Partition Removed / File Recovery

Sun 6 Jan, 2013 11:27 am
I recently upgraded to a larger hard drive for my laptop, after dutifully backing-up virtually every file I had onto compact disks. While reformatting the new drive with the new O/S, I inadvertently made the mistake of keeping my old hard drive attached to the computer (via an external hard drive enclosure) - and when prompted during the reformatting process I agreed (stupidly) to the installation request to remove the existing partition from the old hard drive (obscure/unfamiliar drive letters the OS referenced is my only lame excuse here). Up until that point the drive had been intact, and was bootable, or at a minimum, could be read by virtually any computer via the external hard drive enclosure connection. Now I'm not able to read the drive at all.

Since I'm posting this, obviously I was able to complete the new hard drive upgrade successfully - but there were a couple of super-large files on my old hard drive that I was not able to easily get onto the back-up set of compact disks, along with my most recent bookmarks file - and a couple of other files, that I would like to recover, if possible.

I know that the existing files and file structure all still exist on the old hard drive, since only the partition was removed, and at least I didn't make the mistake of reformatting the old hard drive - so all those files are still essentially intact on the old hard drive. I've thought of a couple approaches to recovering those files, but before I do anything, I thought I would draw on the collective knowledge of everyone for some suggestions first. Ideas?
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Sun 6 Jan, 2013 01:21 pm
There are lots of tools that will try to recover the partition, and they're likely to be successful as long as you haven't written to the disk since you deleted the partition.

Just google "partition recovery free" and choose which tool you feel comfortable with.

Edit: This one looks good: http://www.easeus.com/partition-recovery/
Mon 21 Jan, 2013 01:48 pm
Okay, I downloaded the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard trial version. Unfortunately, the application does not seem to be able to "see" the hard drive, in order to conduct any kind of partition recovery. I'll assume that's because there is no formatting or other table information available for the application to use - to even begin the partition recovery.

Clearly, I've deleted the existing partition, but I don't want to do anything that makes the situation worse. I wondered whether the next step is to conduct a Quick Format. Doubly unfortunate, is that my external hard drive enclosure can power-up and access the drive, but the drive doesn't show up via My Computer or Windows Explorer. Obviously, I can toss the drive into the laptop, and run a format (Quick Format) procedure on the drive. That should at least lay down formatting - which should allow the drive to be accessed ("seen").

Any recommendations on how to proceed?
Sun 26 May, 2013 10:11 am
I thought I would take the Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to take another run at this problem. I invested in a data recovery package that had a pretty reputation (Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery), but this software is really useless, unless I can somehow at least "see" my old hard drive. But without an existing partition, the drive is simply showing up as an unformatted hard drive, as if it were brand new - right from the factory. Beyond that I know positively that the rest of the hard drive is unchanged and undamaged - and that the old files and file structure(s) are just sitting on the drive waiting to be recovered (successfully). So, my dilemma is that I need to lay down some kind of formatting, but I would be crushed if I did something at this point that compromised the data that's on that drive . . . because I did something thoughtlessly.

Other suggestions on how to make that drive at least readable at its highest (or is lowest) formatting level?
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