Data Recovery

Data recovery is a complicated process that requires care and attention to be done properly. Look through the scenarios below to decide which method of data recovery you will need to do.

Warning: Make a disk image

Attempting data recovery always has a chance to make your situation worse, causing the permanent loss of your data.

For priceless data you should seek professional data recovery services.

Always make a disk image before attempting recovery of data on a disk. You may need to restore this image to the disk between data recovery attempts.

Before attempting data recovery you should evaluate the SMART data for your disk. If it is failing data recovery may stress the disk and cause a complete failure.

If you are seeing “cyclic redundancy check” anywhere, you will not be able to attempt recovery at home and should seek professional data recovery services.


A readable disk

A small obstacle preventing you from using your computer like normal such as:

  • My computer won’t turn on for some reason
  • My computer is BSODing when I turn it on so I cannot get to Windows like normal.
  • My laptop screen broke so I can’t see anything
  • I cannot log into Windows for some reason

For these issues, you can recover files with a Live Linux Session.

My disk is visible but inaccessible

You have a drive that is visible in Windows but it has no data on it. This may be because:

  • I deleted partitions on the wrong disk (But did not make new ones)
  • I turned my computer on and it says my disk needs to be “initialized”
  • My disk is “RAW” in disk management
  • My disk is “unknown” in disk management
  • My disk is “unallocated” in disk management

For these issues, use Testdisk to recover your partition table.

I accidentally changed data on my disk

You had data on your disk, and it had new data written to it, replacing the old data.

  • You formatted the wrong disk
  • You installed Windows on the wrong disk
  • You installed Linux on the wrong disk
  • You formatted and then put data onto the wrong disk

For these issues, use Photorec to recover individual files.

Other resources

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