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A MacBook had OS X 10.4 and Windows XP dual booting using rEFIt. Then the Windows partition gets corrupted and it won't boot. Presumably a virus. There were sensitive files there and those were successfully copied to an USB drive and then 10.5 was installed on the hard drive, formatting the drive in the process.

The USB drive's contacts cracked and he data is lost from there, unless it can be resoldered. The issues is that there is too much solder there already.

So, how can the data in question be recovered? The files were Microsoft Money (not the latest version) files for the Windows version of the program. Right now, only OS X is installed on the MacBook.

Is there Mac based program that can recover the Windows data or am I better off trying to resolder the drive? Does anyone know how to best resolder an USB drive more than once, where the first solder is ther, but detached from the silicon?

Also, what format (extension) are Microsoft Money files?
In need of help!

The NTFS windows partition has since been reformatted to GUID/Mac format.

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3 Answers

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I think the USB drive is your best bet at getting your data back.

Regarding the soldering, you can remove old solder without too much difficulty. Just touch the iron to the solder and collect as much as you can on the tip of the iron, then wipe it quickly onto a wet sponge - repeat until you have removed enough to successfully resolder it in the way you need to.

If the problem is that the old solder detached from where it was supposed to be, you don't even need to remove it - just melt it with the iron and let it reattach :)

Regarding getting your data from the HD, if you formatted the drive in NTFS I don't think there's any way of getting it back - I'm not an expert at NTFS but I believe if you lose the inode list (which you did in the reformat/reinstall), even if the data is not overwritten it's scattered "randomly" among other data and there's no way to tell which blocks belong to which files. If it was FAT32 it's somewhat more possible, but my understanding is that you would somehow need to be able to locate the beginning block of each file you're trying to resuscitate, which was lost when the FAT was overwritten in the reformat/reinstall.

Best of luck getting your data back!

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On the resoldering: depending on how valuable the data is, you may want to get a solder wick so you can do it more quickly and with less heat, and also make sure to put a metal clamp or something between the contacts and chips if the chips are really close. (so as to not take any risk). –  Earlz Mar 16 '10 at 20:49
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R-Tools is awesome at recovery. I installed it on my mac, but there are windows and linux versions, and if you get the right version, you can read any filesytem type. I used it to read a disk image made from a damaged disk - no other tools could find the partitions, but r-tools found the file table and reconstructed the whole drive.

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As Mala mentioned, you might be able to salvage the USB drive by melting the solder and letting it reattach, but make sure you don't heat it too hot or for too long, or else you risk damaging the drive.

In order to attempt recovery of an NTFS partition, you might need to set up a Windows machine on a separate hard drive and install a low-level recovery tool such as RecoverMyFiles. I've used some free tools in the past without much luck (they either scrambled the filenames or couldn't find the files at all), but RecoverMyFiles was able to recover most of the files with the correct filenames from a drive that had been reformatted.

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I believe the NTFS partition does not exist anymore - he had a win and a mac partition, and then after moving files to the usb drive he reformatted the entire HD and made a giant mac partition. Moshe please correct me if I am wrong... –  Mala Mar 15 '10 at 23:55
    
Ahh, right you are! –  rob Mar 16 '10 at 19:51
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