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Delayed Write Error on USB Drive - Lost Folders Presumably Due to Dama

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I need help recovering data, and will appreciate all that I can get.

I recently had to reinstall Windows XP on a Dell laptop, and I neglected to re-set the power schemes. After a period, XP automatically turned off the hard drives, or went into standby or hibernation - I can't recall which, although probably the first.

When I revved the sysem up again, I had an error message:

Delayed Write Failed
Windows has been unable to save all the data for the file

E: is a big USB external drive. It was about three-quarters or four-fifths full, by my estimation.

I checked its folders, and all were there. So I figured no significant loss, if any.

Later, I went to download something into the largest folder on the drive, one with a lot of subfolders in it, with names starting with letters ranging from A to Z - Adams, Brock, Bean, Cartwright, and so on, for example. I started saving something, and got - by my estimate - about four or five MB saved, when I noticed that there were no subfolders with a name starting with Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. Everything from A to P was OD, including contents.

I stopped the download immediately.

Before I did anything, I hunted around the Internet for thoughts.

Finally, I tried chkdsk /f, because that seemed to be the consensus first step.

That didn't retrieve any subfolders, but the statistics indicated that the drive was three-quarters or four-fifths full. So the files seem to be there, awaiting recovery.

My next move was Testdisk. Because,

"TestDisk will compare the MFT and MFT mirror, its backup. If the MFT is damaged, it will try to repair the MFT using its backup. If the MFT backup is damaged, it will use this main MFT."


But when I tried that, it offered to use $mft to repair $mftmirr. I wanted to use $mftmirr to repair $mft, though (or at least I think I did).

Active File Recovery seems to recover a bunch of files, but it takes forever to do it, and it doesn't recover their names, or even the subfolders they are in. It recovers according to extension, but I have thousands of files on the drive, and they are limited in their file extensions - .wpd, .doc, .doc, OpenOffice extensions, and so on. Sorting my files according to extensions does practically nothing for me.

My questions:

1. I presume that I have lost the back end of my master file table. Am I right or am I wrong about this?

2. How do I recover the lost subfolders and the files in them?

Thanks for all help.

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