So I have a desktop with Windows 7 and I also have an external hard drive (1Tb).
The usual thing happened: I accidentally dropped the drive and the data on the drive isn't backed up anywhere.

The drive was set up to be indexed by Windows and I was wondering if I can somehow retrieve/browse that index so I can get a list with all the directories and files (not the files themselves)?

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    What is the state of the drive after it dropped? Only a few read errors? Completely inaccessible and making strange scraping sounds when you power it on? ... – Hennes Sep 9 '13 at 7:46
  • @Hennes It's completely inaccessible, I plugged it in using the USB interface but it's not recognized by Windows 7 or 8. It was recognized once by a HDD recovery software after I plugged it in using the SATA interface but ever since then the HDD smells slightly burned. When it's plugged in now, it makes very soft clicks every second as if it's trying to find something but I'm fairly sure that without professional help I'm not going to get anything of it... – Aerus Sep 9 '13 at 8:37
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    Sadly I agree. If it smells burned then leave it powered off. First decide if the data is worth the huge fee of attempted professional recovery. – Hennes Sep 9 '13 at 8:41
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    @Aerus: Since your question is basically unanswerable, you could flag your post and ask a moderator to close it and refund the bonus. – harrymc Sep 9 '13 at 10:57
  • @harrymc The current answer seems promising so perhaps not that unanswerable – Aerus Sep 12 '13 at 13:44

If your drive was successfully indexed by Windows Search you could retrieve the list of your files from it, by using third-party programs.

The file itself should be located in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb

One utility is Search Index Examiner 4.5. It's not cheap but they have a demo available (max. 20 items exported). This gives you a Windows.csv with a list of all the content in your index and you could look for your files.

Another utility (haven't tried this one) is libesedb. This one is free but you have to compile it from source and i haven't found executables on the net. You can use esedbexport.exe to export the tables.

You can find more on the Windows Search and tools here.

EDIT: Had a few minutes to spare this evening so i decided to try to build the free utility. I can confirm that building and running libesedb works good.

I had to find the source (could not find the link directly on that page) and found it here. Compiled it on a linux-box (i have no Windows-compile options available) and used a Windows.edb from a Windows machine. (You need to stop Windows Search to copy that file). esedbexport Windows.edb worked perfectly resulting in 8 files of which SystemIndex_0A.7 contained information of my files. It's hard to read in a text editor but you can import it in Excel (tab seperated). Perhaps you need to split the files if they are too large but the information is there. (Also a lot of information about e-mail etc. i.e. Windows Search info ;)

I also found another utility Windows Search index analyzer.
(cheaper then the one already mentioned above)
They also have a trail available. I don't know if that has limitations but you can try.

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