Recovering a file from Windows desktop on a corrupted HDD?

esox

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My old laptop died recently, `no bootable device found` on startup was one of the problems with it.
The HDD wasn`t completely dead and i managed to retrieve all my files by using an external HDD docking station - except for a few files which were located on the Windows OS desktop...
I can see most of the locations and folders on the HDD by using the docking station but it will not boot into Windows if i select `boot via USB` on the host PC as priority.

My question is, where should i be looking to try and locate the files stored on the desktop?
Where are desktop files stored?

Thanks.
 
OP
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esox

esox

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Yep, found the file i was looking for but unfortunately it didn`t seem to have all the data i had entered into it for the year or so before the old laptop died so it was a fruitless search, thanks anyway.
 

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Or, if you Google it, other local companies will offer a similar service.

Some drive manufacturers offer this service as well (Seagate for example).
 

Teego

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I know it's a bit late for you but when I set up a computer I create drive X on the HDD. All data goes there and C is reserved for Windows. If C goes down I have X.
 

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I know it's a bit late for you but when I set up a computer I create drive X on the HDD. All data goes there and C is reserved for Windows. If C goes down I have X.


If you are simply making a Partition on the drive instead of physically adding another HD, then the X: drive will fail at the same time as the C: should it fail.
 
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Teego

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If you are simply making a Partition on the drive instead of physically adding another HD then the X: drive will fail at the same time as the C: should it fail.
I've had a situation where I had to do a clean install of windows to C and all data stayed intact in X.
 

KillerHERTZ

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I've had a situation where I had to do a clean install of windows to C and all data stayed intact in X.


Thats fine, but it sounds like you have created a partition which basically means splitting the drive in 2, C: & X:.

The downside of this, is that there is a fault with the actual physical drive, you will lose both.
 

John

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@OP - it sounds like the HDD might be OK and just Windows is corrupt. I would run the drive up in a chassis again and once there, find out what the drive letter it is given and then assuming what you lost is a recent Word document, try running the following:

Windows Key + R
CMD (hit OK)
X: (X being the drive letter and press enter)
dir *.doc* /s /a /p (enter - for Word documents)
or
dir *.xls* /s /a /p (enter - for Excel documents)
etc.

Or if you know the names or part of the names of the files, try these for full names:
dir myfile.doc* /s /a /p
dir myfile.doc* /s /a /p

If part names:
dir *partname*.doc* /s /a /p
dir *partname*.xls* /s /a /p

If you have spaces, just add speechmarks at the start and end:
dir "myfile.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "myfile.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "*partname*.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "*partname*.xls*" /s /a /p

Then find the same path in Windows Explorer from the results you get and examine what you find.

If the HDD is OK, they should still be there.

@Teego - you'd be better off buying a USB Flash Drive or even using OneDrive to make a copy of what you copy to X. That would then be a proper backup. You can still do the C: / X: of course but as KH stated above applies...
 

Teego

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@OP - it sounds like the HDD might be OK and just Windows is corrupt. I would run the drive up in a chassis again and once there, find out what the drive letter it is given and then assuming what you lost is a recent Word document, try running the following:

Windows Key + R
CMD (hit OK)
X: (X being the drive letter and press enter)
dir *.doc* /s /a /p (enter - for Word documents)
or
dir *.xls* /s /a /p (enter - for Excel documents)
etc.

Or if you know the names or part of the names of the files, try these for full names:
dir myfile.doc* /s /a /p
dir myfile.doc* /s /a /p

If part names:
dir *partname*.doc* /s /a /p
dir *partname*.xls* /s /a /p

If you have spaces, just add speechmarks at the start and end:
dir "myfile.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "myfile.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "*partname*.doc*" /s /a /p
dir "*partname*.xls*" /s /a /p

Then find the same path in Windows Explorer from the results you get and examine what you find.

If the HDD is OK, they should still be there.

@Teego - you'd be better off buying a USB Flash Drive or even using OneDrive to make a copy of what you copy to X. That would then be a proper backup. You can still do the C: / X: of course but as KH stated above applies...
My X is also backed up to an external drive.
 

markjay

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I know it's a bit late for you but when I set up a computer I create drive X on the HDD. All data goes there and C is reserved for Windows. If C goes down I have X.
That's what I do, it allows to reinstall Windows (which I do from time to time) with minimum fuss.

But, as others said, it obviously does not protect the data from hardware failure.
 

markjay

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Firstly connect the old HDD as a second drive to a PC with a working Windows OS.

The old C partition will show under a new drive letter, I called it x.

The old desktop files will be under x:\Users\(your-user-name)\desktop.

There will also be data under x:\Users\(your-user-name)\AppData\ but it's a hidden folder so you'll need to type it manually.
 

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As others have said its best practice to partition a disk with separate areas for your OS and Data. The area of the disk platter containing your OS will typically be the most heavily used and liable to 'bad' blocks or sectors with age. You typically have more chance of recovering un-corrupted data from a partition separate from that which the OS is stored on. However in the new age of SSD storage that is slightly less relevant.

Of course none of the above is any substitute to having a good automated backup routine in place - with files regularly backed up to an external (preferably RAID disk array) device, or just take advantage of many of the cheap Cloud storage options such as One Drive or G drive and keep all your stuff in one folder synced with the cloud.
 

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if OP can see the file but cannot open it because it is corrupted, try running CHKDISK to see if the file can be repaired. This is no substitution to a professional recovery, but it is free and it sometimes works.
 

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When a hard drive fails what often happens is the file index gets trashed. The data is still there but it can't be found. Data recovery software will search the drive and recreate a file index so that the file can recovered. This is what data recovery companies mostly do. There are some free version out there on the web that are worth trying first.

This is how a formatted drive can be recovered as a quick format only deletes the file index. In fact when you delete a file all that you are doing is deleting the index to that the data is still there. Worth bearing in mind when disposing of a drive with any sensitive data on it. The only way to truly delete data is to overwrite it.
 

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