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Old 31st August 2014, 07:58 AM
heidi heidi is offline
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Default Computer Experts Help lost 5 years of PhD work

Do we have any true PC Experts ? Last night I had a power failure for some unknown reason resulting in my PC Crashing

The only way I can get it to work is to reload windows on a second drive so currently my main drive is inaccessible and that contains 5 years of work towards a PhD so if anyone can suggest a way of rescuing the data I will be grateful

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Old 31st August 2014, 08:46 AM
pauljv pauljv is offline
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could you use the repair windows option with your windows disc rather doing an install windows option
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Old 31st August 2014, 09:15 AM
slammer99uk slammer99uk is offline
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Are you able to give more info on the system concerned?

- Is it a laptop or desktop?
- Hard disk configuration, IDE, SATA, 2.5 or 3.5 inch?
- Are you or a friend comfortable rooting around inside it to move HDD’s from master to slave or primary/secondary etc?

Or pop into PCworld/Currys and pick up an external USB enclosure for your original drive, boot the PC from your new version of Windows and plug it in and see if you can read it.

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Last edited by slammer99uk; 31st August 2014 at 09:30 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 31st August 2014, 10:01 AM
Adam Adam is offline
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When you say booting windows from a second drive, is that another internal hard disk or an external USB one? What version of windows is it? My knowledge is based on versions up to 7, I've not used 8.

It is possible that the power crash just trashed the boot sector of your primary drive so windows can't boot off it. I've had this happen to me before. If so, all the data should still be accessible.

When you boot windows off this second disk, do you have another drive letter in My Computer that refers to your original drive? If so, your original "My Documents" folder should be under the drive letter for that drive, in \Users\\Documents, for Windows Vista and later, and \Documents and Settings\\Documents for XP and earlier. I think XP Home had a single user so it would be
\Documents and Settings\User\Documents

If you can get hold of a Linux Live CD, booting off that won't touch the installed drives. So that is a non-destructive and free way to see if your original drive is accessible in any way.

Last edited by Adam; 31st August 2014 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 31st August 2014, 10:09 AM
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Doberman1979 Doberman1979 is offline
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First thing i'd do is slave the drive, we'd need more details of the machine but you take hard drive out, use a hard drive caddy then plug it in to a laptop as if its an external drive and take it from there. Am happy to talk you through whats required if needs be.

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Old 31st August 2014, 11:39 AM
neilL neilL is offline
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Sorry to hear that. Backups? Copies of data sent to supervisor? Emailed? Attachments?

Worst case - old printed copies and pay to have them re-typed?

I strongly urge you to have the disk mounted in a different enclosure and mount it read-only on a different system entirely. It may be possible to find the file(s). I would suggest a BSD or Linux system where a disk is not forced in to write-mode on boot. Windows is a terrible system to use for data recovery unless you have a drive adaptor which can force read-only.

Hard drives fail for various reasons. The platters themselves go bad (actually rare), the read/write heads fail ( quite common with large capacity disks) or the electronics board fails. The board can sometimes be swapped with another from the same make and model, replacing heads is nontrivial and if the platters have gone there is very little chance of recovery.

I used to sysadmin and also do disk forensics and the worst case was always a student with no backups. Data recovery companies charge a lot but it is hard work with modern drives.

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Old 31st August 2014, 05:14 PM
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Brian.Samson Brian.Samson is offline
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Get someone to burn a copy of ERD Commander to a CD for you - boot off the CD and it has an option to repair a Windows partition for you.

You haven't lost your data, all that has happened is that the boot partition has some corruption.

Dead easy to fix, I must have done it a dozen times for various people.
Unfortunately I'm not back in the UK until 19th Sept so I can't post you a disk, but perhaps someone on here who knows how to download a torrent of ERD could help you out?
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:07 PM
heidi heidi is offline
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Default PhD

Problem solved took the Sata Drive into a PC repairs they told me the data is still there just the drive has crashed so it's been sent off to a data recovery specialist to extract everything on it.

Not so unhappy now

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Old 1st September 2014, 08:46 PM
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I had a 40GB Fujitsu drive fail about 12 years ago, it turned out that the UK had taken delivery of about 300,000 drives all with the same inherent problem, and they had been installed in PCs made here.

A data recovery specialist in Portsmouth managed to salvage everything I wanted but it cost me 120.

True, the value was at least that much to me.

The techie guy said the problem was the hard drive reporting to the OS on boot up that it wasn't ready, due to some flag not being set, while all the time it was ready; he just needed to get the OS to ignore the error message, which of course Windows 98 as it was at the time, couldn't do.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:53 PM
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I had a state of the art Solid State Hard Drive go corrupt on me about 12 months ago. Only 6 weeks after buying it from new!
In the end all drives will break no matter how much you spend.
Back Up, Back Up and Back Up again. That's all you can do.

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