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Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

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Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Old 07-26-13, 03:16 PM
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Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

I have a home server that I keep a lot of video editing work on. I was getting ready to replace a drive and needed to free up space so I started moving enough files (large 20,30 and 40GB files) onto an empty external 2TB drive (that had been recently formatted). Normally I copy and paste until the transfer is done, but this time I made the mistake of cutting and pasting.

Halfway through the transfer, the drive was no longer discoverable and apparently needed to be formatted. This is all on Windows by the way. I went into disk management and the drive was there but it was in RAW format. Not sure how all of that happened. It was previously formatted NTFS. The files that had successfully transferred were no longer there.

I ran a simple disk recovery software (ran for 30 hours) but all it found were really old files from before the last format.

Any clues as to a) why this happened and b) the best way to go about looking for the files I need to find?

Thanks!
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Old 07-26-13, 04:52 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Strange. It seems the first sectors of the drive were somehow overwritten, corrupting the boot partition and NTFS volume information. Hence, the drive shows up as RAW. Also, in your attempt to recover files, note that I've not been able to find a single 'data recovery' or undelete utility that was properly able to recover files > 4 GB, even on an NTFS partition. Many of those utilities only show files less than 4 GB, or if they do show the > 4 GB files, are completely and utterly unable to recover those large files. Very, very frustrating, and I think the problem is related to 'signed' 32-bit code being used in those programs...

So, I think you may be out of luck, but if others can chime in on utilities which are verifiablly able to recover huge 20 - 40 GB single files, please do so!
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Old 07-26-13, 06:08 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
Strange. It seems the first sectors of the drive were somehow overwritten, corrupting the boot partition and NTFS volume information. Hence, the drive shows up as RAW. Also, in your attempt to recover files, note that I've not been able to find a single 'data recovery' or undelete utility that was properly able to recover files > 4 GB, even on an NTFS partition. Many of those utilities only show files less than 4 GB, or if they do show the > 4 GB files, are completely and utterly unable to recover those large files. Very, very frustrating, and I think the problem is related to 'signed' 32-bit code being used in those programs...

So, I think you may be out of luck, but if others can chime in on utilities which are verifiablly able to recover huge 20 - 40 GB single files, please do so!
Eek! Did not know that about being unable to find large files.
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Old 07-26-13, 06:49 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

And you have no other copies of those files? That's a sad situation if it's the case! I guess a lesson to be learned here is not to MOVE files, but to copy files - in addition, of course, to having backups!
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Old 07-26-13, 09:20 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
And you have no other copies of those files? That's a sad situation if it's the case! I guess a lesson to be learned here is not to MOVE files, but to copy files - in addition, of course, to having backups!
When I'm using Windows and transferring files to an external drive (either a flash drive or portable HD) it always copies the files. It never 'moves' the file.
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Old 07-27-13, 03:12 AM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

I was cutting and pasting from Windows Server 2011 to an external drive. Unfortunately, the original files are no longer on the server. Should have copied and pasted.

I did find a program called EaseUS. It has a specific recover option for when a hard drive turns RAW. So I'm trying that now with it searching for a max file size of 50GB. Hopefully this one will work.

Some of the data (the most important data) had some redundancy. The other files, while not terribly important and therefore didn't have any redundancy, I could technically do without, but I'd like to get them back if I can.

Will update in a day or two after this next recovery attempt finished. Thanks for all the responses everyone!
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Old 07-28-13, 06:47 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Maybe a recovery program called Recuva could find the files on the original HDD and restore them. I know that when I delete a file it is not really deleted, but I admit to not knowing what the heck happens when I "cut and paste". The program is free and it's the best file recovery program I have had the opportunity to use! I deleted a bunch of files the other day, only to realize later, that I was deleting files from the wrong folder. This program was able to recover every single one of them!

http://www.piriform.com/recuva
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Old 07-28-13, 09:11 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Yeah, a cut-and-paste in Windows is really a "copy-then-delete" for files, so the files may be recoverable on the original drive(s) via an undelete program.

Testdisk can sometimes recover a lost partition, like what you've experienced:
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Failing that, it's sister program PhotoRec may be able to recover the files. It doesn't appear to have a maximum file size.
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
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Old 07-29-13, 02:27 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Yeah, a cut-and-paste in Windows is really a "copy-then-delete" for files, so the files may be recoverable on the original drive(s) via an undelete program.

Testdisk can sometimes recover a lost partition, like what you've experienced:
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Failing that, it's sister program PhotoRec may be able to recover the files. It doesn't appear to have a maximum file size.
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
Oh, I didn't even consider running the program on the server where they originally were. How does that play with pooled server drives?

Running the program I have on the external, it's found pretty much all the files except for 2 (that had numbers in their file names) and another one was corrupted beyond usability.
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Old 07-29-13, 02:42 PM
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Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

I use remo recover software to restore lost files from drives. It recovered my NTFS and FAT file systems without missing a single file from drives. Try it, may it will helpful for you.
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Old 07-29-13, 03:24 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post
Oh, I didn't even consider running the program on the server where they originally were. How does that play with pooled server drives?
Dunno, but if the pooled drives form a single partition with file system, then an undelete program should work on them, provided the files marked as deleted hasn't been overwritten by new files.
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Old 07-29-13, 06:35 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

It's Windows, "drag and drop".

Moving from drive to drive will default to copy. Moving files on the same drive results in a move.


Having said that, if the file wasn't successfully copied to the drive, it's not there to be recovered. It would have still been in memory and could have been copied elsewhere (as you used cut and paste). It's gone. Live and learn.
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Old 08-02-13, 02:00 PM
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Re: Help with weird hard drive - lost data and format - issue

Just wanted to update and say that was able to recover all but one file.

By the time I had gotten Jay G's idea of running the recovery on the pooled drive, I had already moved a lot of the recovered files back to that drive and had written over a majority of the empty space. However, I was able to get all but one back from the external.

Interestingly enough, after using the EaseUS software I tried the Recuva software that danwiz recommended, and Recuva found files that EaseUS didn't and vice-versa. So there was no one software solution for the whole recovery. But Recuva found the numbered files and one or two others, while the EaseUS found some Recuva didn't. For future reference, I'm going to go ahead and try Jay G.'s recommended testdisk software and see if that captures them all or not.

Anyways, major lesson learned (or remembered.) Thanks to everyone for their help. Better to be one file down than every file down. Still trying to figure out how exactly the external converted to RAW mid-transfer.
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