Jump to content


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.

Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.


Restore formatted hard drive

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 aod_


  • Members
  • 41 posts
  • Local time:07:28 PM

Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:03 AM


A few months ago i did some work on a friends PC, which was running out of hard disk space. It was an old Dell 1000 series, with an 80GB hard disk.

I offered them an additional 80GB hard disk and went about installing it, but also decided to wipe the slate clean and upgrade to Win7 as it was really sluggish and unmaintained (and full).

I trawled through their documents which were spread out over the drive and backed them up - this was over 80% of the drives content.

I then formatted this drive, and installed Win7 on the extra drive I gave them.

All the docs were now stored on an external USB drive they gave me, which had lots of 'old stuff' on it, but also lots of free space.

That left them with the following set up:

  • HD1 - (Internal) System (Win7) - Spare I added
  • HD2 - (Internal) Blank - (Original full HD with data)
  • HD3 - (External) Data - (Transferred from HD2 + existing data)


The problem I've come across is that my friend says iTunes is missing lots of things, such as playlists, some music, backups etc. I don't use iTunes so didn't realise I'd have to back up any differently from just grabbing the raw mp3's etc.

It seems as iTunes has been used for syncing and backing up with something like an iPhone and 2 or 3 iPods, I need to reinstate the databases / files that were created when the devices sync'd with iTunes. I need to restore these databases, however I'll need to unformat HD2, which is currently blank, and not been used since I formatted it.


Are there any free (or inexpensive) tools I can use to fully restore a formatted hard disk, so I can boot from HD2 and back up iTunes properly, to restore on HD1?

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)


#2 dpunisher


  • BC Advisor
  • 2,234 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South TX
  • Local time:01:28 PM

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:58 AM


Try this first. There is nothing I am aware of that will restore an actual partition, just recover data.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)

#3 aod_

  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 41 posts
  • Local time:07:28 PM

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

OK just to update you. I've managed to get this done.

With a lot of faffing about about 4 different hard disks, I managed to recover the formatted data, reinstate a bootable partition, hack the left over windows XP system files to boot on the partition, backup the itunes data properly, and transfer it to a windows 7 system! It's taken about 2 months, and much stress and research, but really glad i got there in the end!

The steps were thus:

1. Using Testdisk, i was able to recover the data from the formatted disk, although not the partition including MBR or boot sector.

2. After much trial and error got Windows XP from the recovered data to boot, by installing a fresh XP installation on a blank HD which created a good working boot partition with MBR etc. Then overwrote all the system files (e.g windows, program files, docs & settings folders) on the disk.
Amazingly it booted no problem into the GUI and logged in as was before formatted.

3. In itunes, consolidated the library to itunes folder, copied across to the win 7 installtion, and edited the itunes .xml file to point at the new location.
This step as documented here

I've certainly learnt a lot here, most importantly, to back up entire partitions, rather than just files!

Hope someone finds this useful.

#4 Ezzie


  • Members
  • 3 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Local time:01:28 PM

Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:39 AM

Its good that partition is not being used if you would have been it would have made a big mistake but great you did not use it. However, you can try to see what can be recovered with a program like Advanced NTFS Recovery: http://ntfsrecovery.com
Hopefully this will help.

Edited by Ezzie, 16 January 2013 - 03:42 AM.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users