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I had installed Windows Xp on my Dell Inspiron 1525 which originally shipped with Windows Vista Home Premium, it started acting up a bit so I decided to shift back to windows vista.

While deleting the boot partition in Vista for some reason it deleted both my boot an data partition and all I can see now is a single unallocated partition along with the recovery partition which Dell laptops ship with.

How do I get back all my data back ? I'm super worried some one help! I have lost a lot of important data which i don't have backups of!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

IMPORTANT!! If you are reading this now, make sure you do not access the drive anymore!! Remove the drive from your 1525, put it in an anti-static bag if possible, and the continue reading the rest of this answer.

Okay, no worries - this has happened to many people before. However, you need to be mentally prepared that there is a chance you will not be able to get your data back, and also, it will probably take awhile to see what can be recovered.

Have you removed the hard disk? Great - now put it in a USB enclosure. This hard disk is now a USB drive.

Find another PC terminal, don't plug in the hard drive yet. In fact, one of the cardinal rules now is DO NOT ACCESS THE HARD DISK UNLESS NECESSARY!

Go get a recovery software - I recommend GetDataBack from Runtime Software. Install the software.

Plug in the hard disk to the USB port, and run the software. Follow the instructions to scan that particular hard disk. It will take awhile, but be patient. See what can be recovered. If you are satisfied with what can be recovered, purchase the software and start recovery.

There are NO legally free recovery software - it is an expensive process and the software is complicated. Respect the programmers and the data experts.

Good luck!

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will try your solution, still have my fingers crossed will update this asap – rzlines Sep 5 '09 at 19:56
It's worth it to use a reliable data recovery software to scan the hard disk ON THE FIRST GO... if you are sincere about recovering your data. GetDataBack is highly recommended, and I have a copy for unfortunate clients and friends always on the standby. – caliban Sep 5 '09 at 19:57
Another important point please, DO NOT RESTORE THE DATA BACK TO THE SAME DRIVE! Always restore to a different drive - as far as you can, do not let anything write to the drive. – caliban Sep 5 '09 at 20:00
R-Studio NTFS was also an invaluable tool for recovering data for me. It even can build temporary RAID volumes from multiple disks/partitions and recover data from those (which was what I needed at that point). – Joey Sep 5 '09 at 20:00
R-Studio is pretty good too (had a fellow techie swears by that before). Rogue, you can also try Johannes's suggestion. It's your call. – caliban Sep 5 '09 at 20:03

Try Active@ Partition Recovery. This software will help you recover a deleted partition if you haven't overwritten the hard drive with other data already. Once you've written more data on the hard drive, the partition is unrecoverable.

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Why the downvote? – caliban Sep 5 '09 at 19:54
yep me couldn't figure that out either so i upvoted it – rzlines Sep 5 '09 at 20:00

Testdisk is your friend.

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First thing is first, don't install anything on that partition. You'll need to connect that HDD to another computer and use some data/partition recovery software on it. There is no guarentee that you'll get everything back, but if you don't install anything on that drive, your chances are a lot higher. has a list of free utilities you can try.

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there is no partition its all unallocated space now – rzlines Sep 5 '09 at 19:55
Well, don't reallocate the space – MDMarra Sep 5 '09 at 20:05

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