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An employee here recently had her hard drive corrupted pretty bad. I ran chkdsk /F on it to try and restore what I could, but during this it removed all the indexes for the My Documents folder. I know there has to be software out there that could recover the data, but I searched and saw several threads here regarding partition recovery or undelete tools and was unsure if these are what I want or if I need to use something different. Tips and advice are also helpful, I've never recovered a drive before.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

For data recovery my company typically uses Runtime's GetDataBack software. I've used it to recover data from multiple disks that have been formatted, corrupted, or completely wiped and reinstalled. They've got a free trial available, so feel free to give it a shot!

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I've used ActiveFileRecovery with great success in the past - highly recommended.

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my tool of choice:

WinHex is in its core a universal hexadecimal editor, particularly helpful in the realm of computer forensics, data recovery, low-level data processing, and IT security. An advanced tool for everyday and emergency use: inspect and edit all kinds of files, recover deleted files or lost data from hard drives with corrupt file systems.

if it is only file recovery you're interested in, then the 'lite' variant should suffice, it is based on the very same technology:

Davory undeletes files and recovers files from logically corrupted or formatted drives. Incorporates some of the data recovery techniques from WinHex and concentrates on ease of use.

Davory is very easy to use indeed, select the drive, specify your output folder (on another drive), search by filename (use the wildcard *.*) and let it work its magic.

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You could boot using livecd like BartPE and recover data into USB drive.

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A BartPE CD does nothing for you in the realm of data recovery, not without additional programs. – Molly7244 Nov 21 '09 at 1:48
Using BartPE i could recover and copy almost all my data from non-bootable OS into USB flash drive without any extra program. It would detect the hard disk and then You can copy/paste from explorer window. – James Nov 24 '09 at 7:58

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