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Recovering partially erased internal HDD?


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#1 Paradicia

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for advice on how I go about getting data back on a drive that had been accidentally put through a wipe for about 2/3 seconds.

I can live with re-installing windows but I'd very much like to get some of the files back. I unplugged the power as soon as I realized what had happened.

What are my options? I have an external Hard-drive at my disposal and Hirens Boot CD. The Bios still recognizes the hard-drive itself but it won't boot from it.

My worry is that the file allocation tables could have possibly been initially wiped.

Any help is appreciated.

#2 Katy

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:28 AM

1. Did you try browsing the drive after booting from Hiren? Do you see anything?

2. How many partitions do/did you have on it? A lot of people create two partitions, one for Windows (called system partition) and the other for various data. If that's the case and you didn't have anything stored in "My Documents" or alike (which are located on the system partition) then you second partition should be intact. Given the short time you say the wipe took place I'd say that only the partition table and some of the system partition got wiped.

Before trying any recovery and such make sure you create an image of the hard-drive, so you can restore it in case anything gets even more corrupted.

#3 Paradicia

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:16 AM

1. Did you try browsing the drive after booting from Hiren? Do you see anything?

2. How many partitions do/did you have on it? A lot of people create two partitions, one for Windows (called system partition) and the other for various data. If that's the case and you didn't have anything stored in "My Documents" or alike (which are located on the system partition) then you second partition should be intact. Given the short time you say the wipe took place I'd say that only the partition table and some of the system partition got wiped.

Before trying any recovery and such make sure you create an image of the hard-drive, so you can restore it in case anything gets even more corrupted.


1. I ran a deep scan in Test Disk to see if it could find any partition but at the end of the scan it said no partition found or selected for recovery. There was an option to add a partition but I didn't know what that would entail. How do I browse the drive through Hiren?

2. I'm not too sure on the amount of partitions. Usually windows makes a small partition when the OS is first installed.

#4 FastMHz

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

Windows 7/8 do usually create a small 100mb partition during installation....but 2-3 seconds of wiping is more than enough to wipe that as well as the beginning of the next one out.

DMDE may be worth a shot. I've had it show data even after doing a partial wipe during my experimenting.

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#5 Paradicia

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:44 AM

Windows 7/8 do usually create a small 100mb partition during installation....but 2-3 seconds of wiping is more than enough to wipe that as well as the beginning of the next one out.

DMDE may be worth a shot. I've had it show data even after doing a partial wipe during my experimenting.


If the hard drive does not show up in minixp how do I go about running such software?

I have ran a scan for bad sectors. It's nearly done so I'll post up the results soon.

#6 Paradicia

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 05:29 PM

I've tried copying the hard drive to an external hard drive of mine but it seems to be not going through with the process because the partition is missing.

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I'm using CloneZilla for the copy.

#7 FastMHz

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

I recommend the DOS DMDE version, you can make a FreeDOS disk to boot from, and put the DMDE utility on there. If you're more familiar with Linux, there is a build for that as well.

Here are alternative directions from the DMDE FAQ:

"Prepare any bootable DOS disk (flash disk) or a diskette. You may format such diskette under Windows using option "Format bootable MS-DOS disk". If there is not enough space to extract the software package then copy it (packed) to the root of the disk with files from the DOS boot package (from the software site), and run dmde.bat after load. If you wish the software to start automatically just rename dmde.bat into autoexec.bat."

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#8 dietrc70

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 10:58 AM

Try File Scavenger by QueTek. It can extract files from drives with broken partitions.



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