Can you help me get my data back?
October 11, 2005 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me get my data back?

Recently I wiped and reloaded my PC with Windows XP (I know, I know). My boot (C:) drive is a SATA drive. I also have one additional SATA drive (D:) and two IDE drives (E: & F:). Drive F: is where I stored most of my data previous to the wipe and reload. I reloaded the PC with only C: connected and then added the other drives after making sure everything seemed to be running fine. Upon connecting F: Windows threw up a message stating that it was checking the consistency of F:. I let it finish the process. After that all seemed fine.

A few days later my wife tried to open a Word doc and found it to be corrupt. She opened another and found the same. Now I find that most of my data on that drive seems to be corrupt. The files are there. The names still look good and the files seem to be taking up a normal amount of space. However these files cannot be opened. Files I know to be having trouble with include these file types: doc, jpg, xls and a few txt files. I have tried programs aimed at reclaiming each of the specific types of files affected but to no avail.

I had a back up but before finding out that this data was bad I replaced my back up thereby copying the bad data over the good data.

Can you recommend method or application to get my data back in good form?
posted by horseblind to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
 
Hello,
These two links might be of useful for your problem:

http://www.runtime.org/
http://www.cbltech.com/recover-lost-data.html

Good luck!
posted by smoothie at 6:52 AM on October 11, 2005


"A few days later my wife tried to open a Word doc and found it to be corrupt."

Please explain what you mean here. Is Windows refusing to open the files? If so, what's the error message? Are they loading, but garbage? etc.
posted by blag at 6:56 AM on October 11, 2005


"Please explain what you mean here."
Word files display as garbage and Word prompts to convert the files, Excel and TXT files load but display garbage. JPG files will not load at all.
posted by horseblind at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2005


There's a good chance that you won't see your data again.

First you can try booting up a Knoppix CD and see if you can open the files (maybe it's not a problem with the drive, but some Windows issue).

Next you might want to try to stick the drive in another computer, it might be an IDE controller issue (although I don't think so).

Before trying to repair the data you should do a full bit-to-bit disk image of the drive with Norton Ghost or something similar. You might also want to image your C: drive because you might be able to recover some temporary files from there.

After you've imaged the drive you can try using try playing with data recovery software. But if it's really corrupted there's not much you can do.
posted by Sharcho at 7:02 AM on October 11, 2005


There's a good chance that you won't see your data again.

First you should try booting in Safe mode, it might be a Windows issue.

Avoid writing to the corrupted drive.
Before trying to repair the data you should do a full bit-to-bit disk image of the drive with Norton Ghost or something similar. You might also want to image your C: drive because you might be able to recover some temporary files from there.

After you've imaged the drive you can try using try playing with data recovery software. But if it's really corrupted there's not much you can do.
posted by Sharcho at 7:08 AM on October 11, 2005


Sorry for the double post.
This might make you feel better.
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/40146
posted by Sharcho at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2005


I had a similar problem with a crashed raid array. I called microsoft tech support (I was not asked for a product code or anything) and I was promptly connect to a guy who took over my computer, pointing and clicking remotely, and most of my data reappeared.

I never expected to say something nice about Microsoft but they sure helped me.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2005


I had this problem with an IDE drive once. I called tech support. They told me to reset the drive by unplugging the IDE cable and plugging it back in.

I thought she was pulling my leg, but it actualy worked.

Might as well try it.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 AM on October 11, 2005


Also, a lot of computer problems can be caused by cables not being plugged all the way in. I once did some tech support that involved trying to get a tape-drive to work. We spent hours messing around with drivers, etc, and nothing worked.

Finaly I tried unplugging and re-plugging the tape drive and... it worked. I think in this case it was simply that the cable was not plugged in all the way.

So yeah, check the cables before you try anything else. If you try writing anything to this drive in it's current state you could seriously damge the data IMO (if it comes off the drive corrupt, it'll go onto the drive corrupt as well)
posted by delmoi at 7:58 AM on October 11, 2005


I've had really good luck recovering data using R-Studio's software.
posted by amarynth at 8:02 AM on October 11, 2005


Seconding a lot of what's been said. Check the cables as a first step. Ensure that you've got the master/slave jumper set correctly. Try the drive in another machine without SATA. Replace the IDE controller.

Then do a full copy of the drive image to a new (and preferably identical) drive. *nix is best for this. Use a data recovery tool - sorry, no recommendations. Try the Windows Error Checking tool as a last resort - it sounds like it may have contributed to this problem.

Good luck.
posted by blag at 3:42 PM on October 11, 2005


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