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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Manchester UK
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    Hello there .. I was looking for a little help / advice after accidentally reformatting my hard disk that contains data.

    My PC has two hard drives ( C:\ 150Gb and E:\ 250Gb ). The C:\Drive is where I install all my programs etc .. and the E:\Drive contains all my data (Home movies, Photos, Music etc..). While upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows XP last week I inadvertently formatted my E:\ drive along with my C:\Drive at the time of installing Windows 7. So now I have a C:\Drive happily running Windows 7, but none of my data from the E:\Drive

    80% of the E:\Drive data had already been backed up to another external hard disk pre-installation. I simply didn’t have enough spare hard disk space to backup the remaining 20% .. And as I never intended to format E:\Drive during the install I didn’t think this would be an issue.!

    So my question is how do I go about recovering the remaining (and yet equally important) 20% of data that was on the E:\Drive that has now been formatted. (I’ve not copied anything back onto the E:\Drive so it is in the same state after being formatted)

    I’ve googled for answers and see that this is quite a common problem for those of us that do a complete format and re-install once every blue moon and make the same this formatting mistake. Heavens, even Fred Langa has admitted to incorrectly formatting the wrong hard disk in the past, so it appears that it can happen to the best of them..

    Now I see that there are many pieces of software available to solve the problem, some free, some paid for. I’ve tried a few of them so far including Disk Internals Partition Recovery, iCare Data Recovery, ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery) and Recover My Files

    What I was hoping for was to see the folder structure of my E:\Drive re-created, since the E:\ drive only contained data I was hoping to see folders called ‘Home Movies’, ‘Photos’, ‘Music’ etc ..) and within there the relevant files, but this hasn’t happened. Instead I have a huge list of files to potentially restore and no folder names coming remotely close to being called ‘Home Movies’, ‘Photos’ or ‘Music’.

    The good news is that there are many potential files for me to restore, and I should be able to recover most (if not all) of the missing data so all is not lost, but am I missing a trick here .. Should I be able to see the original folder structure recreated as this would make it far easier to restore my data.?

    To summarise I guess my questions are based around ..
    1. Am I missing a trick when it comes to restoring date. Should I be able to see the E:\Drive folder structure recreated.?
    2. Is it not possible to restore the ‘master table’ that was previously on the E:\Drive. (The same as if I had removed the E:\Drive from the PC and only replaced it once Windows 7 was successfully installed on the C:\Drive. Plugging back in the E:\Drive would have meant that Windows 7 would have recognised the ‘Home Movies’, ‘Photos’, ‘Music’ folder structure from the E:\Drive). Or is this just to simple.!
    3. With music files in iTunes, when I recover the individual tracks will iTunes know which file is associated with which album / artist.?
    4. I tried searching the Lounge forum for ‘Unformat’ but came back with very few hits. Is there something else I should be searching on.?
    5. Is there any particular software that Lounge members can recommend for those of us who are restoring data for the first time.?

    Any help / advice would be much apprciated


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  3. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Renton, Washington, USA
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
    I feel that your files are toast and will never be seen again.
    Sorry for the bad news.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
    Thanked 485 Times in 446 Posts
    A quick format may have only erased the MFT or FAT, on the otherhand, a not so quick format may
    have ruined most of what you might get back, and that's a big might.

    You would be better off just searching for file types associated with those you want the most, like the music and video,
    instead of folder names and explorer view structures.

    ie .mp3, .mov, .avi, etc
    or just recover everything you can, and sort out what you want to salvage later.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    South of the North Pole
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    The best software that I've used for recovering data from a formatted partition is the EaseUS Recovery Wizard ( ). No free option that I've used is even close and perhaps the software is better but I haven't used that.

    You won't get a file structure tree like it originally existed--that was destroyed. More than likely you won't even get filenames that correspond to the originals but many if not all of the files will be recovered and then its up to you to go through them all and get them organized again.

    I think you can try the free version to see if its going to work but its limited to 1 gig of recovery or something like that.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    StoneyCreek, TN
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    This program from Paragon-Software will undelete the partition and should put it back just the way it was unless something has been written to it. It is free and from my favorite company for partition and hard disk management. I bought their pro suite and think it's worth every penny.

    They also have an awesome FREE backup/restore program.

  7. #6
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Thanked 17 Times in 13 Posts
    My laptop has a single HDD with 7 partitions.

    Something went wrong with Windows and all partitions were destroyed.
    I had a Free Partition Wizard Boot CD which included partition Recovery.
    This recovered all partitions, and the system booted up and wanted to check H:\
    It found many chkdsk fragments in H:\, which was FAT32.
    No problems with other partitions.

    I restored H:\ from an earlier partition image backup.
    I mounted each of the other backups and compared with the recovered partitions,
    and the only differences were on C:\ and the changes were all consistent with Windows always tweaking itself.

    Partition recovery is the best option where possible.
    I think it took me about 15 minutes to get everything back to normal.
    Everything was about 100 GB in 300,000 files on a 160 GB drive.
    Life is too short for me to even think about individual recovery of 300,000 files.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to alan.b For This Useful Post:

    Dick-Y (2012-09-11)

  9. #7
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Chengdu, China
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I know there is really a very old post. But, I also would like to share my stories with you and hope my words also could help others.

    In fact, the formatting process often cannot actually erase the original files as we think normally. It is only the space used to save these files that is marked as “Available room” for new data. Namely, these deleted files are still there till you write new data to rewrite them.

    Therefore, before anything new data is written there, one always has chances to retrieve his data back at the help of data recovery software. That’s why you can retrieve your data back.

    So, after encountering the similar problems, one should act carefully to retrieve his data:

    1. Do not save new data to rewrite the original data.

    2. Download efficient data recovery software. Nowadays, there are plenty of data recovery tools out there. one is supposed to select a proper one according to his own conditions.

    If someone really doubt, he could firstly try some data recovery freeware, such as Recuva, PhotoRec and iCare Data Recovery Free, etc.

    3. Follow the instructions to restore data.

    4. Back up the restored data on a separate drive or location.

    Tips: Data backups could be the best way to restore data. SO, one should always make data backups, no matter what happens.

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