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Scenario: I was flashing an IMG file onto my SD card for my Raspberry Pi. Or so I thought - it turns out I foolishly selected the wrong device path (D: instead of F:) and flashed the IMG to my WD My Passport Ultra 1TB USB HDD. Did this several times, wondering why the Raspberry Pi wasn't booting with the SD card. Each time, I was writing to the external HDD.

The HDD contained a single NTFS partition called 'USBDRIVE' filling practically the whole capacity of the drive. It contained around 400 GB of data (if memory serves) and the rest was empty.

I soon realised and after panicking a little, I ran Minitool Partition Wizard's Partition Recovery Wizard. I did a Full Scan on the entire disk. The Wizard found many partitions (50+) including, of course, many from the IMG file that I flashed multiple times. It also found the NTFS partition I was looking for.

"Victory is mine!" I cackled as I restored the partition. This was not quite the case as Minitool Partition Wizard did restore the partition but not entirely correctly:

Viewing the partition in Minitool

As you can see, the partition does not fill the whole of the disk, has a negative amount of used space and an amount of unused space larger than the partition itself.

Clearly, things are rather broken. Furthermore, Windows Explorer cannot view the HDD and wants me to format it. Right-clicking on the partition in Minitool and clicking 'Explore' displays a single folder which seemingly loads indefinitely (I've given it 5 minutes):

Attempting to explore the partition in Minitool

Interestingly, Disk Management seems to think that the partition is healthy and formatted as RAW:

Viewing the partition in Disk Management

Here's some additional information from Minitool in case it helps.

Disk properties:

Disk properties

Partition properties:

Partition properties 1

Partition properties 2

My questions are:

  • Is my data recoverable?
  • If so, how do I recover it?

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • Reformat & recover from your last backup would be the simplest strategy... otherwise the best you'll get is a 400GB 'hole' in whatever you want to recover, where the data was overwritten. – Tetsujin Jul 23 '16 at 19:14
  • @Tetsujin thanks for the suggestion but unfortunately I don't have a backup - foolish, I know. I'll make backups in the future! – LJD200 Jul 23 '16 at 19:28
  • I had kind of guessed. Backups are those useless things that just waste an entire drive & an off-site annual subscription... until you need them :/ – Tetsujin Jul 23 '16 at 19:42
  • @Tetsujin So true... especially backing up a 1TB drive using a byte-to-byte copy – LJD200 Jul 23 '16 at 20:03
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    @AndreaLazzarotto Ahh! Didn't know that! Thanks for your help. I think the moral of the story is: BACKUP! – LJD200 Sep 26 '16 at 18:37

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