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data gone! help!

By caryl.robertson ·
2 extremely irresponsible sons (mine)did God knows what to my (xp home) system...everything froze...contacted Microsoft & computer distributor...told only answer was to "re-install"..did NOT delete anything...can I recover anything/something...please!!! I have files that I cannot re-create (CCRA tax files) help!

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by Dragon Emperor In reply to data gone! help!

Option #1
Through in a new Hard Drive, reinstall Windows XP on that (do NOT have your old one connected at the same time). Then connect your old hard drive and you should be able to get your data off of it.
Though some of the later options are very simple, this one WILL work and often it does a system good to get refreshed anyway.

Option #2
You could see if doing a repair installation would fix it. This should not harm your data and may even get you up and running with little extra work to get the system ready for use again.

Option #3
It may possible to simply fix the problem with your system (a PC service place in your area may offer such services).

Option #4
Reinstall as they said, just make sure NOT to reformat. Depending on where you stored your data it "should" be fine.

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by support In reply to data gone! help!

If the OS is corrupted but the drive is still working. You can remove the drive and slave it in another computer. The new computer will boot it's OS, then show up as another drive. Then you can copy your data.

One more thing, fire your sons!

If that does not work, you might have to send your drive to a recovery server like

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by kucabrbr In reply to data gone! help!

I think in a sitution like this it would be too soon to give a solution to your problem based on the information you provided. You said that that "everything froze", what happens when you reboot the computer? what error messages - if any are your receiving? Are the files no longer in the path they where saved in? Did you check the recycle bin for any deleted files?

You will need to provide more information before I can give a possible solution.

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by wlbowers In reply to data gone! help!

Here is your problem. Every time you access that drive now you write information back to it.

How much is that data worth. You can lose everything with the wrong mouse click.

Call them and tell them the problem. They will give you a price.

If you want to try. Install it as a slave in a working computer and go here.

or here

Good Luck


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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to data gone! help!

First place a password on the system to prevent your sons from getting into it.

Second Don't write anything at all to this HDD as you run the risk of over writing your Data.

Now the best way out of this problem and only if you've done nothing will be to buy another HDD and a USB caddy that will house your original HDD, the IDE ones are very cheap so it's not expensive.

Remove the original HDD from the computer and fit a replacement HDD at least twice the size of the Original Drive. Change the HDD in BIOS if necessary and then install XP onto the new HDD with only 1 partition.

When you have the system working again you will need to create a Temporary Folder on the C Drive and then you can then install your old HDD into a USB Caddy and plug it into the computer and allow XP to load the drivers for it. Sometimes if the OS has been badly corrupted it will BSOD out and just kill the working OS or at least stop it working. This should fix itself by removing the USB plug and rebooting and if that happens you'll need to take the drive to a Data Recovery Service and it's going to cost you heaps.

If it works open up my computer then the USB Drive and then Documents & Settings then your name or the account name that you where working under and then My Documents and chose Copy Folder. Copy the entire contents to that Temp Folder that you made on the C Drive earlier.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Now this is where things start to get tricky you may be given a notice that you don't have the rights to access these files so you'll need to take ownership of them by following the directions in this URL;en-us;308421

And then copy them across to the new Temp Folder.

If you have previously encrypted your Data you'll need to copy the encryption key as well or the Data that you save will be useless. Depending on how you encrypted the files the next steps will vary but what you need to find is the Encryption Key and copy that to the Temp Folder as well. You should also copy all your other files across to this Temp Folder things like Address Book, E-Mail, Favorites and any data stored in programs that do not save the data to the My Documents Folder, this includes things like accounting programs and the like.

Once you have all of your DATA copied across shut down the USB drive by right clicking on the green Icon on the Task Bar and chose Safely Shut Down. When you have done this remove the USB caddy and put it in a safe place where no one but you can get at it this is your Master Copy and you need to protect it with your life if necessary.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Now that you have all of your data saved you can finish off the install by installing all the necessary drivers that came with your computer and update Windows as required. Then reinstall all of your software and don't allow your children any form of access to the computer. Once this is finished you can copy your data to the My Documents Folder that is in the current working account and if you need to run the encryption tool to unencrypt the files so that they are readable. You can also copy My Favorites directly to the My Favorites or favorites Folder in your user account.

Then import the E-Mail and Address Book into your E-Mail Application.

Now open the Control Panel and chose to use a password on your account and quite importantly keep it secret! Reboot and enter your password and you now have all your data back and have blocked your children from the computer Check to make sure that everything is there and only after you have made certain several times that you are not missing any Data bring back the USB Caddy and plug it in. Open MY Computer and chose the USB drive and right click on it and chose the Format Option and format up the drive. You should now have a blank drive that you can use to backup your data to so that you'll never be in this position again and now you need to instigate your DR Plan and follow it religiously. There are no prizes for failing to do this and only massive costs involved if you don't do it.

Backup all your data ALL OF IT no matter how unimportant you think it is back it up and then shut down the USB Drive and remove it from the computer and place it where you had it previously. You'll need to bring this out at least once a week to perform a complete backup of your data and it's acceptable to overwrite the old backup.

One guess here your sons installed a game right?

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Now that was the easy way. If when you plug in the USB cable the drive appears as blank this is where you really need someone who is capable of recovering your data without the possibility of loosing any. If the drive shows up but is unreadable or appears blank you can chance it with some data recovery software from one of the following URLs

My first option would be the On Track Pro Product but it doesn't come cheap. The others will work with varying degrees of success but if you are not at all certain of what it is you are doing take the Drive to a Professional Data Recovery House and allow then to recover your data but as you could get into a Hung Windows screen I tend to think that all you'll be required to do is just copy across from the original HDD and save all of your data.

But if you are at all concerned take it to a professional and pay the money which can range from $500.00 up wards. One recent case the data recovery cost more than 15 high end servers but it saved the company millions so it was a cheap recovery and they did follow the DR Plan after that.

Now comes the really hard part if you have data on your home computer it needs to be kept safe and you need to do a couple of things. First would be to instigate a DR Plan and now the biggie stop anyone else using your computer if you mess it up it's your fault not someone else's so stop your children playing games on it. If absolutely necessary buy them a separate computer to play games on but never allow them access to your main workstation as it's a tool that is necessary to your welfare not a play toy.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Better still buy yourself a new computer with XP Pro installed and give the messed up one to your children but only after you've removed everything important from it.


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by entawanabi In reply to data gone! help!

Answer no. 4 is the best answer another option is to log on another computer and do a DOS drive recovery operation, as you see it aint a great option, I don't know where to get the instructions for it except from Microsoft and god knows what it will take for them to find them!

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