Been a total idiot, please help me recover my data!!

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Joined
9 Sep 2018
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2
Dear Anyone.

If you need a good laugh, read this. I'd be laughing (sympathetically) if it wasn't me it's happened to. I got a second-hand internal SATA hard drive for my desktop tower PC. Thought I was installing Windows on it from a DVD. Except the second-hand hard drive was knackered and I suddenly realised the installer was trying to put Windows on my external Hitachi Life Studio 1TB drive instead, where my entire life was backed up!

So when Windows paused and there was no hard drive activity anywhere going on, I pulled the plug, turned off the computer. When I looked at the Hitachi USB drive, it said there were just 4 files on it - but the amount of free space tallied up perfectly. So all my other files were still on the Hitachi - somewhere.

Downloaded Easus File Recovery - MODS, this is NOT a blog or anything for Easus, it's just what I happened to download - and thus far, it's running while I'm typing this, it's found the lot, names, everything, except they want me to sign my life and - to me, not rich here - lots of money away to get it back. All 400 gig of it.

Now the Windows XP 64-bit installation disc had gotten as far as 'copying files.....' when I realised what was going on and pulled the plug. So - and I'm guessing, you lot are the experts, not me - the installation disc had just munched the file allocation table, not the actual files, so they're all there intact (at least Easus SEEMS to be reporting them correctly) it's just Windows 7 on my current internal hard drive hasn't got the FAT to be able to find them from, am I right here?

Anyone know any way/thing cheaper than Easus - which wants almost $100 a MONTH!! - to copy the files - mainly .RAR files - from the Hitachi Life Studio drive to an internal drive, so I can safely reformat the Life Studio drive and copy them back onto it again? Like I said above, they all seem to be there with the correct name and size and everything, it's just Windows doesn't seem to be 'seeing' them. It's not so much I'm tight, it's just hopefully I won't do anything this stupid again so I don't want to be paying any contracts for software I'll only need to use once. Like I said, it's carrying on scanning as I'm typing this but it's found everything thus far (or seems to have, of course I can't open stuff to see if the data's there or if it's just the headers. All the files are the right sorta size, anyway.)

I SORTA know DOS, so if there's a way of doing it via the command prompt or anything like that just tell me how. Kicker is, I was just happily copying loads of stuff from my internal drive to the Hitachi Life Studio, it was working, I dunno if the Hitachi was FAT-32 or extended FAT or NTFS. I just knew I could copy from my old Windows XP drives to it and backup all my stuff. I know how to format one of the old drives to copy the files back FROM the Hitachi so I can sort the Hitachi out and copy the files BACK to it again, just don't know how to copy the (presumably intact but in limbo) files from the Hitachi as Windows can't find them. Don't mind losing a bit as I've prob. got the same stuff in several .RARs along with other stuff, but would dearly love to get most of it back!

Yes, I am a pratt. Next question!

Yours dumbassedly

Chris.
 
Associate
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Schoolboy. But not a laughing matter. Hope you get it sorted.

Always, 2/3 backups that are not connected to computer.

Sorry i have no knowledge of recovery software.
 
Soldato
Joined
17 Jun 2012
Posts
11,148
I'm guessing you should be able to repair the MBR. Have a look at TestDisk it's free and has this capability.
 
Soldato
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I lost a load of files years ago, and now keep multiple redundancies for my lifes photo collection. (Online, external hard drive, internal, a server and a laptop all have a copy).

When I want to look what data is 'hidden' on a drive, I use Disk Digger. Should be able to recover virtually everything on the drive. What you'll loose is any kind of file structure - so prepare yourself to spend a long while tidying everything up.
 
Soldato
Joined
1 Jun 2013
Posts
9,217
Plenty of free file recovery software out there for you to try. The main thing is not to write to the disk you're trying to recover. Just take the files off and copy them elsewhere until you have what you want. Then you can format the original disk and copy the recovered files back.

When installing Windows, it's often simpler to unplug all the drives except the one you want to use as a boot drive as it stops Windows choosing to put files in the wrong places.
 
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Soldato
Joined
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11,353
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Finland
When installing Windows, it's often simpler to unplug all the drives except the one you want to use as a boot drive as it stops Windows choosing to put files in the wrong places.
That's the only way to install Windows and actually know that whole OS goes to drive you want.
With multiple drives attached there's no guarantee where OS boot data goes.
 
Soldato
Joined
1 Jun 2013
Posts
9,217
That's the only way to install Windows and actually know that whole OS goes to drive you want.
With multiple drives attached there's no guarantee where OS boot data goes.

I think Windows has always preferred whatever drive is on controller 0 port 0. If your target drive is somewhere else, then Windows can put parts of the OS you need to boot from all over the place. Unless you unplug everything else, which is always the simpler solution to know that you're not going to have issues down the line.
 
Associate
Joined
29 Oct 2019
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799
Dear Anyone.

If you need a good laugh, read this. I'd be laughing (sympathetically) if it wasn't me it's happened to. I got a second-hand internal SATA hard drive for my desktop tower PC. Thought I was installing Windows on it from a DVD. Except the second-hand hard drive was knackered and I suddenly realised the installer was trying to put Windows on my external Hitachi Life Studio 1TB drive instead, where my entire life was backed up!

So when Windows paused and there was no hard drive activity anywhere going on, I pulled the plug, turned off the computer. When I looked at the Hitachi USB drive, it said there were just 4 files on it - but the amount of free space tallied up perfectly. So all my other files were still on the Hitachi - somewhere.

Downloaded Easus File Recovery - MODS, this is NOT a blog or anything for Easus, it's just what I happened to download - and thus far, it's running while I'm typing this, it's found the lot, names, everything, except they want me to sign my life and - to me, not rich here - lots of money away to get it back. All 400 gig of it.

Now the Windows XP 64-bit installation disc had gotten as far as 'copying files.....' when I realised what was going on and pulled the plug. So - and I'm guessing, you lot are the experts, not me - the installation disc had just munched the file allocation table, not the actual files, so they're all there intact (at least Easus SEEMS to be reporting them correctly) it's just Windows 7 on my current internal hard drive hasn't got the FAT to be able to find them from, am I right here?

Anyone know any way/thing cheaper than Easus - which wants almost $100 a MONTH!! - to copy the files - mainly .RAR files - from the Hitachi Life Studio drive to an internal drive, so I can safely reformat the Life Studio drive and copy them back onto it again? Like I said above, they all seem to be there with the correct name and size and everything, it's just Windows doesn't seem to be 'seeing' them. It's not so much I'm tight, it's just hopefully I won't do anything this stupid again so I don't want to be paying any contracts for software I'll only need to use once. Like I said, it's carrying on scanning as I'm typing this but it's found everything thus far (or seems to have, of course I can't open stuff to see if the data's there or if it's just the headers. All the files are the right sorta size, anyway.)

I SORTA know DOS, so if there's a way of doing it via the command prompt or anything like that just tell me how. Kicker is, I was just happily copying loads of stuff from my internal drive to the Hitachi Life Studio, it was working, I dunno if the Hitachi was FAT-32 or extended FAT or NTFS. I just knew I could copy from my old Windows XP drives to it and backup all my stuff. I know how to format one of the old drives to copy the files back FROM the Hitachi so I can sort the Hitachi out and copy the files BACK to it again, just don't know how to copy the (presumably intact but in limbo) files from the Hitachi as Windows can't find them. Don't mind losing a bit as I've prob. got the same stuff in several .RARs along with other stuff, but would dearly love to get most of it back!

Yes, I am a pratt. Next question!

Yours dumbassedly

Chris.
As others have already said there are plenty of free data recovery tools. Let this be a lesson to keep backups, hard drive failure is a matter of when not if. You might also want to consider upgrading from Windows XP since it's old and insecure.
 
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