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??

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.

EDIT: argh maineman was faster :stuck_out_tongue:

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

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 :frowning:

You would think the “local tech” guy/gal would’ve at [I]least [/I]recommended what maineman and geno888 just did…:rolleyes:
But that’s too easy I guess!..And how to write it up in layman’s terms?

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.

You have ALL given me HOPE!

When the tech guy called and told me all was a total loss:sad:, 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. :a

I think he just wanted to sell, sell, sell.

Ya think?

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!

[QUOTE=jenzday;2262189]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!!

[/QUOTE]

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.

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!!

What does it mean to kill the portition? That is what the new guy thinks has happened. What is Unallocated???

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.

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

Give it a try :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=jenzday;2262210] I think the second guy thinks the 1st guy cleared it. UGH!!
[/QUOTE]
Unfortunately, this is my guess too.

I think the “first guy’s” statement and behavior is quite telling.

[QUOTE=jenzday;2261516]When the tech guy called and told me all was a total loss:sad:, I ask him to STOP and let me get a second opinion. [B]He pretty much FREAKED out and got all defensive. Gave me the “if you had saved you wouldn’t have lost your data.” [/B][/QUOTE]

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.

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!!

[QUOTE=jenzday;2262368]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!![/QUOTE]
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?

I am going to make TRIPLE copies!!

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

[QUOTE=jenzday;2262418]I am going to make TRIPLE copies!![/QUOTE] 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.

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

I am going to make TRIPLE copies!!

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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…:bigsmile::bigsmile::bigsmile:

Sorry, just a little Friday humor…Glad to hear you got your pix back…:clap: