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Locate Files after Restored Computer

by cfh513 / February 29, 2004 8:22 AM PST

I did the absolute unheard of thing when I recently restored my computer. I forgot to save some very important files from my C drive. Is there ANY possible way to locate these files, possibly on my D drive, or have I really made a mess for myself? Some info: I used WIN ME Restore/Recovery disc, have a Compaq Presario 5000 pc with C and D drives. I already tried "Search" "Find files or folders" in the D and C drives, with no luck. Was wondering if there a hi-tech backway in somewhere, thru dos, bios, etc.

Anyone, please?

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Re:Locate Files after Restored Computer
by Danboy / March 1, 2004 11:47 AM PST

Hi Sad

Try one of these.

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Recovering Deleted files
by Mowassa / January 4, 2007 4:24 AM PST

I did the same thing. Thought I had backed up all my Jpeg files, but of course NONE were backed up. Used which did not have anything worth backing up, tried backing up to cd's and also had problems but didn't know until after the fact.

IS THERE ANY KIND OF "RELATIVELY CHEAP SOFTWARE" I can get to retrieve these files. I know they're still on there but I am afraid to reinstall programs, etc. so I don't overwrite the space they may be on. I also have a 2 partition drive c and d. Believe the D drive may hold the files. Purchased PC Tools File Recovery but says files deleted are unrecoverable or corrupted. Please tell me differently?

Thanks for any help. Mowassa

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Hopefully you stopped booting from said drive?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2007 4:30 AM PST

If you keep using it, with every boot the files recovery prospects dim.

Look to ZAR, PC FILE INSPECTOR and finally


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Reboot of drive
by Mowassa / January 4, 2007 8:14 PM PST

Thank you Bob for that information. Basically, I've been leaving the computer on. Re-booted a couple times trying to get Norton Intenet Security installed properly and updates installed from Windows. I also reinstalled CCleaner, Registry Mechanic, File Recovery and Spyware Doctor in which I had subscriptions. I appreciate your assistance and will try your suggestions.

I will let you know the outcome.

Thanks again, Mowassa

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Sadly, that's the incorrect approach. Here's what we do.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 5, 2007 12:06 AM PST
In reply to: Reboot of drive

If the drive is formatted, the new os is NEVER installed. Remove the drive and put it into some other machine to use the free or demo tools to see if we can get the files back. Next Drivesavers is considered.

All this use of the hard disk is reducing the chances of getting anything back. Including leaving it on with an OS that is writing to the hard disk every so often.

This may be your first time at this so don't feel bad. The first time is where people learn about it. And they learn why a backup of what we can't lose is never optional.


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did a complete system restore back to factory settings
by mzjane / February 21, 2007 7:17 PM PST

My computer froze so I restarted it and then it would not let me access the internet. I called HP technjcal support and a gentleman told instructed me on resetting my computer to factory settings and I lost all my data such as my documents everything in windows media player and several other files. Please help if you can.

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Re: lost files after system restore
by Kees Bakker / February 21, 2007 7:30 PM PST


It could be that this really was the only solution. But it could just as well (and more likely, in my opinion) be that the HP gentleman didn't really try to solve your problem but gave a fast and crude way out.
And surely he forgot to instruct you to 'backup' (burn to CD/DVD, copy to external hard disk or to another computer) the data that you didn't want to lose. And I understand from your story that you don't do that regularly and routinely. That's taking a big risk, as you learned now.
And maybe he forgot to tell you that it offered several options, like a destructive restore (that you did) and a non-destructive restore (that would have saved your data). But, to be fair, I don't know if the restore CD you used had those options. Some do, some don't, especially the older ones.

The prospects of getting anything back are rather bad, and they are becoming worse and worse the more you do with this PC with this hard disk.
All I can advice: put the hard disk aside as soon as possible. Then mount it as a slave in a working PC, and try the tools mentioned in the posts above. The chances of recovering some data is small, but not totally zero.

Hope this helps.


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by thetim berry / April 3, 2007 8:37 PM PDT

I would really use Active@ Undelete. It can work even if system is down. What is more, it never failed me. I suppose you should try it

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think i can help
by tiberiumdj / January 9, 2009 4:19 PM PST

If you have done a restore/ pc recovery on a compaq e-mail me. There is a reason your hard drive disk space remains the same and yes it is actually fairly easy to get all the files you had, im talking about pictures, mp3's, word, ect. it a simple process you need to preform in safe mode. Don't waist money on software, I have done this a few time while not thinking and have always found my files. putting them back where you want them can be a bit of a pain, but you wont loose them. Not sure what other computers this works on however its always worth a try.

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Help please
by annette1212 / January 9, 2009 10:24 PM PST
In reply to: think i can help

Hello, I had the same problem. I lost all my documents/excel/pictures. I am so very upset and really would love to have your assistance. I have a compaq and am using windows xp home edition. Model number is SR1720NX

It seems like the systems crashed for many individuals.

Yesterday I contacted compaq and the women I talk to informed me to put in my disk and follow step by step.I specifically asked her if I could retrieve any of my stuff on the computer prior to completing this. She informed me everything would still be on the computer. NOT TRUE(not yelling at you).

I did this and when it was all completed my computer went back to factory reset. I never cried so hard as I lost pictures of my mom and her last visit to me.

My outlook express-all emails were gone, address book gone, however all the games I downloaded from gamehouse were still intact. Which I found strange.

I spent over nine hours on the computer yesterday and when I contacted compaq after all was said and done they did not help me at all.

It says to email you, I have no clue how I am to receive an email back from you. I will come back and check on here.

Kindest Regards,


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Ive done the same :'(
by Sophiee09 / April 18, 2009 3:24 AM PDT
In reply to: think i can help

Never getting compaq again theyre terrible mine kept crashing everytime i started it up so i had to restor it and wasnt able to back up my pictures. i would really appresiate it if you could help me pleaaaase? >_<
message for msn.

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Hard Disk structures: Backup and Repair
by otr_man / June 16, 2009 6:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Ive done the same :'(

The page linked to contains detailed instructions on how to backup and restore the key sectors of a FAT32 hard disk (for any size of hard disk from 32 MB to 137 GB), under Windows 98 or Windows ME.

Included are instructions on how to use those backups to recover from a disk crash, and how to recover from a disk crash even if you do not have those backups (a rather more difficult problem).

A great deal of information about the disk structure of a FAT32 hard disk is provided, which attempts to provide an all-purpose DIY solution to disk repair and data recovery.

In terms of disk repair, it tackles both repairing the data structure of a working disk which has suffered only data corruption (due to data being written to the system area, overwriting the MBR, Boot Sector or FAT), and fixing broken hardware (including repairing bad sectors).

In terms of data recovery, it explains how to safely copy files from a broken disk to a new disk (including how to install a new working hard disk), with details of how to clone the entire broken disk and of how to copy individual files (one-by-one or en mass).

Instructions are also included on recovering from common file system errors, such as the "Blue Screen Of Death". Many other error messages generated by the Windows ME Operating System are also tackled.

Each section of this page includes recommendations on which software to use, and details of how to use it most effectively. These are mostly DOS programs, to enable you to carry out the work even where Windows can't load.

Included at the bottom of the page are download links to enable you to obtain on-line the software referred to.
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need help
by burkecountystud / May 11, 2010 6:27 AM PDT
In reply to: think i can help

i did a system recovery on my compaq presario c700 an how and i recover my files

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You did the operations in the wrong order.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 11, 2010 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: need help

Step 1. Recovery files.
Step 2. System Recovery.

About all you can do now is to remove the drive and head to and ask them what they can recover.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 11, 2010 6:33 AM PDT

I meant "Recovery of files."

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Restore on a compaq lost files help!
by Hillaryl12 / June 24, 2010 4:38 AM PDT
In reply to: think i can help

hi, I did a restore on my compaq laptop xp home edition. I really needed to find some pictures of a friend who just passed away. I wanted to find out of there is anyway to find these files. Please help. Thanks

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Re: get files back after system restore
by Kees Bakker / June 24, 2010 4:42 AM PDT

If you don't have a backup and did a restore back to factory conditions, you probably can't do this yourself. Did you study and try everything DIY from the posts above)? Then only professional datarecovery can possibly help.


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restored factory settings
by maggie1wood / July 22, 2010 4:12 AM PDT
In reply to: think i can help

hi there i've done the same i've restored my compaq presario pc to factory settings without saving my documents. is there anything i can do? i would be very grateful for any help...many thanks

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