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Unwanted Compaq System Restore


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#1 LymanRd

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 09:42 PM

Praying there's an easy solution to this one.

After minimizing one internet page my son opened another - the mouse curser went wild on the screen, the computer started beeping, & a fatal error msg w/blue screen appeared & the computer shut down.

My younger son, thinking he could help, restarted the computer & may have approved a "System Recovery"- or something to that nature.

The computer went through a timed loading process, then opened up to - yes- the original default Compaq screen & settings with none of the software installed after that point. The hard drive shows as having way too much free space. I cannot find any of my files, pictures, documents, etc.

There are no restore points to go back to. I did turn the restore option off, then on again- still no restore points appeared.

Before I continue to possibly over-write my precious files I'd like to know the best steps for returning to where I was before this fatal error, or at least what steps I should take to recover the majority of the data on my hard drive.

Thanks. Hope there's someone out there who can help me as much as was provided some years ago during my successful bout with invading viruses!

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#2 usasma

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

The more that you use the hard drive, the more likely it is that your stuff may be overwritten (lost). So, minimize any use of the system until you've either recovered your stuff - or have given up on it.

Do you have another computer that you can use to reply to us? If so, we'll help you through determining if theres stuff to recover - and how to do it safely. While waiting for a reply, you can download a copy of this free program and burn it to a CD (in preparation for recovering stuff): http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

What I'm looking at, once you post back, is using the Ultimate Boot CD to check and see if Windows backed up your stuff into a .OLD directory before the restore (if so, that's an easy fix). If not, then we'll suggest some other tools for recovering erased data.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 midnight51

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 01:37 PM

You are going to pay $$ for this type of recovery. I would suggest a company such as - http://www.drivesavers.com. I couldn't even begin to explain the process on how you would begin this type of recovery. Like usasma has explained above, I would definately not use the machine if you do plan on trying to recover the lost data because like he explained, the more you use it the less likely you will be to recovery any data.

#4 LymanRd

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 05:01 PM

John,
Thanks bunches for the response. Hope you're enjoying your holiday.

I do have access from other computers and will maintain communications through them, with maybe 1/2 day time lags between taking actions & responding with results- unfortunately different locations. After my son's returning it from his school my older Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop gave me an error code - won't boot up - and doesn't repair itself with the Windows 2000 CD- afraid that may also need a re-install of the operating system but not my preference due to the info loss. That would be my communication computer from the same site if functioning & I'll be asking for help on that soon also. But- one problem at a time!

I'll burn the suggested software & run it on my computer for results; hopefully that .OLD is available.

I've also looked at and run two recovery programs suggested through download.com - VirtualLab and Recover My Files. They generate results but hold the save feature until you pay. Virtual (editor reviewed) charges by volume recovered- I have a 160GB HD so cost from them would be about $200. Recover is presently running at home while I'm out- slower to operate but appears to come up with similar results- that cost is about $60 & presently not yet rated by those editors. Would be interested in your feedback on this method, this software, &/or other options. Other than these recovery programs & loading Mozilla I've had minimal interaction with the PC for fear of overwriting info.

What happens after I load the "UlitmateBootCD"? I'll wait for a response before taking any steps other than having the CD at the ready.

Thanks,
Peter

#5 usasma

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 05:00 PM

For pay-for recovery, I like GetDataBack from http://www.runtime.org - it runs about $80 US for one version (either NTFS or FAT32). It also has a free installation that'll list all the files that it'll recover if you purchase it (and you will need an external drive to save that on).

The Ultimate Boot CD will allow you to load a file explorer/manager from the File Tools menu and look at the directories to see what's there. I haven't used the UBCD in a couple of years, so some of the tools may be out of my experience.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#6 LymanRd

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 10:15 AM

OK- have the Ultimate Boot CD burned & ready. Did a bit of reading on it - looks like I can only open one thing at a time. Expect to open FileSystem tools, identify something Windows Explorer'ish and to search for .OLD as a directory somewhere on my computer. Please verify. I probably need more complete instructions than what I've said. Also presume that if .OLD isn't available I'll need to apply some recovery software. Of course would prefer using something no-cost; open to your suggestions. Will also look at GetDataBack.
Thanks.

#7 usasma

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 11:31 AM

You'll be looking for Windows directories - most often they'll be named Windows.old or Windows.001
But also look for any other odd directories - then investigate inside of them. You'll be looking for either the Documents and Settings folder, or the folder named after your old user profile (could be Owner or something else generic). You may see All Users and Default - there won't be anything in the Default, but you may have shared documents/data stored in the All Users profile also.

I prefer http://www.pcinspector.de (they've got an English page) as a free alternative. But it's very confusing to use - and that's why I went to GetDataBack. Others will recommend their favorite programs, and there's a list of freeware alternatives in this thread: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic3616.html
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 LymanRd

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:44 PM

OK- evaluated the Ultimate Boot CD & wasn't confident enough to progress with that (unfortunately couldn't find what you were referring to). Tried your suggested free recovery software & agree it's confusing, and provides limited results- many incomplete. Currently running "Recover My Files Data Recovery"; seems thorough but very slow- total eval of the drive will probably take 50 hrs. At $60, could be that saving a few bucks isn't the best choice right now; however, will likely let it run its course to see results before a purchase decision. If not what I'm hoping for will try your suggestion of "GetDataBack". (Given your experience, is that a much faster option?)

Regarding the UltimateBoot CD- can you be very specific as to which program to run and what steps to take? I looked in "File Tools" but could not match to what you referred to. Everything seemed DOS. (Just not an area I'm familiar with.) It would still be smart of me to determine if there's a Window's back-up available before using any recovery software.

Thanks again for your help.

#9 usasma

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:02 AM

Sorry, but you'll have to wait for others to describe the UBCD more fully. I haven't used it in years, so I'm not familiar with the programs it uses (I use a different, proprietary tool at work).

As for the GetDataBack - it didn't take 50 hours when I last used it on an 80gB hard drive. And the scan is free, so you won't be out anything if you decide against using it. It'll tell you what it can recover - then you decide if it's worth the cost. You pay them, they unlock the program, and you recover your stuff.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 LymanRd

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:46 PM

Do I need to open another topic for the UBCD? Still want to see if a back up was created.
My fault about the long repair time using Recover My Files - was running it from a thumb drive- slow interface. Now from the desktop & running much quicker. Will probably compare results with GetDataBack & pick the better.
Thanks for the help.

#11 usasma

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:05 PM

You may want to post over in the All Other Applications forum for more info on this tool. Here's a link to it: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/57/all-other-applications/
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#12 LymanRd

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 11:35 AM

So- some results now, and a better understanding of what happened, which I'll show my son to help him understand the problem/result of his choice to "help" it the hopes he'll help himself & others not make the same mistake.

Reloading the operating system removed all the first links (root directory?) to any stored data so it appeared that the hard drive was empty. "Recover My Files" did what it's name says, but without ID or any element of the original directory- just file extensions. I went with GetDataBack because, other than that first link, it was able to recover the data and all remaining directory information- pretty much how it looked one level below my original directory before the operating system was reinstalled.

What I'm facing now, and would appreciate assistance with, is how to discover what lies below this initial directory through a method other than clicking the "+" next to each item in GetBackData. I've recovered the entire NTFS to a portable hard drive so it's there- the plan is to re-label files on the external hard drive for eventual return to the internal hard drive. I've got the original recovery and my external hard drive open and am going through the recovery help screens- but not sure what I'm searching for.
Thanks again.

#13 usasma

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 08:08 PM

Let us know what the labels are on each directory in the root of the recovered stuff. We may be able to make some sense out of what's there.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#14 LymanRd

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:17 AM

Labels in the root are like "000A09", "000B0E", "000D82", "008CBA", "005863". Content varies from website .bmp's to major files will lots of my pictures or music, or numerous shortcuts.

Also some assessment questions/thoughts . . .

I'm still laying off the primary hard drive in case I want to do a more refined search via GetDataBack & filters, but my time is running thin for that option.

I found a folder with compressed sub-folders labeled "RP1101", "RP1102", etc. Could these be usable Restore Points?
Each sub-folder is blank under size, has creation & modified dates within a couple days (or the same day), and ALL show accessed at the same date & time- matching when I believe the operating system was reinstalled. Under "Attrib" it shows "_d___c" for each, various ID numbers, all have "MftEntry" under "Allocation by" and there is varying info under "Clusters" & "Sectors". They go back about 4 months and stop on the reinstall date.

(Presuming I have to continue with the recovery) Per GetBackData, are deleted files only those that I intentionally deleted? Did the re-installation of the operating system create deleted files?

You're welcome to direct me to GetBackData's tech support if this becomes too time consuming. I'm looking to take this on in the most efficient manor- kinda difficult having never been in this situation before. Overview input would be helpful.
Thanks.

#15 usasma

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:34 PM

In an XP system you'll be looking for something labeled "Documents and Settings", with folders underneath it that are labeled "AllUsers", "Default", and other names. That's where the data is stored.

The compressed folder with the RP's in it are likely to be restore points - but their usefulness is questionable since that installation doesn't exist anymore.

The files that GetDataBack recovers are files that were left on your hard drive and weren't overwritten by other data. It doesn't matter how they were deleted - but does matter if they've been overwritten.

My experience with data recovery was limited to recovering specific stuff that I knew existed at one point - so searching for all the stuff isn't something that I've done. I'd suggest contacting the folks at http://www.runtime.org for further suggestions.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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