Recovering a Hard Drive (from Disk Cleanup messing up)

Posted on 2006-05-31
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have about 2 TB of Hard Drive Space spread out over a few external drives.  Whenever I do a major change to a drive, I like to run Disk Cleanup.  Anyways, I had just deleted some old files from a 250 GB Western Digital Drive (deleted about 5 GB).  

So I ran Disk Cleanup (on Windows XP Home as opposed to my usual XP Pro).  When I ran it, I saw that it said there was about 3 GB of temp files.  Thinking this was odd, but having too much faith in Windows, I click OK.  It took about the usual time it takes to run Disk Cleanup (with the exception of an odd 15-30 sec lag).  

When it was done, there was more then 3 GB free, there was 225 GB free.  Everything had been deleted, except for a few things that I had added at random times.  (Some from when I first got the drive and some from just the other day).  I have tried to use different software made to Revcover lost data, but nothing shown the missing 225 GB.  

Right after I had screwed over my 250GB, i tested Disk Cleanup with a 40 GB i had, with exact same results.  I have not touched the 250 GB (with the exception of running programs to look for lost data).  

I cleared off another 250 GB hard drive, and would like to know of any software or anyway to save all my data.
Question by:EarthBoundX5
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    The first thing I'd do (well, really the 2nd -- the 1st is DO NOT USE the drive; but you're already doing that) ... is download, install (on a different drive of course) GetDataBack from   There are two versions -- one for NTFS (I presume that's what you need) and one for FAT => be sure and get the proper one.

    See what it shows might be recoverable from the drive -- you'll then have to buy a license to recover it.    ... or you can try a few free tools (not as good -- so use GetDataBack first to confirm that you CAN recover your stuff first).
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    There are some free file recovery software options available, but I have not used any of those extensively so I cannot comment on whether they are effective or not.

    Numerous times, I have used Restorer2000 to get back deleted files and it has worked magnificently on most occassions.

    You can download the demo version to test it out to see if the program can recover the deleted files or not... then you can decide whether or not to buy the full version.

    Expert Comment

    I would vote for Get Data Back, that's the best tool available here. I have tried this on my 200GB HDD and this thing returned 100% results. Best of Luck
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Me too would recommend GetDataBack from RunTime software, these guys have saved me many times.

    If you like to cleanup HDD for more space, there are two tools I personally think you can't go past (well, 3 actually):

    1) CCleaner
    2) Webroot Windows Washer
    3) Diskeeper

    CCleaner cleans your HDD of temporary files, pre-defined list of programs, this free utility does it's job efficiently and quickly, I am impressed.

    Webroot Windows Washer, this is commercial software, but you have the choice to delete and write so many times so data becomes unrecoverable. Of course to be on the safe side, I always have it delete once only so I can recover my data if needed, with GetDataBack. You can also specify custom items to wash (clean), which is one of its useful features, check it out.

    Diskeeper, other than provide such good drive performance through advanced defragging, it does give users back a lot of space. I am able to recover up to 2GB or more just by defragging my very fragmented drive.

    Lastly, I wouldn't recommend you to use Windows built-in disk cleanup utility.

    Author Comment

    GetDataBack managed to recover 92% of all my lost data, which is better than just having the 2% that did not get erased the 1st time.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Good .. glad it worked  (it usually does -- it's an excellent recovery program).

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