How to Retrieve my lost files [Solved/Closed]

Udle - Jun 28, 2008 at 09:59 PM - Latest reply:  ryan
- Jun 17, 2010 at 09:38 AM
My problem is I accidentally performed PC RECOVERY without knowing what it does (haha, yeah, stupid, right?). So anyway, I lost all those important files because the whole thing was reset to its factory features. So how do I retrieve all my data? My unit is HP PAvillion dv2000. THANKS!
See more 

118 replies

Best answer
Thank you
Hi All,

I thought it may be worth while to give an overview on data on a hard disk and how it works so that people have an understanding in case they suddenly find themselves loosing data on a disk.

When a hard disk comes out of manaufacturing it will have what is known as a factory low level format on it which basically ensures that it is clean and working correctly. When it is installed into a computer a partition is created or in some cases more than one partition can be created on a single physical disk. The parition is then formated to the operating system that is to be installed on it this could be XP or Vista, Windows 98 etc at this point 2 tables are created called FAT tables (file allocation tables). When data is written to a hard disk a pointer entry is put into the FAT table which basically acts as a look up table for where on the hard disk the start point and end point for the data is. (a map to the datas locatetion on the disk surface, like logitude and latitude on a map).

When you delete data or data is accidently deleted all that gets removed is the entry point for the data and not the actual data itself. A standard undelete software package such as Nortons Disk Doctor (or Norton utilities as it may now be called) will easily scan the hard disk and rebuild these tables recovering data.

When you format a hard disk all that is formatted are these 2 tables, again there are software packages out there that will recover these tables and your data will be fully recovered. (there are many people currently being held at Her Majestys pleasure who will bare witness to this when they thought they were safe).

Where things get tricky is that if you have deleted data (or the entry in the tables) and new data is written to the hard disk and it overwrites what was allready on the disk surface most commercial packages will not recover from this. This is not the data entry in the tables but the actual data on the disk surface. If the new data is written to a different area then your original data is still intact and can be recovered. Problem is it is upto the computer to decided where it writes this new data and if it will over write what was there. So as soon as you know you maybe over writing something you have deleted stop the data write. Try a recovery program and you maybe lucky.

When a hard disk looses its partition again data is still on the hard disk and commercial programs can recover the partition, all they will do is re-construct the original partition based on the information on the disk. Again data will be recoverable

Where data is more or less unrecoverable is when a factory low level fomat is carried out, this will make data recovery very hard and expensive. data is written to the harddisk using a magnet (so dont put hard disks near items with a strong magnetic charge they will erase data) so even with 10 or 12 factory low level formats and data written on at each stage previous data is still possible to be recovered by very specialist companys who recover the magnetic signature that will allow data to become visable.

So data can be recovered nearly all the way down the line, so dont panic if it happens to you. At the end of the day it comes down to how much you are willing to pay to get data recovered. Some packages are free as shareware and some more advanced ones you have to pay for.

If a hard disk dies (they all will eventually) remember your data is written to the surface of the disk and not to the electronics on a hard disk, swapping over the electronics from another working hard disk that is the same will allow in most cases data to be accessed again. The only way to prevent data from being recovered on a hard disk is to smash it with a hammer.

I hope this helps to explain to people how to look at going about data recovery.

I will do another one on hints and tips to data storage, protection and recovery

Thank you, smithy 54

Something to say? Add comment

CCM has helped 1662 users this month

All this information is very helpful. One question, if you do a recovery using an "early access point recovery" on a PC, several times I might add. Will the Norton's Disk Doctor or Norton Utilities work? I am desperate I deleted two year's important work from my PC. I called Geek Squad they were no help. Please help!
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 18, 2009 at 03:32 PM
Thank you
hey guys don't use your time getting a data recovery program, there is a fairly easy and free way to get your things back after a pc recovery,
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - May 8, 2010 at 11:13 PM

what is your operating system and computer model?
burkecountystud 1 Posts Tuesday May 11, 2010Registration date May 11, 2010 Last seen - May 11, 2010 at 04:12 PM
can u send me the process
hi I have format my C drive there were some important word documents DOC files which I need. please send me the process of recovery at Email id removed for security
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - May 14, 2010 at 05:03 PM

Here is the process for if you restored your system using using system restore.

If you just did a solid format then its a bit of a different story for finding and recovering files, even if you do find the DOC they tend to be fragmented, let me know.

Ill also say something again, which if your reading this its more then likely already to late but BACK-UP your files, pictures, important documents. I feel bad every time someone comes to me saying years of their life are gone can you please get them back for me. Many time it can be done, but there are times where it is just not possible.

It takes a little money and at most a few hours to transfer your important data onto a backup drive or DVD's, that can take a lot of worries away, and most of all you will not need to spend days searching a help me please site :)
I accidently used system recovery and lost everything on my hp intel processor, Windows XP, I have found documents on drive C but nothing is readable.

Please help,

Thank You,

Thank you
Hi All,

A few tips on recovering a hard disk on a system.

If your hard disk has a problem and gets corrupt and you think the only way to recover the system is to go back to the pre-install cd that came with the computer. Before you re-install your XP or Vista operating systems then first consider the following:-

How much data do I have on this disk, if the answer is a lot and you MUST get it back then the safest option is to go to your pc shop buy a new hard disk, install it in to the computer. Do your recovery to the new hard disk or the new installation XP or Vista (disconnect the old disk first before you do this), install your undelete or recovery software on to this, reconnect the old disk and then recover your data to the new disk, saves over writing data on old disk. After you have recovered all the data you want then re-format this disk so it is clean, and then copy a copy of your data back onto the disk so you have 2 copies of your data. This process gives youa way back if you have decided to just update to a new operating system, ifit does not go smoothly you have a way to fall back to your previous working system with no data loss.

Folks always look at having two copies of your data so that you can always go back to your copy if you have problems on the main disk. It is so cheap to buy an additional internal disk or a USB external disk these days. How much is your data worth to you at the end of the data, if you have photos that are priceless to you the it is a no brainer. A hard disk has moving parts and at some point it WILL die, it maybe a month, a year even 10 years or even longer but at some point it will stop working, if you have a duplicate of your data some where if a disk becomes faulty your data is safe and your options as to what to do to the faulty disk are then open.

Microsoft produce a free software package called Synctoy that allows you to copy data from one disk to another at the simple click of the mouse, I use it to mirror 2 external hard disks that have all my photos, music on, It knows what is on each disk and only copies changes or new data from disk to disk. I also use another external hard disk that my main internal hard disk is backed up to for the applications.

These disks only need to be turned on or powered up when you want to copy more data to them so they dont need to be on all the time if you dnt want.

Other medias that data can also be backed up to are CDs/DVDs , memory sticks or tape. So if you dont decide to use an additional disk then use one of the other options.

I know it sounds obviiouse but you only really think about it when it happens and then it could be to late. The old saying you learn by your mistakes, having been in that position before myself dont let it happen to you. I have been lucky in that I can recover the data as I work in the IT side but others have not been so lucky.

If you would like any more info then please feel free to ask
Thank you
Try the free 'Recuva' from the same people who make 'CCleaner'

Thank you
external hard is always a problem ....but if ur hard disk is corrupted...don't worry the files can be recovered,linux is one of the power full o/s...there is something called force in linux....if you attach ur hard disk while ur using linux...i can gaurantee you that the files will open ....but I vl surely not open in better get one more hard disk an make a back up of ur corrupted hardisk......once the data is recovered....transfer the files in ur new formate the corrupted hard disk......
If it`s a full format the data file program below should recover them.
Hi! Try to use hard disk data recovery program to solve your problem. Good luck.
could you explain how to use this program and where to find it? I also need help in this area and I don't know what to do, everything is gone: my music, my daughters baby pictures, writing, etc. My computer is an HP Pavilion. Please help. Thank You
Thank you
If it's factory fresh, and all your files are gone, then theirs no way to get them back.
miss_random_08 > brad - Dec 29, 2008 at 03:33 AM
can you get photos back from a camera too? I was stupid enough to play around with the formating bit and they were of my cat who died and I really am heartbroken! can I get them back off of my camera though? ( well actually I think it might be the memory card )

emjay33 > miss_random_08 - Dec 30, 2008 at 02:37 AM
you can actually recover pictures from camera. you have to download and should be able to retrieve it. I accidentally formatted my card disk and was able to retrieve it. BUT AS LONG AS YOU DONT use the card over before your recover it.
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 18, 2009 at 03:33 PM
so so untrue..... its actually easy to get them back
kpinkw > djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 28, 2009 at 03:41 PM
Hi , You sent me a step by step on how to retreive my files, pics etac. I am afraid I cant understand the first paragraph, if you could help me with that I would appreciate it.

Lost > djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Feb 16, 2009 at 12:02 PM
If I used my digital camera and took two photos after I formatted the entire disk - is there any way to recover some of the 100% photos I had on my disk before I made the error of using the format function? I am sick of downloading and purchasing software that doesn't work - if you can't recover after using the camera with the same disk in it again then why doesn't someone just say that!
Thank you
that is the dummest thing I have ever heard in my life. Thats not gonna work, not everybody has what you said you computer nerd!!!!!!!!!!!!
dybbody 651 Posts Wednesday May 13, 2009Registration date October 19, 2010 Last seen - Aug 10, 2009 at 10:32 AM
Thank you
hi there,

use link be;low and download recovery tool:

Thank you
You can often successfully recover deleted files from a PC, it all depends on what has happened since the files were deleted.
When you delete files the data itself isn't deleted, just the index entry that tells the system where the data for those files is located. The area containing the deleted data is also now marked as free space so it is available for any new files to be written there instead.

If and when that happens, then it is too late to recover your deleted files so it is very, very important to not save any new files or data to the device concerned.

One of the easiest ways to see if you can recover deleted files is to try some good file recovery software like asoftech photo recovery pro, which not only recover photos, but also vidoes, pictures, documents, etc.
Thank you
same but I lost some of my mp3's and dont know how to find tham
how to recover my data{ word, excel. telly. video, photo}
I suggest that u use asoftech photo recovery, great tool for data recovery. It can be used to recover not only photos, but also video, music, document and other data file.
Who the fuck do you work for wispa?
If your not just plugging that shit, then I am a monkeys uncle!

Go sell your shit elsewhere, & if you must post on here, tell them something usefull or fuck off!
I also use asoftech photo recovery pro :)
try this
Thank you
Nucleus kernel Data Recovery software can be used to retrieve the data,,,

so look for a way to get it, and try to use it to retrieve the most important files first.

hope this helps,,,,!!

pls put in ur comments about the results.


No, I think you do not use this software I ll try this is bad Data recovery product Nucleus not a good data recovery company

I try but I have lost my data and partition

i think you have a mistake......

Please don't suggest this software to others

its bad

I have had this problem twice and used a program called Recuva and/or Recover My Files and got MOST of them back. Gratefully, this included family photos of sentimental value that I thought I'd lost forever.

Also, remember, even with a factory restore the hard drive IN your computer (not the local disc) has everything you ever put in it, embedded. (Think FBI raiding the MOB when the Mob thinks they "erased" everything!) I know. I have had to factory restore this stupid Vista over 10 times in 6 months!

Hope that helps. Now can someone help me????

I finally bought an external hard drive and it now reads "Corrupted" and I'm told to return it. But it has all of my stuff in it. Can I get it out and erase before replacing? I can't pull anything out of it. Windows doesn't "recognize it" any longer. It has reverted to a RAW file system instead of it's previous NTFS. Re- Formatting will erase but I must retrieve first.

Also the whole reason I bought this idiot new laptop with pre-installed Vista is because my 3 year old XP just died one day- I believe due to overheated fan. I REALLY need what was in there. Since it's battery is fully charged, can I use a USB cable or something to get that stuff out and into this new computer????

Thanks, Miggy.

PS- Off-topic but PLEASE do this! The fans on your computers are located on the back but they are ALSO located on the bottom of your computer! How stupid is that. Naturally those fans are blocked by whatever they're sitting on.

After that XP crash on fairly new laptop, I bought one of those cheap plastic basics you can buy anywhere (they hold paperwork, organize drawers, etc- you know what I mean) and I sit my laptop on TOP of that so it has plenty of holes in the basket for the hot air to escape.
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen > Miggy - Jan 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM
with your harddrive go to they have a program called testdisk that can be very helpfull in repairing hard drive issues. e-mail me if you have any questions.
Thank you
hey guys I discovered that you can retrieve some of your files deleted by system recovery by just "searching" the name title in the windows feature this worked for me...hope it helps
Thank you
I meant "cheap plastic baskets" (at the 99 cent store).

Thank you
I think you accidentally reinstall operating system on your hard drive that's why you lost all your data from hdd. In my acknowledgment there is no other way to restore data from formatted hard drive without using data recovery software.

There are many file recovery software in the market but I suggest you software which I already used "Recover Data for windows". its helps me to retrieve my files and photos when I needed most.

If you want to know more about that software just visit there sites


Thank you
I bought a program called DATA RESCUE PC it recovers files even after reformating. It works GREAT! I have used it many times on my drives & Friends that to recove lose files. It will even work on drive your PC will reconize. This progam boots on computer restart.
Thank you
Mabe you can try system mechanic
Thank you
no u cant get any files dude sorry factory recovery means u reformatt the whole hard drive and u lost the files which really sucks I know *sry*
djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 21, 2009 at 08:59 PM
mate I assure you that you can if done early enough your computer just hides the files to be over written. Unless you blow up your hard drive you can almost always get old information off of it. sorry to burst your bubble of enlightenment. But stop deterring these people and at least let them try.
mickie > djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 23, 2009 at 04:53 PM
My IBM laptop died... bad motherboard. The tech guy put my hard drive into a usb case. My new pc with XP (and a friend's pc) know there's something there, but WExplorer can't see it. Device mgr lists it, but there's no drive letter assigned, and no option to do so. How can I get my data back?? At one time I had GoBack installed, but it was disabled before this incident. What can I do now? I'm only moderately pc literate...

firesky 1 Posts Sunday January 3, 2010Registration date January 5, 2010 Last seen > djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Jan 5, 2010 at 07:02 AM
You know I was so upset about having to reformat my hard drive because it crashed not even allowing me to hit F11 for recovery and hell there goes all my photos not to mention my sons music from his new cd that after reading what you said to someone about unless you BLOW UP your computer you can get anything back I lost it completely with out of control laughter to the point of stomach pains. My son said im so happy you think its funny BUT I dont. Hell I needed a laugh after being up for 3 nights and days editing his new video clip. Lucky I got it on dvd before this happened. Anyway thank you for the much needed laugh. However I have tried EASEUS data recovery for free but it brings up so much all I really need back is all that was in my documents as I keep my programs on another partition. I had just finished building my program with a recovery partition and was going to make a back up disc but never got the chance as I had to do the music video clip in a hurry. If you were here in australia I would tell you to come over and you do it because i'm to tired BUT I will do it LOL so whats your advise. Recovery programs give you everthing but what you really want there a pain. Chernoa ????
mja leeds > djsmurf 101 Posts Friday January 9, 2009Registration date April 30, 2011 Last seen - Mar 5, 2010 at 07:38 PM
hello my friend I know u get loads of people asking u these sort of questions but please could u help me my computer recently crashed so at to re start the whole thing and lost all of my saved pictures and music when I click on them now all that is in there is sample pics and music has im not very good with computers could u please tell me a simple way of getting my saved pics back or where to find them again thank you for your time to read this if u carent be bothered to reply no probs bud just realy desperate to retrive these pics
Thank you
Another option is File Scavenger at I lost an entire 160 GB HD with all my mp3s, image files and video files. I have a small production company and all our work was stored on that drive. Thank God for File Scavenger. It's the best $50 I ever spent.
Thank you
u will have to have a boot disk in order to do so u can download falcon fours ultimate boot disk in order to do so
Thank you
Same happened to me, after restoring my pc I lost most of my Mp3s( 6000 + MP3) on my external hard drive that was connected to the computer . but the thing is that the disk capacity keep showing the same free space and used space as befor ! Like its not deleted but I cannot see it !
Any ideas?
1 2 3 Next

How to Retrieve my lost files - page 2