Rescing files from a corrupted hard drive

Posted on 2011-03-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a client hard drive which is connected to my computer as a slave drive.  When I double click on the drive in My Computer is comes up saying the drive is not formatted.

I have used the GET DATA BACK software to recover a lot of the data on the drive.  Is there any better software out there people can recommend to recover data.  In particular I am trying to recover the clients pst email file.  I can recover in get Data Back but Outlook says it is unreadable.  I have tried about 6 pst rescue software systems but all say it is unrecoverable.  

I am wondering if there is a better rescue tool I can use that may recover the file better in the first stage.

Question by:mbelletty
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LVL 35

Accepted Solution

torimar earned 500 total points
ID: 35079008
In general, GetDataBack is a very good recovery tool. Most all other standard recovery software that you can download or buy for little money functions in the same way, so I would not expect other standard tools to work much better.

The alternative would be forensic software - which either costs a real fortune (thousands of dollars) or is not sold to anyone outside of government law agencies.
But there is one tool that shares a similar approach with forensic tools: PhotoRec -

It will not only try to restore but also to repair damaged sectors depending on the specific file type. See instructions here:

And watch a video here:
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 35079168
If you wish to enhance the chances of PhotoRec even more, and you are not afraid of a little Linux command line exercise, I'd suggest to make a clone of the damaged drive - or at least the partition that contains the .pst file - with a clone tool that also tries to repair damaged clusters while cloning.

This command line tool is called "ddrescue" and can be found, for instance, on the very good Parted Magic live CD:

See the bottom of this page for some short instructions for cloning with ddrescue:

Note: The Linux 'dd' commands are dangerous: they will overwrite the target disk without asking. So if you want to try this, and you are in doubt about the Linux way of naming disks and partitions, please ask back here.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 35079171
The idea is to first create the clone, and then use PhotoRec on it.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35089062
For the PST file, have you tried

1. scanpst introduced at ?

2. Advanced Outlook Repair at

If you have tried both, and both failed, then that means there are no valid data in your PST file and actually it is filled with garbage data.

In such a case, you should recover your Outlook data from the original drive/disk instead of from the PST file produced by Get data back, to do this, you can use

Advanced Outlook Data Recovery


to scan the original drive and MAKE SURE to set to output the PST file on another disk. If that also fails, then there are no chances to recover any data.


Author Comment

ID: 35089488
Tried AOR and scanpst on the recovered files.  no Good.
AOR will not read the corrupted drive at all.

Will look at Torimar sduggestions today


Expert Comment

ID: 35090130
To read the corrupt drive, you need to use AODR, not AOR.

AODR is at

Author Comment

ID: 35187604
The drive was too corrupted and i was unable to rescue the Outlook folder with any of the above suggestions.


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