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Data recovery - so close - please help

This is a discussion on Data recovery - so close - please help within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. As you may recall, two years ago, my hard drive crashed and I lost some vacation pictures that I had

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Old 07-29-2007, 05:05 PM   #1
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As you may recall, two years ago, my hard drive crashed and I lost some vacation pictures that I had not backed up. I took it to a shop, the guy was able to pull some stuff off of it, but not the pictures (cost me about $50). Of what he could recover, some of the folders were empty and some files corrupted. What is interesting is that the folder that I really wanted is not even on the CD that he made.

I will spare you the details, but the HD is back in my possesion. I feel that I know a lot more now than I knew then, and am ready to try to recover the data myself.

From what I can gather, the partition table is messed up. I cannot get any OS to recognize the drive (Windows, Linux). I am able to run diagnostic programs, which of course show errors on the drive.

Today I tried a couple of programs from [email protected] - NTFS Reader and Partition Recovery (DEMO version). I was able to use Partion Recovery to create a temporary partition and actually browse (text only) to the folder i want to recover. The files appear to still be there, and the file sizes make sense as well.

Here is the bummer...the demo does not permanently fix the broken partition. The full program is $30. If i repair the partition, I THINK i can use the NTFS Reader program to get the files (maybe). Or could I use an OS at that point?

I have no idea what I am doing. I am willing to pay $30 IF it works.

Where do I go from here?

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Old 07-31-2007, 05:25 PM   #2
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Last evening I put the bad drive in as a slave in one of my older XP machines. I ran the free program PC Inspector and stumbled through the process. I did not find the program to be particularly easy to use, but once I figured out the best way to do things, I was able to access my files and pull what I thought to be 90% of my lost pictures onto the other HDD access them. It took me about 4 hours total.

This program takes a long time to scan, there is no preview for photos, and every file you pull is renamed "cluster" followed by a long number. It is also odd that all of my pics had the same file size - 1.43 mb. At any rate, I was on Cloud 9 today.

Though I could not recall what pictures, if any, were missing (it has been two years, remember), I would have sworn I got 90% of them.

Well, when I got home today I decided to try VirtualLab Data Recovery and just see what it's like. What a GREAT program! That is the way data recovery software should work. It was MUCH faster and after it rebuilt a temporary file system, I could access my folders and files nearly as they appeared on the drive. I could even preview my pictures!! Then, after you confirm the data is there and worth salvaging, you pay for a space "quota" to pull the data from the bad drive. $40 for 100 mb. I am glad that I was able to get some via the free method, or else 100 mb would not have been enough. It turns out that I only got about 60% the first time. This program took like 30 minutes.

I am pretty sure I got them all now.

So I think next I will try TestDisk, which is another free program recommended. I am curious to see if would have been successful with it. Now that I have my data, I really don't care what happens to this drive.

Which brings me to my next questions: Is this disk repairable and reusable? What do I need to do to it and what kind of scans should I do to make sure that it is trustworthy?

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