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I inserted my friend's pendrive 15mins back and wanted to format it to free it of all trojans. Accidently I formatted my other drive (D:) and lost all data. My primary drive is still safe but I've lost all my precious data on that drive.

Is there a way to get it back? :(

Any help would be appreciated.

OS: Windows Vista

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Restore from your latest backup. –  ta.speot.is Nov 15 '10 at 8:44
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Also, no points for plugging in a USB pen drive full of trojans into your PC. –  ta.speot.is Nov 15 '10 at 8:44
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@taspeotis: At least not on a Windows with autorun most likely enabled. –  Bobby Nov 15 '10 at 11:12
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@Bobby, @taspeotis: Windows Vista doesn't support Autorun on USB drives, does it? –  grawity Nov 15 '10 at 13:49
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5 Answers

depends alot. Was it a quick format ? if so it likely only removed the file index table, and you should be able to get most of the data back using standard forensic tools, it'll take a while though depending on size.

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Yes it was a quick format... Can you please recommend any tool (free) which you are talking about? –  Prakhar Nov 15 '10 at 8:00
    
for free tools look for anything that'll do file carving, i use encase but that's very expensive. testdisk is prolly a good place to start for free tools. –  Sirex Nov 22 '10 at 7:51
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Recuva may help you.

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Try these free products:

PC INSPECTOR File Recovery
EASEUS Partition Recovery

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A Linux Live-CD together with Testdisk comes to mind.

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Aww... I feel for you, guy...

As soon as possible: Disconnect the drive until you've decided how to proceed. Fair Warning: anything you do from now on will likely make it harder for you to recover your data, including rebooting, not rebooting, or examining the drive using any number of built-in or additional tools.

The answer may be "Yes, you may be able to get back your data", but there are a LOT of variables and things that can go wrong here: quick vs. full, NTFS vs. FAT, and even IDE (PATA) vs SATA vs SCSI.

1st question: did you "quick format" or "full format" the lost drive? If "full format", the chances to recover your data are slim and expensive. Minimally, you'll need commercial software, probably you'll need another drive, preferably the same size, manufacturer and model (on which to make an identical copy of the lost drive), and you may need to send the drive and drive controller away to a specialized firm to recover the data.

If you "quick formatted" the lost drive, you may still need commercial software, but the time and cost to recover are less.

Quick formatting a drive erases the indexes or "table of contents" of the disk, while leaving the data on the drive, in place. The complexity is that most drives are heavily fragmented, meaning small pieces of your file may be stored all over your drive, rather than stored neatly in consecutive and adjacent sectors of the drive. Most OSes, like Windows, store a number of copies of this index, and sometimes one or more of these survives the quick format.

Drive interface type shouldn't matter, and doesn't usually, but some older, slower drives detected a full format attempt and substituted a quick format in order to save time.

I know you don't want to hear this now, maybe not ever, but this is why backups are so important...

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Thanks so much Charles for replying. I did a quick format and I'm trying on Recuva as Mehper has recommended above. I'll report the result here. Thanks again. –  Prakhar Nov 15 '10 at 8:22
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