Recover Lost Files
January 7, 2010 6:26 AM   Subscribe

How do I recover files that have disappeared from external USB drive after moving to another computer?

First off:
Windows XP SP2 on both computers
Toshiba bus-powered 500GB external hard drive

I downloaded several large files to an external hard drive yesterday while at work. I browsed the folder and saw all 20+ files in that particular folder, so I was ready to go. I attempted to stop the device using the icon in the taskbar, but it kept saying to try again later. I was trying to eject the drive at least 30 minutes after downloading the last file. Finally I had to leave and so I just unplugged the USB cable and left.

When I got home, I wanted to manipulate the files, so I browsed to the folder that contained them, and about a dozen were gone. No trace whatsoever. I made sure that my folder was showing all hidden files and all, but no help. Nothing in the drive's Recycle Bin.

I reeeeally don't want to download for another 8 hours. Is there anything else I should try? Thanks in advance.
posted by chitlin to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You lost the data on the usb drive because they weren't finished copying when you pulled the plug (even if windows told you so).

You could get some kind of data recovery software. (See Lifehacker's 5 Best Free Data Recover Tools) I have not used any of those programs so I can't give you any advice.

Or next time use a program like TeraCopy to copy over to your usb drive. (Disclaimer: Although I've heard rave reviews about TeraCopy, I've not used it myself. Lifehacker also has other file transfer options.)

Disclaimer #3: I do not work for Lifehacker or represent them in anyway.. but their website kicks butt and I've had several successful results with some of their highlighted programs.
posted by royalsong at 6:34 AM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: I agree with you on Lifehacker. They kick butt. I'll check out the recovery tools.

You know what? I did use TeraCopy! It confirmed that they were all finished copying and the computer was idle for quite a while before I pulled the plug.
posted by chitlin at 6:52 AM on January 7, 2010

Yikes. It probably had something to do with the sudden power loss messing with the data, then. Next time you need to do this, you can try turning the whole comp off before unplugging it.
posted by royalsong at 9:05 AM on January 7, 2010

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