Computer Help forum


HDD Help, How do I recover data that does not show up?

by G20C / July 23, 2011 12:24 AM PDT

I'm hoping someone knows how to fix this problem I am having with a hard drive.

I don't know how to put it so I will just do my best to explain what it is and isn't doing and how it got that way.

It's a Maxtor 30G HDD.

I am unable to access any data from it as it is now showing up as an empty non formatted hard drive but there is a lot of data on it, including on OS.

This hard drive was originally running Windows XP Home SP3 on an ECS mobo with an AMD Athlon 64 and 2GB of ram.

My brother was installing a new game when the videocard started going out and the graphics got choppy and he received an error stating the videocard could not run the new game so he proceeded to uninstall it.

In the process of uninstalling this game he realized that he installed the new game into a different folder containing a different game and ended up wiping out that game too. Frustrated he attempted to do a System Restore when the videocard took its final breath and burned out.

The computer crashed and restarted and upon reboot gave the "Windows did not shut down properly..." and gave the usual options.

When he tried to reboot using the last good state he got the Blue Screen of Death that vanished after a second and shut down the computer.

We tried to run in safe mode but it only displays a string of code and hangs up.

We decided to start over and pulled the hard drive with the crashed OS on it and put the backup drive (40GB)that was empty as the new master and installed a fresh clean OS onto it and we bought a brand new videocard.

Everything runs smooth and great.

However, we plugged the 30GB hard drive in as a slave to see if we can just copy the files we want to save and then wipe off the old OS and everything else but now this drive is showing up as empty and not formatted in windows.

I know this hard drive has data on it because when we change the boot sequence in the BIOS and run it as the boot drive it tries to boot and gives us the "Windows did not shutdown..." message again and gives the usual options. When we try the last working option it tries to boot up and just hangs endlessly but at least it doesn't give the blue screen and shut down.

Safe mode still does not work though.

The computer was password protected also in case this matters.

I have looked online to see if I could find a solution to this but have come up empty so that's why I decided to ask for help.

Meanwhile I downloaded a trial version of Boomerang Data Recovery software to see if the data was in fact still alive and it is.

Boomerang scanned the drive and found all of the data on it (specific folders and files etc.)but I think it is also a scam as Boomerang is telling me that it located 250.68 gigs of data ON A 30 GB HARD DRIVE??!?!?! Plus they want to charge $100USD for 500GB of recovery data but I only need to recover about 10GB off this hard drive.

So I am hoping someone can help me out here.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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All Answers

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Be honest. 100 bucks for your files is a bargain.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 23, 2011 2:29 AM PDT

If your files are not worth that much you can try the TOP POST in the Cnet Storage forum and the tools noted there.

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I am honest.
by G20C / July 23, 2011 4:31 PM PDT

I would like to keep the files, they are important, after I recover those then I can just reformat and wipe it.

And no, $100 to recover such a small portion of data is not really a bargain, especially when that software is faulty and trying to tell me that a 30GB HDD has 250GB of data on it.

I know there has to be a way to make the data accessible on a perfectly fine working hard drive that does not involve spending hundreds of dollars but just some simple know how.

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TestDISK from worked.
by G20C / July 23, 2011 6:03 PM PDT

Well I got it fixed, thanks for the link to your other post.

The link in your 3rd post down for Free Data Recovery software linked me to CGS and their TestDisk program that fixed the bad partition sector in less than a minute and had everything running smooth. I can even boot to the old OS on that hard drive also.

I knew there was a simple fix to this problem as a friend of mine had it
happen before and fixed it, sadly he passed away some time ago..

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Good to read.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2011 12:04 AM PDT

I field a lot of recovery questions and 100 is a bargain today. Many have tried self recovery and made matters worse because they work on the original and not a clone copy.

Hope you keep a backup copy in the future.

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