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A friend gave me his external hard drive to rescue his data. It contains only one NTFS formatted partition. Windows shows this partition as "RAW". CHKDSK fails, because it doesn't recognize a NTFS filesystem.

Testdisk recognizes the NTFS filesystem, but can't access the files. I can recover files using Photorec or Recuva, but those tools don't read the MFT. So I lose the folder structure and the filenames. Besides Photorec and Recuva freeze after some time. I have to kill the process to close them. Probably a bad sector?

Can I restore the MFT? How can i tell Photorec/Recuva to ignore bad sectors?

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Recover the files from backups you made earlier. If you don't have any (shame on you), duplicate the hard drive and put the original away. CHKDSK, for example, had it not failed, would probably have destroyed the MFT beyond recovery. –  Marcks Thomas Aug 27 '13 at 21:34
    
So, i should avoid using CHKDSK next time? But what can i do now? My friend has no backups of that data. Any ideas why Recuva/Photorec keep crashing? –  Marius Aug 27 '13 at 21:50
    
Bad sectors can cause programs to crash. If that is the case here, you need to mark those blocks as bad by running CHKDSK or similar software. This is potentially destructive. I repeat, copy the HDD and do nothing to the original. –  Marcks Thomas Aug 28 '13 at 9:39
    
I can't even make a dd-image of it. Testdisk freezes after 0,95% :( –  Marius Aug 28 '13 at 12:02

3 Answers 3

Propably a long shot but I would try opening the drive with a Linux distro or something similar like Ultimate Boot disc which contains a lot of software specifically for hard drive diagnostics and recovery.

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Have you tried the software EaseUs Data Recovery? Home edition is free to use. I used this software to recover my files in my corrupted hard disk. I don't know if this will work for you, but just give it a try.

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You could try File Scavenger from Quetek. I ended up buying both the Disk Recoup and File Scavenger tools and I've found them able to recover data that other tools had problems recovering. At least you can run the trial versions to see what it finds before spending any $.

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