[SOLVED] What to use to recover folder structure of formatted HDD

Nobody-Important

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I was trying to repair my win7 install earlier this week and because the HP recovery disks didnt bring up the option to do a repair install i went searching for an executable through the console. Unfortunately the one i found didn't bring up that option either and instead started by formatting the c drive. Despite being stopped immediately it was already too late and the drive is now empty.

The question now is: is there any way to get the actual folder structure back somehow? The important things on this drive were mostly projects that rely heavily on the folder structure instead of singular files.
Since this was a full 500GB drive i doubt that everything could have been erased in the two seconds the formatter ran, but how do i actually recover them?

(I also don't know if this strictly belongs in the hardware section but it's where it fit the most)
 

AppleGwava

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If the data is critcally important.
STOP
Go to a professional data recovery

If not,
Recuva,
Zarx

are pretty good (For me) tools that can recover data.

As a 'normal' format mostly doesnt touch the data , merely changing the flag to allow it to be overwritten, the data is likely to be there.

Do not use the drive for anything until all data is recovered and tested

I would suggest reading the drive using another computer, or installing windows and the data recovery tools on another hdd.

The key to data recovery is, if you are not sure, dont do it

Good Luck!
Alvis
 

AppleGwava

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If the data is critcally important.
STOP
Go to a professional data recovery

If not,
Recuva,
Zarx

are pretty good (For me) tools that can recover data.

As a 'normal' format mostly doesnt touch the data , merely changing the flag to allow it to be overwritten, the data is likely to be there.

Do not use the drive for anything until all data is recovered and tested

I would suggest reading the drive using another computer, or installing windows and the data recovery tools on another hdd.

The key to data recovery is, if you are not sure, dont do it

Good Luck!
Alvis
 

Nobody-Important

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Well it's not like the data is critically important.... other than for my emotional and mental health...
And the drive is in perfect health and i don't plan on writing anything onto it, (especially since as i said this happened during a reinstall and my OS is now gone) and i'm currently making a bitwise backup of it, so i reckon i'm safe to proceed for now.

The question is just what to do with the drive once the backup is complete.

Because when you say "data" i don't know exactly what you mean.
I can't really think of many files that would have any use without the folder structure, and most recovery software just mentions looking up files by extension.

Additionally the drive in question is a laptop drive. I can't exactly plug it into a desktop and i can't plug it into another laptop either. My only options are live CDs and things booting into a RAMdisk.
 

USAFRet

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Additionally the drive in question is a laptop drive. I can't exactly plug it into a desktop and i can't plug it into another laptop either. My only options are live CDs and things booting into a RAMdisk.
You can't recover it in place. It needs to "recover" to some other physical drive.
If this was the C drive, that makes things even harder.

This is specifically what backups are for.
The occasional "oops". (along with actual dead drives, etc)
 

Nobody-Important

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Actually come to think of it i do have a second partition that i could install win10 on.
That's why i originally had that partition to make recovery efforts such as this easier.

So theoretically after i'm done installing win10... what do i do? Which program has a chance to actually recover the folder structure?
 

Nobody-Important

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You can't recover it in place. It needs to "recover" to some other physical drive.
If this was the C drive, that makes things even harder.

This is specifically what backups are for.
The occasional "oops". (along with actual dead drives, etc)
Well as i just realized i do have two partitions, and i'm doing the backup and such from and old free version of partedmagic that is a tiny OS loading into a RAM disk for system recovery.
 
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USAFRet

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Actually come to think of it i do have a second partition that i could install win10 on.
That's why i originally had that partition to make recovery efforts such as this easier.

So theoretically after i'm done installing win10... what do i do? Which program has a chance to actually recover the folder structure?
Not partition....different physical drive.

The HP recovery thing started to reformat the entire drive before you stopped it.
 

Nobody-Important

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Not partition....different physical drive.

The HP recovery thing started to reformat the entire drive before you stopped it.
Nope. I didnt run the HP recovery thing because i know that it would do that. I was searching around for a windows installer thing hoping to get the Recovery Install option that the startup recovery menu usually has. Instead the installer formatted C:.
D: however is completely untouched so i can install win10 on it without affecting the sectors the C: drive is on.

The question is what i do after that.
 

Nobody-Important

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OK then...whatever executable you ran started to format the C partition.

Possibly try TestDisk.
Yeah but.... how? I have no idea how to use that program for this purpose and as Alvis said with data recovery you need to be sure of what you're doing. I already asked on the testdisk forums and they suggested photorec but that only recovers files, so they said that if i want to recover folderstructure i should use a different recovery program. But which one?

Which recovery program has a chance to recover folders?
 
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USAFRet

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"primarily designed to help recover lost partitions "
"Fix partition table, recover deleted partition "

Sound like something that might fix this?



Do you have another working system?
If so, you can create a bootable CD or USB.
GParted contains TestDisk.
https://gparted.sourceforge.io/livecd.php


But this is not for the faint hearted, and if this is the ONLY copy of this data...bad things may happen.
There is no "instaclick fix".
 

Nobody-Important

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"primarily designed to help recover lost partitions "
"Fix partition table, recover deleted partition "

Sound like something that might fix this?



Do you have another working system?
If so, you can create a bootable CD or USB.
GParted contains TestDisk.
https://gparted.sourceforge.io/livecd.php


But this is not for the faint hearted, and if this is the ONLY copy of this data...bad things may happen.
There is no "instaclick fix".
As i said im using a partedmagic live cd which contains gparted as well as testdisk, and i am currently in the process of doing a bitwise backup of the C partition.

Also i didnt have the option to make a backup beforehand because my external HDDs were full and i didnt have the money to get a new one.
And never in my life would i have imagined that a system i fixed several times, a recovery partition, a reinstall CD, a separate install would all fail at the same time.... these were what lead to me pressing the oops button.

Recovering lost partitions does sound like what i need and thats why i posted on their forums but apparently lost partitions and reformatted partitions are somehow different? At least thats what the TestDisk admin told me.
I have some trouble figuring out what is what now and what i should use and more importantly how i should use the tools.

I have a 500GB now empty reformatted partition containing my data, 430GB of free space on a partition on the same disk, and partedmagic with gparted and testdisk and other stuff loaded into ram from a cd, and a bit by bit backup of the C partition i am in the process of making on a borrowed external HDD.

So what do i actually do now?
 
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Nobody-Important

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Yeah and my partition isn't lost but reformatted as i said in the title heh. Sooo no idea what tool is good for that. shrug
I have no idea how to "point" testdisk at the partition in question. Also it doesnt have a "run" thing, it contains several possible commands to execute.
 

USAFRet

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alceryes

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But the guide explicitly talks about corrupted or missing partitions. This is neither of them.
The end result of what happened is the same, and so is the fix.

If you can't recover the partition you could try using photorec (same company) to recover individual files. As others have stated, you'll need an entirely separate disk to put the recovered files on. A large enough USB drive works.
 

USAFRet

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Nobody-Important

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https://www.cgsecurity.org/testdisk.pdf
Chapter 9
"Recovering deleted partition using TestDisk"
From what i got the partition would be deleted if there was no partition allocated to that diskspace. But there is.

I dont know if this is what causes the problem but when i click on analyze after hours of working TestDisk doesnt find the new C partition but finds a ton of small linux partitions on the disk where it should be. Maybe my Android emulators.
 

Nobody-Important

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The end result of what happened is the same, and so is the fix.

If you can't recover the partition you could try using photorec (same company) to recover individual files. As others have stated, you'll need an entirely separate disk to put the recovered files on. A large enough USB drive works.
I have an entirely separate disk available but as i said individual files are of no use to me as the folder structure is what i need.

Also i still have no idea how to get to the point of recovering anything.
In the partedmagic file explorer C shows up as an empty partition.
In the TestDisk tool C doesn't show up at all after an analysis.
 

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