I have a 1Tb disk which was partitioned into a ~700gb ntfs disk and a 300gb HFS+ (Mac OS X). I've accidentally allowed Mac OS X to wipe the hard-disk and create a single HFS+ partition over the hard-drive. I want to recover my NTFS partition.

TestDisk fails to find the NTFS partition, but the DiskInternals solution does find my files. Are there any free alternatives to DIskInternals Partition recovery solution? THe tool should simply go block by block and attempt to reconstruct the files.

  • Even if TestDisk didn't find the NTFS partition, won't (the increasingly ill-named) photorec claw back most of the data files?
    – jrg
    Sep 28, 2009 at 0:07
  • Indeed, it does recover not only photos! Thanks!
    – user12508
    Sep 28, 2009 at 2:11

7 Answers 7


Other free utilities you can try are:


DiskDigger can recover files from any type of media that your computer can read. This includes USB flash drives, memory cards (SD, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, etc), and of course your hard drive. The types of files that it recovers include photos, videos, music, documents, and many other formats.

DiskDigger can even scan reformatted or badly formatted disks (disks to which Windows can’t assign a drive letter), and even disks with bad sectors. It bypasses the Windows file system drivers and scans your disk directly. It has its own built-in support for the following file systems: FAT12 (floppy disks), FAT16 (older memory cards), FAT32 (newer memory cards and hard disks), NTFS (newer hard disks), and exFAT (Microsoft’s new successor to FAT32).

PC INSPECTOR File Recovery 4

PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery 4.x is a data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems.
Here are some of the new features in PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery 4.x
- Finds partitions automatically, even if the boot sector or FAT has been erased or damaged
- Recovers files with the original time and date stamp
- Supports the saving of recovered files on network drives
- Recovers files, even when a header entry is no longer available. Competition products cannot recover such files. The "Special Recovery Function" supports the following disk formats: ARJ AVI BMP CDR DOC DXF DBF XLS EXE GIF HLP HTML HTM JPG LZH MID

  • DIsk Digger only recovers certain files and PC inspector fails to work on vista 64.
    – user12508
    Sep 27, 2009 at 22:58
  • I'll accept the answer, because PC inspector is the closest thing to what I want to achieve.
    – user12508
    Sep 28, 2009 at 2:03

You will need a piece of windows specific software that is smart enough to do a NTFS scan / recovery of the drive. I would ask to have this moved to SuperUser - the expertise there would be most helpful in getting you better options.

Above all - eject and disconnect the drive and keep it powered off until you have better advice.

In the mean time, perhaps call a professional house and get a quote. They will have handled this situation many, many times and might have better tools / more training to get a better recovery. They will charge for their expertise and time handsomely.

I would suggest:

You just have a translation error as well as an over-write situation. If you have an idea how much space was filled, how big the drive is, and what proportion the mac overwrote - that will help the professionals estimate if you will get anything useful back. Think of a shotgun pushing pellets over a poster. A few - and most of the poster remains. The more overwriting, the less change the picture you want to recover will be able to be recreated / or rescued in partial form.

The good news is it won't need a clean room recovery - the drive is operational, just a change of the file structure as well as over-writing of data. That will let you decide to get PC based software and attempt a recovery yourself or pay or just write this up to "sometimes spring cleaning comes in the fall".

There are also low cost options - buy a new bare drive and an inexpensive USB/SATA adapter and you could make a block copy of the drive and test out whatever idea / DIY software knowing you are working on a copy of the drive - not the only copy of the data.


GetDataBackNTFS is your answer. It can help you recover from deleted files, partition remappings, and even complete format, wipe and reloads of Windows. It has saved my quite a few times, but is not free to use. The same company also offers a program for FAT32 formatted partitions, if needed

  • 1
    GetDataBack is a super awesome program, and worth the money I believe. Jul 10, 2012 at 21:44

WinHex is in its core a universal hexadecimal editor, particularly helpful in the realm of computer forensics, data recovery, low-level data processing, and IT security. An advanced tool for everyday and emergency use: inspect and edit all kinds of files, recover deleted files or lost data from hard drives with corrupt file systems or from digital camera cards.

WinHex is not free but you'll get the ultimate software in data recovery (at a VERY reasonably price). you can try before you buy.

  • And if files aren't contiguous on disk and point all over the place? IMO not a good solution.
    – user12508
    Sep 27, 2009 at 22:57

Not sure if it will help you, but I've been saved before with Partition Find and Mount.

  • does this work with overwritten partitions? the OP claims the partition has been overwritten with a HFS+ partition. it's not a corrupted partition table, otherwise TestDisk would have found it.
    – Molly7244
    Sep 27, 2009 at 22:17
  • @Molly: I'm not sure. I guess the OP will have to try it out. It's free, so giving it a try will do no harm ;-)
    – fretje
    Sep 27, 2009 at 22:19
  • DId not solve the issue. Tried all three modes of scanning.
    – user12508
    Sep 28, 2009 at 2:03

you could use photorec, testdisk or just give up. It's going to be a long and painful process regardless

The main problem is that the inner tracks of data (making an assumption, you don't really care about the context of where just that it happened) will have been overwritten, and are most likely where the data you want is. However, it's unlikely the outer tracks were overwritten, so if there was more data on there BEFORE it was reformatted and NOW, then you can probably recover some of the data.


Test Disk is Free and should get the job done.


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