I was sitting here listening to some music from an external USB2 drive and was trying to hookup my scanner at the same time (don’t think that caused it) and the music got a little choppy, so I shut down Media Player (Haven’t installed anything better on my last XP box) until I got the scanner installed.

So the scanner works fine and I plug the USB drive back in… Nothing… The computer in the past has been a bit flaky with the USB ports, but lately they seemed to have been working fine since I put XP back on it. So I rebooted.

Still nothing….

I opened up the Disk Management Console and saw that the drive was recognized, but it said it was “Unallocated”!


Every MP3, Digital Picture I’ve taken since 1999, All my Linux Distros ISOs and Software Backup ISOs, past work, web projects, etc, etc. were gone in an instant. No error, no warning, the partition had just vanished!

I called around to my brother (eDoug.com) and Mattbob (MattBlog.net) to get their advice. I knew there were tools out there and I know Mattbob has had drive problems in the past.

Here are a few of the programs used to scan for the lost partition.

O&O Disk Recovery
Took 7.5 hours to just scan for the files that it could recover, file names were off and not the original. Too many of some file types and not enough of others. All filenames were FI######.(whatever extension)

Stellar Phoenix NTFS
I didn’t let this one run for 7.5 hours, but it looked like it was a bit faster than O&O DR… I don’t know if it would’ve gotten the original file names or not…

Best one so far was:

QueTek File Scavenger Version 3.0
Believe it or not, this program only took about 30 secs to scan the entire 189gb drive, discovering all the original filenames and recovery was about as fast as just copying the files from the original corrupted drive to a new one… Total time was only about 4-5 hours for the entire recovery!

And of ALL the files, mostly images and MP3s that were recovered, are 100% intact, there have been no CRC errors, data integrity issues or anything else in the pictures or audio at all.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND QueTek File Scavenger Version 3.0!!