Hard Disk Recovery

Hello All,

My Manager was using an HP Laptop. I transfered all the data from that laptop to the new one.
After that i formatted the old Laptop completelty and installed the new windows on it. Now my manager told me that theres in one folder missing which had all the images and video files. I am not able to recover it with the normal recovery software. Kindly let me know how to recover the full hard disk without missing any file.

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You might be lucky and installing windows clean mostly only overwrote parts of the drive that had windows and programs on it before and maybe hopefully the files in question happen to be on an as yet un-re-used parts of the disk.  Whether the drive was often defragmented, and which defragmenter using which approach could also affect the likelihood of success.  Also, was it originally WinXP SP1 and then SP2 aqnd then SP3 and all the intereim hotfixes added over time versus was your wipe redo a much smaller tighter XP w SP3 already slipstreamed in, which would be good because way more space would've been used before by i386 and such hotfix backup folders making the likelihood of the photo/video content being further in the disk inode table defrag plan more likely.

As you probably know the rest of the blocks still have the old data, it's just that as far as the table of contents is concerned those blocks don't contain data and are ready to be used.  Each block contained information about which inode file it belonged to and its predecessor and successor in the file chain.

Obviously it's best to isolate that disk, read from it but write nothing on it, attach it as an ancillary drive to a working system that will have the recovery tools installed on it, and additional space or drive to recover to, so the drive recovering from stays as is.

If you can find EasyRecovery Pro 6.04 by OnTrack, it's along the lines of what the data recovery labs themselves use, it pieces together file chains of files with identifiable headers.  It sells for $2k however.
The principle is more or less the same so other free trial products should do largely the same, although if they're not indicating which are 100% confidence of recovery versus "oopps" this one doesn't have all the file's chain of blocks intact but I just blindly recover it "corrupt" anyway well that's not as good, you'd like some indication.

In theory, the magnetic signal on the platter is overwritten when data is written over old data but there remains a faint magnetic signal underneath.  Theoretically it's possible with VERY VERY sofisticated tools and equipment to recover overwritten stuff, but honestly that's WAY WAY beyond the scope of normal, and WAY WAY out of most anyone's time or price range.
What is the "normal recovery" software you have tried? For how long has the reinstalled laptop been used?
Do you have a Backup? If not, sounds like mission impossible. Perhabs you can try to use or Tool like DataRecovery, but you have to stop working with that harddisk immediatly and install the drive on another computer or use a boot medium ike BartPE or something like UltimateBootCD.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
> i formatted the old Laptop completelty and installed the new windows on it

If you did that than your probably out of luck.  If your recovery software couldn't find anything, then it's probably lost for good.  You may try a data recovery service, but they are expensive and cannot guarantee recovery, especially in circumstances like this.
it is very likely that the install of windows overwrote the folder you need
you can try any of these (trials) to see if they can find your folder (if it was not overwritrten)
i suggest to try them all, since they use different algorithms :
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm      pc Inspector -FREE -
      http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard            Recuva
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                              Stellar
http://www.runtime.org/                              GetDataBack
http://www.ontrack.com/                              Ontrack
upl1Author Commented:
I have recovered all the videos and image files .. But some of the files are not opening .. are they corrupted ?? is there a way to fix em ..!
Probably the corrupted files were fragmented, it might not be possible to recover them.
You might try some programs to repair corrupted files like avi and doc and xls
you'll have to look at what file it is, doc, jpg, xls...and open it with the correct program.
you can also open a correct file with notepad, and see what the header should be.
replacing that can help; but as said, it is probably not possible to recover everything !
You need an advance recovery software. Try Kernel for Windows Data Recovery - http://www.nucleustechnologies.com/FAT-NTFS-Data-Recovery.html 
upl1Author Commented:
Very nicely Explained..
nobus deserves some points if only for a good list of recovery tools which should prove helpful (EasyRecovery Pro 6.04 being an older edition of Ontrack's flagship product)
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