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I got a blue screen and was trying to boot with my OS disk.

Frankly, I was unsure exactly how to do this. I was trying everything and booted in partition mode. Finally, I booted with disk and ran chkdsk /r and was able to log into Windows.

But, all of my files and pictures are gone. I have no backup and all I'm sick to think that I lost the last seven years of pictures of my kids.

What can I do?

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Bad news. You probably did not repair anything, and instead formatted your drive and re-installed windows. To get your data back may be impossible, but you might want to try Recuva.

Bob is correct in that you should not boot from the drive if you can help it. However, if the computer is already on, or it is hard to do this from a second device, you probably won't lose much (if anything) additional from the drive.

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The key here is to not write anything to the drive. That includes not booting from it - hook it up to another computer if possible. Otherwise you run the risk of losing more data permanently. – Bob Jun 17 '12 at 6:50
@Bob, updated answer to reflect your comment. See also here if you don't mind – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 6:59

The blue screen problem may also occur when your operating system get corrupted. Any system file corruption or deletion may cause this error.

You can resolve the blue screen problem by using registry cleaner tool and checking the corrupted registry and fix them. If it works, then it's great. But if it doesn't work then you should check whether you RAM is connected properly or not. If not then reset it. In case, when both of these options don't work, then the error is occurred due to the operating system corruption and you need to reinstall it.

Whatever the reason, the blue screen error lead to improper shutdown and may cause data loss. Data loss in this error may also occur due to registry deletion or system reformatting in order to reinstall the operating system. This is the worst scenario of data loss. Sometimes it may lead to completely formatted drive. In this way, you may loss you critical data due to blue screen problem. In these circumstances, to recover your lost data, you need for data recovery software.

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Ok, a similar thing happened to my sister. I was able to recover approx half of the photo's of their world-wide 7month trip!

I used several of these programs that I was able to download for free:


Photo Recovery Pro

If these fail and you really want the data, consult your friendly PC technician and get a quote from Disk Data Retrieval expert. They can open the Hard Disk Drive in this special air-tight room so no particles get inside and they can scrap the data off the platers. It costs several thousand - I know :(

ps now you'll always have a backup and regularly backup your data

Disclaimer: I dont claim to be any sort of expert in the data recovery field. I've recovered my sisters HDD and I dropped a removable 1TB HDD and the drive wouldn't spin up and got the data back.

Even if the disk was reformatted (or overwritten) some data may still be salvaged (fingers crossed for Barbs)

Usually the data recovery experts dont guarantee being able to recover anything and that it voids the HDD's warranty.

This is also why you burn old HDD's rather than leaving them out in the street, as scammers often try and recover your confidential information.

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The second half of your answer is incorrect. If the hard drive is readable, but the data cannot be recovered by some software tools, then the reason that not all of the data can be recovered is that it has been overwritten. There is no way to get it back. Taking it to a tech who will open it up is reserved for hardware issues where the drive will no longer spin up. This service can cost more than $1000 though. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 5:50
Reading your link, it talks about how data stays around after it has been deleted. This is true, because in general deleted means MFT entry for the file was removed, but the data is still intact on the disk (note that the process for SSDs is very different, but that is beyond this question). When new data gets written to the drive, it may write over old data. If that happens, there is no way to get it back. Opening it up only helps in the case of mechanical failure (as your link says) which is not the case here. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 6:04
On a different note, disclaimers are not necessary. It is taken for granted that some advice may be incorrect, and it is the job of OP/voting system to make that clear. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 6:05
I like the disclaimer there anyway - I dont want to affiliate myself with those companies I linked to. I agree with all your points except in your answer you mention probably a reformat and re-install and if that is the case then all hope is not lost: – Jeremy Thompson Jun 17 '12 at 6:08
Again, a reformat will not damage the data. The problem (potentially) is the re-install. When windows was put on the drive, the data could have gone anywhere (including overwriting her files). That is the primary issue, not the format. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 6:10

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