Restore data from hard drive

Posted on 2010-01-01
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Hello experts,
I have 2 hard drives from where I need to restore data:

1. First disk has bad sectors, and I just want to use some software to skip bad parts and restore data from good parts
The problem is that in some part of the disk restore stuck, and not going forward (there is a lot of bad sectors)

2. Second disk missed partition information and became FAT16 instead of NTFS partition. I can't see anything on disk.
    Used a lot of different software, but non of them can see data.

Thanks to all and Happy New Year
Question by:IKeystone
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Perform a disk defragment and check disk to fix the first disk - may take some time but see the results.  
    Second disk you can try to convert to NTFS, e.g. from a command prompt "convert D: /FS:NTFS

    Author Comment

    defragment stuck. convert doesn't help.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    You can run GETDATABACK for free to see if your data is recoverable - You only pay to actually recover your data

    Author Comment

    Just to add: Disk is 10 G size instead of 40, and a lot of folders with strange symbols name.

    GETDATABACk can't find any data. Also Ontrack.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Try this...

    It is totally freeware under Creative Commons License.

    It'll definitely work for the second disk but for the first disk it's hard to say, but I have had some luck with this program on pretty badly damaged disks..
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    we use for our office the following software, they are really good

    but you can find other software, i ll try to list them
    Active File Recovery
    Active Partition Recovery
    Art Plus Digital Photo Recovery
    DiskInternals Partition Recovery
    EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional
    File Scavenger recovery
    Handy Recovery
    Iolo Search and Recover
    Magic Recovery Professional
    OnTrack Easy Recovery Professional
    PC Inspector File Recovery
    PC Tools File Recover
    Pen Drive data recovery
    Photo Recovery Genius
    Power Data Recovery
    R-Studio Data Recovery
    Runtime GetDataBack for NTFS
    Seagate FILE RECOVERY for Windows
    Sim Card Data Recovery
    Smart Data Recovery for USB Flash Drives
    USB Flash Drive Data Recovery
    WinMend Data Recovery

    google can give you the link of the above, just try to read more about above software and if they can support you with trial version


    Author Comment

    The problem in second disk is that when software see FAT16, it try to recover with this parameter. And it is not right. How can I remove MBR and FAT again, recreate it with NTFS, and try recovery. Or raw recovery ?

    BTW - I already tried almost all of this software
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:madunix  got raw recovery ..

    Author Comment

    Checked. No data found. All problem that I have FAT16. Need to delete it somehow first
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Did you check the link I submitted? It won't care about the FAT16 vs NTFS. It can read the data without a Table. I wouldn't try to delete or "fix" anything right now. You could permanently loose all your data. The only good option is to "read" the data off the disk. Don't even try to install any of these recovery software onto the damaged disk. Install the program to a different disk, start the program and read the data off the damaged disk.  
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution

    Hi IKeystone
    >>> "All problem that I have FAT16. Need to delete it somehow first" <<<

    I totally agree with PWeerakoon.  DO NOT try to mess around with the FAT or MBR, or anything else for that matter.  Attempting to Defrag and convert FAT16 to NTFS may already have reduced or eliminated any chance of recovering the data.  Forget about the apparent disk size and folders with strange names.  Data recovery software can usually work beyond that.

    I haven't tried many of the other data recovery solutions other than GetDataBack simply because it has always worked for me.  There are two important aspects to getting it to work:

    1. Choose the version that is applicable to the original filing system of the affected drive, which was presumably NTFS.  It comes as FAT and NTFS versions.  This does not refer to the drive on which you are installing the software, but to the drive you are trying to recover.  You need to remove the drive from the affected computer and connect it temporarily as a slave in a compatible computer, and install the recovery software on that computer's hard drive.  If you have a problem with the drive(s) being eg. laptop 2.5 inch and won't connect directly to IDE cables in a desktop, there are cheap and simple adapter cables and connectors available to provide the interface.  You might even be able to temporarily insert the affected drive into an external USB hard drive enclosure if the data recovery software supports recovery from "removable drives".

    In general, the BIOS of the computer to which the affected hard drive is temporarily connected MUST be able to detect the affected hard drive before data recovery software can be used to target it and recover data.  Additionally the BIOS should be capable of recognising the capacity of the affected hard drive, so there's no sense in attaching a 160GB drive to an old computer that only identifies hard drives of 8.4GB or less.  Don't mess with Disk management or any other utility programs.

    The temporary host computer for the affected hard drive should have sufficient resources to handle what is quite intensive activity, and the system hard drive should have enough free space to allow the large temporary files to be created and then allow recovered files to be copied to it.

    2. It is important to choose the drive or partition correctly from the list presented to you.

    The following help resources explain the steps and options in good detail:

    Note: if downloading a *.CHM file to your computer, Right-Click on the downloaded file and choose "Properties".  Click the "Unblock" button (if it shows) and then click "Apply" and close the properties dialog before double-clicking to open the help file.  If you don't, it won't show any of the pages.

    2. With GetDataBack (and probably most data recovery software) you are prompted to choose what type of damage has affected the target drive.  Options in GetdataBack are:

    - I don't know, use the default settings
    - Systematic file system damage eg. Format or FDISK
    - Sustained file system damage eg. new operating system was installed
    - I want to recover deleted files (undelete function only)

    The "Options" are selected for whatever choice you make, and it's best to start with default settings.  If that doesn't yield results, then customise the options and run again.  Yes it takes a long time, but you do get differing results depending on the settings you choose BEFORE scanning.

    No harm in trying the NTFS version and also the FAT version, but you stand more chance of recovering files from a drive formerly formatted as NTFS by using the NTFS version, regardless of what filing system the drive purports to be after corruption.

    I will be greatly surprised if you aren't able to recover at least some of your data.

    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thank you IKeystone.

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