Recover NTFS Windows drive accidentally reformatted

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Posts: 8
Joined: 26 Feb 2015, 09:52

Recover NTFS Windows drive accidentally reformatted

#1 Post by sbramguy »

I have an NTFS formatted 500GB hard drive where its entire single partition was accidentally deleted, and a new partition was created, and then a quickly formatted NTFS file system created. The drive was the primary drive for the system with Windows 7 installed to boot the system.

Testdisk found one partition with files and folders in it. But as I describe below, after testdisk restored that partition table, only a few of the drive's original files were accessible.

The drive was never put into another system running Windows again to assure none of its data would be overwritten. I booted the system from a USB flash drive running Linux Mint and ran:

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Create > [Drive Selection] > Intel > Analyse > Quick Search > Continue > Deeper Search
After a screen detailing partition tables found that could not be used, testdisk displayed these results:

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     HPFS - NTFS              0   1  1 60800 254 63  976768002 [Max500GB]
     NTFS, blocksize=4096, 500 GB / 465 GiB
     FAT32 LBA                0  32 33 60801  80 15  976771072
     FAT32, blocksize=32768, 500 GB / 465 GiB
     HPFS - NTFS          38244 193 30 60801  47 46  362369024
     NTFS found using backup sector, blocksize=4096, 185 GB / 172 GiB
Running P on each result I found only the first HPFS - NTFS partition in the list showed any folders of files. But I only browsed the 1st folder at the top of the list testdisk displayed.

I went back to testdisk's list of partitions and used the right/left arrows to set writing that HPFS - NTFS partition as a primary bootable partition, and had it written in the next screen.

The system BIOS then recognized the drive as bootable, and handed off the boot process to Windows. But Windows couldn't find the operating system, and failed to boot.

So I booted the system into Linux again, and browsed the file system on the target drive. It turned out that the only root folder that contained any further folders and files was the top most folder I had seen in testdisk's 'deeper search' results. All of the rest of the folders in the root of the drive were empty.

But 2 data recovery programs run from a bootable BartPE disk managed to find most all of the data. And using one of them, I've managed to copy all of that data over to a new drive.

So I'm wondering at this point if testdisk still might be able to find the files and folders that the recovery software found, and repair the drive so that it might still be able to boot the installed Windows 7 OS?

Kind thanks for any feedback on this.

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Re: Recover NTFS Windows drive accidentally reformatted

#2 Post by cgrenier »

You may be able to find the same files using TestDisk, Advanced, Undelete.
But if you want to try to repair the filesystem, from a working Windows, run "cmd" (right-click Run As Administrator) and "chkdsk /f d:" (replace d: by the correct drive letter). You may have to plug the disk on another computer.