Hard drive data is not visible in windows explorer - MFT or Data recovery?
Posted on 2011-10-08
Setup: 1TB Sata Hard Drive, Sata-usb adapter, Laptop running Win XPSP3.
Data: Hi Res images, log files. Approx 850GB of data.
Available resources: Win7 & Server 2k8 virtual machines, blank cds & burning software for making linux rescue cd (if that turns out to be a possible solution)
Hi Guys, hope you can help.
I have a 1TB external hdd, which I think may have got over heated. I removed the hdd from its enclosure and connected it to my laptop using a usb adapter.
Key point: The hdd can be mounted, and browsed in windows explorer, but only the recycle bin shows. However, in Disk Management in Computer Management, the drive is showing as having only 6% of free space.
So, I'm assuming that the data is still there on the hdd, but is not showing in windows explorer owing to some problem with the MFT.
Testdisk: Tried this program. Unfortunately, the mft and its mirror were detected as being fine, without any problems or differences between the two. So from that, I'm guessing that:
-The data is still there on the hard drive, but marked as available to be overwritten
-The data is fairly likely to be undamaged/recoverable
-The MFT has been somehow corrupted and overwritten
Other software I've tried:
VirtualLab Client 6 - This can 'see' the data (mixture of NTFS and FAT) but the scan has been running for 3 days, still hasn't finished and will cost me $240 if the scan actually finishes and shows a realistic chance of recovering the data. The estimated time countdown will go down to 5 or 7 hours and then go back up to 29 hours!! End users are starting to chase me for the data so I think I will have to give up on this software. The software is good, but not $240 good!
Recover My Files v.4 - Can see the hdd, but won't let me select it to start a scan, has red err msg saying no readable media, even though Windows can mount the drive.
I read another question on EE about data recovery & MFT, which initially was about rebuilding the MFT but ended in an argument when the guy asking the question suggested not giving the points after he found a data recovery software himself. A bit unfortunate, but a useful reminder on phrasing questions carefully and of course, treating Experts with the high respect that they deserve.
Okay, so given my scenario, I am hoping you can clarify the best approach to take. I understand that in some cases it isn't possible to rebuild/restore a MFT. Perhaps that may not even be most relevant to my primary need - to recover the data from that hard drive?
Can you possibly advise/recommend a data recovery software that has a good chance of scanning and recovering 1TB of data within 24-72 hours and runs on Windows XP, 7 or 2k8.
I'm looking for a software with/without a gui that will scan the hdd reliably, and then recover the data. Happy to pay for the software if it does the job, but obviously some of them out there are very expensive. Hoping you can help me hit the middle ground!
Many thanks in advance Experts, look forward to hearing from you :)