I just did a huge mistake. Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me to install Windows XP for him. I have done this task hundreds of times, but yesterday I was tired when I started the install procedure and I formatted the D partition and installed Windows on it.

Now I'm running PhotoRec on that partition, but it recovers the files in a weird way (filenames and directory structure are lost).

My question is:
How can I recover as much is possible from the previous data of that partition?

  • 2
    Just in case you don't know: STOP USING THE COMPUTER. – Hello71 Jul 15 '10 at 1:06

If you dont have any luck using TestDisk you could try Active Partition Recovery or GetDataBack. Both of these are paid alternatives but I have used both with good results, worth a try if TestDisk doesn't find the files.


Since you know about PhotoRec, you probably already know about TestDisk. TestDisk provides options for recovering lost partitions. If you are able to recover the lost partition... there is a good chance that it will not boot. You may however be able to boot the hard drive as a secondary disk on another computer or boot Knoppix or some other live CD in order to copy files off the partition.

But I would first try the undelete option of testDisk. See the link below:


  • ty about testdisk tip. I'll read about it – user38996 Jun 3 '10 at 5:49

I've found Runtime's GetDataBack to be the best at this sort of thing, it and it has a mode for Persistent filesystem damage - when you've wiped it and continued to use the partition. It's not free, but it's very good, and I think you can download a trial of it..


If you don't have any luck with the excellent Testdisk, there is an alternative:


This also works very well. It's also free for personal use.

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