File Recovery Tools – Freeware
Data loss is the result of personal errors or hardware failure. Personal error accounts for deleted files and partitions; hardware failure results in bad sectors. The location of the bad sector influences the kind of data lost- if the bad sector occurs in data storage areas, then only files are lost, but if a bad sector appears in the system areas,causing an error in the partition table, an entire partition is usually lost.
Recovery tools need to be cautiously, and should never be installed on the same drive that contains the files to be recovered. Ideally, the files containing the deleted files should not be used for booting, since during the process, Windows writes to the disk. It is best to use the drive in another system for best chances of file recovery. Deleted data has a higher chance of being recovered, if disk activity on the drive after deletion has been minimal.
Get it here http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download
This little command line program is an excellent utility for partition table recovery.While the command-line functionality will put of a few, the available options are limited, and the requires instructions are presented along with each command. Test disk cannot recover deleted files and folders.
Once run, it will first analyze the partition table and find if there are any errors. If the partition table is corrupt, it will offer to use the backup to restore the table. Usually a backup of the partition table is stored in another part of the disk, not accessible to users. Problems with the partition table can be rectified in this manner. The more advanced capabilities of TestDisk are beyond the scope of this article, but TestDisk can also handle errors where the partition is not properly detected, as is the case when the MBR itself gets deleted. In this scenario, a user can manually enter the hard disk parameters (CHS Values), and TestDisk can try to recreate a partition table. The bundled help file offers adequate guidance to handle some of the situations where TestDisk can be used.
PC Inspector File recovery
Get it here http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/file_recovery/download.htm?language=1
This tool can recover data in three situations- when the data is deleted, when the file index (for the FAT and NTFS file systems) is corrupted and when a partition is lost. It is not advisable to use PCIFR in a case where the partition itself is improperly detected. For that, one should use TestDisk first.
PCIFR first scans the attached drives and lists the partitions on it. If there are partition detected, a further scan will detect the files that can be recovered. This procedure takes time; how long depends upon the size of the partition. Once the scan is complete, the files are presented. A recently-defragmented disk offers a greater chance of recovery o files. Right-clicking on the folder will open the option to save the recovered data. One should always save to a location different from the corrupt drive.