I posted this question on SO, and they told me to post my question here instead.

Before anything else, I tried to see first if there is a tag for data recovery. I believe this question is appropriate to be posted here on Stackoverflow, since I have read a quite similar question to mine on this website too, but I'm still confused and my scenario is a bit different. This is a simple question, but hear my explanation too

I have two external HDD that got infected, apparently, by a virus. Most of the files went missing.

The first thing I did was I put those external HDDs into my macbook pro, and see what this machine can do to salvage her data. Result: failed. No folders were hidden nor locked. There must be a bigger step to do next. It seems the files were deleted. I then downloaded two softwares, both full version to activate their all features.

    1. Disk Drill
    1. Cisdem Data Recovery

Both of these softwares did an awesome job. They successfully scanned (full scan) both of the external HDDs and I was able to export the recovered data into my machine. But most of the exported/recovered files couldn't be opened.

I tried the quick scan and few files were exported/recovered. But the good thing is that those files can be opened and viewed.

I thought a jpeg recovery software might save those exported/recovered corrupted photos. So I downloaded this:

  • Stellar Phoenix Jpeg Repair

That software is full version as well. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to fix a single JPG file.

Finally, my question is: Could the data recovery centres actually 'recover' my files? Given that I have tried all the necessary steps I mentioned?

  • One problem that you still have is that you used relatively unknown software to recover the files, so before you spend any more money it might be helpful to check what software many other users are using. See How do I recover lost/inaccessible data from my storage device?. I have used a free open source program called TestDisk successfully. – karel May 27 '16 at 4:07
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    thanks, karel. but have you read my story though? I bookmarked your link. – PrettyItGirl.com May 27 '16 at 4:08
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    Assuming the virus only "delete" files, then yes some software solution MAY be able to recover the files. Some virus (like CryptoLocker or their variation) will encrypt the files (on top of attempting to hide or do other stuff to the file) - so those encrypted files, even if it has the same name, may no longer be a readable JPG file. So without knowing what infects your computer... despite being able to recover the files, it may still be in an unusable condition until decrypted. – Darius May 27 '16 at 4:31
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    thanks Darius. Based on Karel's link, I'll try scanning the HDDs' for bad sectors and try other softwares too. I hope you guys read my story first, so that you'd know that I tried everything before asking here :) – PrettyItGirl.com May 27 '16 at 4:54
  • Was the drive NTFS formatted? If it was a Windows computer, then the answer is yes. It looks like you used some file carving programs. Those are not good to reconstruct a file system and they won't work for fragmented files. You might want to have a look at this answer of mine: askubuntu.com/a/776317/271 If you need, I can elaborate further in a new answer here. – Andrea Lazzarotto May 28 '16 at 0:41

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