Storage HDD (D:) Disappearance -- I DARE you to figure this one out!

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  1. Posts : 2,271
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11
       #21

    knight15 said:
    Thanks to all for the inputs: I could fire the drive up to search for the file extensions in the mystery folder, but that would violate the admonition against running the thing on a windows machine before making a clone: I’m on my way to Geek Squad to see what they say. First request is to make a clone for me!
    I have no idea of what Geek Squad is.
    as for looking on the drive without mounting it in Windows..
    You can create a Linux Live USB stick. Linux never write to disk unless you tell it to do so,
    Linux Mint is mention by many as it feels a bit like windows (even if its way different)
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  2. Posts : 11,627
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #22

    Thanks @Marie SWE for your opinion.

    @knight15

    Looking at the check disk log brings some cheers to me. 1, There are no bad sectors on the disk. 2. MFT was not corrupt. Only MFT mirror was corrupt and check disk seems to have corrected it, So my assumption that MFT could have been corrupt due to bad sectors and as a result checkdisk could have deleted all your files stands nullified,.Check disk did not find any non-indexed files and so has not put any such files in the "Lost and found" category. The only million dollar question now is why your files are not showing up.

    Since there are still many unknowns and as a matter of abundant caution, I would still consider any data recovery should be attempted on a cloned drive.If you want to hand over the job to geek squad ask them to clone the drive and do the data recovery only on the cloned drive. Because of my busy schedule in this foreign land and also I am operating on a borrowed
    and unfamiliar Windows 11 laptop I may not be able to work on this atleast till 24th May.
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  3. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #23

    And your analysis of the log, Jumanji, brings some cheers to me!! I gather from your reply that you do data recovery for customers? May 24 might be a bit long to wait, but my visit to Geek Squad went somewhat as I expected: I showed them everything I've shown you and they immediately said: "Take this to someone who specializes in data recovery." There are a few shops in town I can call this week. All the missing files and the mystery folder with so many 221MB files (w no file extensions) still bugs the heck out of me. Let me give you the more complete history of how the drive got here -- maybe this will provide some more insight?

    No drive letter or drive in device manager/disk management, to . . . system restore to . . . full access to files in a USB dock, to . . . only a drive letter in the dock with a "Parameter is incorrect" error when trying to access the drive, to . . . an SFC-DSM scan (to check for windows errors) . . . to a CHKDSK on reboot, to . . . another system restore . . . to another (seemingly un-commanded) CHKDSK on reboot . . . to the mysterious state I'm in today. The system restores were recommended on some trouble shooting websites as a possible way to repair windows to get file access. There is only one CHKDSK log when I go looking for one.

    Perhaps this only muddies the waters?
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  4. Posts : 11,627
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #24

    Nope, I am not a data recovery professional. I hadn't practiced it for a living anytime before nor do I do it now. I am only an Electronics and Communication Engineer, a Biomedical Engineer and a retired Sceintist in Defence Research and Development drawing my monthly pension from the Union Government and hitting the 77th milestone in June . As a member of Seven Forums, aided, abetted and encouraged by Seniors like essenbe and kado897, I developed certain skills in data recovery by my own experiments and reading user experiences, mainly to help members of these forums in need of data recovery. Rest is history and it has become a passion rather than a profession .

    OK, with that loose talk over and coming back to the topic, since your disk is in good condition and for this one time you can have it spinning and check whether WinRAR can see any hidden files. WinRAR can see even super-hidden files that can't be seen by Windows.

    ( Normally, when I give instructions, I run the tool on my Desktop PC ,and provide illustrative screenshots step by step to the OP. I have all the tools on my Desktop but here I do not want to mess up other's laptop.That way I am handicapped.)

    Anyway, if you want to go ahead with it here is the link. WinRAR - Access hidden folders on your computer - Winrarfree.net In WinRAR, navigate to the disk in question, explore, and if you see the folders/files , right click on it and copy it to another drive.You may also google search on the topic.

    I leave it to you to try or not to try.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #25

    Arrrrrgh!! I FINALLY figured out what the “mystery folder” is: I knew I’d seen it years ago, and it’s potentially bad news. The folder is created during a drive erasure from a program simply called “Eraser.” Once the program completes the erasure, the mystery folder goes away.

    The existence of this folder on my drive seems impossible. While I DID perform a partial erasure on a different drive— to prepare it to be my target drive for data recovery — I did no such thing on my glitchy D: drive. How could the mystery folder get onto my D: drive then?!

    At first I thought the Eraser program may have resumed its erasure task after swapping my glitchy drive back onto the PC — erasing the wrong drive! But Eraser doesn’t resume partial, non-scheduled erasure tasks unless specifically commanded to. I never did this!

    Perhaps the mystery folder for partial erasure somehow got erroneously written to the drive during CHKDSK?

    In any event, it appears that some of my data could have been erased — at least partially. WINRAR might help confirm this: if it does, professional recovery may be my only hope after all. This situation seems to keep getting crazier every day.
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 11,627
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #26

    knight15 said:
    Arrrrrgh!! I FINALLY figured out what the “mystery folder” is: I knew I’d seen it years ago, and it’s potentially bad news. The folder is created during a drive erasure from a program simply called “Eraser.” Once the program completes the erasure, the mystery folder goes away..............
    Can you, if you please, post the link to that erasure program. Just want to have a look at it - what it does and how it does.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #27

    Thanks, Jumanji --

    Eraser Web Site: Eraser – Secure Erase Files from Hard Drives

    Again, I never performed an erase task on the HDD in question, so it's baffling to see the temp folder on the drive that Eraser creates when performing an erase task. When I see that -- and consider that all my D-drive folders are now empty -- it tempts me to believe that -- SOMEHOW -- the eraser software wiped them out. But that fear ignores the drive being unreadable -- and the CHKDSK manipulations -- that also occurred before I discovered this "mystery folder."

    Regrettably, WINRAR also shows the folders I need as empty -- just like Explorer. Any other thoughts/ideas -- short of professional data recovery?
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 11,627
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #28

    OK, If WinRAR does not show any hidden files, I will take it as none available.

    In data recovery if one does not give the desired result, we have to try something else and that last recourse here will be trying with a live Linux as Marie SWE suggested in her post #21

    Folks here suggest Linux Mint.. You have to download the ISO, and create a bootable pendrive using Rufus.

    If you want a "walk-through" then go the Lucid Puppy way Lucid Puppy way to recover files from a non-bootable computer - Windows 7 Forums (also applies to recovery from unreadable HDDs)

    So whichever you choose-Mint or Lucid Puppy.

    Honestly I do not beleive that is going to bring any results but no harm in trying -atleast we will be satisfied we have tried everything possible.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 2,271
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11
       #29

    I'm going to say something you won't like.
    as in the title of the link.. (Secure Erase Files from Hard Drives)
    as i wrote in post #19
    For those who wonder why the difference.. It is an HDD. so it leaves magnetic traces/shadows.. for every time you write to it, they get weaker. That's why with secure erase you write 1 an 0 to the same sector multiple times to erase the shadow for possible data recovery. Governments and company's does it and some ordinary people.
    So even if the disk has been abused they do have a better chance then a home user has and even worse if they never done this before.
    I think you should call a recovery firm and discuss your situation with them and to see what they say about the chance of recover the data, and take it from the top step by step what you have done so far, so they have a chance of giving you as good answer as they can. Then ask about price

    And turn to a firm/company that has been around for a while 10 years or so.. Company's that has survived more then 3-4-5years can't be bad as they had gone under by then of bad reputation
    So give one or three company's a call.. asking is most often free in life. :)
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  10. Posts : 11,627
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #30

    I agree. Only Forensic Recovery by a competent Data Recovery Agency can bring out the buried data. But what if the OP had used that Erasure software for a secure erase?
    Last edited by jumanji; 18 Apr 2023 at 12:03.
      My Computer


 

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