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You mean reinstalling windows does thaaat?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sighlentex, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. sighlentex

    sighlentex Private E-2

    I was out of town over the weekend, and when I got home on Sunday morning, my computer would not boot. I tried everything, including running the Recovery Console. That gave me a BSOD telling me I had an UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. I booted from the Windows disk and tried to run a chkdsk /r /f but it got to 50% and froze. At this point I made a terrible mistake. I thought that I was repairing my windows, but instead I reinstalled windows. Now, I have a working computer...but all of my data is GONE! (A years worth of pictures, music, and text files...blogs, poetry, personal writings etc..)

    I'm sure that comes as no surprise to an expert in such matters, but to me...it was quite a shock and something worth having a royal tantrum over.

    So here's the question. I see that MG has a lot of programs for recovering lost data. I've never used a program like that before, and I'm wondering 1- IF it will work in my case and 2- if it will work, WHICH one is best?

    I realize this is a hardware and software issue, so I flipped a coin and landed on hardware. ;) Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. sighlentex

    sighlentex Private E-2

    I've been doing some research, and there's this local company that has a 98% recovery rate for data...and they only charge $200. (Only. two. hundred. freakin. dollars.) Are you kidding me? Seriously? I mean, yeah this data is "priceless" to me, but $200 is a PRICE... *deep sigh*
  3. ITTomas

    ITTomas Private E-2

    The same scenario happened to a friend of mine, the problem is that it seemed like something wiped out his hard drive...and the only thing that was still on his hard drive was another partition that wasn't touched. The only thing you can try and do, is to try to use the Windows XP...if you're using that and go through the same setup, but try and repair it....and try and get to the command line a type fixmbr...could be your master boot record is missing...
  4. tunered

    tunered MajorGeek

  5. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    Wait, this is a software problem at this point. dlb found something that allowed him to recover files.
    Do nothing to the hd yet. Let me search. The more you try and fix things the further removed you get from restoring what you lost.

    I looked over all the titles here http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?id=38
    and none of them seemed familiar. I'm sending dlb in to post what he used or the link to the thread.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  6. frapper

    frapper Private First Class

    This is off-topic (slightly), but you really need to invest in a USB external hard drive so that you'll have backups and duplicate copies of all those precious files. Less than a hundred bucks and you'd have every one of those pictures, blogs, poems, etc. without having to resort to a data recovery program as a last resort. I wish you the best in recovering your files. Plodr knows her stuff. ;)
  7. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Plodr- got your PM.

    sighlentex- if you didn't format the drive, then the data should still be there, but you just can't access it like you did before. Open 'My Computer', click 'Tools' at the top and select 'Folder Options', click the 'View' tab. Now take a look at the screenshot attached below, and make the appropriate changes to make your menu look like the screeshot. Close that window and double-click drive C:, if you have two (or more) WINDOWS folders, then chances are all your data is still there. Now open the 'Documents and Settings' folder. What you're looking for is a duplicate user name; a "normal" one would simply be your user name, and a duplicate would be "username-some-numbers-and-letters". This duplicate should be where your old data is located. If not, look in the "normal" one. If you don't have any user accounts listed with a bunch of numbers and letters, or you just have the normal accounts, look in those too, but this probably means that you did format the drive. If you need to recover data from a formatted drive, here's some free apps that should help:
    http://www.majorgeeks.com/TestDisk_d4803.html *
    http://www.majorgeeks.com/Partition_Saving_d5753.html *
    http://www.majorgeeks.com/Partition_Find_&_Mount_d5740.html *
    .... and one over at Snapfiles http://www.snapfiles.com/reviews/softperfect-file-recovery/spfilerecovery.html
    For paid software, I have used OnTrack's Easy Recovery Professional many, MANY times with excellent results. More info: http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.com/file-recovery-software/
    * = these are primarily for 'rebuilding' or recovering an entire partition, at the partition level, versus file recovery at the file level.
    I haven't necessarily used all of these programs, but I've tried most of 'em at one point or another. PCinspector is probably your best bet for freeware for recovering data from a formatted drive, but it isn't very user friendly, neither is TestDisk. If possible, remove the hard drive and hook it up as a secondary drive on a different PC. The idea is to write as little data as possible to the drive. As more data is written to the drive (this includes installing data recovery programs, surfing the web, and just using Windows), any data 'hidden' will be gradually over-written and lost FOREVER. Another reason you'd want to use a 2nd PC is because you need a safe place to save your recovered data. If you recover data from the same drive you save it to, you'll eventually over-write the data you want to recover with data you're saving. If a 2nd PC isn't feasible, you should purchase an external USB drive so you'll have a safe 'neutral' place to save your recovered data so you don't over-write anything that may still be hidden on the system drive. If you recover even some of your data, you really should consider a back up option like an external USB drive, burning to CD/DVD, something.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    (not to rub salt in your wounds, but you should NEVER cancel chkdsk; I have seen chkdsk take over 12 hours; I have NEVER seen chkdsk completely lock up; if in doubt, let chkdsk run overnight and all day if needed)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  8. fairjoeblue

    fairjoeblue Private E-2

    Give REST2514 a try.

    I have resuced a lot of files with it when "computers" was a "hobby" ,


    [It's not on MG ]

    I have moved on to OnTrack Easy Recovery Pro but REST2514 served me well.
  9. sighlentex

    sighlentex Private E-2

    Thanks for your help everyone, now I've at least got a roadmap for what to do.

    (and dlb, I didn't cancel the chkdsk. When I say it froze, I mean it gave me an error message and said it couldn't continue. I can't remember now exactly what it said, but it wasn't going to go any farther.)

    I've learned "small" lessons about losing data in the past, but this is the first time I've been faced with truly losing everything. It's been a painful lesson to learn. This was the "big" one, and the one that has shown me that I need to spend a little bit of money to buy something to back up my data with.

    I also wanted to make a small note (so that I can try to make myself look like less of an idiot) about the reasons I thought I was repairing my windows when I was actually reinstalling it. I'm fairly new to WinXP...until just a few short years ago I was a diehard 98SE holdover. I had to repair my 98SE a few times, and I don't recall losing my files...it seemed it just fixed the files it needed to fix, and left everything else alone. Not so with XP. Anyway, that's all. :)

    Thanks again for your help!

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