User's Guide for Windows

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Unerase All Volume Data on a Deleted/Damaged Partition

There are two basic approaches for restoring volume data all at once:

  1. Copy all data to a new safe location (to another attached or external physical disk)
  2. Physical recovery of the boot sector and partition table (in-place recovery)

In-place recovery works best when the partition/volume was just deleted, or the data and the file system on deleted/re-created/re-formatted partition have not been severely damaged (overwritten).

In this case the recovery process is very fast, and you'll be able to access your files using Windows Explorer (or any other program) immediately after recovery.

However, if some data overwriting occurred, or damage to the file system took place, Windows might not recognize the recovered volume (a drive with an assigned letter does not appear), or you may get messages like "Drive is not accessible".

In this case you should try the second option: copy all existing data from the corrupted volume to a new physical disk.

There are other scenarios when you do not want to recover your data in-place. You just want to restore all live (non-deleted) volume data (files and folders) to another media in a single operation. Possible scenarios when this is applicable:

  • USB Flash or Camera Memory Card is damaged or formatted
  • Hard Disk has some physical damage (unreadable or bad sectors)
  • Volume boot sector is damaged by virus or power surge and volume becomes unreadable
  • Partition or volume has been formatted accidentally
  • RAID Disk Array crashed and needs to be re-built

Copying Volume Data to Another Location

This approach is the safest way to get all your data backed up to a new safe place, however this is a slowest way. You keep your original damaged disk (all data on it not touched), and just copy all your valuable information to a dedicated attached HDD/SDD, external USB HDD or Flash Disk. Copy process itself could take a long time, especially in case if you have terabytes of data (videos or photo archives).

To Copy All Volume Data to a New Disk:

  1. In Active@ UNERASER, use QuickScan or SuperScan to detect deleted or damaged partition, verify its content and select the partition node.
  2. To open the Unerase Options dialog box, use one of the following methods:
    • Click Unerase on the toolbar uneraser - data recovery tool
    • Right-click the volume, and then choose Unerase from the context menu
    • Execute Unerase command from Action menu
    • Press Ctrl+R key combination
    uneraser freeware - Unerase All Volume Data
  3. Make sure Copy All Data to a New Disk tab is active
  4. Select a recovery method:
    • Recover Files & Folders only – copies all safe files and folders from the partition being recovered to a new target disk. Original data structure (location of files and directories in folder’s tree) and file’s attributes (creation date, read-only flag, etc..) have been duplicated as well. Advantage of this method is that copied files are guaranteed to be readable (accessible) on a new target. Disadvantage is that system areas, meta-data and deleted data are not copied, so future data recovery of damaged file system is not possible on a new target.
    • Copy All Volume Data (sector by sector copy) – copies all occupied sectors on the volume as it is specified in file system’s allocation bitmap. This means than all system areas (like MFT records, or FAT tables) have been duplicated as well, and along with safe files and folders you can recover files being marked as deleted as well, so future data recovery is possible even from the new disk (target). This can be considered as a significant advantage. Disadvantage is that if some system areas (for example MFT, or boot sector) on the found partition are damaged, target disk will have exactly the same damaged data, and when accessing the new volume, or files on it, you can get error messages, like “access denied”.
  5. Select a designated disk (having enough storage space) to copy all you data to. List box displays all available disks in the system, excluding physical disks where operating system is installed. You can plug-in more disks (or remove some them) and the software should detect and display them here immediately. Make sure you select a proper target disk, as long as before copying occurs it will be formatted (all existing data, if any, will be lost).
  6. Click Unerase and wait while all volume data being copied.

After completion Windows Explorer should be launched and you can access and inspect your data at the new location.

Restoring a deleted/damaged volume in-place

This approach is the fastest way to return your volume "back to life" in place where it was resided originally, however this could be dangerous and non-guaranteed way. Recovery of partition information, volume boot sector and partition table usually takes couple seconds, however you need to be absolutely sure that you recover a proper volume, and recovery is successful only when file system itself has not been damaged previously.

This way works best when you just deleted a volume, realized the problem and immediately started recovery process. In this case not many data overwrite operations occurred within Windows environment, so most of your data structures are not being damaged.

In case if you formatted the disk and installed a new OS, or copied some files to a newly formatted partition - you may still try this approach, however chances that some critical file system data structures has not been damaged are low, so most likely after recovery occurs Windows would not be able to access a logical disk and you will see something like: "Volume is not accessible or damaged" and "Do you want to format the volume?", and you'll need to delete this invalid partition and try another approach.

To evaluate your chances for successful physical recovery (in-place recovery), take a look at the icon besides the found volume. You can distinguish deleted partitions from existing ones by the icons:

To restore a deleted volume in-place:

  1. In Active@ UNERASER, use QuickScan or SuperScan to detect deleted partition, verify its content and select the deleted partition node.
  2. To open the Unerase Options dialog box, use one of the following methods:
    • Click Unerase on the toolbar
    • Right-click the volume, and then choose Unerase from the context menu
    • Execute Unerase command from Action menu
    • Press Ctrl+R key combination
    • Go to Unerase Volume In-Place tab and check recovery options
    Active@ Uneraser for Windows7 and others
  3. To assign a partition to be recovered non-default disk letter, you may choose one of available letters from the drop-down box
  4. To mark a partition to be recovered as an Active , you may check the related check box.
  5. In some cases partition being recovered seems to be not a Primary type, but the Logical Disk in the Extended partition. In this case Create Extended Partition First options will be available, if no Extended partition exists on the disk. Keep it turned on if you want to create Extended partition container first, then to place your recovered partition inside. If option use ALL Unallocated area is turned off - Extended partition (container) will have the same size as partition being recovered, otherwise Extended partition (container) would occupy all unallocated space on the disk
  6. You have an option to perform either Automatic or Manual check and fix of the Volume Boot Sector. If you are not familiar with disk low-level structures, use Automatic mode. If you know a lot about sectors, clusters, FAT, MFT, etc.. you can choose Manual mode to check the parameters manually and to select the most appropriate action
  7. Click Unerase

After the recovery process is complete, a confirmation message pops up. Make sure that the results are correct by verifying the contents of the recovered partition in the Windows Explorer. Recovered partition should appear there after you refresh its content.


Manual mode for Volume Boot Sector Recovery

Manual mode for Volume Boot Sector Recovery

If you've chosen Manual mode for the Boot Sector Check & Fix, dialog like above appears.

You can:

  • Verify the parameters of the Primary and Copy of Boot Sector located on the disk. Parameters that look like invalid are marked with a red mark. Boot Sector Template column is formed programmatically and contains the most appropriate parameters for the partition found
  • Save to the file raw Primary Boot Sector or Copy of Boot Sector to be able to analyze these raw values in Hex Editor or third party software, or restore them back if recovery is unsuccessful
  • Load from the file raw Primary Boot Sector or Copy of Boot Sector to restore them back after unsuccessful recovery
  • See the Overall Status of Partition Boot Sectors (their validity and match)
  • Choose an Action to execute for the Boot Sectors while partition recovery:
    1. Duplicate Primary Boot Sector into a Copy of Boot Sector - if you are sure that Primary Boot Sector is valid, but Copy is not
    2. Duplicate Copy of Boot Sector into a Primary Boot Sector - if you are sure that Copy of Boot Sector is valid, but Primary is not
    3. Copy Boot Sector Template into both Boot Sectors - if both Primary and Copy of Boot Sector look invalid
    4. Do NOT fix Boot Sectors - if both Boot Sectors look valid and match each other and the Boot Sector Template values.

In the example above, even you are not a specialist - you can notice that Primary Boot Sector contains missed information (i.e. damaged), the red marks appear next to the fields, so the most appropriate action is to Duplicate Copy of a Boot Sector into a Primary Boot Sector.

See Also:

Rollback Partition Changes

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