Question Recover Unallocated Drive after creating installation media accidentally

popatim

Titan
Moderator
There are several free recovery tools available. Some are truly free and some only let you recover a fixed amount before requiring payment.

MiniTool lets you recover 1 measly gigabyte before requiring payment.

I usually recommend Recuva It will work but tends to be pushy to get you to buy the pro version.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
114,319
2,065
157,240
18,619
Possibly TestDisk.
You will need some other drive to potentially recover to. You can't do it in place, on that same drive.

-----------------------------------------
https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10
"A blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space or blank DVD (and DVD burner) if you want to create media.
We recommend using a blank USB or blank DVD, because any content on it will be deleted."
 
May 30, 2019
1
0
10
0
I did the same thing as the OP on a 2TB drive. I have months of personal travel videos that are now in the unallocated partition!

Everyone make sure to use a clean/disposable drive when you download the Win10 setup tool!

(Bizarre that Windows doesn't prompt you warning about partitioning before they go ahead and destroy your data.)

I downloaded the free version of EaseUS, which of course found all the files but was taking hours. Then I realized it was probably going to ask me to pay. And I wasn't sure the folders would be preserved (which is almost as important as the files). MiniTool and others seemed the same. Probably would rename all my files too!

I went to the EaseUS support, who used TeamViewer to have a technician take a look. I guess he's in China. He spent a good half hour messing around in WinHex, then deleted the Win10 installation partition. He then showed me the folders and files in WinHex and recovered one of the videos as a test.

It seemed to me that recovery at this point should be fairly easy and straightforward. Maybe not as easy as renaming the drive, but he wanted a fortune to complete the work!

So he asked for $300 USD to restore my files with folders preserved. He said the $90 software would rename all my files and have no folders. Seems plausible. However I can't afford $300. He knocked the price down to $209. The "manager" authorized 30% off.

Now it started feeling like I was buying a used car. I asked are you 100% sure you can get all the data back with folder preservation. He said yes. So I'm thinking well it seems if you're 100% sure it can't be THAT complicated now can it? And the rest of it is a high pressure sales tactic. Not to mention he said it would take an hour, in which time he has access to my laptop remotely!

Anyway. Wondering if anyone can shed some light on this....

I aksed him if I should try the EaseUS Partition Recovery Program. He said no. That the Windows 10 installation partition had written a lot of boot files which he had to delete. So that trying to do that kind recovery myself would fail and I'd lose all the data.

I'm in the NYC area. I can probably take this disk to a professional but wondering if they're going to tell me similar or what.

The technician let me surf around in WinHex for a few minutes. I looked at all the folders and files. Everything seemed fine. Why the HUGE price tag for an hours work?

It all seems overly complicated and expensive. I have a bunch of spare hard drives. Can't I just take it to a tech and have him transfer all the files from WinHex? Getting to that point took the tech only 10 minutes. And a lot of that time the mouse wasn't moving and didn't look like he was doing anything.
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
114,319
2,065
157,240
18,619
The MediaCreation tool from MS warns you at least twice about this.
Once on the website when you download it:
"A blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space or blank DVD (and DVD burner) if you want to create media. We recommend using a blank USB or blank DVD, because any content on it will be deleted."

And then in using it, it warns you again.

Data recovery is NOT as trivial as it seems. Creating that windows boot data overwrote the file allocation table (the location of all the files and all their parts), and overwrote some of the actual data.

And preserving the original folder structure is another level of difficulty.

  1. Pay the man, and hope he gets your stuff back.
  2. Take this as a dire warning, and institute a comprehensive backup plan. Instead of you using the wrong drive for a Win 10 install, it could just as easily simply been a dead drive.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
I did the same thing as the OP on a 2TB drive. I have months of personal travel videos that are now in the unallocated partition!

Everyone make sure to use a clean/disposable drive when you download the Win10 setup tool!

(Bizarre that Windows doesn't prompt you warning about partitioning before they go ahead and destroy your data.)

I downloaded the free version of EaseUS, which of course found all the files but was taking hours. Then I realized it was probably going to ask me to pay. And I wasn't sure the folders would be preserved (which is almost as important as the files). MiniTool and others seemed the same. Probably would rename all my files too!

I went to the EaseUS support, who used TeamViewer to have a technician take a look. I guess he's in China. He spent a good half hour messing around in WinHex, then deleted the Win10 installation partition. He then showed me the folders and files in WinHex and recovered one of the videos as a test.

It seemed to me that recovery at this point should be fairly easy and straightforward. Maybe not as easy as renaming the drive, but he wanted a fortune to complete the work!

So he asked for $300 USD to restore my files with folders preserved. He said the $90 software would rename all my files and have no folders. Seems plausible. However I can't afford $300. He knocked the price down to $209. The "manager" authorized 30% off.

Now it started feeling like I was buying a used car. I asked are you 100% sure you can get all the data back with folder preservation. He said yes. So I'm thinking well it seems if you're 100% sure it can't be THAT complicated now can it? And the rest of it is a high pressure sales tactic. Not to mention he said it would take an hour, in which time he has access to my laptop remotely!

Anyway. Wondering if anyone can shed some light on this....

I aksed him if I should try the EaseUS Partition Recovery Program. He said no. That the Windows 10 installation partition had written a lot of boot files which he had to delete. So that trying to do that kind recovery myself would fail and I'd lose all the data.

I'm in the NYC area. I can probably take this disk to a professional but wondering if they're going to tell me similar or what.

The technician let me surf around in WinHex for a few minutes. I looked at all the folders and files. Everything seemed fine. Why the HUGE price tag for an hours work?

It all seems overly complicated and expensive. I have a bunch of spare hard drives. Can't I just take it to a tech and have him transfer all the files from WinHex? Getting to that point took the tech only 10 minutes. And a lot of that time the mouse wasn't moving and didn't look like he was doing anything.
Few things here, the utility does warn you that it will destroy the data, people just click next/OK automatically to prompts.

The cost to recover data, you are not just paying for the time spent but the value and experience and tools they use. It can take someone 5 minutes to do something but it took them 4 years of school and 4 years of experience to learn to do that in 5 minutes. Plus it's value of the goods, milk can be $3, but I bet if they found out that milk cured cancer it would be a lot more simply due to the value it provides so people would pay more for it. Cost to make it or time it took is not the only thing that affects price. Look at how much jewelry costs, and it does absolutely nothing useful past a way of getting rid of extra money. Here you are losing your precious files, so of course it should have a value to get them back.

This is why every computer person tells everyone "have backups of data". Your drive can die, a kid may delete things by accident, etc... with a backup the data recovery takes a few minutes and no cost.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS