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Topic # 82510 30-Apr-2011 13:36
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Hi Guys

I have a bit of an issue with my PC and any help is appreciated.  I am not completely computer literate but I will outline my problem in as much detail as I can:

The PC I have been using is about 5-6 years old and runs XP.  It is basically a spare one which I use to connect to the TV and is kind of used as a media centre of sorts.

Anyway, one day as I was booting up I got an error message along the lines of "system32\Hal.dll is missing, please resintall a copy ...".  After doing a bit of Google, I went into the Recovery Console and attempted to fix it there by rebuilding the boot file.  Having had no success there, I figured there were no options other than to reinstall XP.  I booted from the CD drive, went through the on-screen instructions and installed a "fresh"copy.

So I rebooted the PC, and sure enough the files I had on there were gone. (~70gb).  I was a bit bummed but it seemed reinstallation was the only thing to do so I sucked it up.  I went into my Computer and poked around a bit, and to my surprise the 150gb drive is still half full, implying that my files were still there in some shape or form. 

I then connected the HDD as an external drive to my computer using an USB cable, and sure enough the drive is shown as half full.  There is however no way for me to find them (these files were previously just sitting on my Desktop as folders).  After a bit more Googling, I tried to take ownership of the drive throgh Safe Mode, though still no joy after I have done that. 

I have checked the disk (right click My Computer, Manage ..etc) and it is showing the same information, i.e. a 150gb HDD which is half full.  Interestingly, if I go through the command line and do a dir/ha for that drive, it is only shown as having a capacity of 70gb.

So my question is, is there any way of recovering my files?  I am guessing that they are hidden somewhere in the system or just taking up space, but if there is anyway of recovering them then I would love to know!

Any help appreciated.


Thank you

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  Reply # 463930 30-Apr-2011 13:44
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If you did a fresh reinstall but didn't format the HDD Windows will put a lot of the previous files in folders with a .OLD suffix.


gzt

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  Reply # 463935 30-Apr-2011 14:10
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Unless you somehow created a new partition during the install? If so, it will show up in disk management and you can assign a drive letter to it.

 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 463941 30-Apr-2011 14:44
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Thanks guys I will give those things a try when I get home. One thing I did do with this install was setting up a admin account (not intentionally, I was prompted). I dont think this is the source of problem though as I have already taken ownership of the drive.

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  Reply # 463943 30-Apr-2011 14:51
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Questions:

- How many physical hard drives do you have in your computer? How many drive letters did you have before?

- When reinstalling windows, did you go through and wipe the partition and format? It will have told you at some point that it was formatting the drive. OR - did you do a repair install??

- If you look under the Documents and settings folder on the C: drive, is there another username in there? If you look into that username and in the desktop folder, are your files there?



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  Reply # 464146 1-May-2011 12:46
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sbiddle - thanks but I did a search for .old files and couldnt see anything.

gzt - don't think so, I can only see a single drive.

trig42 -
1. one physical hard drive and one letter.
2. I did a repair install and therefore did not wipe portion and format the drive.
3. There are several - Administrator, All Users, All Users.WINDOW, Default User, Default User.Windows, Guest and User.  I have checked all these and have not been able to gain access to the files ...

Thanks again guys :)

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  Reply # 464155 1-May-2011 13:10
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what was your username on the previous?

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  Reply # 464172 1-May-2011 13:54
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As everyone is suggesting, it seems that you have done a re-install over a previous windows xp installation.
If that is the case, there should be a Windows.old folder in your in the root of your C drive... i.e. C:\Windows.old
That should contain all of your old documents etc... from your previous windows xp installation.

If that fails, you could try Recuva.
http://www.piriform.com/recuva

It might be able to recover some lost files for you.



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  Reply # 464199 1-May-2011 16:26
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Gzt: I think it was just called "user". I couldnt see a window.old directory.

Dontpanic: thanks, just ran a quick scan using Recuva and it brought up a bunch of old files, but not the ones I lost through the reinstallation. I am just a doing a deep scan now. As I suspected the files probably weren't deleted per se, but somehow hidden through the process?

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  Reply # 464212 1-May-2011 17:14
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For future reference...

Acquire some disk imaging backup software (eg: Macrium Reflect, Paragon Backup and Recovery, Acronis True Image) and run a regular backup (eg: weekly full, nightly incremental) to an large external USB drive or network share.

Then if anything happens you can restore from your full complete backup.


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  Reply # 464234 1-May-2011 18:43
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In the documents and settings folder the folders with .windows on the end will be for the new installation so ignore those.
You will need to boot in Safe Mode and take ownership of the other folders in there that you can't access.
Your data is probably in one of them.







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  Reply # 464249 1-May-2011 20:01
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CYaBro: In the documents and settings folder the folders with .windows on the end will be for the new installation so ignore those.
You will need to boot in Safe Mode and take ownership of the other folders in there that you can't access.
Your data is probably in one of them.



Thanks but I have already gone through safe mode and took ownership of the folders.  I can access all of them but am still unable to see the files ...

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  Reply # 464258 1-May-2011 20:21
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Ok. Can you remember any partial or full filenames from the previous?

Try this:

[drive]:\> dir /A DHLSA /S [myfile*.*]


or whatever variations might be useful to you - E:\> dir /A DHLSA /S *smith*.*

Also, run a chkdsk command on the drive and see what the report looks like. Do not use the /f or fix option - that could destroy your chances of file recovery.

Also for the same reason - do not write any data to that drive, and you would be better off not booting from it until you figure out what is going on.



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  Reply # 464269 1-May-2011 20:59
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Thanks, I have done that, it says 0 files, 0 bytes, 77,xxx,xxx,xxx bytes free (which I found strange because the HDD is 150gb??



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  Reply # 464270 1-May-2011 21:05
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Right I have just run chkdsk.
I did get a "Parametres not specified warning", and that it was done in read-only mode.
The result of the check basically says that the HDD is 150gb, 7xgb is used, and that 7xgb is available ...?


gzt

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  Reply # 464313 1-May-2011 22:55
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Ok. Let's have a closer look at that disk. USB interfaces (and windows) can be untrustworthy so...

Plug the drive into an internal sata/ide port, disconnect any other drives, and boot the GParted Live CD. Accept the default GParted boot choices during boot.

Let us know what things look like in GParted, and any information GParted reports about that disk.

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