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Very Important Information

Copyright © 1998-2013 QueTek Consulting Corporation. All rights reserved.

It is most important to protect the lost files from being permanently overwritten by new files. The procedures below can minimize the number of new files that must be created during the recovery. The procedures are significantly different for the boot drive versus a data drive.

File recovery procedures for the boot drive
(applicable to drive C:, "My Documents", "My Desktop", etc.)

  1. 100% safe recovery procedure for the boot drive (for experienced PC users):
    • Immediately shutdown the problem computer.
    • On a second computer running Windows® 8, 7, Vista or XP, download and install File Scavenger®.
    • Remove the problem drive from the problem computer. Install the problem drive in a USB external case which is sold at most computer stores for about $20. Connect the USB case to a USB port on the second computer. If you do not have a USB case, you can also install the problem drive as an internal non-boot drive in the second computer.
    • Make sure the drive is not written to by Windows or any program. Also make sure the Windows "Scan Disk" utility does not attempt to repair the drive at boot time.
    • Use File Scavenger® to scan the drive and save the recovered files to another drive, a network shared folder, or a USB external hard drive or flash drive. Files usually cannot be saved directly onto a CD or DVD.

    If a second computer is not available, the procedure is as follows:
    • Immediately shutdown the problem computer.
    • Remove the problem drive.
    • Install a new drive. Install Windows® and File Scavenger® on it.
    • As in the previous case, reinstall the problem drive as an external USB drive or an internal non-boot drive.
    • Follow the same remaining steps as in the previous case.

  2. 95% safe recovery procedure for the boot drive:

  3. This procedure is slightly less effective but requires much less work.
    • Close all programs including email, Internet browser and background programs such as instant messaging, backup, virus protection, local drive search engines, Windows Automatic updates, etc.
    • Disable any shared folders on the boot drive that may be accessed by other users.
    • Use the indirect download and installation procedure.
    • Use File Scavenger® to scan the problem drive and save the recovered data to another drive, a network shared folder on another computer, a USB external drive or a memory stick. Files usually cannot be saved directly onto a CD or DVD.

  4. Common conditions that reduce the chances of recovery:

  5. The following activities may create new files on the boot drive and permanently overwrite lost files:
    • Continuing to use the computer, especially for email and Internet browsing.
    • Leaving other programs running (such as instant messaging, backup, virus protection, local drive search engines, Windows Automatic Updates, etc.)

    • Downloading or installing new software (including File Scavenger®) on any drive on the computer. (The boot drive will be indirectly used even if you specify another drive for downloading or installing.)
    • Continuing to let other computers access the boot drive from the network (for example, via a shared folder).
    • Saving recovered files to the same drive. (More information)
    • Burning data to CD or DVD drives. (The boot drive will be indirectly used.)

File recovery procedure for a data drive:

A data drive is a non-system, non-boot drive. For more detail, please read Installing File Scavenger®.

Safe recovery procedure for a data drive:

  • Close programs that may write to the drive. For example, if the drive contains email folders, close all email programs.
  • Disable any shared folders on the drive that may be accessed by other users.
  • Download and install File Scavenger® onto the boot drive (usually drive C:).
  • Start File Scavenger®. Search for files and save them to the boot drive or a third drive.

Creating a backup disk image file

If it is possible, create a backup disk image of the problem drive. A disk image file is an exact sector-by-sector copy of a disk. If the problem drive fails completely, data can be recovered from the disk image file.


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