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My old man installed Windows 7 without making a proper backup, and now realizes he left behind some important data.

He did a true "clean install", so there is no Windows.old folder in the root directory. However, I believe the format performed on the hard drive was only a quick format, so I am hoping there is some chance at data recovery.

I took his hard drive out, and have spent a majority of the weekend researching data recovery options. I paid $70 for the GetDataBack software, but have had little success with it. I can see all of the files I want to restore, however they appear corrupt when I try to open them.

With that all being said, does anyone know of a viable way to recover some of this data, or is it a lost cause all together?

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If he's installed xGB of Win7 over the top, and used it much at all, I wouldn't hold out much hope. –  Phoshi Apr 6 '10 at 11:06
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 28 '10 at 23:23

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2 Answers

How about the Sleuth Kit / Autopsy? It's free and open source + versions for both Linux and Windows. Good luck with the drive!

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You can use a tool like Recuva or PhotoRec to retrieve your documents.

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