Windows Data Recovery from a reformat

Going into a client to try to resurrect 20 files that we know the exact name of but the computer was completely (reformatted) wiped of Windows 7 and a fresh copy of Windows 10 was put in its placed.  This wiped W10 computer has only been booted up a couple times since but has been mainly turned off since the reformat.   What's the best hope/solution for recovering these files?
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snoopaloopAsked:
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McKnifeCommented:
https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec is a free software that is quite capable. "The best" is hard to tell.
It is important that you don't boot that drive itself, but boot a rescue system (either windows setup or windows 2 go if available) in order to avoid write access to the drive. If you need help, just ask.

PS: timely feedback on your bitlocker question is appreciated.
Omar SoudaniSenior System EngineerCommented:
Try Recuva, it's disk recovery tool with the ability to recover files from damaged or newly formatted files

https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva/download
gr8gonzoConsultantCommented:
Start thinking about how to tell the client that you can't recover the files.

1. If it's a full reformat (instead of a quick format), it's going to be virtually impossible to recover anything with just software. A quick format doesn't really wipe every bit of the hard drive - it's more like wiping the "menu" (the table) that indicates where each file is located. So quick formats are good if you want to be able to recover data, but a full format will basically try to wipe everything, byte-by-byte (sort of). You can sometimes send the drive to a data recovery shop, which may have some more expensive hardware to recover things, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you can't live without the data.

2. Even on a quick format, if you've reinstalled the OS, there's a pretty good chance you've overwritten the physical portions of the disk where the data was once kept. The only exception would be if you had a large drive that was full of lots of non-operating-system-related data (applications, documents, etc), and the files you're after were added at the end. In that case, there's a chance that the data still exists and hasn't been overwritten by the OS install.

That said, you're looking at pretty slim chances, so just make sure you go into the situation with the disclosure that you will likely not be able to recover the data due to the reinstall.

Once you start writing to the drive, you're overwriting data that was once there, and once you factor in all the Windows updates and drivers and all the basic software... So like McKnife said - any tool you use - make sure you're working from a separate boot device, like a thumb drive or something. The very last thing you want to do is boot to the drive and install recovery software, because downloading and installing the software might be permanently overwriting the file data you're trying to recover.

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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
mount the drive in another machine as a data drive
I've had good success with
getdataback and  r-studio both offer trials to see if the files can be recovered
pgm554Commented:
2nd Getback.
Always worked for me.
snoopaloopAuthor Commented:
Welp, I dusted off my WinSetupfromUSB skills and followed the LiveCD creation for GetDataBack...

Creating the Runtime Live USB Stick

It is also possible to directly create a bootable USB stick from the Runtime Live CD ISO,

    Download the ISO image of the Runtime Live CD**)
   
I ran the GetDataBackup application to scan the large volume.  It shows the current contents of the drive but no data from the previous OS setup.  It sounds like a lost cause.
McKnifeCommented:
Try at least a 2nd tool.
snoopaloopAuthor Commented:
I have never have had success with Rucuva so I skipped it.  I tried Rstudio too.  It was unsuccessful as well.
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