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Old 06-10-2009, 11:09 PM   #1
John Rolfe
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Hard Drive Recovery

Just like the title asks.

Tried to install a new hard drive in the cpu and the older one that was slaved to it seems to have lost all semblance of how to operate like its supposed to. Basiclly means that all my pics from the last 8 years are gone. Most importantly are the ones of the kids..... Unless I (with the help of the wonderful CX community) can find a way to get these back, the wife is probably going to kill me.

Right now, long story short, The HD is reading that has 55GB of "unknown Format" lying around inside of it. Any attempts to try to get into any programs that might be inside of it have gone no where. My friend who is helping me out on this (knows enough about cpu's to get me into trouble) states that there are no files on this drive anywhere to be found. The drive works. To the best that we can tell. It boots and spins and is recognized by the motherboard but its saying that the HD is empty.

I'm wondering what kind of options I have.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:56 AM   #2
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Use Hirem Boot Cd to start doing some diagnostics on the partition. Don't let it format anything period.

See if any of the utilities can detect the partition on the HD.

There are plenty of simply software utilities that will can see if they can do a "soft" recovery. I say "soft" recovery because most file recovery scans take hours as in double digits. There are of course, even the more professional ones using better software but those are very costly, typically triple digits.

Best bet to start googling the free ones and use all of them first before looking into any of the ones you have to pay for. Some tech companies around where you live might have a quick recovery where they will just set it up on the bench and let the software run ( we did At TechService2U ) and see if we could find anything but it wasn't quite up to the par of a professional recovery ( which woulda cost 3x as much ).
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:14 AM   #3
Frank Dennis
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

John, some clarifications first:

Did you try to replace your current system drive (C: Drive) with a new physical drive, and retain your previous system drive as an additional drive inside the PC (the computer would generally see it as E: Drive, presuming you have an optical drive like a DVD or CD drive installed)? This is how I'm reading your post.

Also, how big is the actual drive? Is it only a 60GB drive? If not, is the remainder of the drive still accessible? Was it always partitioned as two spaces? What's on the remaining partition?

As Robert suggested, there are many freeware recovery options, but it sounds like what you might just need is to repartition your drive without having to format it, which Windows won't let you do. However, tools like Partition Magic(WFS) will. There are some freeware resources, such as QT Parted(link is WFS, but it's a freeware download site, so proceed with caution... Zonelabs Forcefield says it's safe) and Super Fdisk(ditto on the WFS, as above), but I haven't used them personally and cannot vouch for them.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:50 AM   #4
Greg Tutunjian
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Lots of good advice here already. If you really love those photos, bring your hard drive to a professional PC repair shop ASAP. (You can Google to find them and likely find some reviews.) They do file and drive recovery daily versus the rest of us who don't do it at all. They'll have better tools, too.

Consider picking up an external hard drive for backups in the future, too. I use Buffalo Technology Drives (have 2, have recommended more for friends) and have found them very reliable and quick, too. For backup software, Windows often comes with a decent backup program. Norton Save and Restore is much more comprehensive but a good long term investment. Buffalo makes small, portable external drives (ideal for laptops/traveling) as well as larger desktop drives. Worst case, you can use an iPod as an external backup drive, too.

You can schedule Windows Backup and Norton's product, too, so your backups can be done while you're working out, etc.

Cheers,

Greg
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:23 AM   #5
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

btw, I have done this for a living but I do not currently do it mainly because I haven't found a nice, cushy PT IT morning job. In fact besides being a gymnastics coach, I've been doing this before gymnastics before y2k around 98. It's boring but I can fall back on it.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:08 AM   #6
Casey Dupre
 
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rolfe View Post
Just like the title asks.

Tried to install a new hard drive in the cpu and the older one that was slaved to it seems to have lost all semblance of how to operate like its supposed to. Basiclly means that all my pics from the last 8 years are gone. Most importantly are the ones of the kids..... Unless I (with the help of the wonderful CX community) can find a way to get these back, the wife is probably going to kill me.

Right now, long story short, The HD is reading that has 55GB of "unknown Format" lying around inside of it. Any attempts to try to get into any programs that might be inside of it have gone no where. My friend who is helping me out on this (knows enough about cpu's to get me into trouble) states that there are no files on this drive anywhere to be found. The drive works. To the best that we can tell. It boots and spins and is recognized by the motherboard but its saying that the HD is empty.

I'm wondering what kind of options I have.
Is it an IDE drive? If so, make sure you set your jumpers correctly for the new and old drives. One should be master (probably the new drive) and the other should be slave.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:22 AM   #7
Shane Skowron
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Get an external case enclosure with USB cable, get a friend with a Linux box, and try plugging it in there and copying stuff over to his computer.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:16 AM   #8
Steven Matheson
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Dennis View Post
Did you try to replace your current system drive (C: Drive) with a new physical drive, and retain your previous system drive as an additional drive inside the PC (the computer would generally see it as E: Drive, presuming you have an optical drive like a DVD or CD drive installed)? This is how I'm reading your post.


As Robert suggested, there are many freeware recovery options, but it sounds like what you might just need is to repartition your drive without having to format it, which Windows won't let you do. However, tools like Partition Magic(WFS) will.
I concur. Partition Magic is a great program and is reliable and safe I f however, you don't feel comfortable doing this stuff yourself, take it to a locally-owned computer shop and have them do it.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:21 AM   #9
Frank Dennis
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey Dupre View Post
Is it an IDE drive? If so, make sure you set your jumpers correctly for the new and old drives. One should be master (probably the new drive) and the other should be slave.
Didn't think to mention this, as it sounded from your original post that the PC would recognize some partition of the drive, but not a 55GB un-partitioned portion. However, Casey's right; jumper settings are critical. I've never seen it lead to a situation like what I think you're describing (generally the drive would just go completely unrecognized), but if you didn't reset them, find the jumper diagram on the drive (usually located near the jumper pins) and make sure that it's set as a slave, if it's on the same drive ribbon. If it's on the secondary IDE drive ribbon, make sure it's a master.

Speaking of settings, how is the drive recognized in your BIOS? Is it being seen as the proper capacity, etc?
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:45 AM   #10
John Rolfe
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Re: Hard Drive Recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Get an external case enclosure with USB cable, get a friend with a Linux box, and try plugging it in there and copying stuff over to his computer.

From some quick talkings with my brother in law, I think this is what he is going to try and do.

The jumpers are in the right positions.

I might look into the Partition magic program if a couple of other options dont work out. I dont know how I feel about doing anything myself, but I guess it cant get any more broke

Also thinking about sending it out to a specialized HD salvage company that comes highly recommended.
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