Help! - XP Says HD isn't formatted, but it is

How can I recover the files on the hard drive?

I haven't used this computer in about 2 years, had forgotten about the pictures & music that were on it, I was listening to the music when it stopped playing, I rebooted (as I was installing updates from windows update) and now my D drive says it isn't formatted.

I've tried using TestDisk, but not 100% sure how to use it. When I look at the files, it only sees 3 files on the root drive, it doesn't see any of the subfolders. I started, but didn't let it finish, the photorec program, and it started finding lots of files, but the way it was naming them would make it a nightmare to go through them all to find what I want to keep, etc.

Any tips on how to recover my files?
Is it a lost cause?

Obviously they weren't that important to me, as I hadn't used the computer for 2 years, but would still love to save 'em.
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  1. Best answer
    I've used the free version of this in the past:

    However, depending on what corrupted, it could be a huge headache to recover them.
  2. Giving it a try. I know I recovered 3 photos using the PhotoREc program that you get with TestDisk, the 3rd photo was a surprise as it wasn't on the room drive so I had no idea it existed.

    Hopefully this will recover all my photos, care more about them then anything else on that drive. Luckily it wasn't my C drive :)
  3. Yep, if the file system got messed up, you might just recover an unorganized an partially unreadable mess. Worth a shot though.
  4. Is this about FAT(32) or NTFS?
  5. NTFS -- I'm still waiting for the process to finish
  6. Well, Steller helped me out. Was able to save the files I was looking to save.

    Should I format the HD and see if it'll still be a good drive or is it toast?

    Please note: This computer is a POS computer, I plan on using it for storage of items. So any HD would be decent as long as it works. Or is there a better way to use the HDs in this machine for storage?
  7. Well, when my Hard drive randomly corrupted, I recovered what data I needed, reformatted, and it has worked without issue for 2+ more years. So there is hope. However, in my case I think it was the chipset's fault (nVidia's nForce 4 was known for corrupting data) so really the drive may have never malfunctioned.
  8. Thanks for all the help. I'll try using it, but won't put any important data on it.
  9. Best answer selected by trickynick.
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