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Accidentally reformatted my 2TB external HD?

This is a discussion on Accidentally reformatted my 2TB external HD? within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My friends pc stoppd working earlier today so I let him use my PC to make a bootable usb stick


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Old 11-01-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
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My friends pc stoppd working earlier today so I let him use my PC to make a bootable usb stick with recover software on it but instead of reformtting his usb he accidentally reformatted or partially reformatted my 2TB external HD. I don't think anythink was actually written to it as we stopped the process before it completed as it didn't seem to be working on his flash drive, we didn't see it had reformatted my external HD until after.

That external hard drive had all my data on and I would really like to get it back, I just got a Bluray burner for backing up but have only done a small amount of what was on the drive so far.

The drive is probably about 3/4 full. I am unsure how to proceed. I don't have another drive 2TB or larger to copy any restored files to, is this necessary or is there anyway I can just restore the file system or undo the reformatting?

Either way once I have all the hardware I need what is the best software to proceed with to get my files back? I am worried about them being recovered but all mixed up and losing there names as there are 1000's of files on the drive and to sort them all out would take forever, is there anything that can get them back and still keep the names of the files and folders.

If need be I will try and get hold of another 2TB ExHD tomorrow and also any advice about what software to use etc would be great. I am really scared right now of doing anything which might make things worse.

Also is there any safe way I can scan the HD to see if files are recoverable before I go and buy another drive to put them on? The Drive itself is working fine so could be reformatted and used again.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:25 AM   #2
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You may try to use R-Undelete. Its on-line help will show how to get your files back: Recover Lost Files from Deleted/Corrupted Logical Disks/Partitions. R-Undelete is a pay program but it allows you to estimate whether you can recover your files before buying it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #3
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First of all, DO NOT FORMAT. TO NOT DO ANYTHING TO THE DRIVE. DO NOT WRITE TO THE DRIVE.

Second, download testdisk
TestDisk Download - CGSecurity

In my expierence, if you simply do a quick format, or even a partial format, and do not write to the drive, test disk will be able to recover the partition and most of the data. Writing to the drive only overwrites your data.So don't do that until you try testdisk.

Also, testdisk is free
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkw427 View Post
First of all, DO NOT FORMAT. TO NOT DO ANYTHING TO THE DRIVE. DO NOT WRITE TO THE DRIVE.

Second, download testdisk
TestDisk Download - CGSecurity

In my expierence, if you simply do a quick format, or even a partial format, and do not write to the drive, test disk will be able to recover the partition and most of the data. Writing to the drive only overwrites your data.So don't do that until you try testdisk.

Also, testdisk is free
Thank you, can you tell me will Tesk Disk be able to restore the file structure to my files on the reformatted drive? I am sure most of the files are on the drive as I believe it was just a partial quick reformat that was done but I am very worried about getting back the files in some sort of order I can use. I believe many software recovery softwares just group the files by type rather than name etc they were given when you made saved it. I have so many files on this external drive that it would be impossible to sort them all out again. So what I really need is something that will recover the original file structure, will anything do this?

Thank you again so much!
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarbafi View Post
Thank you, can you tell me will Tesk Disk be able to restore the file structure to my files on the reformatted drive? I am sure most of the files are on the drive as I believe it was just a partial quick reformat that was done but I am very worried about getting back the files in some sort of order I can use. I believe many software recovery softwares just group the files by type rather than name etc they were given when you made saved it. I have so many files on this external drive that it would be impossible to sort them all out again. So what I really need is something that will recover the original file structure, will anything do this?

Thank you again so much!
When I installed windows 7 on a computer, I deleted an entire partition by mistake. Testdisk was able to restore everything, because I did not format it.

Because you attempted to format it, you might not get EVERYTHING back, but you should get most of it
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkw427 View Post
When I installed windows 7 on a computer, I deleted an entire partition by mistake. Testdisk was able to restore everything, because I did not format it.

Because you attempted to format it, you might not get EVERYTHING back, but you should get most of it

Thank you, I do understand that I may have lost some files, please though could you just clarify if I should be able to get the actually file structure back i.e. all the tracks on a particular album in a folder with the album name etc? rather than being all split up into various random mp3 files?

Sorry for being a bit of a dummy here I really do appreciate your patience and help.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
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When I used testdisk, it got back the folder structure as well as all the file names. It didn't just turn up all the files as random names
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkw427 View Post
When I used testdisk, it got back the folder structure as well as all the file names. It didn't just turn up all the files as random names
Thank you I will try this, is there any particular process I need to follow to do it correctly?
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:49 AM   #9
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Just follow the steps on the testdisk wiki
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkw427 View Post
Just follow the steps on the testdisk wiki
I have now run testdisk on the drive but it didn't find any partitions, it took about 5 hours to run and when it completed the analyse it showed nothing where partitons should be.

The disk itself I believe is healthy, it has just been accidentally formatted the format was a quick format and it did not even complete. The HDD is now showing in disk management as RAW but as healthy and that it needs to be formatted.

Obviously I don't want to do that until I recover my files. The files were so numerous that I do also really need to get the file names and directories back as they were before.

I did do a scan with icare format recovery which found a lot of files but all without names and proper file structure. Someone has suggested that getdataback should be able to recover my files and file directory but I am not sure what version to use FAT or NTFS. When I did the scan with icare it found both file systems, more under FATS although I think the drive must have been originally formatted to NTFS as it was hooked up to a Windows Vista Machine and it had files larger than 4GB on it.

Please, can you help I am desperate to get this data back but I am out of work at the moment so can't afford to send it to a data recovery lab. I really wish I could!
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
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If anyone knows if the disk was originally formatted to NTFS before the format and when I could still access all my files in the correct order, under the correct names is that the version of getdataback I should use to do the scan?

I actually don't know what it was for sure but I know there were files larger than 4gb on it so I think it must have been ntfs.

Also will any data recovery software beable to recover ebook file formats and subtitle formats?
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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Just to update I am now running GetDataBack NTFS version and at 3% it has already found over 1000 file starts. So data is on the disk. What is isn't finding so far is any MFT entries.

Going back over what happened with my friend he says he was trying to format the flash drive he has to FAT32 so I believe that what has happened is that my 2TB HDD has been reformatted at least partially to FAT32 from NTFS.

Would I be correct in saying that I would need to recover the MFT Entries in order to restore the data with its original file names and directory? Without these MFT entries will all I have be raw data?

As the disk was at least partially reformatted to FAT32 from NTFS is it certain that the MFT entries will have been irretrievably erased? How many of these files should I expect to see on a 2TB HDD with thousands of files?

Finally is there any way to get the MFT entries back and reconstruct the original file names and folders?
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:49 AM   #13
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I', not totally sure, sorry :(
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #14
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In case anyone else can help GetDatback how now found 4 MFT entries and 1$MFT during the NTFS scan, which is now at about 55% with another ten hours to go.

Will the 1 $MFT file be enough to correctly recreate my file names and directories?
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