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Help - external hard drive accidentally reformatted

Last response: in Storage
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July 16, 2007 4:35:50 AM

Okay, I am completely sick right now. My husband went to wipe our desktop's hard drive to find out that he had started wiping our external hard drive. He only go through 4% when he caught it but now it is not being seen on the desk top when we try to get to it. Please tell me that there is a way to recover this data? The hard drive was turned off after we tried to find it with the desktop. I have about 6 years worth of pictures on there and don't know what I am going to do if they are gone.

Any help would be great.
July 16, 2007 6:02:57 AM

Well right now it all depends on what type of hard drive wipe was initiated on the drive.
What was done a zero of the full drive, or a series of random writes to the DOD spec.
If only the first 4% of the hard drive was written to and depending on the amount of disk fragmentation.
Much of your data will still be on the drive. But it will be very expensive to retrieve.
Spinpoint software may help. Just do not take it to Best Buys Geek Squad.
This may be of use to you.

http://www.stellarinfo.com/partition-recovery.htm?gclid... GgodAV_00Q

http://www.data-recovery-software.net/

Also look on sourceforge there may be something there that can help.
July 16, 2007 6:18:06 AM

Try Active Undelete - it's worked very well for me when we thought my sister's drive was done. It finds files independent of the formatting as long as they have not been overwritten with anything else.
Related resources
July 16, 2007 6:37:45 AM

Another suggestion.......always backup pictures to CD or DVD. You never know when you might you might lose your HD.
July 16, 2007 6:41:59 AM

babyramm said:
Okay, I am completely sick right now. My husband went to wipe our desktop's hard drive to find out that he had started wiping our external hard drive. He only go through 4% when he caught it but now it is not being seen on the desk top when we try to get to it. Please tell me that there is a way to recover this data? The hard drive was turned off after we tried to find it with the desktop. I have about 6 years worth of pictures on there and don't know what I am going to do if they are gone.

Any help would be great.


Spinright or getdataback would both do what you want to do. Their price is reasonable as well. You might have to take the drive out of the enclosure and mount it as an internal drive, I've not tried either of these utilities on an external drive. Maybe Somejoe777 will weigh in here...

Acronis true image will easily make drive images to prevent future panic. You're lucky, the drive is not (yet) physically damaged.
July 16, 2007 6:54:06 AM

If what happened is that your husband simply chose "format" from Windows Explorer or issued the "Format" command from the cmd console, your data can easily be retrieved with little or no loss at all of files.

If that is the case, get the yellow pages and call around to locate a technician that uses "Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional". With that tool, recovering from an accidental format is simple and almost always 100% successful. I do this several times a year for customers who have made the same mistake. I'd suggest you purchase a copy of Ontrack's software but it is rather expensive (in the $1000 ballpark depending on the version).

A word of advice, while it is tempting to attempt to recover the data yourself, I suggest you refrain from the urge. At this point, a qualified technician with the right tools, can get your data back without any problem. It is not unusual for someone in your position to make matters worse by attempting to recover the data yourself.

HTH
July 16, 2007 2:56:02 PM

I agree with other posters - how to proceed is dependent on what was done to the drive.

If it was a Windows format command then I would use the following programs in this order:

1. Active@Undelete
2. GetDataBack for NTFS

If the wipe was being done with a program that's meant to overwrite data (like KillDisk, Darik's Boot and Nuke, etc.) then some of the data is gone with no chance of recovery, but since you stopped the process at 4%, a decent amount of the data is probably still recoverable. In this case, there's only one program I have experience with that will help you:

1. GetDataBack for NTFS

In all cases, I would attempt to recover the files to a different drive than the external that you're recovering data from.

SpinRite is not the correct tool for this situation. SpinRite can assist in recovering data from drives that have bad sectors, but not drives where the partition and directory information have been overwritten.

Active@Partition Recovery is a great tool for deleted partitions, but isn't the best tool for this situation because more than just the partition information has been erased.

I also agree with 440bx - if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the operations performed by these tools, then it is recommended that you let a data recovery expert proceed instead of attempting to work on the drive yourself.
July 16, 2007 3:01:40 PM

SomeJoe7777 said:
I agree with other posters - how to proceed is dependent on what was done to the drive.

If it was a Windows format command then I would use the following programs in this order:

1. Active@Undelete
2. GetDataBack for NTFS

If the wipe was being done with a program that's meant to overwrite data (like KillDisk, Darik's Boot and Nuke, etc.) then some of the data is gone with no chance of recovery, but since you stopped the process at 4%, a decent amount of the data is probably still recoverable. In this case, there's only one program I have experience with that will help you:

1. GetDataBack for NTFS

In all cases, I would attempt to recover the files to a different drive than the external that you're recovering data from.

SpinRite is not the correct tool for this situation. SpinRite can assist in recovering data from drives that have bad sectors, but not drives where the partition and directory information have been overwritten.

Active@Partition Recovery is a great tool for deleted partitions, but isn't the best tool for this situation because more than just the partition information has been erased.


Thanks.... Every time you post I learn something new.

Now if the OP will just re-visit the forum...
December 18, 2012 6:44:17 AM

I also had the similar problem last week. It was really terrible for me. Therefore, in order to recover my crucial files, I just searched a lot on the internet to find a free recovery tool, which was recommended by some practical user. Honestly, the most attracting point for me was that it was definitely free. In all, I just applied it and it also did not let me down.
As one encounter the similar problem, this freeware can be a good choice.
But, he also need take care about some tips:
1. Stop using this drive immediately to avoid overwriting the original data, which can make inner data gone permanently.
2. Save the recovered files on a different drive in case of recovery failure.
3. Back up the important data in a safe place.
!