with that CD and check if you can recover the data. If knoppix doesn't work, you need getdataback.

http://knoppix.net
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by:Dushan De Silva
Dushan De Silva earned 100 total points
ID: 16484705
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by:nobus
nobus earned 700 total points
ID: 16484888
try this :

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/collection/0,collid,1295,00.asp            Free Recovery
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by:phuocnh
ID: 16487516
I used to try http://officerecovery.com/freeundelete/. It is good for me. I hope it help you too.
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by:Axter
ID: 16487534
I'm sorry to say, but I have a new problem now, so I'll have to look into your suggestions this weekend.

Concerning my new problem: My new hard drive crashed yesterday while I was trying to format the second partition.
Now, not only can I not boot it up, but I get a hard drive failure, and the computer locks before it can boot from the CD-Rom.

I'm posting a new question concerning this issue.
Once I get that resolved, I can get back to trying to pull my old data from my old hard drive.


Will any of the above program be able to fix a hard drive that has this type of problem?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16487710
The UBCD can test drives and zero fill (lowlevel format) them. This will destroy data left on it, and if the drive is broken it won't fix it, but if you just need to clean it and the tests don't find any hard errors on the disk, you end up with a clean and "virgin" HD to which you can reinstall your OS.

http://ultimatebootcd.com
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by:nobus
ID: 16487807
a crashed harddrive cannnot be fixed by software. - only if you have a soft problem on it can it still be used (but then it is not a crashed drive)
The only program that claims to "repair" to a certain point disks, is hdd regenerator  http://www.dposoft.net/
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by:Axter
ID: 16487879
That looks like what I need.
I'll test it out tonight when I get home.
Since this is a different subject, I'm posting a new question:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_21819129.html

rindi, can you please post this suggestion there, and if no one else comes up with a better link, I'll award you the points.

Thanks
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by:nobus
ID: 16495417
maybe hdd regenerator ?     www.dposoft.net/ 

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by:Axter
ID: 16497798
Well, it seems my secondary drive has a physical failure that can not be corrected via low level format.

I'm going to have to order a new drive, which means I'm not going to be able to try to recover the data from the primary drive until the new drive comes in.

I'll get back to this question within the next 30 days.

Thank you
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by:nobus
ID: 16498260
did you try hdd regenerator?
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by:Axter
ID: 16498305
>>did you try hdd regenerator?

No.
I didn't see your post until I came in to work this morning.

I'll try it out tonight.
Have you try this before, and have you ever got it to work when the manufactor's utility diagnostic tools fail?
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by:nobus
ID: 16498413
Not personally, but i have seem posts here, claiming that it worked (that would be for bad sectors)
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by:Axter
ID: 16498472
>>Not personally, but i have seem posts here, claiming that it worked (that would be for bad sectors)
The error I'm getting doesn't seem to be for bad sectors, but I'll try it anyway.
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by:nobus
ID: 16498622
Ok - waiting for the result.
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by:Axter
ID: 16504580
I just tried it, and I couldn't even get it to bootup the floppy disk.
The computer hangs as soon as it detects a defect in the HD.
The only way I can even get to the CMOS is by disconnecting the HD.
To use the Maxtor diagnostic bootup floppy disk, I had to first disconnect the HD, and then bootup.  Once it starting booting up from the floppy, I then connected the HD.
I can't do that with regenerator, because it doesn't see the HD.
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by:nobus
ID: 16505088
too bad then . .
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by:kmarcotte
ID: 16508454
Question?  The hd that you have the data on that your are trying to retrieve, does it contain an O/S or is it just data?
Rather than using the old hard drive via USB external HD adaptor, would you be able to put the other hd into another computer as a secondary disk, create a share and then try to map to that drive to retrieve your data files?  If you are viewing the second drive as fat32 from an NTFS file system you should be able to retrieve your data ok that way.  However, if the drive is NTFS that you are trying to retrieve from, and your O/S is setup in Fat32, you will not be able to see the data.

I'll keep looking here to see how you  make out.  Best of luck.
KM
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by:Axter
ID: 16508644
>>The hd that you have the data on that your are trying to retrieve, does it contain an O/S or is it just data?

It previously was the HD I used that contained the OS, but I'm currently not trying to pull out OS files, and just trying to pull out non-system files.


>>Rather than using the old hard drive via USB external HD adaptor, would you be able to put the other hd into another computer as a secondary disk, create a
>>share and then try to map to that drive to retrieve your data files?
I had it installed as a secondary disk, and the OS didn't recognise it as being formated.
When I try to acces it, the OS prompts me to format the drive.

>>if the drive is NTFS that you are trying to retrieve from, and your O/S is setup in Fat32, you will not be able to see the data.

They're both NTFS.
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Assisted Solution

by:kmarcotte
kmarcotte earned 200 total points
ID: 16509038
Do both drives contain the same O/S?  You may consider making your machine with the second drive a dual booting machine by modifying the boot.ini file.  That way if you can get the machine to load with the second O/S, you can map the contents via another computer.  I'll medidate on the requirement for reformatting request when you install it as a secondary drive and see if there is anything else I can come up with.  Let me know ok.

Regards,
KM
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by:Axter
ID: 16509138
I'm sorry kmarcotte, but which issue are you addressing?
Are you addressing the original question, which is how to pull data from a currupt drive?
Or are you addressing my latest problem, which is having a hardware failure with the primary drive?

The HD related to the original question, is not recognizable by the OS.  The OS sees it as currupt.  This drive does not have a hardware problem, so I'm sure most of the data is still there, but no retrievable via the OS.

The HD related to the primary drive, has hardware failure, and it doesn't have any data I need to retrieve.
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Expert Comment

by:kmarcotte
ID: 16509537
Wow.  Your having a hardware failure now with your primary drive?  Let me go back and take a look at what that's about.   I was addressing the original question of how to pull the data from the corrupt drive in my last comments.  It does however appear that the boot sector on your second drive is confussed.  Is it possible, that when you place the second drive in the other computer, that the boot.ini files are identical?  

Ok, I just looked back.  You say that you pulled the primary HD out of the computer and rebooted without the Hd to reset your cmos?  Do you know how to reset the cmos by taking out the jumper switch on your motherboard for a couple of seconds and then putting it back to reset the values?  It's been awhile since I have done this, but that might be a good test to try.  With only the ONE hd installed, try booting up again, hitting your setup key to go into cmos to examine and/or redfine the hardware values.

By the way, what model computer are you using?  That will also help me better identify your problem.

I'll get back at you later.  Good luck,



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by:Axter
ID: 16509647
>>Wow.  Your having a hardware failure now with your primary drive?

You would not believe the string of bad luck I've had in the last 3 weeks with this machine.
I originally had a 80G primary dirve and 300G secondary.  And I also had an external backup drive (250G), which I hadn't used in over a year, so the backup data was old.

The system crashed, and I couldn't get it to reinstall in the 80G without reformatting the entire drive.
Since I thought my data was still intact on both the 80G and the 300G, I decided to use the 250G as my primary, and I reformated it.
If I would have known my 80G and 300G drives were currupt, I would have never formated the 250G, because at least it had some backup data, and at most I would have lost a years worth of data.

After formating the 250G, I was able to use it as the primary, and the OS installed just fine.  That's when I found out my 80G and 250G were currupt.

Then two days later, I got a hardware failure with the 250G.

At that point I was close to taking a hammer to the machine, and just put it out!!!!
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Expert Comment

by:kmarcotte
ID: 16510274
Hey buddy,  you know what I would do if I were you to get this all sorted out?  Is I would do as I suggested in my earlier email.  Reset the cmos, and do one hard drive at a time to see if you can get that hunk a junk to read any of your drives.

If you can accomplish that, then you can rebuilt one solid good image and then rebuilt the other disks after you have obtained from them what you need.  Then be sure to have an effective backup in place, so that you can safeguard against these sorts of things in the future.  Building new systems with new O/S's are no big deal, but when you lose over a year of data, ouch!  

Sorry to hear that you are having so much bad luck.  But let me know how things go.  If you need help with the boot.ini and what is required for booting up an NTFS partitioned computer, let me know and I will forward you further documentation.

Best of luck,
KM
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by:nobus
ID: 16513750
what i would do is this: hook the drives to the IDE cable of a working system, and try to access the data.
check in the bios if the disk is seen OK
you can also boot from a bootable cd, like knoppix, and try to access the drive : www.knoppix.org
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by:Axter
ID: 16549488
I tried GetDataBack, and it is an excellent tool, although it's not free.

So far, I've been able to recover all my important data.

Thank you all for your input.
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