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How to recover information in a overwritten files?

Posted on 2013-11-02
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Last Modified: 2013-11-23
Hi

Because a mistake i have overwritten some files that I need in my Windows XP machine, there's some way to recover them? or the HDD also delete the files because of the overwrite process and I have lost them?

Regards
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Question by:dimensionav
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20 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39618860
Try:

(1) Start Windows Explorer.

(2) Go to the folder where the file you like to recover is located.

(3) Right Click on the file you like to recover

(4) Select Properties

(5) Select Previous Versions tab

(6) Select the version you like to restore.

(7) Click Restore.
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Author Comment

by:dimensionav
ID: 39618880
I couldn't find that options in windows xp (there isn't previous versions tab)
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39618884
I'm afraid, then, you may be out of luck. Sorry. :-)
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Author Comment

by:dimensionav
ID: 39618889
Two final questions:

1. Does The tab don't appear because there isn't any option enabled?
2. Isn't possible recover the overwritten files using some kind of utility?

Regards
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 39618903
Stop using that disk immediately and connect it as a 2nd disk to another PC. Then scan it using getdataback. If that tool sees the files you have deleted, register the tool so you can copy them to some other disk. When you delete files in windows, that doesn't actually delete them, it just removes their entries from the file allocation area. But the OS will then evventually overwrite that space, so for that reason it is very important that you immediately stop using windows on that disk.

http://runtime.org
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:peea
ID: 39618904
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:aadih
aadih earned 125 total points
ID: 39618911
(1) System protection might not be turned on for the drive those files are stored on. If system protection is not turned on, Windows can't create previous versions.

To turn on system protection:

(1) Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.

(2) In the left pane, click System protection.  If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

(3) Click the drive, and then click Configure.

(4) Click Restore system settings and previous versions of files, and then click OK.

Reference: < http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/previous-versions-of-files-frequently-asked-questions >

[For XP, should be similar. It has been a long time since I used XP.]

(2) Don't know of a third-party utility. Sorry. :-(
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:peea
ID: 39618912
Stop using that disk immediately and connect it as a 2nd disk to another PC.

That's correct. Make sure to download and run the undelete tools on another Windows computer, and check the external disk from your XP.
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LVL 70

Accepted Solution

by:
KCTS earned 125 total points
ID: 39618915
If you have actually overwritten the files then the chances of recovery using commercially available utilities is about zero. If the data is valuable then you could consider using a specialist data recovery company who have access to special rigs which may be able to recover the data - but at a cost.
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 125 total points
ID: 39618922
I would strongly suggest following rindi's advice.  While there is some chance that the data can be recovered, that decreases the more that you use the system.

The "Restore Previous Version" feature started with Vista, I believe.  It is related to VSS.  While it doesn't appear as an option in Vista Home, it still exists and can be used with third-party programs.  It won't do you any good in XP, though.
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39618923
KCTS is correct, and, therefore, no third-party utility was suggested earlier.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39618967
@aadih and KCTS:

Doesn't it depend on how the files were "overwritten"?  I would agree that if we went with a strict definition of "overwritten" (that the sectors holding the old data have been written over with new data) your statement holds.  Imagine a more common scenario where someone opens a Word document, for example, modifies it heavily, then saves it back over the original name.  To a user, the file has been "overwritten".  I believe that the OS is likely to write it in a different place, though.
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39618981
CompProbSolv, No way to know what has happened. Therefore one can (must) try whatever means are available to recover. The probability is quite low for recovery, however.

< Only an opinion>.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:KCTS
ID: 39619256
It does depend on how the data has been "overwritten", which is why I phrased it as If you have actually overwritten the files

If the sectors have actually been overwritten then as I said the normal 'recovery utilities' will not be able to do much.

Data recovery specialists though can use a range of advanced techniques including shifting the read/write heads slightly and reading 'ghost' patterns by using special disk rigs - its an expensive business however.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39619603
i suggest  that dimensionav tells us how he knows he overwrote the data.
but in general, i have seen not many successful recoveries from overwritten files with software

you can best contact a recovery service -  and if they suggest they can recover it, be prepared to spend money; so ask for their fee and policy

some links :
http://www.lowcostrecovery.com/index.html                        data recovery Company
http://www.gillware.com/                                 "           "                   "
http://www.drivesavers.com/services/estimates.html                     "           "
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Author Comment

by:dimensionav
ID: 39631966
Guys the final situation is more less like this:

1. The System Protection (Previous versions tab) wasn´t enabled, so this solution couldn´t be an option to fix this, but I think is a good advice for future situations.

2. The recover tools couldn´t get any data back .

3. The recovery lab was an option that our customer didn´t want to take.

Finally, people in charge of this computer decided to recapture all the information.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39632773
>>  Finally, people in charge of this computer decided to recapture all the information.   <<  great - but how?
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Author Comment

by:dimensionav
ID: 39634073
The had the printed documents from where was extracted part of the lost information.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39634115
ah ok; that is a solution for sure

dont forget to close this Q, unless you need more help?
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39634191
re: System Protection disabled
I see that a lot after virus infections.  I presume that this is something they intentionally do to prevent rolling back to a previous System Restore point.

Keep in mind, though, that this would not have helped in this case.  With XP, previous versions of documents are not kept.  That started with Vista.

I do make it a practice of ensuring that System Protection is active on computers I look at.  It is unintentionally shut off far too often.
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