Disk restoration
August 5, 2011 3:09 PM   Subscribe

I just reformatted a disk using Disk Utility - Mac OS X 10.5.8. I chose the wrong disk. Is there any way to undo it?

A terabyte of viewing pleasure down the drain. Hopefully there is some way of getting it back. I used the "Don't Erase Data" Option. It states 'This is quick and provides the least security. It erases just the information used to access your files and leaves the data in the files unchanged. Many commonly available disk recovery applications can restore that data.' What is that recovery application? - I will pay money.
posted by unliteral to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Unplug the disk, and don't plug it back in until you're ready to let DiskWarrior work on it.
posted by Pinback at 3:16 PM on August 5, 2011

Yep, Pinback has it. DiskWarrior solves your problem!
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 3:30 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: If I've unplugged it and plugged it back in will it still work? $111.90 and I have to go to my office because gmail accounts cannot accept zip downloads make this a possible bummer.
posted by unliteral at 3:46 PM on August 5, 2011

Well, most likely yes - I just said to unplug it to eliminate the possibility of further dataloss. Unless the disk has been written to, all your data should be there - but the more that's been written to it, the less will be recoverable.
posted by Pinback at 3:50 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Okay, thanks. Money paid and off to the office. I'll update to confirm it worked.
posted by unliteral at 3:52 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Jeez, what a mission, trackwork this weekend. Still, now in the office and downloading the software.
posted by unliteral at 5:57 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Maybe I should have mentioned that this is formatted as an MS-DOS disk so that I can plug it straight into my Samsung TV USB port. The reason I mention this is because Disk Warrior tells me:
This Directory cannot be rebuilt, the file system is unsupported.
Great. Two hours of travelling time. $100+ spent. No promised videos for my friend who leaves tomorrow. Can this day get any better?
posted by unliteral at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2011

Ask for a refund ? Was there not a trial version?

Send an email for tech support to them and ask them.

My guess is they would probably say to reformat, I do not know how much writing that would do to the disk.

Alternatively, use a diskwarrior alternative for windows and that might help.
For your friend, youtube or upload to a remote server or use one of the new filesharing websites (I can't find the name of it) that offer private and public uploading.

Finally, use Fedex, the hard drive will get there 10:30am tomorrow morning.
posted by blueshok at 6:28 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: blueshok - thanks for your input but it doesn't suit my situation which is:
1. I bought a hard drive for my friend (who leaves tomorrow) which I promised would be filled up with a ton of of movies/TV shows.
2. I plugged both hard drives into my computer to transfer the files.
3. I couldn't write to the newly bought hard drive and was prompted to reformat it.
4. I chose the wrong hard drive (the one with all the movies/TV shows) to format in Disk Utility.
5. Horror when I realised my mistake.
6. Time and money spent to no avail.
7. ?
posted by unliteral at 6:54 PM on August 5, 2011

Maybe something like TestDisk?

But yeah, with any disk recovery attempt... it's always risky... best bet is if you have another disk to write your recovered data to, instead of back to the problem disk.
posted by xedrik at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2011

Best answer: I would have suggested this instead: Data Rescue.

If you are a Mac user having DiskWarrior around is not a waste of money. It's a great app and is probably some of the cheapest insurance you can have. It's idiot-proof, bullet-proof, and a one trick pony, but that trick is great! You'll pry DiskWarrior out of my cold dead hard drive. I think DW is the bee's knees, but not the tool for this job.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:24 PM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Photorec will help. You need a disk to copy out to.
posted by procrastination at 7:33 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Okay, just tried Disk Drill, that didn't work. On to TestDisk.
posted by unliteral at 7:52 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: TestDisk and the accompanying PhotoRec are too gnarly. That terminal window is scary. I have no idea what's happening.
Now to try Data Rescue.
posted by unliteral at 8:05 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Oy vey! Data Rescue found no files in quick scan and wants to do a deep scan - 21 hours.
posted by unliteral at 8:17 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: On the plus side, after suspending Data Rescue 5 or so minutes in and previewing what it had recovered so far it found 21 episodes of Californication. So, it looks like it might be the go.
On the minus side, it named the files M0000n
posted by unliteral at 8:28 PM on August 5, 2011

I'm a Mac tech, and Data Rescue is what we use for most of our data recovery work. It's pretty reliable.

Without a directory structure, all of your folders and file names will be lost, and you'll have to manually rename and re-sort your files. You will have them, though.
posted by aaronbeekay at 9:47 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Damn! Y'know, I was going to start my answer off with "Assuming it's a standard Mac HFS+ disk …", but decided that might just be adding confusion :-/
posted by Pinback at 11:45 PM on August 5, 2011

Note that recovery tools are best at recovering small files. So for movies and TV shows and such, which tend to be big, it's possible they'll only get part of the file. I highly recommend going through the files you recover to make sure they aren't truncated, eg: by playing the movie and skipping to the end.
posted by vasi at 10:07 AM on August 6, 2011

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