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Formatted Drive from NTFS to FAT32, must recover data from NTFS system

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  • Hard Drives
  • NTFS
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
November 4, 2012 3:22:00 AM

I use Vista and I have a 2TB seagate expantion HDD where I keep all my various media files and an archive of academic work. The other day a friend of mine attempted to make a bootable usb with a small thumb drive they had on my pc as their machine had failed. The attempted to reformat the usb thumb drive but by mistake reformatted my external HD instead. The process was stopped after a few minutes before it was complete. It was a quick format option and nothing has been written to the disk since then.

I believe that the file system used on the drive was originally NTFS and the format was done to FAT32. The drive now shows up as needing formatted in my computer (probably because the formatting was stopped before it was complete) and in disk management it shows as a RAW disk.

I cannot be 100% sure my external drive was originally set to NTFS file system but as I had files larger than 6GB on this drive I assume it was.

I did run a read only scan on he drive using icare format recovery which found over three hundred thousand files unfortunately they were all jumbled up and renamed. I believe that a good amount of my files are still on the drive but I want to get the File Directories and File names back again as they would be impossible to sort though one by one.

I also did a scan in TestDisk which did not find a partition, I just did the basic scan on this software.

I am now trying GetDataBack NTFS it is at about 15% of the scan and so far it has found 1000's of files and hundreds of file allocations but no MFT entries or Boot sectors. The Scan still has 19 hours to run it has already been on for about one and a half hours.

I am concerned that it is not finding any MFT entries, please could you tell me if I reformt a drive from NTFS to FAT32 does that mean that all the file structure and file names are 100% gone and can never be retrieved?

It the File directories and names are gone and all I have is raw data 1000's and 1000's of files of it how best can I sort it out?

More about : formatted drive ntfs fat32 recover data ntfs system

November 4, 2012 12:15:09 PM

The GetBackData NTFS scan has now been running for 10 hours and it has now found 4 MFT entries and 1 $MFT is this enough to restore my data along with the file names and directories?
November 4, 2012 12:30:57 PM

Did you do a quick or complete format? Although I have not used GetBackdata, the system I use for data recovery would be able to recover if it says the scan showed files. The $MFT may not be necessary for actual file recovery.
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November 4, 2012 12:53:17 PM

rearendhat said:
Did you do a quick or complete format? Although I have not used GetBackdata, the system I use for data recovery would be able to recover if it says the scan showed files. The $MFT may not be necessary for actual file recovery.


It was a quick format and it wasn't completed. The problem for me as well as getting my data back is that as the drive had 1000's of files I really need to get my file names and file directories back and I thought that all hope of this might have been lost as the format had been from NFTS to FAT32. However as GetBackData has found a $MFT then perhaps it can recover data and the original file structure?