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saving old data from a restored PC

One of my friends called the other day with the doomsday scenario. He’d run into some spyware issues and had to restore his PC from the recovery disk. The restore worked great, but since the computer was now in an ‘out of the box’ state, his old data was gone. I didn’t have much hope for rescuing his stuff but a quick search turned up a couple of methods for trying to recover the old data. Here’s what worked for me.

1: MAKE SURE YOU IMMEDIATELY SHUT OFF THE PC. The data (probably) still exists on the computer, but if it’s allocated as available space the operating system will begin to use it up and corrupt whatever stuff is there.

2: I then booted to safe mode and ran Windows explorer to check out the C:\Documents and Settings\ directory. Hopefully, you’ll then see the old user profile directories there, sometimes with a .PC or some other suffix appended to the original name. Right click the folder, choose ‘Sharing’ or ‘Sharing and Security’ from the popup menu and make sure everyone has access rights to the folder.

3: Reboot the PC, run Windows explorer and navigate to the folder you found in step 2. You should be able to open it and find the Desktop and My Documents folders inside it. Open the My Documents folder and (if you’re VERY lucky) your old data will be there.

As it turns out, my friend was VERY lucky and I was able to restore his data. There’s also a pretty cool app that you can use if the above method doesn’t work. You can download it at Pandora Recovery. You’ll need a 1Gig USB drive to run it from but it’s pretty self explanatory and it does work.

2 Responses to “saving old data from a restored PC”

  1. zach Says:

    you have a cool life dude

  2. ralph Says:

    no cooler than yours, bro.

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