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NTFS Data Recovery - A Happy Ending

The author accepts absolutely no type of responsibility for any type of damage or unintended results which may be caused by anyone following these instructions correctly or otherwise


This HowTo is for anyone that installs Gentoo in a dual harddrive environment where each disk contains a separate OS (i.e. Gentoo and WinXP). I imagine this may also work in a single drive dualboot environment.


Imagine you are testing an installation script while you are less than alert, and you mistakenly run the script unintentionally on a harddrive with WinXP installed. And the script repartitions the harddrive, and applies filesystems.

Then imagine you have recent family photos, and work documents that you had not backed up yet. OOPS!!! (by the way, a normal Gentoo install can use as much as 2GB)

This HowTo will describe a process you can use to retrieve as much of the data that was not overwritten. Expect to lose at least as much data as the size that the new files overwrote. However, you may be able to recover everything.

IMPORTANT: If you found this HowTo because you have already overwritten your WinXP environment, DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE WITH THAT HARDDRIVE. You may wish to turn off the computer and remove the harddrive to prevent additional inadvertent damage to data on the harddrive.

IMPORTANT: If you found this HowTo just out of plain curiosity, I recommend you prebuild the BartPE CD, with the plugins as preparation for data disaster. You don't necessarily need to purchase the license until you actually need it. And you can experiment with it to see how it works.


The required resources are simple, but not without cost:

* BartPE (FREE/0$)
* GetDataBack for NTFS ($79)
* Computer with internet access and CDR/RW drive ($???)
* blank CD(s) ($???)
* USB harddrive ($???) - only required if you are going to attempt to image the corrupt harddrive
* USB flashdrive ($???) - size requirement depends on total size of files you are going to copy off the corrupt harddrive
* WinXP OS/Reinstallation CD (You already paid for this)

The following are links to the first two resources. If you don't have access to the the third item, then consider an internet cafe, or companies like Kinkos which provide internetworked computers for a fee.

Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live W*NDOW$ CD/DVD

Runtime Software - GetDataBack


1. Click the first link above. Either print the entire article, or read it a couple times prior to continuing. Familiarize yourself with it.

2. Download the latest PE Builder version, I recommend the self-installing executable. Install PE Builder.

3. If you own a Dell, then scroll through the FAQ, click the link and download "Fix Dell XP plugin".

4. Click the second link above. Navigate to GetBackData for NTFS, scroll down and click the "WinPE boot CD-ROM" link. Download the "GetDataBack for NTFS V3.03 plugin"

5. You have what you need, insert the OS/Reinstallation CD into the CDR/RW drive, and start PE Builder if it isn't already.

6. Let it scan for the installation files.

7. Ensure "Burn to CD/DVD" is selected, AutoErase RW is selected, and Burn using: set to StarBurn. If the machine you are using only has one CDR/RW drive, then it's a moot point which I'll explain later.

8. Click Plugins, add the GetDataBack for NTFS plugin, and the Fix Dell XP plugin if you need it.

9. Now click Build. If you have two CD drives, it'll burn the iso image after it creates it. If you only have one drive, then it will fail when it tries to burn the iso image, because an empty CD isn't in the drive. That's an unfortunate software 'feature.' If you are in the latter category. Use an installed program to burn the iso, to the fresh CD. If there isn't a program installed which does that, I recommend you google for DeepBurner, download and install the free version. Then burn the iso to the fresh CD.

10. Insert the BartPE disk into the problem machine, and boot the CD. Then select programs > GetDataBack for NTFS.

This HowTo ends here. The choice is up to the user to either copy important data then reinstall the OS, or to try to copy the image out, and return it to the harddrive.

I am attempting the latter, and will update the degree of success obtained with an edit later.
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