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Restore data from deleted HD partition

Last response: in Storage
October 20, 2012 3:44:19 PM

Hi, I just made a huge mistake, and I really hope someone can tell me if there is a way to fix this.
I wanted to install a new OS and at the same time merge the two partitions on the harddrive, since one of the partitions wasn't used.
What happened is that I accidentally saved my backup-data on the second (unused) partition instead of on the external harddrive. Then the two partitions got merged and the new OS installed.
And then I realised that the external disk was empty!!
Does anyone know if there is a way to restore the data? I've tried to search for a solution, but haven't been able to find anyone with this problem anywhere.
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
a c 104 G Storage
October 20, 2012 4:29:36 PM

Hi Kinna, and Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

Sounds like you overwrote some of you data with the new OS.

Depending on how much data you have on the "backup" drive, (Win-7 takes ~ 20GB), you may be able to recover some or most of the rest. The overwritten section is "overwrittern" so you can't get it back without a commercial data recovery process.

Don't do anything more with this HDD, like booting it up, or looking for data.

You will need a separate desktop computer, to take out, and connect this drive as a secondary drive. Then you will need a Data Recovery application to download and install on the desktop, to look for and recover this data.

Here are the websites of two very good ones. My favorite is EaseUS.

EaseUS Data, Partition, Deleted File Recovery Wizard
Home Edition freeware Commercial Ed $69.95 Prof Edition $89.95

TenorShare Data Recovery "Recover data from HDD's, Flash Drives, floppy disk, CF cards, memory sticks, SD cards, etc.
Data recovery from any device, and Win FS FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS. Enterprise edition will recover RAID"
30 Day Trial Standard $24.95 http://www.****/product/

Check out the home free editions, however most will let you recover ~1GB of data, then you have to purchase the full version to recover more.
October 20, 2012 5:27:06 PM

Thank you very much for your reply. I will remove the harddrive immediately and try installing one of the applications on another computer.
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a c 311 G Storage
October 20, 2012 7:55:18 PM

Partition Find & Mount (freeware) may be able to locate your original partition and give you access to your files. It doesn't write to your drive, so it should be safe.
October 20, 2012 11:36:11 PM

Did you put anything else on the drive yet?
How empty space on a computer works, is that its still there, its just listed as non-existent, until you install/download another piece of software that overwrites it.

Also, find a good data restorer, as long as you didn't put anything else on it yet, you should be good.
a b G Storage
October 24, 2012 5:50:16 AM

TestDisk is a free and powerful software that could help you recover some of your data. If this program could not recover your data I think other software could not either.
a c 311 G Storage
October 24, 2012 5:56:30 AM

+1 to TestDisk, although you would need to be careful. AIUI TestDisk wants to write to the drive, so I would run it against the clone rather than the original drive.
a c 104 G Storage
October 24, 2012 3:15:41 PM

fzabkar said:
+1 to TestDisk, although you would need to be careful. AIUI TestDisk wants to write to the drive, so I would run it against the clone rather than the original drive.

Hi Franc,

I recommended you as the ultimate HDD repair expert, on a post 10/21/12 by CasinoGiant "Reversed Polarity on HardDrive" where I know you could give him solid easy to fix advice, as compared to the advice given. Hope you can take a look, & I know it will be very much appreciated.

a c 311 G Storage
October 26, 2012 7:13:49 PM

@John, CasinoGiant appears to have lost interest in that thread. In any case I think you have a handle on the problem.