Data recovery software recommendations
July 29, 2005 9:42 PM   Subscribe

Data recovery from a secondary hard drive. I downloaded a demo version of some recovery software which lets me see which files are still there. I'm looking for recommendations of free alternatives (XP pro, primary HD NTFS, secondary HD FAT32).

Drive is a Western Digital 80Gig. I do not believe it is a hardware failure, no noise. One day it was inaccessible for no apparent reason. Try to open it and it asks if I want to format.
Properties says File system: RAW, Used space 0b, Free space 0b, Capacity 0b.
Downloaded FAT32/NTFS demo from Stellar Phoenix. It shows that some files since last backup are still there. It would be really great to have these files but not for $130. Free is best but $30-40 with a mefi user thumbs up will work.
Again OS is XP pro and secondary HD is FAT32. My plan is to recover files to primary HD (NTFS), burn to cd, and format secondary HD to NTFS.
Thank you for any assistance.
posted by sailormouth to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
You might want to try using Western Digital's diagnostics program just to see if it can repair anything before you attempt data recovery. I was very pleased with Stellar Phoenix, I should add, though I know it's out of your price range.
posted by greatgefilte at 10:48 PM on July 29, 2005

Best answer: Stellar Phoenix is incredible. I've never used a free data recovery program that has given results any better than 'utterly disasterous'.

Best of luck.
posted by Jairus at 12:52 AM on July 30, 2005

go to
download and install it

then go to
search for : ontrack disk recovery, ontrack, hdd regenerator, winternals

any of those terms should get you some hits, download em and install

hope this helps
posted by stevejensen at 5:50 PM on July 30, 2005

I just had a similar problem. I could not see my partition with Windows on it. I knew my files were there but I could not get to them and I didn't want to format over before I could recover them. I ended up using Knoppix (another site). It ROCKS. and it is FREE. I did however go buy the Knoppix Hacks book for $30. It came with a CD with Knoppix on it. You can download it for free but it is about 700 mg. You can also find places online that will mail you a current version on CD for about $5. You cannot and should not try to modify the NTFS drive with Knoppix but you can recover the files from it. That was the most important part for me. Good Luck.
posted by nimsey lou at 7:42 PM on July 30, 2005

Best answer: I agree with Jairus: no free software would recover my drive, but Stellar Phoenix did.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:23 AM on July 31, 2005

Brian Kato's Restoration. Free, small and extremely effective.
posted by snarfodox at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2005

Response by poster: I am marking Stellar Phoenix as best before I actually buy it.
I tried Western Digital's diagnostics program. It did not detect any problem.
Tried Brian Kato's Restoration. It crashed everytime attemping to look at troubled drive.
Tried PC Inspector. It saw the files in raw format but could not properly recover them.
Tried Knoppix. It could not mount a drive with filesystem RAW.

Thank you to all for your advice. I will save up for Stellar Phoenix which showed much promise.
posted by sailormouth at 4:32 PM on August 29, 2005

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