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how to recover data after formatting a hard drive

Hi Experts!

My question may not be new, but I was not able to find a help. The problem is the following: my computer was infected by a lot of spyware and I had to reformat the hard drive, then reinstall Win Xp and the other software. During the formatting, I forgot to make a backup copy of all my e-mails messages and addresses and I lost everything there. Is there a way to recover this data?

Thank in advance for your help
stronghold888
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stronghold888
Asked:
stronghold888
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3 Solutions
 
static-voidCommented:
it may be possible to recover some of this data, use a data recovery program like this
http://www.stellarinfo.com/deleted-file-recovery.htm 
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stronghold888Author Commented:
Hi static-void,

I've already visited this web site later this afternoon. They have something, but not sure which of them are the right choice. As mentioned, I want only to recover my Outlook messages and contact e-mail addresses. I formatted the C drive...and when I installed Office 2003, I installed it on the D drive. The directory of Microsoft Office is still there, but now if I install Office 2003 on the C drive, will I be able to make some link on the D drive and recuper my messages from there?

stronghold888
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static-voidCommented:
by default outlook info is stored in documents and settings under the following c:\docs and settings\<username>\local settings(hidden)\application data\microsoft\outlook\file.pst or odt thats what you will need to recover from your c drive
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stronghold888Author Commented:
I see,

Did you used this program before?
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static-voidCommented:
yeah i think i have before, i think i found that the trial didnt recover stuff tho, i had a hunt round and found one that did... but it will tell you if you can restore the file (ie you can find it) which is useful to know.
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
data can be recovered only if its not over-written. as you have already formatted the drive and have reinstalled the OS plus the programs, the chances of recovering the data is almost none, as the new OS and programs must have over-written the old data.

but there is possibility, that it didn't write the data on the clusters where the old data was present, and to check that out you can use any data recovery software, like GetDataBack or PC Inspector to see if they can see the old data or not?
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ComputerBeastCommented:
Hello Stronghold888

To recover deleted data from formatted partitions try the free trial version of RecoveryFix for Windows: http://www.recoveryfix.com/recover-windows-data.html

The data recovery software can recover data from deleted, formatted, reacreated partitions. It is equipped with 3 recovery modes: Quick Scan, Extensive Scan and File Trace. The Extensive Scan will help you out as this mode is for formatted partition recovery. The software will display the preview of recovered files to make you assure that the files are possible to recover.

If you want to read more about the RecoveryFix software then visit http://chilysoftech.wordpress.com/data-recovery-software/ for further details..

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nobusCommented:
a word of caution : do not use this drive, or install anything on it BEFORE you have tried to recover the data; any program you install/use CAN overwrite the data you need !!
so, hook this drive to a working pc as slave, on which you have the recovery program installed; then scan the drive for recovery.
The best recovery programs i know are getdataback, and stellar (here some links) :
http://www.runtime.org/                                    GetDataBack
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                                    Stellar
http://www.recovermyfiles.com/                              RecoverMyFiles
http://www.bitmart.net/                                    Restorer 2000
http://www.ontrack.com/easyrecoveryprofessional/                        Easy Recovery
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html                        Restoration
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/activeundelete.html                        Active undelete
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stronghold888Author Commented:
Hi ComputerBeast,

Does the software you suggested works even if I already installed Win XP ? For your info, I haven't re-installed Office 2003 because there could be some chances to recover the files from my e-mail messages. Before the crash, Microsoft Office was installed on the D drive, but I think the files for my e-mail messages were in c:\docs and settings\<username>\local settings(hidden)\application data\microsoft\outlook\file.pst

I just hope not to buy another hard drive then connect the one I have as a slave. The process is already too complex and I cannot re-install XP on another hard drive just because it's limited to one hard drive...:o(

stronghold888
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stronghold888Author Commented:
Hi nobus,

As I mentioned in the beginning of my post, I already installed Win XP on the drive....but I haven't re-installed Microsoft Office 2003 yet....
Will this work ? Is there any other simple process than to connect my actual drive to another drive ? As for now, I don'T have another drive and that means I should buy one, re-install Win XP (not sure that will work because it's already installed on the drive from which I'm writing this post...)

stronghold888
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nobusCommented:
>>  I just hope not to buy another hard drive then connect the one I have as a slave  <<  then try it on a pc from a friend
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
the reason why we are asking to slave this drive in another running system, because if you are going to install the recovery program on this same drive, chances of over-writing the old data will increase as the recovery program can write data to the clusters where the old data was present before.
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stronghold888Author Commented:
SheharyaarSaahil,

This one I understand, but what if the recovery software is installed on a different partition? My hard drive has 4 partitions, C,D,E,F. I formatted the C partition on which the XP was installed and now I re-installed it on the same partition, but as mentionned, I haven't re-installed Office 2003. I installed the recovery software on the D partition and ran it. It worked and showed lots of files from the formatting, but all these files have now a number, not a name. I can now see the size of these files. My question is: now the recovery software is a demo...so if I buy a license so I can recover these files, will it work? The drive is not connected as a slave...but will it work? As I installed the recovery software on a different partition, I guess there won't be any chances on over-writing the old data.

stronghold888
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nobusCommented:
there is only one answer to "but will it work?"  : try it.
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
i agree!
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stronghold888Author Commented:
The demo seems to work on a different partition and I ran it on the formatted one. It showed lots of files, but not sure these files were there before I format the C partition. It seems that all have a number next to their extension. Does it look normal? I can see their size as well, but why they are numbered and don't have a name?

stronghold888
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nobusCommented:
because the file could be recovered, but not the name . .
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stronghold888Author Commented:
I see, that makes sense then.

Thank you for your big help!

stronghold888
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nobusCommented:
no problem
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