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How to find lost data

by azoric / August 23, 2006 6:51 AM PDT

(reposted from my blog:

I?ve spent a lot of time at my computer this week, none of it blogging.

The Adventure begins Saturday evening when I decided it was finally time to reformat the old hard drive and reinstall everything. The week before I had purchased an external hard drive with ample space to do my backups. And like a good IT professional I properly backed up all my files, and settings.

Oh by the way, the Windows XP settings backup is a great utility!

So there I am, I?ve got all my backups in place A Windows XP install disc and a computer that desperately needs a reformat.

So when prompted to partition hard disc space I decide to go from 2 partitions to 1. So I start deleting partitions. Unfortunately my firewire drive was still on so that third partition I deleted was all my backup data.

(insert expletives here)

Now keep in mind At this point I have no access to my now unpardoned backup drive because the only firewire port in the house is on my desktop PC with no operating system at the moment.

Now this is where things get a little complicated. Even though I had the foresight to turn off the firewire drive AFTER I had deleted the partition (not that it would have mattered) Mid-format of the internal drive was interrupted when the power surged and restarted the computer.

At this point I have an unpartioned external drive and a half-formatted hard drive that when you plug it in you get a lot of clicking because it can?t find its own start point.

So I give up and go to the bar.

Sunday I buy a brand new internal hard drive and install Windows properly and then the fun begins. I finally have confirmation of my worst fears. I don?t have access to any of my backups!

Well I know where they are. They?re in that little grey box with the bright blue light on my desk? I just have no way to access them.

Apearently I?m not the only person to have done this. This article ( explains how someone could easially do the same thing. And I agree Frustration compounds even the simplest task (you can quote me on that one!).

I tried the program he recommended and honestly after 2 hours of waiting for it to finish scanning the drive and providing no results I was almost depressed. Wanting to give it another try I mentioned it to a DBA that I play volleyball with. He recommended Zero Assumption Recovery(

Where was this when I needed it Sunday? (given it was only Tuesday when I talked to him) but literally within 20 minutes I had found all my data in tact! So it didn?t take me long to whip out Mr. Plastic (that?s a credit card, not a ***** euphemism you pervert!) and pay the $79 to get it all back.

So there you have it... Data Recovery Adventures Of Andy Style?

The moral of this story: Try not to loose anything important in the first place!

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(NT) (NT) Thanks for sharing ...glad to hear the outcome was positive
by VAPCMD / August 23, 2006 1:28 PM PDT
In reply to: How to find lost data
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Thanks Andy, try not to lose your intact data again!
by auntetr / August 26, 2006 5:03 AM PDT
In reply to: How to find lost data

I'm sure you would hate for it to get loose.
Sometimes friends don't have the tact to let you
keep your dignity intact when you goof!
They ought to just loosen up!
Great tip! I've got a cold,
so I'm off to take more Con tact...

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Just a few words
by Merranvo / August 29, 2006 1:21 PM PDT
In reply to: How to find lost data

I know that this is probally not really needed, but $79 for a recovery is well over priced. I can not comment on why so-in-so program did not work, but I feel that others should know to check further before going for something that is not fully needed.

My guess is that the program you used only sniffed for the FAT, if the drive got repartitioned the FAT may have been over written (at least it appears that way when I use recovery programs)

Personally, I would have recommended, if you wanted to spend a little more time to save a pretty penny, to check out Recovery Programs at CNET or PCWORLD. In a similar situation, using the demos of such programs, I found one that would do what I needed for around $20.

It isn't the best way to spend the day, but if you really don't want to dish out more then you need on recovery services, what you can save does make you feel proud in the end. Mind you, that is only if it turns out you only need a low grade recovery. If you need a higher grade you can spend hours of finding the right program but it being priced at 100-200 dollars. in that aspect I say for a highergrade recovery program 79 is a rare find... I only question if you really needed something that powerful.

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79 bucks in my opinion is getting off cheap.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 29, 2006 10:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Just a few words

You only need to take it to a shop or a recovery house to discovery that this is a bargain.


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ZAR is FANTASTIC-I had to use it also. Same exact problem.
by vlincoln / August 30, 2006 4:00 AM PDT
In reply to: How to find lost data

THANK YOU for the story, you led me onto software
that gave me MY files back. Ontracks software is $500,
for the least expensive package, ZAR software is a BARGAIN at $80......If you need it, YOU NEED IT!!!!!
thanks again.
van lincoln

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ZAR Cost
by kwkid / September 5, 2006 5:31 AM PDT

I have to agree with the majority here, 80 bucks just isn't that bad compared to others. In the end, the user made an assuption that the data was worth an expenditure of $80.00. Not knowing exactly what the data contained, I don't believe we should second guess their value, as some of the data (pictures of a recent vacation, wedding pictures, that sort of thing) could be considered invaluable or even priceless to the individual. In that respect, $80.00 would be downright cheap.

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