Restore Deleted NTFS Drive?
August 2, 2009 5:17 PM   Subscribe

FileSystemHelp: I really messed up while installing Windows 7. I wasn't paying attention and marked my secondary drive for deletion (clicked on the drive, clicked delete). I then realized that this was my 1TB drive, with all of my files and pictures on it.

I closed out of the installer and rebooted. I booted back into the Windows 7 installer and it still showed the drive as deleted. I did not format the drive. I was hoping that once I got Windows 7 installed I could assign the drive a letter and all would be good. When I got into windows, the disk manager shows the drive is RAW. I assigned it a disk letter, but cannot restore it to NTFS. I have searched online, and tried tools like Testdisk and GetDataBack. Maybe I don't know what I am doing, but I am not able to restore the file system or see my files. I scanned with GetDataBack NTFS and it was able to see a good ammount of files, but I only recognized 2 or 3 and they were nothing I am after. GetDataBack shows the disk as Fat-16Huge, so I am scanning it with GetDataBack FAT which is currently at 1% with 23 hours remaining. I am also analysing the disk with TestDisk, currently at 13%, but I am not even sure what I can do with that when completed.

Is there ANY way to get the disk to read as NTSF again? If not, I would assume that my only option is recovering files, so do you have any advice knowing my current situation? My stomach is upside down right now and I would appreciate ANY advice.

Thanks in advance.
posted by B(oYo)BIES to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would stop doing what you're doing. If it was me, and the data was really important, I would immediately power down the machine and take out the drive and take it to a data recovery place. It's expensive, but it's worth it - your data is nothing to mess around with.

Every tool and scan and utility you run on the disk has the chance to fuck everything up more. They could be writing data to the drive and changing things and making things worse without you even knowing it.
posted by kbanas at 5:34 PM on August 2, 2009

for some data recovery app suggestions, see lifehacker

TestDisk is listed on there and i suggest you check out their page including the step-by-step recovery and any other pages that seem relevant.

Make sure you are running these tools from outside your hard drive like a bootable CD or USB or at the very least, from a different partition so that your data does not get more corrupted. Your data is NOT going to get destroyed from just scanning the drive by a program that's not running from your hard drive.

If you're going to a data recovery place, find a good one, because chain stores like Best Buy aren't going to do anything for you except take your money.

In the future, you should definitely back up your files online (e.g. flickr, mediafire, google docs, etc.) and/or to an external hdd. The non-multimedia files will probably not take up too much space, so you could even use a USB drive to back those up.

You should also search your webmail (for attachements) and any other sites you use because some of your files might be on there.
posted by 4n0nym0u5 at 5:44 PM on August 2, 2009

First things first, I would get another 1TB drive and make a direct copy using Knoppix or something similar. Then I would look into restoring it. It sounds like you just need to restore the partition table, although this might be tricky with NTFS. I don't have any specific advice on how to do so.
posted by neckro23 at 7:02 PM on August 2, 2009

Something like this: (note, just the first hit on google with "restore NTFS table" , I've never used it). After doing what neckro23 suggests.
posted by defcom1 at 11:33 PM on August 2, 2009

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