My situation:

I have an older 80GB IDE internal hdd, with a few files on it that I would like very much to recover:

  • some word documents
  • some latex documents (text files) and pictures (png, jpg, eps files)
  • some other text documents and visual studio project files

I had backed them (not the latex ones though) up using svn, but have not committed lately, and would lose a lot of work if I can't recover.

The HDD seems to have lost its filesystem, I have no idea how it came about.

I know it has/had 3 NTFS partitions, I know the files I want are on the second or third partition.

I read Recover hard disk data?

Partition Find and Mount did not see all the partitions using intelligent scan TestDisk does (I think), I followed the step by step instructions here, but when I try to list the files it says:

"Can't open filesystem, filesystem seems damaged."

I'm not sure how to proceed here, as TestDisks wiki does not contain this error message afaik.

I don't know if the HDD is going to fail, or some program has caused the filesystem to be corrupt, the HDD doesn't make a sound, so I guess that's good.

I would like some guidance so I don't accidentally cause more damage. (eg. is it ok to let testdisk write the filesystem to disk? I'm pretty sure the partitions are listed ok, but not 100%)

EDIT: running photorec atm


Once you know a file system is corrupted, I would not let anything write to it. First thing I would do is copy the disk byte for byte to an identical disk or perhaps to a file on another disk. Once that's done, you can try various tools to recover your data. If a recovery tool hasn't worked, but has written to the disk, then you can always copy from your saved disk or file back to the disk and try another tool.


I really believe that if you have really important information in your disk, you should try professional help from companies that recover data. They are experienced in this field and could help you more than tutorials on the internet. But if you want to go on by yourself:

  • Do not write anything in your drive. Keep it intact;
  • Use a file recover tool. I've used a tool named R-Studio in the past (3 years a go) and I was able to recover a lot of files. Then, start trying other HD recovery tools, since they have different algorithms.

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