Lost files on external hardrive

I had a load of live material by a band on a hardrive. I just went to share one of the concerts and my hand slipped as I was trying to get the torrent seed onto the tracker. Somehow all the folders of the band’s material were shunted somewhere & I can’t work out how or where.
I thought being in the browser on an internet page wouldn’t be able to effect the folders on my hardrive. So is this possible. It is deeply frustrating. Can I get these folders back? So far I’ve found empty folders in a different folder.
Reading my external hardrive capacity it says that it still holds the same amount of data.
My initial response would be to use the defragmenter on the hardrive and hopefully be able to recreate what is missing, which must amount to a couple hundred GB of data accumulated over the last few years. But I’m worried this might scamble things further.

So what has somehow happened appears to be that folders were click & dragged to an unspecified location. i have found the empty grouped folders in a different file, but the contents are dissipated elsewhere.
The hardrive is pretty much full, so using a defragmenter might be a problem anyway. I’m feeling like I can’t touch anything without worsening the problem.

Is there a way to restore the files as they were, supposing the contents are still somewhere on the drive? I’m assuming the contents of the disc reading the same indicates data is somewhere there, rather than vanished completely.

Having done this once I’m worried that I might repeat it, unless I know what I did the first time. which I don’t really. At the time it happened I tried to work out what exactly happened. Think it seemed the wrong thing was selected and moved figuratively speaking, but by the time I realized it was happening it was done.

What OS are you using? Can you open the folders with Windows Explorer? I wouldn’t defrag the drive just yet, wait until you find the data. You could just do a Search for the folder names and see what shows up, I doubt that anything got renamed.

I’m in Windows XP. I had a large folder with several smaller subdivisions in with individual folders in them. I’ve now got a single subdivision folder with a few individual file folders in. The other subdivision folders were found in a different folder,one of them said it had individual folders inside but all were empty of their individual contents. So trying to open anything isn’t working, I did try on a couple of them & got a clong noise & a message saying folders wouldn’t open.

So far I’ve been scared to restart the computer because I might further damage things. Permanently delete salvageable content or something. At the moment I’m not sure if that’s even more naive or what.
The hardrive data content size doesn’t seem to have changed though. & the recycle bin doesn’t contain any of the material I’m looking for.

When this initially happened I tried using the computer’s search function to see if it woul find any of the material. It came back saying nothing found.

Just for kicks try Recuva, http://www.piriform.com/recuva, it’s freeware. See what it turns up.

What is most likely is that the flolder containing your files has inadvertantly been moved inside another folder…

IF they’ve actually been deleted It’s POSSIBLE the files are still in your "recycle bin"
and defragging will wipe them out.

Recuva might being them back,But only if they were actually deleted. but failing that look for a copy of an old DOS program called ZTree
(it will run in WinXP)And look for the files by file spec.

I would presume they are either mp3, wav, or other common audio codec?

Ztree is capable of so much more than WindowsExplorer as it lets you look and move files selectively.

One of my favorites is Logging the full drive “L” F2 F2 x(Drive letter)
that opens ALL directories, then “F” (File Spec) For example “*.mp3”

Then “S” for “show all”

At that point you can “T” for “tag” the files and copy them to another drive.
Control-C copies them all to a single location.
Alt-C copies them to another specified location AND recreates the path.

the one thing Z-tree CANNOT DO is relocate folders IN the tree structure
without a lot of difficulty, Windows explorer does this very easily
(which I submit is how you got into the mess you are in now)

with Explorer you can easily “drag” folders to somewhere you didn’t intend to move them.

If the drive still shows as holding the data it’s probably still there…

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It might even be a simple as the folders may be in a folder close to where you were draging them from or to.
That’s kind of what AllanDeGroot posted above.
Scroll your mouse over close folders & check the size.
@ AllanDeGroot , ZTree looks like a software I might need sometime .I think I will look for a copy of it.

Thanks muchly will check out both of those last 2 suggestions, though I was trying to do the 2nd earlier. I found the folders but not the contents. Recuva hasn’t found anything, I was just wondering if that indicated files weren’t actually deleted.
Will now look for Ztree. Which I’m sure will be useful in future anyway, but will probably be the immediate soluition I need now.
Thanks again.

The fact that your harddrive still shows it is the size that it was with the data indicates it is still there . Somewhere.
On Vista this is the information I get when I hover over a folder:

A right click & Properties gives more information.
So any folder that has added these files should be very large in size.

I would not use anything that attempts to write onto that HDD. Defragmenters can do additional damage in that case.
Rather, I would boot the computer from a Live linux CD and see what can be found on the HDD.

Michael

If you know the name of the files or folders, download this program Everything and then do a search for the files or folders. If they’re still on your HD then you will be able to move them to a more convenient place.

Ok, been away for a month. Just checked the computer with this programme. It’s showing location but no size on a lot of files.
Since the hardrive is still showing the same volume of content is this material going to be retrievable? Or has it dissipated or something?

[QUOTE=stevolende;2562540]
My initial response would be to use the defragmenter on the hardrive and hopefully be able to recreate what is missing, which must amount to a couple hundred GB of data accumulated over the last few years. But I’m worried this might scamble things further.[/QUOTE]

I think this wipe clean all your data that was still there and could be recovered is now gone. And most likely won’t be able to properly find the files or reconstruct the file setup to find those lost files anymore. Any time you defrag or write over those sectors of the HDD the chances of any good recovery isn’t very good after that unless you willing to spends 1,000 of dollars for specialist shop to find them for you. I think once you used defrag your data was basically lost… :confused:

[QUOTE=stevolende;2570558]Ok, been away for a month. Just checked the computer with this programme. It’s showing location but no size on a lot of files.
Since the hardrive is still showing the same volume of content is this material going to be retrievable? Or has it dissipated or something?[/QUOTE]

This meant the defrag you did before wipe clean those files that was there before with something else and basically they are gone now. So what is the size of the HDD and what is the file reporting for the files size of those files was there any size at all for those files?

what gile form are the “missing” files?

Because if they are compressed media files (.mp3/wma/aac) there is another slightly unorthodox way to find them…

On your computer (NOT the afflicted drive) install a program called TagScanner (it’s Freeware and you can find it on cnet.com)

Then after it’s installed connect the drive and use TagScanner to “browse” for the files… do this specifically be selecting only the drive letter of the connected external drive and letting tag scanner search the ENTIRE drive.

Tag scanner is a meta-data editor for adding or modifying mp3 id3 tags, imbedding album art images, etc, but it works very well as an audio file search tool.

I use it all the time to locate audio files on customer’s computers while doing data recovery
and transfering this data to their new computers.

It doesn’t work at all on wav files and I’ve never had the oppertunity to test against flac or other loseless codecs.

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It was Flac files and dvd stuff I think. I didn’t run the defragmenter because I was worried it would destroy anything I might be able to recover.
Sems things are stuck in limbo, if they’re not completely destroyed.
Stevo

Windows Explorer and other programs with similar user interfaces make it very easy to “drag” a Folder (directory)
and “drop” it INSIDE another folder (or subfolder)

So what you need to do is systematically look inside each folder with Windows explorer (in “full screen” mode)
You also need to set “folder options” to show icons (instead of a list) because this will make spotting a Folder
mixed into another folder full of files, basically where it isn’t supposed to be.

Basically what everyone is saying is that your files aren’t “gone” they are simply MOVED
and you must SEARCH for them. there is no “shortcut”

Well, Like I descrbed above a file management tool lie Ztree would let you look for files by their file extension

then you read down the list of such files until you see a familiar name and then when you click on it the
full path of that file will be displayed at the top of the screen

And if you know what the path is then you can basically get to it with Explorer and move it (and the folder it’s in) back where they belong.

the last thing I’m going to say is something one of the forum moderators says repeatedly, and it’s a sentiment I agree with completely…

Any data you have only one copy of is data you are proving you are prepared to lose.

Having ONE copy of anyhting is the best way to lose it.

In this case I don’t believe you’ve lost it permanantly, simply “misplaced” the fiiles

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