I just sent this out to the person who wanted to “unformat” his hard drive.
Here is the procedure that I’ve created for the technicians at our company.
1. We purchase another hard drive of equal or larger capacity. We call this drive “new drive”
2. In a diagnostic machine (one that is already running an operating system and has two available IDE channels), we install both the drive that needs repair (we call this drive “old drive”), and the “new drive”. We make sure the “new drive” is mounted and we create a partition of appropriate size and type (FAT or NTFS). Drives need to be jumpered properly so pay attention to this. NOTE: for your situation, you can use the 4th IDE channel for “new drive” – it may require removing the IDE cable from one of your CD/DVD drives temporarily
3. We use GetDataBack from Runtime Systems (http://www.runtime.org) (there are two versions, one for FAT and FAT32 partions and one for NTFS partitions) and scan the “old drive” for data. After the scan is complete, we dump that data onto the “new drive”. We can do that iteratively for each partition that requires *recovery* (as opposed to data that can just be copied over because the partition is still readable)
4. We check “new drive” to make sure the data was recovered properly.
5. If the damaged partition on “old drive” has it’s data recovered properly, we can eliminate that partition using Partition Magic.
6. We can then recreate the partition using Partition Magic and copy the data from “new drive” to “old drive”
7. If the operating system needs to be re-installed on “old drive” then we do that prior to moving data from “new drive” to “old drive”
In your situation: Reinstalling and writing over the partition has possibily eliminated some of the data that you want to restore.
Good luck – send another message if I can add information or clarify what I’ve described above.