Hard drive recovery

  Wrinkles 13:32 20 Feb 2008

I have a dead computer to revive, and all is well except for the hard drive which was the C: drive running xp Home. It was to have become the D: as it contains a large selection of un-backed up Photos.
I have no knowledge of what happened to this machine except that PSU, MoBo and Graphics cards were fried.
Anyway on connecting the D; drive the PC doesn't see it. So it was changed to C; and an XP repair install attempted. No success. although the console did see the disk and it's contents but would not copy them.
Further fiddling and I found that the Drive is now Fat32 when it was NTFS, I managed to get some of the photos off but which ever recovery tool I use none 'sees' the whole drive.
As this is not My PC, the owner is skint I am not inclined to Buy a recovery tool that may or may not do the job. I am open to suggestions on my next step. Anyone know of a Good data recovery tool that is freeware or has a decent fully functioning demo period.

  rossgolf 13:40 20 Feb 2008

if you have another computer to connect it to. try buying a 3.5" drive caddy from somewhere like amazon. connect that and transfer the files.

  Wrinkles 13:52 20 Feb 2008

I have tried connecting it to another PC but whatever it's connected to doesn't read the drive. Only recovery tools, some see it, then only some files. I currently have it connected to a Win2000 machine that has a large, almost empty Drive that any recovered files can be copied to. This machine sees the drive in Bios, in windows it sees it as unformatted and offers to format it. I have tried 4 different data recovery progs all with varying degrees of success. None doing the whole job.
I am tempted to format or scrap the drive but in truth I quite like the challenge of recovering "lost" data. (And I get brownie points from er indoors for getting back her friends photos. always useful)

  xania 14:50 20 Feb 2008

One of your concerns should be the condition of that hard drive. It sounds as if it was damaged when the PC was fried and all you are doing could speed up its demise. So I strongly recommend that you now attempt a partition copy to either another HDD or to a DVD. The bast way would be to use a disk caddy , but failing this put the drive into any PC that will read it, but as slave to reduce stress on the drive mechanics during boot-up.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:10 20 Feb 2008

Testdisc click here
Drive Rescue click here

connect as slave and use test disk to find and recovr files to your other HDD.

  Wrinkles 20:59 20 Feb 2008

Yes thanks Xania, I had realised that the drive was damaged in the fry up. Which is why I am trying to find something to get the files of it.

So far I have tried Total recovery,Total Undelete, NTFS file recovery, disk doctor & O&O disk recover. Some files I have recovered but the majority are proving troublesome.

Thanks Fruit Bat I'll give those a try and get back to you.

  Wrinkles 10:18 21 Feb 2008

AHA! I may have solved it. O&O disk recover, This I had installed on another PC, First attempts didn't do much but after Re-reading the instructions and tweaking it a little it has begun to recover the disk. So far it is finding files by the dozen. As the estimated run time is a little over 9 hours I have left it to it's own devices but for interest sake I will report back on how successful O&O was.
Watch this space.....

  Wrinkles 10:26 03 Mar 2008

Sorry it took time to get back on this.

O&O Disk recover is the the dogs dangly bits. It recovered everything from the "Dead" hard drive.
It's not perfect as none of the files have their original names. But it did put each file in it's corresponding directory ie .JPG or .Doc etc. It was then a matter of trawling through all these files, all 175 thousand of them, and extracting those you want. In this case Photographs and documents. Now you would think that was easy enough but as EVERY .JPG .BMP .PNG Etc. Etc. file was recovered you soon find that every picture on every web site visited prior to the crash is there along with all the elements that made up the webpage, and in this case thumbnails of every image too. It took an awful long time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In case anyone needs to duplicate this recovery. You need a PC which has a Large hard drive with Windows installed and free space, at least equal to the size of the failed drive, preferably more.
I installed the new replacement drive as C: and the dead one as D:
Install and run O&O and leave it to do it's work.
Once you have the files spend several hours deleting the obvious rubbish and many more copying to DVD any you want to keep

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