Solved: Recover external hard disk that "needs to be formatted"

Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
Ok guys.. I screwed up big time... I was about to create a bootable flash drive with a utility called HPflash and right the moment I pressed the start button I realized that the selected drive wasnt my flash drive.. but my external hard disk with 400 Gigs of Data! I dont know about you guys.. but I had tons of pictures and videos.. (my wedding video too!) And I am going nuts now.. can anyone please give me some hope and tell me I can recover all my files? Do I need to use one of the un-delete software out there? When I click on the hard disk it states that it needs to be formatted.. so apparently it hasnt.. so what happened to it? Can I undo what I did very quickly? thanks!
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
Great tool, isn't it? You probably had the same thing happen as I did. It actually said the name of the flash drive in the box, but over further to the right, just out of sight, was a drive letter. It was not the right one, but the one that corresponded to your external. The HP tool had misidentified the flash drive as your external.

I also stopped it and had done about 25% FAT32 format. A message popped up telling me that if I stopped it, the drive would be unusable, or some such threat. But I knew perfectly well that not stopping it meant certain loss of files. Sound familiar?

Try using Testdisk to restore the partition table. If it doesn't work, it still won't harm any files that are intact.

Then try a recovery application. I got most of my files back, but not all, using Easy Recovery and GetDatBack, but I'm sure some of the free ones may have helped, too.

Free recovery applications:

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

Commercial:

Paragon Mount Everything (Mounts any file system, CD/DVD burning, File Manager, Partitioner)
GetDataBack (For FAT or NTFS)
Ontrack EasyRecovery Pro
File Scavenger
Recover My Files
RecoverPlus Pro
Zero Assumption Recovery
[email protected] File Recovery
Final Recovery
Recover4All Professional
Easeus Data Recovery Wizard
NTFS Recovery
 

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
Thanks Elvandil for your reply. I am using a Ontrack EasyRecovery and according to the program it will take another 356 hrs to get done! I am looking at the drive where all the files are being copied but they look to be weird formats and I cannot open them.. Are they gonna stay like that? I am so confused...
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
Did you try Testdisk first to get the partition back?

Yes, the file names will probably stay like that. You will have to try to open each one, maybe experiment with file endings, and likely discover that the files are corrupted.

Try another tool if the formats are unusable. You may have better luck. Or you may need to use some of the advanced settings, like trying to recover with and without using the MFT, which also can be corrupted.
 

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
I tried using testdisk but it doesnt look easy. I dont think it was able to find anything on my hard drive. Its hard to use...WHat do you think of partition table doctor? is it any good?
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
PTD isn't bad, though it makes an occasional error. But in this case, it may not be much use since there is no table to repair.

Testdisk isn't really too bad. Navigate with your arow keys, have it scan for partitions, and if it finds anything, have it write the table to disk. Even if you do it wrong, it won't affect the files, and if it does find something and you do it right (sometimes involves guessing), the drive may be accessible like a normal drive.

If none of that works, you'll have to just try the other recovery apps.
 

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
This is what I get once I scan my computer with testdisk. Does it mean it hasnt found any partitions? What do I do now?


TestDisk 6.10, Data Recovery Utility, July 2008
Christophe GRENIER <[email protected]>
http://www.cgsecurity.org

Disk /dev/sdb - 500 GB / 465 GiB - CHS 60801 255 63
Partition Start End Size in sectors






Structure: Ok.


Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, Enter: to continue
 

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
I LOVE YOU MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got it fixed through Testdisk! Everything is back to what it used to be. I will make sure and check every file, but everything looks great! THANKS SO MUCH!
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
I guess you figured it out in my absence.

Testdisk is certainly not the most user-friendly application in the world. It would be nice if the expensive, commercial programs that are supposed to recover partitions worked even half so well. I admit that I often end up fumbling with that program and just making a wild guess from time to time, but when it works, it works. And since it only works on the partition structure, it doesn't make lost files any more lost even when you make the wrong choices.

Good work. Keep a copy of Testdisk around and watch for the frequent updates.

Don't rely on the patched up partition table that Testdisk made for you. Be sure to remove the partitions, make new ones, and reformat before you trust it with your files. (But then, you do know how to get them back now :D).
 

supermanno

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
148
Thanks for the tip Elvandil. I will make sure I do that. Also I was gonna ask you.. is there a way to prevent me to do that in case I accidentally do the same thing? Like a password or a block of some sort that will prevent me to accidentally delete/format/erase the drive? I think it would be really cool. Let me know. Thanks again for all your advice. If you have time please check out another issue I am facing right now... http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/741054-dell-inspiron-530-not-compatible.html
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
I know of no block except to triple-check everything when doing something that important. I know when I did the same thing, if I had checked what was in that box all the way across, it wouldn't have happened.

And one more thing--never trust drive letters. Just because a drive has a particular letter, especially if you are looking at your partitions from a bootable CD, never assume that the same letters are going to be used. Always identify the drive by size or position and not the letter to be sure you are working on the right one. We've had lots of people who formatted the wrong drive.

Always be wide awake when running partitioners :D
 
Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 807,865 other people just like you!

Latest posts

Staff online

Top