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Recovering a file after a factory reset? (Resolved)


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#1
RiverWillow

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My internal speakers blew out randomly but it's under warranty so I sent it in to get fixed. Unfortunately, to approve the claim, they make you do a factory reset with them over the phone to prove that it's a hardware issue worthy of shipping in your laptop, instead of a software issue.

 

I thought I backed up my files but, in a really, really long story short, I am missing about 11 critical files (just 2007 word doc and excel files) that I really want back.

 

So I went through the factory reset, shipped in my laptop, they did whatever they were going to do, and I got my computer back yesterday. I've been running different data recovery programs from a different disc but I haven't come up with any non-corrupted document files that might be the ones I want. Now I'm thinking that first I need to restore and recover the partitions that were re-formatted but I'm pretty much a technology newbie so I don't really know what my next step should be, if it does involve partitions then what partition software to use, how to navigate the software to recover the right partition, etc.

 

My laptop does not have a CD-ROM/DVD drive, so there's no Windows 8.1 reinstall disk that came with it - to do a factory reset, you just choose from some on-screen prompts. There are two versions of the factory reset - one where you're going to use the computer again and one that preps it if you're going to give away the laptop. I chose the one where you're going to use the computer again.

 

After having sent in the laptop and them having messed with it however much they did, I know the chances of getting the files back are low but I want to try. How much I care about this data: enough to try everything free under the sun, possibly enough to buy the software for no more than $60 (if the free demo can show me that the file is there), but not enough to pay several hundred for a professional to do it.

 

What should I try next? Thanks very much in advance!


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#2
phillpower2

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Hello RiverWillow,

 

Now I'm thinking that first I need to restore and recover the partitions that were re-formatted

 

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but if you did a reset as opposed to a refresh of the computer then no free software is going to get your data back and likewise data recovery services that cost a small fortune will take your money but they will not guarantee that any of your data will be recovered.


To refresh your PC
 
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.)
 
Tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click Recovery.
 
Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
 
Follow the instructions on the screen.

 

 

Were the steps above the ones that you followed and does the warning given affect anything that you are now looking for;

 

 

Warning
 
Applications you’ve installed from websites and DVDs will be removed. Applications that came with your PC and apps you've installed from the Windows Store will be reinstalled. Windows puts a list of removed applications on your desktop after refreshing your PC.

 


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#3
SleepyDude

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Hi RiverWillow,

 

You should avoid using the machine because every time the system and programs run they can add/change files on the disk overwriting the old data...

 

Post the brand and model of the machine please. The option "where you're going to use the computer again" seems something that could have done a backup of your data before restoring, eventually we can confirm that if we know the brand and model.

 

Did you try to locate the missing files by searching in all drives and folders?


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#4
RiverWillow

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Hi, I am running Windows 8.1 on a Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro.

 

These are the steps I used to factory reset the machine: http://www.asus.com/...rt/FAQ/1006133/

 

I went to "Remove everything and Reinstall Windows," then chose "Only the drive where Windows is installed," and then chose "Just remove my files." (in the Windows 8.1 version, the subtext on this one actually says something like, "choose this if you're going to be using your PC again.")

The documentation from the repair shop doesn't say that they reformatted or reinstalled windows or whatever but it's possible they did, and that they chose "fully clean the drive."

 

I am looking for 11 files - they are all either .docx or .xlsx files. I've tried recuva, minitool, remo, a few others, and I also tried photorec, to no avail. (I mean, I found .zip and .xml files but they don't "seem" to be what I want. And I haven't found a single .docx file with any of the programs I've tried.) I used winhex for, like 30 minutes to locate a keyword in one of the files ("Paris") but that brought up nothing. I'm thinking I should just give up at this point and re-create what I had on those files (ugh, going to take forever).


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#5
phillpower2

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I went to "Remove everything and Reinstall Windows," then chose "Only the drive where Windows is installed,"

 

 

That would be fine if Windows and your personal data were on two separate partitions, OEM brands such as Toshiba do not tend to partition HDDs or SSDs in such a way though, it is worth checking though.
 
Can you post an expanded screenshot of Disk Manager which you can access by pressing the WIN and X keys together on your keyboard, alternatively from Windows 8.1 update you can right-click with the mouse or stylus on the Start button to bring up the menu. 
 
To capture and post a screenshot;
 
Click on the ALT key + PRT SCR key..its on the top row..right hand side..now click on start...all programs...accessories...paint....left click in the white area ...press CTRL + V...click on file...click on save...save it to your desktop...name it something related to the screen your capturing... BE SURE TO SAVE IT AS A .JPG ...otherwise it may be to big to upload... then after typing in any response you have... click on browse...desktop...find the screenshot..select it and click on the upload button...then on the lower left...after it says upload successful...click on add reply like you normally would.
 
Screenshot instructions are provided to assist those that may read this topic but are not yet aware of the “how to”.

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#6
RiverWillow

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Hi,

 

Here is the screenshot of my computer. Drive E is just the keyboard docket. The Click 2 Pro is a tablet PC (in imitation of Windows Surface), so the screen pops off the "keyboard docket" and the docket gets its own drive, E. (When I popped off the tablet, Drive E disappeared from the list you see here.) Also, I forgot to mention that the hard drive is a SSD. I don't know if that matters.

 

(And also that I'm trying not to use that laptop for anything. So I'm uploading this from an older machine.)

Thanks!

Attached Thumbnails

  • DiskManagementScreenshotRecovery.jpg

Edited by RiverWillow, 01 November 2015 - 10:06 PM.

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#7
phillpower2

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Looking only at your C: drive/partition and allowing for around 18 to 20 GB of storage space on the SSD for Windows I suspect that you may be out of luck, as an outside chance that the drive has not been fully formatted and your data was on the E: drive give Puppy Linux on a USB thumb drive a go, see below, best of luck and let us know how it goes, good or bad;

 

=================== 

***Required Hardware*** 

CD Burner (CDRW) Drive, 

Blank CD, 

Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)  

=================== 

 

1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:

  • Download Latest Puppy Linux ISO (i.e.: lupu-528.iso) 

    Download BurnCDCC ISO Burning Software 

     

    There are instructions on how to boot from flash drive with puppy here; http://www.pendrivel...e-from-windows/ 

     

     

  • Open BurnCDCC with Windows Explorer 

  • Extract All files to a location you can remember 

  • Double Click 1%20BurnCDCC%20Icon.PNG BurnCDCC 

  • Click Browse 2%20BurnCDCC%20Browse%20Button.PNG and navigate to the Puppy Linux ISO file you just downloaded 

  • Open/Double Click that file 

    IMPORTANT: Adjust the speed bar to CD: 4x DVD: 1x 

  • Click Start 3%20BurnCDCC%20Start%20Button.PNG 

  • Your CD Burner Tray will open automatically 

  • Insert a blank CD and close the tray 

  • Click OK 

Puppy Linux Live CD will now be created 

 

2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second 

  •  

  • Start the computer/press the power button 

  • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup" 

    (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen) 

  • Once in the BIOS, under Advanced BIOS Options change boot priority to: 

    CD-ROM 1st, Hard Drive 2nd 

  • Open your ROM drive and insert the disk 

  • Press F10 to save and exit 

  • Agree with "Y" to continue 

  • Your computer will restart and boot from the Puppy Linux Live CD 

     

    4%20BIOSBootPriorityImage.png 

 

 

 

3.  Recover Your Data 

  • Once Puppy Linux has loaded, it is actually running in your computer's Memory (RAM).  You will see a fully functioning Graphical User Interface similar to what you normally call "your computer".  Internet access may or may not be available depending on your machine, so it is recommended you print these instructions before beginning.  Also, double clicking is not needed in Puppy.  To expand, or open folders/icons, just click once.  Puppy is very light on resources, so you will quickly notice it is much speedier than you are used to.  This is normal.  Ready?  Let's get started. 

     

    3a. Mount Drives 

  • Click the Mount Icon located at the top left of your desktop. 5%20Puppy%20Linux%20Mount%20Icon.PNG 

  • A Window will open.  By default, the "drive" tab will be forward/highlighted.  Click on Mount for your hard drive. 

  • Assuming you only have one hard drive and/or partition, there may be only one selection to mount. 

  • USB Flash Drives usually automatically mount upon boot, but click the "usbdrv" tab and make sure it is mounted. 

  • If using an external hard drive for the data recovery, do this under the "drive" tab.  Mount it now. 

 

3b. Transfer Files.

  •  

  • At the bottom left of your desktop a list of all hard drives/partitions, USB Drives, and Optical Drives are listed with a familiar looking hard drive icon. 

  • Open your old hard drive i.e. sda1 

  • Next, open your USB Flash Drive or External Drive. i.e. sdc or sdb1 

  • If you open the wrong drive, simply X out at the top right corner of the window that opens. (Just like in Windows) 

  • From your old hard drive, drag and drop whatever files/folders you wish to transfer to your USB Drive's Window. 

 

For The Novice:  The common path to your pictures, music, video, and documents folders for XP is: Documents and Settings >> All Users (or each individual name of each user, for Vista and above  C:\Users\$USERNAME\[...]. CHECK All Names!) >> Documents >> You will now see My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos

 

Remember to only click once!  No double clicking!  Once you drag and drop your first folder, you will notice a small menu will appear giving you the option to move or copy.  Choose COPY each time you drag and drop. 

 

YOU ARE DONE!!!  Simply click Menu >> Mouse Over Shutdown >> Reboot/Turn Off Computer.  Be sure to plug your USB Drive into another working windows machine to verify all data is there and transferred without corruption. Congratulations! 

 

 

 

PuppyLinux528screenshot.png 

 


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#8
RiverWillow

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Hi, Thanks for the instructions. Work was rather crazy today with a 13-hr shift so I will try this tomorrow when I have more time, and then I will report back. (I just wanted to let you know that I'd seen this and I haven't forgotten! Thanks!)


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#9
phillpower2

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Not a problem and thank you for the update  :thumbsup:


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#10
RiverWillow

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Hi-- I have double and triple checked that I am booting from the USB first (my computer does not come with a CD/DVD drive) but no matter what I do in the BIOS, Puppy Linux won't load, so I can't follow the mounting instructions (i.e.: I never see a screen that says Puppy Linux is loading and I also can't find a mounting icon anywhere). I've even re-loaded Puppy Linux to the USB but it's still not working. :( If there's an easy fix to get Puppy Linux to boot, I'm happy to try, but otherwise I don't know how much this is worth it. I'm kind of tearing my hair out here. :/ Thanks for the advice so far, though - I do appreciate it!


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#11
paws

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Until phillpower 2 gets back to you,

 

1 double check that you burnt the  linux puppy.iso as an "image" using the software recommended

(a simple copy just wont work)

 

2 You can try the disc in a different known working computer..... if it doesn't boot to puppy in that then there's something wrong with disc you burned, so you must try again ( try a 3X burn speed) or use a bootable USB memory stick ( for which phillpower2 gave the instructions)

 

Good luck

Regards

paws


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#12
SleepyDude

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Hi,

 

Most likely your computer have UEFI instead of BIOS and you need to access it to disable Secure Boot (enable Legacy boot in some cases) or it will not boot from the USB containing anything other than Windows.


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#13
paws

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Good thinking SleepyDude !

Yep,If it came with Win 8/8.1 preinstalled its likely that its a UEFI rather than conventional BIOS


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#14
RiverWillow

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Thanks for the advice, SleepyDude. I did disable secure boot and enabled Legacy boot, but now I have a new problem with Puppy Linux. The load screen says this:

Loading drivers needed to access disk drives.....................done

Searching for Puppy Files in computer disk drives...

  Searching deeper, sub-sub-folders in partitions...lupu_528.sfs not found. Dropping out to initial-ramdisk console...

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

#

I double checked and there IS a lupu_528.sfs file on the USB stick I'm using.
 

 

Update: well, tried googling the problem to no avail. Used the puppy pmedia=usbflash code in the 5 second boot menu, which didn't work. In a desperate move, also tried psubok=true, which didn't work. Most of the problems seem to stem from people using optical drives but I'm booting from a USB. (I did also try booting from a CD (which is attached via a usb cable) but got the same error). Also in a desperate move tried to load tahrpup from a USB but still got an sfs error (different sfs file, obviously).


Edited by RiverWillow, 04 November 2015 - 09:35 PM.

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#15
phillpower2

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Try formatting the USB thumb drive and then a fresh download of Puppy from here

 

Be sure to not have the E: dock or any USB devices connected to the computer when you download or run Puppy Linux.


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