Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)
Date:      Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:53:23 -0400
From:      Ernie Luzar <>
To:        Polytropon <>
Cc:        "" <>
Subject:   Re: Recover directory tree with files from win10 HD
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <>

Next in thread | Previous in thread | Raw E-Mail | Index | Archive | Help
Polytropon wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:14:36 -0400, Ernie Luzar wrote:
>> My mothers win10 pc has external usb 3tb sata drive with 600gb of data 
>> that has hardware data problems. It will not mount on win10 pc.
> Do not try any further with "Windows", it could do more damage.
> On "Windows 10", they use NTFS or FAT as file systems, and both
> are known to do the "funniest things" when getting into some
> inconsistent state ("silent" data corruption, data loss, no
> access due to damaged hiberfile, etc.).
>> My 
>> mother has her whole digital life on the external drive.
> Just restore from backup! Sorry, couldn'r resist... ;-)
>> I can not find 
>> any win10 software to recover the data from a drive that will not mount.
> First of all, use tools that work with a copy of the damaged
> disk (or partition). Create this 1:1 copy first in a read-only
> manner, then work with the image. Do not try to repair the
> data "on-disk", it will probably destroy more data and reduce
> the chances of getting the "whole digital life" back.
> Seriously. I'm not making this up - I learned from my own
> faults. Check the mailing list archives for the terrible
> truth. :-)
> Do not use "Windows" any further without knowing _exactly_
> what the problem is.
>> I am thinking about using FreeBSD to recover the directory structure and 
>> the files contained in them. Asking anyone if they know of a port that 
>> will recover the data with their full file names in their directories?
> That depends on the actual damage. This is how you should
> proceed:
> 1. Make a 1:1 copy of the disk or partition. Use that copy
>    in all further steps. (Two copies are handy, in case you
>    mess up one.)
> 2. Examine the data. What has happened? Can you use FUSE's
>    NTFS mount program to mount it read-only? Can you use
>    tools from the ntfs-tools package to repair things like
>    the MFT. Or is it a FAT drive? Try mount_msdos instead,
>    maybe even fsck_msdosfs. It could be sufficient to copy
>    all the data (cp -R).
> 3. No luck getting the partition to mount? Assume the data
>    is still there. Make yourself familiar with professional
>    forensic tools. Start with the easy ones. If they get
>    back what you expect to recover, well done. If not, use
>    the more complex ones.
> On this mailing list, I have published my "famous list of
> data recovery tools" from time to time. Note that in order
> to make use of that list, you'll have to learn (!) about
> lower-level file system design, because you _must_ understand
> what you're doing.
> Here is this list. Note that I've added a few comments that
> might help in your specific situation (damaged FAT or NTFS
> drive):
> System:
> 	dd			<- for making 1:1 copy
> 	fsck_ffs
> 	clri
> 	fsdb
> 	fetch -rR <device>
> 	recoverdisk
> Ports:
> 	ddrescue		<- if 1:1 copy is hard
> 	dd_rescue		<- same
> 	ffs2recov
> 	magicrescue		<- get data back (no structure)
> 	testdisk
> 	The Sleuth Kit:
> 		fls
> 		dls
> 		ils
> 		autopsy
> 	scan_ffs
> 	recoverjpeg
> 	foremost
> 	photorec
> 	fatback			<- FAT
> 	ntfs-tools		<- NTFS (ntfsfix, ntfsinfo, ntfsmount)
> Keep in mind: It will take time. There is no "one size fits
> all" GUI solution where you just click and icon and then have
> all your files (and the directory structure) back. IN worst
> case, what you're searching for has already been overwritten
> by "Windows" attempting to "repair" it.
> Your alternative: Take $500-3000 and ship the disk to a
> recovery business. If a "whole digital life" is worth that
> much money, you can give them a change. Note that there is
> absolutely no guarantee that they will succeed.
> Good luck!

Thank you for your post.

Lets talk about making a copy to work with.
Question is about unused space. Disk is 3TB with 600GB used.
How do I reduce the working copy size to the data only size of 600GB?
Using the dd command I don't see any way to tell it to ignore coping 
empty space.

Do I need another 3TB disk to hold the working copy?
Do I dd the bad HD to another HD of same size making a complete image 
copy resulting in 2 ntfs hard drives?

Or should I have the dd command create a single flat file of the bad 
disk on the target disk?

Want to link to this message? Use this URL: <>