Recovering data from hard drive

Hi all I did something stupid the other day. Scenario: My system has 2 hdd: 40G and 80G Both with a several partitions on. My system got screwed with installing and removing stuff and I decided to use my XP Pro Cd to additionally install XP for duel booting. I had W2kP as my OS. I booted my system up with the CD and selected the drive where I wanted to install XP. I got informed by the system to delete and create the partition first. I deleted it but when I wanted to create it again I saw to my horror that the entire 40G was available!!! There was only 10-15G left on that drive. And that's where I wanted to install it. Now when everyone gets back on their seats and wipe the tears from their eyes and finally stop laughing, can I ask if anyone knows how I can get my data back? I thought that if I restarted the PC right there and then, it would work like the old Fdisk where the changes don't apply yet....It did :( Shall I give you a minute again to catch your breath? Thanx guys

Answer Wiki

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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 ( (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.

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  • Mraslan
    There is a good tool called R-Studio, there are a version for NTFS and another one for FAT, you can use them to scan your old disk and try to restore data to another hard drive. What is important is that you should not attempt any thing that might write a single bit to the hard drive, so no data can totally be lost
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  • Svaage
    A short time ago, I lost access to my hd (80 GB) with many years of data. Luckyly I found a man who was able to help me, so I got acces again. You can read about him here His name is Svend Olaf Mikkelsen, and he is a Dane as I am. After some e-mails to and from with some tools attached my problem was solved I can recommend him Yours Sven Aage Madsen Denmark
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  • Misled
    I needed to recover data from a hard drive that had crashed. I used "Recover Lost Data" by Stompsoft. Works great when the partition info is hosed. You can buy it at CompUsa for about 30-40 dollars.
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  • Habiru
    Hi, I have to agree 100% with airwrck. I pretty well perform the exact same procedure with the same software. Runtime is a great package that is hard to beat. Easy to use as well. You have to decide at this point what would be cheaper. Get someone else to recover the software, or buy it yourself with the necessary equipment to recover you old drive. You'll need a drive with at least the same capacity as the information on your old drive. If you do purchase the software, there is a prebuilt Barts PE plugin available that is from Runtime. You could build a CD and run the software from the CD. Everyone has a pal with an old hardrive laying around. :-)
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  • WikusIT
    Thanx guys I didn't get around trying the tool from Runtime but I did get the R-studio one. That worked, I could see the data and recover it. But once I try to access it by just opening some txt files or pictures, an error comes up saying it's corrupted. I will use the other way tonight. Thanks once again 4 the help. Have a wicked day!!! W
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  • Poppaman
    You might also try looking at some of the tools available from Mark Russinovitch is the author of NTFSDOS/NTFSDOS PRO and has a couple of tools designed to do just what you are attempting.
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  • Will6659
    I recreated your situation, reformatted. Used GetDataBack for ntfs or dos. Recovered everything intact, unless it was covered up by writing over it.
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