Startup Repair Offline - Partial Restore - Lost data

Jul 13, 2015
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Hi guys, new to the forums and in need of some help.

I was called in to look at my parents PC despite being no expert myself. Windows was unable to boot and was giving a message along the lines of it was unable to access the device?!. The given options were to try booting Windows 7 again (which brought me back to the same point) or to go to System Restore. Having already been unable to use a system repair disk after receiving the message 'startuprepairoffline' I tried System Restore.
Mistakenly I thought it would give me the option to set the system back to a previous date but it was actually going to reinstall the OS. I only realised this after I had started the restore so I turned the system off by holding the power button as I didn't want my files to be lost. I thought my next best bet would be to connect the PC hard drive to my laptop, copying across the files and resuming the System Restore for a fresh install.
When I took out the hard drive and connected it to my laptop I couldn't find any of the files. In fact, 142GB of the 143GB drive appeared to be free! So I'm wondering what has happened to the data as all folders on the drive are empty. Could the system restore process have deleted the files (or file table) in the short time it was running? And is there a way to recover them?

Thanks in advance


^ The World's First ^
May 10, 2010
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Quite possible the first step was to Quick Format the drive. You might try Recovery Software but they cost money so you have to evaluate the value of your data. I suggest you try a version that allows you to try it for free and only pay if it finds some files.

It has been many years now since I tried any of these products because backup drives are relatively inexpensive but when I did use one I got it from StellerPhoenix. At the time it was the only one that would show me actual filenames of what it would recover which made it worth the cost IMO. (We don't normally advertise paid software here but as I said, I don't know any way to do it for free.)

NOTE: It was a much older version I used than what they offer now so if you do try/buy that, or even something else, I would like to hear your opinion & results, please let us know.

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