Data Recovery

10 replies [Last post]
PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

Here's one of those jobs I wish I hadn't started ........

I was asked to look at a windows xp pc with a 160gb Western Digital sata drive that wouldn't boot (it would go past post, start to load windows and then go back to post, this loop would continue indefinitely). I loaded the windows xp cd and proceeded to repair the installation from the command line interface. After trying to "fixboot" and "fixmbr", I now get the message "cannot find ntldr" after post.

I connected the drive to another pc which shows it to be empty and only 10mb in size, although from disc management the capacity is correct at 160gb. After checking with acronis disk director it shows it being formatted as fat 16.

I've come across this situation before and when "fixboot" etc didn't work I installed a new copy of windows over the old and all was ok with no data loss. However I'm sure that this will not work with this drive though and would prefer not to write over the data until its recovered.

I would be grateful of any advice.
thanks
Phil

tilski
tilski's picture
Offline
Joined: Sep 5 2000

Hello

I would advise connecting the drive to a working PC as you have already done and running a piece of software called File Scavenger. It's cheap off the web. In fact if you download the trial it will allow you to scan the drive for recoverable data but being only a trial will not allow you to recover it.

If you go for the full software you idally need a drive capable of recovering your data to. So if your failed drive has 60gb of useable data then you a re going to need another working 60gb drive to recover to. This can be you system drive or another drive.

Don't bother recovering large video files. Just get the project files and recapture the footage later.

You'll probably also find that although File Scavenger finds your files the files names are all jumbled. I tend to go on file size and type.

Good luck and please do post you progress.

What's to become of us.... What is to become of us?

harlequin
harlequin's picture
Offline
Joined: Aug 16 2000

partition magic , and ''undelete partition'' may recover it.
i have found sata drives a lot harder to recover data from when they go ''faulty''

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

Thanks Tilski - I hadn't mentioned that I had tried a similar program (File Recovery Pro) which had been successful in the past. Anyway after installing File Scavenger, this also produced no results when searching the particular drive letter, but when selecting the actual disk number the scan produced many files (word docs, jpeg's, xml etc), so I'm confident that a full scan would recover the data and for around £25, this seems reasonable.
I'll post again if my neighbour decides to purchase the program and that we have actually recovered the data.
thanks again
Phil

PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

Garry - If I tried Partition Magic (I have v5) would it possibly prevent File Scavenger from recovering any data later
cheers
Phil

harlequin
harlequin's picture
Offline
Joined: Aug 16 2000
PL wrote:
Garry - If I tried Partition Magic (I have v5) would it possibly prevent File Scavenger from recovering any data later
cheers
Phil

POSSIBLY .... i don't KNOW

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

Thanks Garry I'll post any info

tilski
tilski's picture
Offline
Joined: Sep 5 2000

Hi

I should have said. File Scavenger has many settings you can select when you scan. I normally do as you did - set it to the drive. I then select the all file search function. There's another setting but I can't remember what it involves. something about corrupt files maybe.

A full scan could take up to 24 hours. Be sure to switch off screen savers etc. Just switch of the monitor.

Also, the least tampering you do with the drive the better. Someone once advised me that everytime you scan a faulty drive or attempt to read/write to it you run the risk of loosing more data.

I tried Undelete and a few others but they didn't return the results that File Scavenger did.

Good luck.

What's to become of us.... What is to become of us?

PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

File Scavenger worked really well, after paying for the prog. I was able to scan and save the data as per the original folder structure which saved a lot of time.
All the files that I have saved so far open in the windows environment.

I thought that the applications that I had used in the past worked well, but this prog. blew them away.

Thanks for the advice
Phil

tilski
tilski's picture
Offline
Joined: Sep 5 2000

Hi

I totally agree. It's a well kept secret. I found it superbly more reliable than any of the other recovery packages.

So Phil........ What have you learnt by this experience?

The word backup comes to mind. Although I still kick my self everytime I lose a hard drive.

Doh!!!! Why didn't I back everything up!!!!!!!

Glad it worked out for you. Will you now be re-formatting the hard drive or do you think it's not worth the risk? I guess it works mechanically so it must have been software failure.

Tilski

What's to become of us.... What is to become of us?

PL
Offline
Joined: Dec 4 2002

Fortunately this wasn't my PC and have mentioned the word "backup" to my neighbour, and in future she'll be backing up on a portable hard drive.

I've reformatted the hard drive with two ntfs partitions (system and data) and reinstalled windows without any problem and I'm confident that the drive is healthy

cheers
Phil