Recovering data on a non-bootable HDD. Computer no longer available

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Joined: 07 Dec 2019, 16:51

Recovering data on a non-bootable HDD. Computer no longer available

#1 Post by Linx88 »


First off, to anyone that can help me, thanks in advance. I started trying to recover data from my brother's hard drive who passed away 2 years ago. It was in a laptop with a broken screen which would not boot. I removed the hard drive disk and began working on in with basic windows recover programs, such as Stellar Data Recover. I had little to no experience before this 'adventure'.

I was referred to start using linux to recover the data since the windows GUI program didn't seem to work too well. I was pulling data off of this corrupted HDD directly. Once I started diving into linux I joined to get some help. They gave me commands to type into terminal, and I was using this video on youtube to guide me I was given a lot of information, but primarily I was advised to first clone the corrupted drive and work with the clone. So after many attempts with little experience I was able to clone the drive using Clonezilla. From this point, I have been getting a little confused. I am not sure about the structure of HDD's, but I since have learned about CHS and proper geometry. I have also learned that Vista based drives may not follow legacy "structure" (?) I found this information on your website. So back up to speed, I cloned the drive and have tried writing image.dd correctly a few time, sometimes of the original clone and sometimes after doing a deeper search. This is all a tad bit above my head but I am trying to learn as I go, so bear with me. The most peculiar thing, and frankly the reason I am posting here on this page, is that (I am not having trouble creating these image.dd files, and using photorec to recover lost data) the results of photorec are showing me files from my own hdd. Personal documents with my name on it, I've seen pictures of myself and nothing of my brother, yet.

I have been needing to increase the size of the drive to clone it, since the original is slightly larger than my other 250 GiB drive, the next available is a 500 GiB clone. Which then if I write the image.dd from that drive, the only drive I have available after that is a 1000 GiB external hdd. I have tried formatting, deleting volumes, creating new simple volumes etc., but I think old data make be stuck on these hard drives? Assuming that is the reason, is there a way to get cleaner, more accurate results? Is there something else I am doing wrong?

I can add screenshots, logs, or codes if you think that will help. I have tried to do about 5 image creations, not sure if I need to rebuild the partition table, if I'm doing it properly at the analyse or advanced steps. I have reviewed the testdisk documentation, which has helped me to understand the CHS structure, but not much past that. A lot of this is experimentation with little knowledge or experience. Just trying to get accurate results at this point.

If this should be posted in another section, please inform me and I will move it there.



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Re: Recovering data on a non-bootable HDD. Computer no longer available

#2 Post by cgrenier »

Run TestDisk on the image.dd file, go in Advanced, Boot, List. If you can see the files, copy them.
When using PhotoRec on the image file (Via your file explorer, you can usually select the image.dd file and choose to open it using photorec), choose [Whole] instead of [Free] when scanning the disk image.

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