Old 22-04-2009   #1
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My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

I am devistated!!! I (never thought it would happen to me - STUPID to not save) think I have lost 3 years worth of stored photos on my pc. I am desperate to recover my photos. I could care less about any other information on my pc. My photos are invaluable! HELP!!

Here is what happened:
My computer locked up while in hotmail. I turned it off and when I tried to reboot the windows xp would go to loading then reboot over and over. I called our anitvirus co. and the tech tried to walk me through safe mode, but the pc would not go there.
I then took the unit to a local tech who sent back a repair order with the below information:OS would not start up at all as customer indicated. Chassis fan was deemed defective. OS has multiple fatal errors. BAD_POOL_CALLER Stop: (bunch of numbers listed here) Microsoft hotfix could not be applied due to the extensive file corruption of the OS. OS safe mode was inaccessible as the microsoft, XP, PCI.SYS was corrupt (boot file). Boot fix provided by mircorsoft did not fix the problem. Most of the file system was corrupted by the hardware failure causing the bad pool caller to stop the system. System also appeared to have a worm and virus that invaded teh file system causing the system never to boot. (via microsoft engineer) The motherboard tested ok. The video card tested Ok. USB ad on card tested OK. Firewire add on card tested OK. Hard drive is suspected to have write errors. Chipset and processor was running in a marginal excessive heat state due to the intrusion of dust and lint in the heat sinks.

I have NO idea what all of this means. Is this a total loss or could a hard drive recovery company find my photos??
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Old 22-04-2009   #2
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Hi jenzday, welcome and sorry for your trouble.
The short answer is yes, it's likely that your photos are recoverable.
The simplest and cheapest, first step is to simply install the "failed" HDD as a slave HDD (not system HDD) and then simply move your photos from the "failed" HDD over to a known "good" HDD.
It sounds like the HDD spins up ok and you can probably see the data when viewed on a stable system.

If you are not able to do this on your own, the shop where your pc was taken for repair, certainly can. It's a simple process.
Should this process fail, there are more extensive and more expensive approaches including software and professional recovery services.
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Old 22-04-2009   #3
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

EDIT: argh maineman was faster

Welcome to the forum

Providing that the HDD is not damaged, my suggestion is to install the HDD into an external box so you can access the disc contents and recover all files you need. Alternatively, you can install the HDD into another computer, and again recover all files.

Another option is trying to boot the computer with a LiveCD of a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or Knoppix. After the boot, you can recover all files from the HDD and save them into another HDD (an external disc or an USB pendrive for example).

If the HDD is damaged, the only solution is to ask a specialized company to recover data from the disc. This is a very costly option however
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Last edited by geno888; 22-04-2009 at 18:28.
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Old 22-04-2009   #4
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

You would think the "local tech" guy/gal would've at least recommended what maineman and geno888 just did....
But that's too easy I guess!...And how to write it up in layman's terms?
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Old 22-04-2009   #5
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

while you should be able to recover stuff from your HD, the first thing you need to do, is to make sure that you don't transfer any of those files to the new setup, without first running a good antivirus software against the old drive. I have successfully used "getmydataback" software to recover 99% of data that was intentionally deleted by an ex.. And she did something other than just simply delete the folders too..

Do yourself a favor though, and virus scan that drive, before you try to recover anything from it.
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Old 22-04-2009   #6
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

You have ALL given me HOPE!

When the tech guy called and told me all was a total loss, I ask him to STOP and let me get a second opinion. He pretty much FREAKED out and got all defensive. Gave me the "if you had saved you wouldn't have lost your data." As if I hadn't already realized how dumb that was. He kept telling me he could replace the fan and install all new "stuff" so I shouldn't me mad at my computer he could fix it "good as new". I think he just wanted to sell, sell, sell.
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Old 23-04-2009   #7
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
I think he just wanted to sell, sell, sell.
Ya think?
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Old 23-04-2009   #8
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Update:
I read and considered all of your suggestions and quickly realized that I AM NOT capable of fixing the problem myself.

I took it to a second guy and he called this AM and told me the hard drive is EMPTY!! There is NOTHING on the hard drive as if it were new from the factory. No OS ..... nothing! He has tried a couple different data recovery systems and no luck. No photos! NOTHING!!

So lesson learned!!!! SAVE SAVE SAVE!
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Old 23-04-2009   #9
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
Update:

There is NOTHING on the hard drive as if it were new from the factory. No OS ..... nothing! He has tried a couple different data recovery systems and no luck. No photos! NOTHING!!
The only way that could possibly happen is if someone "wiped" the drive. Unless you had an actual hard disk "crash", where the heads hit the disk, your data is there or it's been wiped.
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Old 23-04-2009   #10
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

How would it get wiped? Could the other guy have wiped it?
What should I do? I think the new guy is going to reload if his next attempt doesn't work.

Both techs have ask me if we had a power surge/outage, but I know we did not. The first guy thought a virus could have cleared it. I think the second guy thinks the 1st guy cleared it. UGH!!
I have no idea what I am dealing with!!
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Old 24-04-2009   #11
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

What does it mean to kill the portition? That is what the new guy thinks has happened. What is Unallocated???
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Old 24-04-2009   #12
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

You probably mean "partition" which may have been deleted. "Unallocated" means that the drive or part of the drive has not been patitioned. Either way the data is still there. How important it is depends on you and what you are willing to do to recover it.
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Old 24-04-2009   #13
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

One of the best tools to recover deleted partitions is TestDisk.

Give it a try
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Old 24-04-2009   #14
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
I think the second guy thinks the 1st guy cleared it. UGH!!
Unfortunately, this is my guess too.

I think the "first guy's" statement and behavior is quite telling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
When the tech guy called and told me all was a total loss, I ask him to STOP and let me get a second opinion. He pretty much FREAKED out and got all defensive. Gave me the "if you had saved you wouldn't have lost your data."
Definitely give geno's Testdisk a try...nothing more to lose, that's for sure, but it sounds like the second guy gave it a good couple of tries.
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Old 24-04-2009   #15
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

I AM SO EXCITED!!! I don't know how but the second guy was able to retrieve 13,000 photos including our newborns after birth photos. PRICELESS!
He said it took about 5 hours.
I am so glad to have had so many kind replies. This is the best forum. THANK YOU!!
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Old 24-04-2009   #16
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
I AM SO EXCITED!!! I don't know how but the second guy was able to retrieve 13,000 photos including our newborns after birth photos. PRICELESS!
He said it took about 5 hours.
I am so glad to have had so many kind replies. This is the best forum. THANK YOU!!
That's great news, jenzday!
I know the potential loss of all your photos was killing you.

I guess we don't have to guess your next move, eh?
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Old 24-04-2009   #17
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

I am going to make TRIPLE copies!!
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Old 24-04-2009   #18
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Glad you were able to retrieve (most of) your photos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
I am going to make TRIPLE copies!!
Be sure to make your three copies on different (types of) media in order to minimize risk - not putting all your eggs in one basket.

For example two different kinds/brands of DVD media and flash drive, or hard drive + flash drive + DVD, or CD + DVD + flash drive.

That way you don't risk losing all three copies at once due to some manufacturing problem impacting all three copies.
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Old 24-04-2009   #19
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Another thought here which would be a good idea is to install a second hard drive and clone it over once about every 3 months using Ghost or XXClone (free) and that way if you do crash a hard drive then you would have a spare with everything on it as I have all my photos on a CD, Zip disk (I know old style ) and on my spare HD. Anyway glad to hear you got them back
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Old 24-04-2009   #20
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
I am going to make TRIPLE copies!!


Quote:
Be sure to make your three copies on different (types of) media
In three different fireproof boxes
In three different buildings
In three different states.....

Sorry, just a little Friday humor..Glad to hear you got your pix back...
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Old 24-04-2009   #21
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzday View Post
I AM SO EXCITED!!! I don't know how but the second guy was able to retrieve 13,000 photos including our newborns after birth photos. PRICELESS!
He said it took about 5 hours.
I am so glad to have had so many kind replies. This is the best forum. THANK YOU!!
Excellent

I'm glad that you solved
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Old 24-04-2009   #22
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

Im glad that you where able to recover it. Im sure you already realized this but be very careful of computer repair shops. Most take the stance, if its broken, wipe it and start over.

places like Geek Squad (Best Buy), Firedog (Circuit City) are horrible about this. Also places there are only in it for the money which is most of them. Taking your computer is like taking it to a really bad car repair shop, but worse.

I know it would and will take a long time to learn what you need to know, but when it comes to data that you want to keep its best to do it your self as long as you don't delete anything in the process, which there are normally warnings about anyway.

basically if you suddenly have a bad feeling its best to stop and think for a long time before saying yes or not and if it feels bad still don't do either and then consult someone online or knowing of how it works.
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Old 12-05-2009   #23
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Re: My computer crashed and I think I have lost everything. What are my options?

I am SO GLAD I didn't let the first guy wipe it clean and update my PC - even if it did completely "offend" him.
I bought an external hard drive (now if I can figure out how all this works). I saved the pictures to cd's (extra copies to put in our bank box and at a family members in case of natural disaster). I also downloaded them to two different laptops and thumb drives. I hope this is enough!
Not sure what this is but the tech that found the pictures added a partition and put them in it as well. Split the hard drive or something like that. I am probably not wording this all righ
I do know I emailed all of my friends and told them to back up their files plus I bragged on this website!!!

I am so thankful for everyones advice!!!
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