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Help recover my .DAT files and save friendship

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 20, 2011 12:10:28 PM


Hello Everyone,

MY DELL Dimension 5150 has been crashing frequently and not printing. I tried restoring to previous dates which did not work so on advice I decided to restore to the dell factory setting.

This meant creating a backup of files and settings on the 'old computer' before restoring the to the original factory settings.
I used the Files and Settings Transfer wizard but when trying to restore the DAT files in the USMT2.UNC folder, the folder was not recognised. The folder contained 26 IMG001-26 folders and one status folder.

I found a discussion where instructions were provided to create a new folder as the old computer copying the contents of the UNC folder into it and deleting the original contents of the new folder. At this point I suggested we save a backup of the DAT files and my friend said it would take too long and we had a backup of everything in the .DAT files. Stupid me for not insisting. He then proceeded to delete those very files thinking they were the newly created files ignoring my cries of copy copy. I had got up from the desk to get a drink and in the two minutes we lost 10 years of files and photos. the status folder remains and the IMG0025 and IMG0026 files which he had not yet deleted. (the instructions said to leave the status folder )

I googled and found there is software to recover deleted files. We installed Undeleter. It recovered files but charged a £30 fee. I entered the fee but it did not process payment in paypal or by credit card or send the access key number. There are a number of files saved by Undeleter in the folder which are named 'unregistered' UND files only two of these have .DAT extensions. I have emailed Undeleter to pay and get full access but they do not work on weekends.

While waiting a reply I searched the net and found Recuva as a recommended software. I have installed it as well and it is currently scanning the drive for deleted files. It is 31% of the way through but it has not found anything.
I am worried some of the computer activity may have overriden any files on the hard drive although I have been using my laptop to minimise use of the desk top. My friend did move around a bit on the computer looking and trying to find the files after they were deleted.

This all happened through the night until 5am with Recuver being installed this morning.

Am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I can do? I am so bereft I can't even accept his apology.


Please help.
:(  :( 
August 20, 2011 11:36:02 PM

Don't worry about this mate, you're gonna be fine. My sister is a professional photographer, and when she got a new laptop I took her old one, reformatted the HDD and installed Windows 7 on it. But she never moved her photos onto her new laptop. I, too, tried to use Recuva, but it didn't help much, so I found another piece of software, DiskInternals Partition Recovery ($140), which saved all the files. Now, as you've not deleted the partition, you can use DiskInternals Uneraser for $40, or you can try the free version, but I think the free version will find the files but not recover them.

Best of luck!
August 21, 2011 6:16:59 AM

PudgyChicken said:
Don't worry about this mate, you're gonna be fine. My sister is a professional photographer, and when she got a new laptop I took her old one, reformatted the HDD and installed Windows 7 on it. But she never moved her photos onto her new laptop. I, too, tried to use Recuva, but it didn't help much, so I found another piece of software, DiskInternals Partition Recovery ($140), which saved all the files. Now, as you've not deleted the partition, you can use DiskInternals Uneraser for $40, or you can try the free version, but I think the free version will find the files but not recover them.

Best of luck!


Thanks PudgyChicken.

Undeleter seems to have found them but calls them 'unregistered' and I can't recover them because the fee is outstanding. They don't work weekends so I can't resolve the payment issue.

Recuva found them but said they were overwritten by the unregistered files and not recoverable. Is my only choice to pay Undeleter or could any paid service like your DiskInternals recover them?
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August 24, 2011 8:32:44 AM

DiskInternals Uneraser is your best bet IMO. I wouldn't bother with your Undeleter program, it seems like it might be a scam.
August 30, 2011 9:36:03 PM

Thanks PudgyChicken and Johnm.

I took my computer to a computer repair shop in South East London and using their tools they managed to recover alot of files but not my outlook emails. I'm very grateful for what I have. I'll try a company that does disk imaging of the hard drive.

Thanks for your support.

!