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Hard Drive Corruption - Need to Recover Important Files!

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Fitz1980, Aug 13, 2007.

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  1. Fitz1980

    Fitz1980 Thread Starter

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    Hey Guys,

    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. The end result is I need to recover the Documents and Settings folder on my HDD. Here is the scenario:

    About two weeks ago, I came home to a dead computer. The fans were on in the case, but the monitor was off. Every time I rebooted, the same happened. I finally had to send my motherboard and CPU in. Intel sent me a warranty replacement Dual Core 2 2.4Ghz processor and ASUS sent me a new motherboard. However, it was not the original. It was the same type of board but the premium model (P5N32-SLI Premium, original was Deluxe) as they didn’t have mine in stock.

    While I waited for the new components to arrive, I was able to hook up my old hard drive to my brother’s computer. The hard drive is a SATA Western Digital 250GB. I was able to grab a few files off but didn’t need any others at the time. Plus, the hard drive seemed to working fine so I had no reason to think it would be a problem to get files off in the future.

    When I finally got the components back, I hooked everything up. The computer posted with no problem so I went through and configured the BIOS to my liking. Upon reboot, I received an error along the lines of “No Operating System” found. I rebooted but the same occurred. I then put in my Windows XP Pro CD thinking that maybe the new motherboard was giving Windows a problem. When I went through to choose the “R” Repair option (NOT Recovery Console), it should ask me which Windows installation I would like to have repaired. However, it showed no Windows installation on the disk. This began to worry me.

    Not having access to my brother’s computer any longer, I ordered a SATA to USB cable and hooked the hard drive up to my work laptop. The hard drive appeared with the “Documents and Settings” folder and a few other useless ones. There was no “Program Files” or “Windows” folder. In the “Documents and Settings” was my Username folder called “Fitz”. I was able to open up the “Fitz” folder and navigate around to the “My Documents” folder and others with no problem. I tried to copy the entire “Documents and Settings” to my laptop, but certain files (of which I don’t remember) would not copy over and it therefore kept disrupting the copy process. Figuring the hard drive needed to be repaired, I rebooted with the hard drive connected through the USB cable.

    Upon reboot on my laptop, Windows found the attached hard drive and ran the chkdsk utility. I left this on overnight as it seemed to run forever, finding and repairing errors. In the morning, I booted up to the chkdsk utility and it ran it again. Afterit completed, this time quicker, I booted to Windows and then checked the hard drive. Now here comes the bad news. All of sudden, the “Program Files”, “Windows” and many other important folders had come back, but now the “Fitz” folder in the “Documents and Settings” folder had changed. It kept the same name, but showed it not as a folder anymore, but just a file with no file extension. It also showed 0KB of size for the file.

    At this point, I hooked up the hard drive to my original desktop computer. I then booted to the Windows XP CD and this time, the Windows installation appeared. I then ran the repair through the CD. At times, it said it had trouble copying a handful of .dll files, but I was able to hit enter, which made it “retry”, and it appeared to then work and continue. I ran through this process twice. The computer then reboots and runs through the rest of the repair/install process. However, it continually locks up and can’t completely finish.

    As a last ditch effort, I then re-hooked up the hard drive to my laptop to see if the “Fitz” folder had been restored. It had not.

    If anyone knows of any info or a utility I can use to repair this folder, it would be a great help. I had many important documents and things in that folder. Thanks in advance and please excuse any typos or grammatical errors as I am pretty beat.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Well, you did a lot to that drive, and the most problematic of those things was probably running chkdsk. Chkdsk does a truly amazing job of recovering the file system from errors at times, but if the partition has been corrupted and chkdsk starts repairing files with the wrong starting and ending addresses, all will be lost. We hope that this did not happen to you.

    Start with some of these free recovery apps to see what they find. If they find something, don't assume that all is well and copy all the files. Try to recover just a few so you can check and be sure that they are really the files and are not corrupted. If they are OK, then continue. If not, then try another recovery app.

    If this doesn't lead anywhere, we can consider trying to recover the partition table. But try these first.

    Free recovery applications:

    1) Recuva
    2) PCI File Recovery
    3) Restoration
    4) Free Undelete (NTFS only)
    5) Softperfect File Recovery
    6) ADRC Data Recovery Tools
    7) Undelete Plus
    8) Data Recovery
    9) Recover Files
    10) DriveRescue
    11) Ultimate Data Recovery
    12) Disk Investigator
     
  3. Fitz1980

    Fitz1980 Thread Starter

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    Ok, thanks. When I get home later after work, I will get to work on these and see what happens. When I know more, I will post. Thanks again.
     
  4. Fitz1980

    Fitz1980 Thread Starter

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    No luck. All of these utilities find the file labeled "Fitz" (which used to be the folder), but can't do anything with it. The file remains 0KB. I don't understand. I had many, many files, documents and programs stored in the "My Documents" folder under the "Fitz" folder. Where did they all go? Were they somehow deleted during the chkdsk repair?

    I mean, I ran chkdsk and all of sudden that one single folder gets destroyed and somehow the "Windows" and "Program Files" folder comes back with all my programs fully intact?
     
  5. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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