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How can I tell?

By oscr72 · 8 replies
Oct 22, 2008
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  1. My step children use my laptop sometimes to play games and last night while I was at work they deleted some files. My wife said she fixed it but it looks to me as if it has been formatted. Is there any way i can tell for sure? And can I retrieve the lost items?
  2. griggrog

    griggrog TS Rookie

    Can you still load your OS and if so are the files not still in your recycle bin?
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +421

    Perhaps you could just ask her if she reformatted it. There might be a more elegant way of finding out but you could look at the Windows system folders and see if most of them have a very recent date. If she reformatted it yesterday, for example, they should have yesterday's date.

    If it has been reformatted, you won't be able to retrieve your lost items.
  4. geekygirl63

    geekygirl63 TS Rookie Posts: 54

    If they deleted critical files and it didn't boot she may have reloaded everything. However, how can you tell that it looks formatted? Is all your data gone? If so, yes there are tools you can use to recover, even on a formatted drive. I use a great one called GetDataBack for NTFS. It is distributed by Runtime and it costs about $50. If not,, there are some nifty features of your OS that will allow you to recover deleted files. I will find the link and send it.

    In the meantime, if you are going to allow your stepchildren to use the computer, set up a separate account, of type "limited" and it will reduce their ability to damage the system. Also depending on their ages, they should be supervised. It is possiblel that you got an infection that damaged your files, depending on what games they were playing.

  5. oscr72

    oscr72 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The os is there(Vista) but my recycle bin is empty. I keep getting messages that I am missing drivers for certain things and my laptop has the biometric fingerprint scanner device and that also is not working. I have the XPS M1530 from Dell.
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +421

    Go to the Dell website to download and install the various missing drivers.

    BTW, this is not really the proper forum for this question.
  7. geekygirl63

    geekygirl63 TS Rookie Posts: 54

    That sounds like a reload, and unless the user, then used the additional disk that came with the system which has the device drivers, then that would explain your missing drivers. How about other software that you had on the system. Anything that is missing that you had?

    If you can get the network working,, you can go to the dell website and put in your Service Tag number and get all the drivers you are missing.

  8. oscr72

    oscr72 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info and i'll be sure to post my questions in the proper forum next time(first time here)
  9. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Basic theory of file recovery

    There seem to be more than one problems and questions asked here. I’ll restrict myself to the recovery of deleted files, after the recycle bin has been emptied. This is the theoretical answer, given not as help but for academic knowledge.

    For easy cases, there are freeware tools that will do the job. The less you have used the computer in the meantime, the higher the chance of success.
    For tougher cases, there are premium tools that get results at a price. A good one has already been mentioned.
    For really difficult cases, where the HD may be damaged, there are professional labs that can reconstruct the files. But that’s very expensive.
    Finally, it is not widely known, and may not sound believable, but even if files have been destroyed by shredding or after the disk has been reformatted, there are still means of recovery. But you may need the CIA to achieve that.

    In theory, the only way you can be sure that files cannot be recovered, is to smash the HD to pieces with a sledgehammer.

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