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Nonstopcoffee1

Hard drive data recovery...

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi all! 

While I know a bit more than the average about computer hardware I'm no whiz kid so forgive me if if I get things wrong. Also a first time LTT poster so sorry if this is asked a lot or badly formatted etc.

 

In a nutshell, I bought a friend a lacie mini external hard drive for him to put game of thrones on and clear up his MacBook which was dying of storage overload. He put game of thrones on to he hard drive, and his MacBook is much faster and healthier. 

 

However, he also copied a lot of important files to the harddrive which I was unaware of. In resetting his Mac, he didn't have any cloud storage and everything was on this bloody harddrive. 

 

Unbeknownst to me, figured he was done with it and reformatted it to windows (I don't understand Mac's at all) to put some other stuff on it for him, figuring it's just game of thrones on it and doesn't really matter if it all goes. Turns out there was more than game of thrones and it did matter if it all goes or not. I reformatted it using quick format on windows, renamed it, and haven't written to it. 

 

I handed it to a very tech savvy pal who's been running tests and it's acknowledging there are plenty of files but as soon as the tests end it goes from showing 500gb to nothing....

 

And that's where we're at. What else can I do, if anything? I'm pannicking really hard. Need to get the files back. 

 

Thank you all in advance 

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Once formatted the integrity of the files will be destroyed.

Even if you can salvage it the directory structure and file names will be gone, they are simply named random character without extension.

So you'll have to guess the files, add extension and rename accordingly.

 

Luckily a quick format is not as damaging as full format.

With a good HDD recovery program you can save most of the files, i say 30-40% are intact.

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You can use Recuva to find files and it will tell you if those files have been written over.  You can hopefully recover some files (which may not have the proper name or extension) and then try to figure them out.  

 

https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva


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17 hours ago, Nonstopcoffee1 said:

And that's where we're at. What else can I do, if anything? I'm pannicking really hard. Need to get the files back. 

TestDisk

 

Used it in a similar situation (wrote an ISO to my external HDD). Was able to recover ~100% of my files (I'm a little more careful now; also, redundant backups).

 

17 hours ago, SupaKomputa said:

Once formatted the integrity of the files will be destroyed.

Even if you can salvage it the directory structure and file names will be gone, they are simply named random character without extension.

So you'll have to guess the files, add extension and rename accordingly.

 

Luckily a quick format is not as damaging as full format.

With a good HDD recovery program you can save most of the files, i say 30-40% are intact.

No...? From experience, I was able to get ~100% back. All data is in place (without any journaling or error correction, mind you) until the block is overwritten. Properly deleted files may loose their MFT records (because, duh, they're deleted) and may show up without proper names, but formatting a drive works on a level below the MFT, and should leave that data in place until more files are written. There are also multiple redundant copies (at least in NTFS) of the MFT, spread across the drive (which is probably what saved me before).


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