Bootcamp data recovery help needed. Thank you.

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Re: Bootcamp data recovery help needed. Thank you.

#11 Post by cgrenier »

If you didn't get the file format specification from Drake editor, please provide at least 3 file samples. I will try to find a signature so PhotoRec can recover the files. If the data is splitted in several files, it may be harder to recover them.

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Re: Bootcamp data recovery help needed. Thank you.

#12 Post by PhilipHerlihy »

I'm not an expert here, but I know something about computers - though not Macs. (Read on at your peril...).

From what you've said, I think you'll be quite lucky to recover these files, though Photorec can sometimes snatch files out of oblivion. What makes it difficult is this: The Drake software runs on Windows, and will only "care" about the Windows in which it's installed. A quick Google suggests that the "Parallels" software provides a "virtual machine" - that's where a computer runs a whole operating system, and applications within it, as though it were an 'ordinary' application. So, for example, in the Windows world, you could have a Windows 10 machine running a Virtual Machine which provides a Windows XP environment in which you could install some ancient program that will only run under XP. I've used a setup just like that. The ancient application is entirely "unaware" of the outer Windows 10 environment, and thinks it's running under XP. Any files it uses will be in that XP environment.

In your situation, if you've uninstalled or reinstalled Windows on the Mac, then you've overwritten the entire environment in which Drake was running, including all the folders and files which Drake previously "remembered". It's roughly equivalent to reinstalling Windows on the hard disk in your laptop, reinstalling Drake, and then wondering where your files have gone. All the internal "links" will have been discarded.

Now, there's a chance that a low-level utility like Photorec (does it work on Macs? - I'm Mac-blind personally!) could find some or all of the files by searching the disk "bottom-up". The reason it can do that is that computers don't discard data when you delete a file, they only discard the "link" to it - and mark the space as available for re-use. Provided the space hasn't already been re-used (and that's critical) the files could still be there - though either Windows or the surrounding Mac operating system could have overwritten the space, or some of it, by now - especially as you've reinstalled Windows, and Drake, which will have meant a lot of writing to the disk. But there is some chance that the files could be recovered - or some of them. If you'd deleted the data files, and uninstalled Drake, and discarded the Parallels "Windows" Virtual Machine without reinstalling Windows, or Drake, and without using the Mac at all since that point, your chances might be quite good with Photorec. But it's a bit like having to hope that no-one has parked yet in the parking slot you used last time you were last in town. It'll depend on how busy the car-park has been since.

My own view is that after the reinstallation(s), this would be a long shot if it was all on a native Windows PC. The fact that the whole thing is wrapped up within a running Mac makes it all a lot more complex. If this data is as important as it sounds, then (certainly) the machine should not be powered up again until it is in the hands of a specialist - and that's someone a lot smarter than me, and who does this sort of thing all the time, and only this sort of thing. Those folks are expensive, but it might be worth it.

Did your guy really keep all that data without making backups? Sheesh... No data of any importance should be in less than two entirely independent places.

Good luck. You need it.

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