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HDD Data Recovery Answered

I need to recover data from my external HDD. It was plugged into a laptop when I was reinstalling XP. By accident I deleted the partition on it and not the one on the laptop. (That laptop is now fine, but my hard drive is not) From what understand, it didn't go around deleting every byte of data, it must have just deleted the bytes with the "partition" on it. (I'm guessing thats why F.B.I etc.. can recover people's erased data.) So- I'm hoping my data is recoverable. I'm good with computers, but this has never happened to me, so any help would be greatly appreciated. (on a whatever OS you prefer!)


I have a very similar problem. I had a linux partition erased and overwritten with a new partition, but the data should still be there. Is there any free linux app that can recover this? (Sorry for butting into your thread, sam!)

You need to determine the exact partition addresses for that partition. If it was reset with Apple's Disk Utility, you can find the addresses and lengths by running PDISK from Terminal. Once you know the addresses and lengths, you need to know the exact partition type that was originally used by Linux and use the information to reconstruct the PC partition table using FDISK. These are two separate partition tables that coexist but must agree with each other exactly or your going to totally hose your drive!

It was done with GParted, and its been re-paritioned, if that matters. And isnt FDISK windows?

FDISK supports the standard FDISK partition table in block 0-1 of the drive. This is the partition scheme used by DOS, Windows and Linux. Mac uses an entirely different partition table that can coexist with the FDISK partition table. If you're putting together a multi-boot drive on an Intel Mac, it's necessary that both tables be present and properly configured.

I have a similar problem in that I lost data and I need to recover it. It is not a Mac at all.


11 years ago

Thanks for all of your help guys. In the end I kind of cheated, I downloaded Partition Table Doctor 3.0 off BitTorrent, and ran it on my PC. It worked like a charm, and in a few seconds all of my files were back. What a relief!

Stellar Phoenix FAT & NTFS http://www.stellarinfo.comdata recovery software is partiton & file recovery utility. It recovers the deleted partition from FAT 16 FAT 32 NTFS & NTFS5 file system. It recoveres the data from formated hard drive, software malfunction, file/directory deletion, and even from sabotage.
You can downlod the demo version of the software from http://www.stellarinfo.com/partition-recovery.htm
Scan your hard drive and it will show you the recovered data.

When you create a new partition table with most basic utilities, not only is the partition table erased and replaced, but new directories are initialized at the begining of the partitions. Most of the data is still there, especially if you didn't initialize those partitons afterward. Somtimes, you can reconstruct the previous partition table, but this requires being intimately familiar with the drives previous setup. There are utilities for scanning the surface of the drive. These utilities will also locate old directory information allowing full recovery of your data. Personally, I've never tried to recover a PC drive since the DOS days (Norton's Utilities), so someone else will have to post links to the programs you need. Now if you've got a Mac... just ask! :)

Yes I have a mac, and I was surprised that I couldn't get disk utility to fix it for me! The drive is formatted fat32, does that matter? If you can help me fix my HDD on a mac, that would be great!

As I said, Windows and Mac use different partitioning schemes. While Mac can read the Windows partiition setup, Windows (without 3rd party software) doesn't know what a Mac partition table is. If you use Apple's Boot Camp Assistant exclusively to handle the partitioning, both partition tables are built on the same drive and should work. Don't use any other utility to change things unless you first remove the Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant beforehand. Don't change any partition information with the Windows partitioning tool! It is possible to build both Mac and Windows tables manually, using FDISK and PDISK but It's a headache. If you do it wrong, everything could end up flaky.

That would be nice if he were using a PC.

Well, I have a PC too.. but partition table doctor isn't free.. I've had a look at using FDISK from the terminal, but I'm having trouble understanding it. I don't have much experience using terminal apps..

type: man fdisk >manual.txt This will put the manual in your home folder or whatever folder you previously changed to in Terminal.

You can rebuild the partition using FDISK from the Terminal window or booted into "Safe Mode" (Command-S). Study the utility by entering "man fdisk" in the Terminal window. It's tricky and a whole lot easier if you know the partition configuration before you have a problem. Note that FDISK builds a PC type partition table, where PDISK builds an Apple type table. Both types are used on a Boot Camp enabled drive.