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recovering files from formatted HDD

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by emt3920, Nov 7, 2007.

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  1. emt3920

    emt3920 Thread Starter

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    I want to use file recovery software to recover files from a HDD that was accidentally formatted. I am told not to save anything I can recover to the same drive I am recovering from. The computer only has a CD RW drive and a floppy drive. Can anybody tell me exactly how I can save the files the software finds to either the CD drive or the floppy drive? I downloaded three file recovery programs (1). pci_file recovery (2.) testdisk 6.8 (3.) free undelete. All have similar interface but they don't say how to save to floppy or CD. They just say do not save to same drive from which you recover. The computer is using windows xp and it has about 25 Gigs of free HDD space.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    The recovery is best done from a completely different system. Even downloading the recovery programs to the drive with the lost data may have written over some or all of it. Considering that the recovery applications may create temporary files before actually saving recovered files to the destination media, the chances of loss are increased.

    TestDisk does not recover files. It recovers lost partition tables and attempts to make the drive readable again. Using it on a working system may make the system unbootable since the partition tables must remain intact.

    The floppy will hold only 1.44 MB's (typically) of data so very little can be sent there. In order to write to CD, temporary files will most likely be created and cached, again overwriting lost data.

    Using the system is moving files around, writing to the page file, and creating temp files, so don't use the system any more than necessary. Surfing the net is overwriting data, too, with temp internet files.

    If the data is important, shut down the system containing it, and put the drive in another machine. Do not write anything on the drive.
     
  3. emt3920

    emt3920 Thread Starter

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    I knew I was taking a chance downloading the recovery software but I only downloaded the testdisk application on that machine. I downloaded the other apps to my own machine so I could try to see how they work. The files I want to try and recover are small files, just Microsoft office files mostly text and maybe a couple of PowerPoint things. That is why I mentioned trying to send the files to a floppy disk or even several floppy disks. Now I am wondering about the possibility of installing a small USB flash or thumb drive on the machine to save whatever I can to it.
    I kinda hate the idea of uninstalling her hard drive and then installing it on my Windows 2000 machine
    Apparently she is a poor as I am and is unable to get a pro to do this for her. She is working on her masters degree and these are her files for her course work. If that is possible can you tell me how that could be done?
    Thank you much for trying to help me!
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    The USB idea is a good one. You could use an external enclosure and put the drive with the lost data in it and try to recover from that. Then you would only need to remove one drive.

    Taking the drives out is not usually too difficult. Just 2 connectors and some screws. But I understand if you have not done this before. But extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. The data is hopefully not gone and there are some things that just need to be done.

    An alternative is to run a bootable CD with an OS and try to recover that way. Files can be burned to CD or recovered to floppy if not large.

    www.ubcd4win.com
     
  5. emt3920

    emt3920 Thread Starter

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    Thank You for advice!
    I went to ubcd4win.com and as usual I managed to confuse myself. Would I not need to build that boot cd on another machine to avoid over writing stuff? It talks about creating folders and copying files to your hard drive which translates to me a possible overwrite of something. My computer uses windows 2000 and what they say sounds as if you cannot build from Win 2K. I have the windows xp sp2 cd but am confused as to if I can put it into the cd drive of my Win 2K machine to build the boot disk.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Yes. Anything you do is overwriting files on that machine. Even booting it up writes to the drive. That is why I said to stop using it if you want to recover anything. Logs are written, restore points are created, performance logs are written---every minute the machine is running, the more data is overwritten, even if you are doing nothing.
     
  7. emt3920

    emt3920 Thread Starter

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    OK! that is what I thought. So what about my other questions? Am I correct in thinking I cannot build the ISO on my win 2K machine?
    Thanks again!
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    You can make the CD on your machine if you have an XP CD for source files. Otherwise, no.
     
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