View Full Version : Unformat

07-01-2003, 07:48 AM
My HDD had a partition when it was running win98 (OS in one and storage in other) I upgraded to win2k pro. I have since had to do a reformat on the OS partition, I did it as I had done before in win98... big mistake! I didn't know the drive letters change in win2k. So now all my data is gone in D drive and the OS partition is untouched, the exact opposite to what I needed.
Is there any way to restore the data in D drive after a format?
Also how do I format C drive? When do it the same as win98 it only show C drive which was D.... Make sense???


07-01-2003, 07:59 AM
Firstly I suggest you change your username and get Robo/Bruce to change the forum to not display your email address in here - it's not safe to display your email address for all the world to see.

To retrieve data you'll probably need to get your hands on a data recovery program and another computer to install your drive in to to recover the data. If the data is extra important it may be a safer bet to spend some money and get experts to recover the data for you (such as Computer Forensics in Auckland).


07-01-2003, 07:59 AM

First things first: Never use your email address as your name on public forums, due to the fact that spammers search public forums to gain new email addresses

I very much doubt there will be a recovery tool to pick up old data from your D: drive considering that Windows 2000 has been installed over the top of it, if you'd only formatted you still had a reasonably good chance of recovering data.

I presume you didn't backup before installing?

Go here (http://download.com.com/3120-20-0.html?qt=File+Recovery&tg=dl-2001) and pick the program of your choice for file recovery (I would reccomend booting into Windows 98 and then recovering from D:). Reccomendations would be:
http://download.com.com/3000-2248-1583639.html?tag=lst-0-18]Recover98 - review available on link
http://download.com.com/3000-2242-7301920.html?tag=lst-0-19]Final Data Enterprise 1 - review available on link

Bear in mind that recovery could take around about one hour to do, and that not everything can be and will be recovered

Otherwise you could take your computer to a specialist recovery company and let them do it for you??


07-01-2003, 08:01 AM
Goddamn me, I did the links incorrectly.

Try again:
Rec over98 (http://download.com.com/3000-2248-1583639.html?tag=lst-0-18) - review available on link
Final Data Enterprise 1 (http://download.com.com/3000-2242-7301920.html?tag=lst-0-19) - review available on link


07-01-2003, 08:03 AM
I do believe that both of these programs will only do a limited recovery (some programs do up to a certain filesize, like 64k, others do a limited number, such as five files) unless you pay for them - which can be quite expensive :(

Where are you located?


07-01-2003, 08:06 AM
>>> I very much doubt there will be a recovery tool to pick up old data
>>> from your D: drive considering that Windows 2000 has been
>>> installed over the top of it, if you'd only formatted you still had a
>>> reasonably good chance of recovering data.

Cyberchuck - I think that the w2k went over the w98 but the data drive was formatted, so data should be quite retrievable unless the drive has since been overwritten or used a lot.


07-01-2003, 10:30 AM
Thanks all,
First I know my email shouldn't be shown but I went to my settings to change it but couldn't find how....

I will check out the links given but may just put it down to experience..... the main data lost is about 12 gigs of music files. Will take a while to reload!

So I think I will trash the system and start again, how do I start from scratch and clear the whole HDD?


07-01-2003, 10:49 AM
Check the FAQ on Formatting/Partitioning

boot of a 98 Disk and type this:

format c:

BUT REMEMBER, There's no going back. Check the FAQ coz it has all the stuff you'll wanna back up!



07-01-2003, 10:51 AM
>>> the main data lost is about 12 gigs of music files. Will take a while to reload!

Are you anywhere near Tauranga? If so I could give it a look and see if I can recover anything.


07-01-2003, 11:00 AM
Isnt it great how not many people use the "location" so where know where the're posting "from".. Myself included.. Im from "Nowhere in perticular"! :p

07-01-2003, 11:41 AM
Thanks Mike, I'm in Whakatane so email me if you would like to help.

Chilling silence, I did boot from a 98 floppy then went format C, but it formated the D drive and left C intact.


07-01-2003, 12:00 PM
When you boot, it creates a RAMDRIVE which can change the letter of the drives. It always pays to double check that you can get into the CD-ROM drive, and check what's on the 2 HDD's before formatting. Dont worry, I've done that before myself... ;\

Robin S_
07-01-2003, 12:22 PM
You didn't say whether or not you reinstalled Win 2000 after the reformat. If you reformatted then realised that it was the wrong partition before doing anything else, and have not done anything else on that hard drive since, then you may be able to recover some or most of your stuff by using something like the Norton Utilities' Unformat facility. There are probably others as well. I suggest using a DOS version of NU as you can boot to DOS from a floppy and run NU from another floppy. I am not sure how this would work with a reformat using Win 2000 (I assume that that is what you used) - hopefully someone else can comment on that.

If this approach is feasible post back because I still have NU 6 (a DOS version) and could send you a copy.

07-01-2003, 12:53 PM
Thanks Robin, yes once I worked out what had happened I went looking for a fix. Hence we are here now!
The machine still boots as per normal as the OS partition was untouched only the "storage" partition was formated. The formated partition has not had anything written to it yet.
So please tell me more....... a walk through would be much appreciated.

Thanks Dave

Robin S_
07-01-2003, 07:54 PM
I am hoping someone will reply and answer the question about the advisability of using a DOS-based unformat facility in your situation. Since the original OS was Win 98 (DOS-based) it seems reasonably likely that that the DOS version of NU would recover the partition's file structures and make them readable by Win 98. I am not sure that Win 2000 could read them, however, so that accessing them might be a problem.

I am sure there will be other threads dealing with unformatting in the pf1 archives. If you do a search on 'unformatting' you will probably turn up some helpful info.

If it can be unequivocally established that NU 6 is worth a try I could zip some of the files from it and email them to you. I couldn't walk you through it because I have never had cause to use Unformat. You would need a DOS bootup disc - do you have one or could you get one?

07-01-2003, 09:45 PM
Generically speaking DOS based utilities may have some problems.

If the drive was formatted with NTFS, its likely to be a big problem.

I also wonder if the DOS utilities can handle long file names?

07-01-2003, 10:21 PM
Try www.runtime.org
for ntfs and fat file recovery programs
Just install on your win98 partition the ntfs recovery program and scan your d drive partition with it if your have made your d drive ntfs ,
use the fat recovery program if your d drive is still in fat32 file systems

Note trial programs allow you to scan your drives but not copy the files out of its results but it will let you open the files which in turn gets saved to your win temp folder, So copy those mp3 from your temp folder..
This worked on fat32 recovery trail program ver 1.05

I know this a kind of a cheat but you have to manually open all the files you want to recover , then copy and paste them from your win/temp folder.
I think this will result in some flamming towards coming to me but I think it is such a pain to do but a low cost free way of doing it..

works good to recover your most important personal files after formatting a drive

07-01-2003, 11:29 PM
From your posts:
Your hard drive consisted of two drives - presumably one primary and one logical in an extended partition.
You had - in the past - Windows 98 as the OS with the two drives both formatted by DOS (presumably Windows FAT32).
At some stage you upgraded/loaded Windows 2000 over Windows 98.

Inferred from your posts:
When you upgraded/loaded Windows 2000 you selected the option to convert the operating system drive to NTFS.
You used a DOS - possibly Windows 9x - boot disk to format the now lost drive. Aside - No version of DOS bootdisks recognises NTFS partitions. The DOS boot disk recognised the DOS drive as C (which Windows 2000 recognised as D). You deleted your own data because you assumed you knew what you were doing.

The data on the formated drive is 100% recoverable - providing no disk writing utilities have been used by people who don't know what they are doing.
It is not necessary to utilise partition recovery software since the partition still exists.
It is possible to recover the FAT record either by using NU or dskprobe (see MS here (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;245725&)).
It is also possible to recover the data by using any of the designed recovery programs such as Lost and Found (DOS based and requires another formated disk to save the file to) and EasyRecovery Pro (Windows based and recovers to another formated disk).

If the data is important or irreplacable, conduct your own attempts at recovery at your own risk.

08-01-2003, 09:36 AM
>>> Thanks Mike, I'm in Whakatane so email me if you would like to help.

Did you get my email?


08-01-2003, 11:39 AM
Yes thanks Mike, I've got a copy of GetDataBack and will try that first.
If that dosn't work I send it to you to try and fix.......

Thanks Dave

Robin S_
08-01-2003, 09:32 PM
Helpful reply, Merlin - answered some of my points.
Dave, can you confirm a couple of Merlin's inferences - did you use NTFS with Win 2000, and did you do the reformat from a Win 9.x bootup? These answers should establish the file system structures on the 2 partitions.

If things are as Merlin has deduced, then presumably using a suitable Unformat facility should recover the directory and file system records but I assume that the NU 6 files that I offered would not do the job because I doubt if they could handle FAT 32. There may be later DOS-based versions of NU or PC Tools or something that would do so - the disadvantage of using a Windows-based version is that you have to mess around applying and removing the Lock command to get direct disc writing access. The Dskprobe solution would appear to be problematical because it relies on knowing the exact start and end cylinders of the original partition (even though the partiton should still be intact), although that information might be available through Fdisk.

It seems that performing a successful unformat would be the best way to go although it might mean reinstalling either Win 98 or Win 2000 in FAT32 mode. Recovering >12MB of data file-by-file would be a bit of a mission, especially if it were to floppies. Do you have a CD-R installed that you could use to transfer the data to disc? Merlin, do Lost and Found and Easyrecovery Pro recover files one at a time as does Runtime mentioned in littledevil's earlier post?

Wouldn't it have saved a lot of trouble if it had occurred to the M$ nerds to include, in the Win 2000 installation instructions, a warning about installing onto a disc with multiple FAT32 partitions?

08-01-2003, 10:15 PM
>Wouldn't it have saved a lot of trouble if it had occurred to the M$ >nerds to include, in the Win 2000 installation instructions, a warning >about installing onto a disc with multiple FAT32 partitions?

Then again..... You could always program your own operating system.

I have managed to install Win2000, WinXP, Win98SE, Win98 and various versions of Linux on multiple FAT32 partitions.

Backup here is the best thing to think about. Make sure you backup all documents, downloads, favourites, Emails, MP3s or whatever before you do something drastic.