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I accidentally set my external 5TB hard drive that I use for my photo, movies, and music storage to use as an installation drive for W10. I did this over a year ago now and have had trouble recovering everything that I desire to. I can recover the files themselves, but what I can't get are their original filenames, and most importantly my iTunes library. It had all my playlists, play counts, and most importantly my ratings that took a long time to rate. I'd really love to get this data back as well as the other things like old VS projects that I can get back from file recovery.

I've tried many data recovery apps such as EaseUS Data, MiniTool Power Recovery, Free Undelete, UNFORMAT, and Active Partition Recovery. Whenever I've done a search and always a deep scan it cannot find the previous partition with all my files. Only a file search finds my files. I'm guessing that when the W10 installer formatted and created a new 32GB partition that it overwrote the info for the last partition.

Am I screwed and have to let that data go? I have the video, image, and music files themselves restored on another hard drive, so is it possible to try restore the partition on the hard drive to recover?

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  • If you've recovered all files you can and have them on another drive, then best bet would be to delete all partitions on the 5 TB drive, commit that action, and then create one partition of the desired type, e.g., NTFS, ext4, or other file system. – DrMoishe Pippik Oct 25 '20 at 3:58
  • Any data that was overwritten is gone forever. – Moab Oct 25 '20 at 15:44
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I accidentally set my external 5TB hard drive that I use for my photo, movies, and music storage to use as an installation drive for W10. I did this over a year ago now ....

I've tried many data recovery apps such as EaseUS Data, MiniTool Power Recovery, Free Undelete, UNFORMAT, and Active Partition Recovery. ...

I'm guessing that when the W10 installer formatted and created a new 32GB partition that it overwrote the info for the last partition.

That is very most likely the case and since this happened a year ago and presumably you have been using Windows 10, then the use of Windows 10 on its disk would muddle any data that was there.

Accordingly, you have what you retrieved (move them to another drive to be sure) but there is little to no hope of recovering more (under the Windows 10 install).

So yes, you have to let it go at this point. Bad news, I fear.

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