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My company re-formatted my work computer after I asked them to fix a bug in one of their programs. However, they did not warn me of the re-format, so in the process I lost some important documents.

Is there free recovery software that would work without Administrator permissions on Windows 7? (I assume the tool will boot from a CD.)

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There's very little chance of getting your data back, especially if the "quick format" option wasn't used. Two things come to mind though: The company should be regularly backing up your data (assuming it's their computer), especially before re-formatting the hard drive (I normally save a snapshot image of the entire drive as a standard practice). A company with I.T. staff should have a central server for storing documents, and should be providing staff with adequate training to use it (this is a common scenario that simplifies backups, and makes it easier to manage and secure the data). – Randolf Richardson Aug 24 '11 at 16:58
First step is stop using the computer immediately. Temp files, page files, and normal file management will all overwrite documents that existed before the reformat, if those documents haven't been overwritten already. Also, you don't have automatic network backups at your company? If you do, get that set up. – MBraedley Aug 24 '11 at 16:58
Reformatting without permission is unacceptable. You should definitely make a complaint. – Keltari Aug 24 '11 at 17:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

HowToGeek has a great article walking through what you're trying to do.

Good luck, and back up!

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This is a great solution (+1), which should work well as long as the computer hasn't been used very much, and as long as the "quick format" option was chosen by whoever formatted the hard drive. I hope that this tool works well for @Daniel. – Randolf Richardson Aug 24 '11 at 17:00

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