Where is my Calendar?
January 3, 2007 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Can an Outlook contact file be recovered after the HD has been wiped and the OS is reinstalled?

So I did a favor for a coworker. Sat with her while she told me what she needed saved and transferred, pictures, her documents, and her iTunes.
I said if that was all, she said yes. I told her when I reinstalled the OS, she wouldn't be able to get anything else back. She seemed hesitant, so I asked her if there was anything else. She looked for her pics and music and said no.
Now she wants to know why she doesn't have her Outlook calendar and contacts. I told her it was gone, and she was very upset.
I saved everything from her My docs, but I know the file she needs was in another directory.
posted by MrMulan to Technology (10 answers total)
it may be possible when you reinstalled the os the part of the disc platter that contained the outlook info wasn't written over, however i seriously doubt it. you can try some software called badcopy...i'd had some luck.
posted by killyb at 6:40 AM on January 3, 2007

It's extraordinarily unlikely. Sorry.
posted by cmiller at 7:08 AM on January 3, 2007

The file you're looking for was probably stored in the C:\Documents and Settings\Her User Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ folder. But if the HD really has been wiped (presume you mean formatted?) then, yeah, you're probably screwed. Sorry.

Your best hope is that she backed the data up to a cellphone or web-based account. Otherwise, it's an expensive (many hundreds of pounds/dollars) trip to the data recovery experts.
posted by blag at 7:11 AM on January 3, 2007

(I don't think you should feel bad about this. It's a bummer but it's her own fault for not considering what she needed to save.)
posted by loiseau at 7:49 AM on January 3, 2007

Not that this will fix the thing, but my suggestion: Take her out for a celebratory coffee. Tell her she's now passed a major milestone in the life of a person who works digitally: losing something important on reformat because it wasn't backed up. We've all done it, and that's how we learned a) where everything was that we need and b) how to ensure we always back these things up so we never have to feel this way again. :)

On the other hand, if this lost data is super-critical and she doesn't mind paying, data recovery experts really do work pretty well. A good friend of mine has ended up using them several times for similar reasons, and usually with at least *some* good news at the end. However, to maximize this possibility, I'd shut down the computer *now* and not use it again until after the experts have looked at it.
posted by twiki at 8:42 AM on January 3, 2007

Also, for future use: Outlook can be configured to save its files anywhere, not just the default folder. Make sure her new install saves everything to her /My Documents folder so it doesn't happen again...
posted by twiki at 8:44 AM on January 3, 2007

Try out R-Studio. (link to demo)
I'd give it about 50/50.
If you did a quick format during the install, chances are even better.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:23 AM on January 3, 2007

That's why I don't do favors
posted by thilmony at 9:35 AM on January 3, 2007

Seconding R-studio. Install it on another computer and hook her hard disk up. You don't want to do anything else that ends up writing data to her disk.

Good luck!
posted by Good Brain at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2007

Response by poster: I want to thank everybody for their responses. though the person knows everything is gone.
posted by MrMulan at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2007

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