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Windows 7 hard drive lost partition, data recovery and Windows Prod Key recovery


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#1 Scott1Roberts

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 07:41 PM

Kia ora,

 

Firstly, I work in a small town in the North of NZ trying my best to get laptops up and running again when they stop working for a koha, or donation. No one has much money so I am looking for solutions that do not involve a cost.

I have been given a Samsung small notebook (I don't know model sorry) about 10 inch and cannot repair Windows 7 (Starter) from Windows installation disk as no operating system is found.

I have taken the HDD out and attached it to my laptop, it does not appear in file explorer. I have tried to recover partition(s) with Minitool Partition Wizard and it found partition but wants money to recover. 

Does anyone know if there is a free solution that will fix the partitions?

If there isn't, is there a way to recover files without cost?

I also need a way to recover Windows product key from the disk as the sticker on the back of the laptop cannot be read, as the final solution will be to try and reinstall and verify Windows 7 starter.

 

many thanks

Scott


Edited by hamluis, 11 May 2018 - 07:44 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Backup/Imaging - Hamluis.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:10 PM

I am assuming you have attached the drive either internally or by using a USB adapter. With the drive attached how does it appear in Disk Management? Is is shown as RAW?  What OS are you using?

 

Is data required off the computer? If yes:

Download Testdisk for Windows 32bit even if your OS is 64bit. Unzip the file to folder on your desktop. Run Testdisk_win and do a Quick Search. The drive may be listed as sdb or sdc. After the Quick Search highlight any partitions found. Press the "P" key. Are the files shown? 

 

https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 

If data is not required:

It may be possible to retrieve the key but you need to recover the Software Hive in C:\Windows\System32\config. Minitools has a Data Recovery Program that allows up to 1GB recovered for free. If you can recover that one file then there is a good chance we can recover the key and then you can download a Windows 7 iso to do a clean install. 

 

Window 7 isos. Pick your correct version.

 

https://www.minitool.com/data-recovery-software/

 

Note: There is a Partition Manager that can attempt to recover partitions but I think the best first step is using Testdisk.

 

https://www.disk-partition.com/free-partition-manager.html



#3 Scott1Roberts

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:50 PM

Hi John,

 

I have attached the drive with a USB adapter, I think from memory it was you that put me onto this.

I am using Windows 7 Home Premium on my laptop.

In disk management the drive shows as disk 1, 232.76 GB Unallocated.

Data is required, I will go ahead and work my way through testdisk.

 

Thanks once again.



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 09:07 PM

Because Data is a Priority you can copy the files in Testdisk. If your files are found you can highlight any directory or file and press the ":" key to select then "C" twice to confirm. All files recovered default to the folder you unzipped Testdisk to so the recovery drive needs to have the required space. You could connect a USB external drive. Copy the testdisk folder to the external and run it from there. All files would be copied to the USB external. 



#5 Scott1Roberts

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 09:27 PM

Sounds good. I should have enough space on my internal drive. Testdisk is chugging through the quick search, first 75% very quick and now one cylinder every 3 secs or so, 7000 to go.



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 07:38 AM

If it;s taking that long to read a cylinder then I have to assume the hard drive is failing. At this point it may be best to stop and do a scan with PhotoRec to get what files you can off the drive.






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