While trying to install a fresh copy of Windows yesterday I noticed something odd. My 80GB hard drive where I keep practially ALL my data was showing something like 30GB which was disconcerting but I went ahead and installed XP on another partition. After the first part of the XP install the computer reboots and I got a check disk warning due to possible filesystem inconsistencies so I let it do the checking and it was having alot of problems. In fact it took more than 12 hours to finish running the check!!! So finally let XP finish installing then I checked my hard drive listing and found my 80GB hard drive which was originally formatted as one big NTFS partition was now a divided into a FAT32 partition and an unallocated partition. Obviously no data could be read from the drive.
So I stuck in RIPLinux (Recovery Is Possible, NOT Rest In Peace :P which was the first thought that came to mind when I first saw the name) and started TestDisk. It found the partition information from the backup sector and restored the partition and now it seems to be perfect =D Hooray for linux and hooray for free and open source software. The only reason I did this straight away was because I was trying to recover another hard drive (my old laptop’s 30GB hard drive) that seemed to just have it’s partition disappear. Sad to say that I still can’t recover that drive. Tried using TestDisk to restore the partition and PhotoRec to restore the file I want but still can’t seem to get it =( PhotoRec is a nice file recovery tool but it does not show you the files it can recover before hand, it just does a bulk recovery which is something I hope they work on in future versions. Even after a few changes I did to the drive from TestDisk data recovery was still no where to be found. For what it’s worth NTFS Recovery from DiskInternals was able to find the lost files (before I made any changes to the drive) but the free demo does not allow you to recover/save the file. And I’m not willing to pay $99.95 (US$ should be) to purchase the program nor am I willing to find a crack for the program because that would just be ethically wrong =p So as the drive lays here on my table I shall wait patiently until the day I want to take some more of my time to try to recover that 1 particular file I want, though I could go back to Singapore and borrow the DVD from a friend and rip it again but I’m just lazy and also I want to find out more of any other free data recovery software and see it work wonders like TestDisk did for my other drive.