Recovering lost, deleted, or corrupted data. Please review the tag wiki before posting a question.

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77
votes
10answers
19k views

How to destroy a CD/DVD rom safely?

I have old CDs/DVDs which have some backups, these backups have some work and personal files. I always had problems when I needed to physically destroy them to make sure no one will reuse them. ...
40
votes
1answer
15k views

Recover Data from Card that cannnot be read

I am trying to help a friend who is very concerned that she has just lost all of the data on her 32GB SanDisk microSD card. I told her I would post this and see if anyone could offer help. Here are ...
38
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I read a reel-to-reel tape from the 1970s?

A close friend of my mother worked at DEC in the 1970s and 1980s. She recently passed away, and in sorting through her estate, my mother discovered some reel-to-reel magnetic tape. We are curious ...
38
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does my SSD internally encrypt data, even without a password set?

Recently I had an SSD fail and am attempting to do a data recovery. The data recovery company tells us that it is complicated because the build-in drive controller uses encryption. I presume this to ...
37
votes
9answers
37k views

How much time until an unused hard drive loses its data?

Do you guys know how much time needs to pass until the data stored on a hard drive starts to degrade? To keep the data intact for long periods of time, I heard you need to periodically rewrite it on ...
34
votes
4answers
66k views

How do I find out the file type without an extension? [duplicate]

After recovering my HDD, I ended up with a lot of files with no extension. Many of them are .bin files. Is there any way to find out what file format they actually are? Many of them have no ...
29
votes
1answer
1k views

Old VAX machine crashed need to recover files

So I had a client contact me about some data recovery. I told her I'd take a look. Well when the box arrived I saw my first microVAX 3500. The only thing the lady was able to tell me was "one day it ...
27
votes
17answers
8k views

How can I physically destroy data from a failed HDD?

I have a broken HDD that contains sensitive data. Since no software can access the disk, I can't wipe it using any of the tools generally suggested. Breaking the disk physically into very small ...
26
votes
4answers
3k views

Why erase file with random patterns instead of all 0's or 1's?

Computer files aren't actually removed when they are deleted on Windows. The address pointer is simply released and that space freed for overwrite later. For sensitive information, it is recommended ...
24
votes
3answers
5k views

How do I recover lost/inacessible data from my storage device?

What steps can I take to try to recover lost or inaccessible data from any storage device? Answers: This applies to any main storage devices; eg. internal/external hard drive, USB stick, Flash ...
22
votes
5answers
12k views

Where do deleted items go on the hard drive?

After reading the quote below on the Casey Anthony trial (CNN) ,I am curious about where deleted files actually go on a hard drive, how they can be seen after being deleted, and to what extent the ...
22
votes
5answers
21k views

Recover data from SD card

I have a 2 GB Kingston microSD card which is about three years old. I put it in a reader today in my Windows Vista computer, wrote a 32 MB file onto it, safely removed it, and then tried to ...
19
votes
8answers
33k views

Can I repair a physically broken USB drive?

My friend just wrote to me, all in panic, that he had broken his USB with his math homework for tomorrow. (Yes, no other backups, just that.) It looks like this now: Is there any way that I could ...
19
votes
12answers
2k views

What is the safest and least expensive way to store 10 terabytes of data?

I'm a member of a production company and we're preparing for our first feature film. We've been discussing methods of data storage to keep all of our original content safe (for as long as possible). ...
18
votes
10answers
64k views

Running chkdsk on a disk partition without a drive letter

I have a hard drive that shows up in Disk Management as having two partitions. One of the partitions says 69.71GB and that's it. The other says 4.82GB and, underneath that, Healthy (OEM Partition). ...
18
votes
1answer
832 views

How to recover a deleted file that is still open?

How can one restore a file that has been deleted but is still open by a process? The blog post "Restoring files from /proc" explains how to do this on Linux: Use lsof (e.g., lsof -c name) to find ...
15
votes
1answer
681 views

Recovering data from a broken memory stick

I have a memory stick that isn't being recognized by multiple computers and the light which usually comes on doesn't anymore so I assume it is broken. The problem is that there is some important data ...
15
votes
5answers
9k views

How do I use Firefox' “sessionstore” files to restore my crashed session?

My Windows XP system crashed. Usually about:sessionrestore shows me my previous session. But this time, after I rebooted, the page appeared blank. I was able to find my sessionsstore files in my ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

USB Stick, how to minimize risk of data corruption or data loss

I have encountered several USB sticks with a corrupted filesystem in only 2 years. In a Windows-only environment (Vista and newer), what can be done to reduce the chance of filesystem corruption and ...
14
votes
0answers
2k views

How long will an unused hard drive store its memory? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How much time until an unused hard drive loses its data? I have a broken laptop, and it's the motherboards fault that it can't turn its power on. The laptop has been ...
13
votes
6answers
13k views

Will a quick format delete files on a flash drive?

I have been tasked with recovering data from a drive that says that Windows needs to format it to use it. If I do the quick format, will it delete or damage any files? I'm trying to use Recuva to ...
13
votes
2answers
68k views

Excel: How to convert “string” to a “number”?

I have a user with a query from an SQL Database that returns a series of string in this form: 000123123.23000 000123123.23000 000123123.23000 000123123.23000 000123123.23000 These are really ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Recover Word documents from computer lab PC when source (USB) drive no longer exists?

I lost my 60 GB USB drive quite recently back in my school's computer lab. Unfortunately, by the time I got there when I realized my USB was missing, it was already gone. So, its currently missing. ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

A scratched CD cannot be copied, but can be viewed by VLC or jetAudio - how?

I've a badly scratched VCD whose content can't be copied to hard disk. My OS is Windows 7 Ultimate x64. Windows can't copy the 750 MB video file. I also tried CDCheck and Recover Disc. Both of them ...
12
votes
5answers
87k views

Will initializing disk make data unrecoverable?

I'm trying to access files from a friend's external hard disk which had stopped showing up in 'My Computer' on his XP machine. I removed the drive (500Gb Seagate SATA drive) and installed it in my ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How many passes do you need to wipe/shred your files to make them not undeletable?

If you have a private data on a recent, normal hard drive - how many passes do you need to delete the data to make it unrecoverable? Not in the sense, that a forensic team of 20 experts with a budget ...
11
votes
5answers
40k views

How can I copy files from a scratched CD/DVD?

I have so far tried the following software solutions without success. Windows Explorer Copy (default) TeraCopy Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier Unstoppable Copier stops copying as a whole, it keeps ...
11
votes
4answers
37k views

USB flash drive not working or is appearing as an empty disk drive, Disk Management reports “No Media” with 0 bytes size

I have a USB flash drive which is no longer recognized by my computer. Windows Disk Management and DiskPart report No Media with no storage space (0 bytes) on the drive and I cannot partition or ...
10
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I repair a corrupted Firefox places.sqlite database?

I had some problems with my RAM (bluescreen several times, Windows XP) and now are my Firefox databases damaged. Firefox is working, but my history is gone and it's reporting several inconsistencies ...
10
votes
5answers
26k views

How do I export the Browsing History in Firefox?

I lost a load of open tabs in Firefox that I want to recover. The details are in the browsing history but it is not the most friendly area of Firefox to wade through. The Export option there actually ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Error whilst initializing SD card on Linux

I have noticed troubles with my microSD card in my Android phone and when I tried to insert it into my Linux laptop, I get the following error in dmesg: [ 247.588279] mmc0: error -123 whilst ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I recover a crashed hard drive?

My hard drive from my MacBook crashed and died hard last week. I replaced the drive with a new one, and installed 10.6/Snow Leopard on it. The old drive is now in a usb enclosure, and I really need to ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Why some recovery tools are still able to find deleted files after I purge Recycle Bin, defrag the disk and zero-fill free space?

As far as I understand, when I delete (without using Recycle Bin) a file, its record is removed from the file system table of contents (FAT/MFT/etc...) but the values of the disk sectors which were ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

File copying utility like rsync with error handling like ddrescue, for data recovery from a hard drive with bad sectors or hardware failure [closed]

I have a hard drive with either bad blocks or sectors that are failing to read due to potential mechanical issues, such as a bad disk head, bad motor, or some other issue that is causing the hard ...
9
votes
4answers
64k views

Is there a chkdsk equivalent available for Ubuntu?

When I asked this question about recovering data from a damaged Linux partition, people recommended booting from a Windows installation disk and running Chkdsk. Well, I still don't have a Windows disk,...
9
votes
3answers
39k views

External Hard Disk is not accessible. “The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable”

I have a 1 TB AgentGoFlex Seagate external HDD. Lately it was causing some issues like a few folders which had data were not showing any files.  A few folders were not opening, etc. So I tried ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Is ECC mandatory in SSD technology?

While shopping for an SSD I have noticed that some manufacturers promote their "Pro" models as the ones sporting ECC data protection. Those manufacturers do not mention ECC in their budget models ...
9
votes
2answers
561 views

Data Recovery from RAID5 disk - Promise Pegasus with Apple OSLion and Thunderbolt connection

I have a Promise Pegasus R6 - 12 TB RAID 5 disk for major storage purposes. One of the six 2TB hard disks were dead and the company provided me with a replacement. When the disk was inserted it ...
9
votes
0answers
2k views

How do I recover files from an USB flash drive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: flash drive ejected improperly- lost files I have a USB flash drive that claims it needs to be formatted every time I put it into my computer (Windows). Yesterday the ...
8
votes
5answers
332 views

Media Sanitation

What is considered the minimum amount of overwrites to sanitize media? For example; there are 1, 2, 3, 7, and 35 overwrites methods to make data irrecoverable. Using standard recovery methods (such ...
8
votes
3answers
26k views

How can I get data off of a damaged thumb drive?

A guy I work with just came by to ask me about a damaged thumb drive/USB flash drive. Apparently his son dropped it on a hard surface and it won't power up anymore. They've tried plugging it into ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Reading old 5.25" floppies

Summary: Having problems reading some old 5.25" floppies. Looking for advice on what else I can try before declaring the disks un-retrievable and giving-up. Details: I recently found a box of old 5....
8
votes
2answers
8k views

How to copy a DVD with a patched UDF filesystem / bad sectors?

I tried dd, dd_rescue and ddrescue, all failed. Since AnyDVD makes the disc copyable in a second on a Win7 host, it should not be too difficult. It says that the UDF filesystem is patched, curiously, ...
8
votes
2answers
866 views

Mark Deleted Files as Undeleted

The capacity of my hard drive is 500 GiB. 150 GB of data got deleted accidently. I didn't write any byte to the drive after that incident, so my data is guaranteed to be there. I have tried apps like ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Can a Word document be recovered, when its physical storage media is absent?

I have written an essay, and I saved it on my USB memory stick. Being an idiot, I have proceeded to lose my memory stick. With a deadline pending I was curious as to whether anyone knew of any way ...
8
votes
1answer
38k views

How do I import/recover/repair an Outlook 2013 .ost file into a new instance of Outlook 2013?

Note: This is not a Microsoft Exchange problem, but an Outlook 2013 one, and even though it might seem as a duplicate of a previously asked one, please pay attention to the end of the post. A little ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

All my files have been replaced by a found.000 “empty folder”. How can I recover my data?

Five minutes ago I was browsing my external hard drive. Now, I have only one folder named "found.000" that I cannot read, open nor browse. I have important work on my external hard drive. Is there a ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

How to access files and folders in a damaged hard disk?

I have got a hard disk with problems. HD Tune shows a lot of bad blocks and CHKDSK fix it, but the disk isn't accessible via Windows Explorer. I will replace that disk, but I need recover some files ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Creating a copy of cracked (broken) CD-ROM or DVD

Is it possible to somehow create a copy (an image) of a heavily cracked CD-ROM (but not broken in two)? Hopefully without damaging DVD drive... Unfortunately CD 2/4 of Polish version of Planescape: ...
7
votes
7answers
6k views

Free NTFS partition recovery after disk was formatted in Mac OS X

I have a 1Tb disk which was partitioned into a ~700gb ntfs disk and a 300gb HFS+ (Mac OS X). I've accidentally allowed Mac OS X to wipe the hard-disk and create a single HFS+ partition over the hard-...