PC would not boot - computer shop installed new operating system - have i lost everything ?

  jon_hoggy 08:16 AM 14 Jul 11

Hi all. My pc would not boot up. I used my XP install disc and tried all the repair options. As I was worried I might lose everything I took the pc to a computer shop and he said he would have a look but that I might have to do a full re-install. I came back and he had wiped the drive and installed Windows 7 32 bit (I had previously been running XP). I was gutted but he said that was my only option. I've since seen tools advertised for repairing such issues, i wish i had been able to try these. I have since tried a couple of free recovery tools to try and rescue some valuable documents, but they don’t find anything. A) have I been badly advised ? B) is there any way I can recover some of my old documents ? I am very sad :(

  Nontek 08:53 AM 14 Jul 11

What free tools have you so far tried? Someone here 'might' be able to offer further advice.

Though I fear you have probably lost most, if not all, of your stuff. I guess a costly lesson re: Backups, has be learned!

  mgmcc 08:59 AM 14 Jul 11

You have been very badly advised. By clean installing Windows 7, it's almost certain that all of your existing files will have been lost.

There are other options that could have been explored - (1) as you had an XP disk, it might have been possible to do a repair install without the loss of existing files, (2) the shop could have installed Windows 7 on a new hard drive and retained the old drive, so that your files could have been recovered from it later.

Try running "Recuva" if you haven't already done so to see if it finds any of your old files, but I'm not optimistic.


Once you are up and running again, I would urge you to use imaging software, such as "Acronis True Image" or the free "Macrium Reflect" to create regular backups of your complete hard drive in separate media such as a USB External drive. This image can then be restored in the event of any problems with your Windows installation or restored to a new hard drive in case of drive failure.


  Sapins 09:01 AM 14 Jul 11

Try http://www.pcinspector.de/FileRecovery/aboutus.htm?po=4&language=1

You need somewnere to recover the files to, assuming you only have one hard drive an external drive would best.

  jon_hoggy 09:09 AM 14 Jul 11

Thanks for the responses.

Fortunately i had moved my photographs on to a portable HDD, but i have lost documents that are valuable to me, i am so disappointed that i took it to the shop and should have come here for advice or done more research.

I guess i have to accept it is irreversible :(

I have tried a couple of recovery free stuff - Pandora and one other. They found a couple of pdfs and jpegs - nothing else.

Not only am i gutted i feel like im back to square one - it took me ages to tweak my pc and everything worked like clockwork. Now my internet has gone back to sluggish and i have to start over.

boo hoo :(

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:11 AM 14 Jul 11

Even if it wouldn't boot it should have been possible to recover most of the data from the hard drive before formatting and installing a new operating system on the same drive.

Now it will be difficult if not impossible to recover anything.


Disk Investigator http://www.theabsolute.net/sware/dskinv.html

PCInspector http://www.snapfiles.com/get/pcinspector.html

Anything recovered should be put onto a mem stick the more you write to the drive more that is lost on it as it becomes overwritten.

  lotvic 12:18 PM 14 Jul 11

"I came back and he had wiped the drive and installed Windows 7 32 bit (I had previously been running XP)"

What make and model is your pc?

Is the W7 an OEM, or a Retail version? Proper shops do not just install W7 to replace XP.

Have you purchased the W7? and got the DVD and product key? If not then I would be a bit wary that it is a genuine W7. It may be that in a few months you will start getting the 'Not genuine' message when you do Microsoft updates.

  proudfoot 12:28 PM 14 Jul 11

Nontek's advice re Backups is very valid. I learnt to my cost some 20 years ago. I recommend to everyone I meet when talking about PCs etc to make backups of system programs and data at regular intervals to if possible an external HD or alternatively a separate partition on the main HD.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:37 PM 14 Jul 11

Back ups should be done to a separate drive, external is better as a blown PSU can take an internal drives with it.

  sharpamat 08:50 AM 15 Jul 11

It may well be depending on what the shop did,and how they installed the new operating system.

Lociv has raised a very revelant quastion. You should have both the DVD and the licence number.

If the shop just upgraded your computer your original information may still be there.

Look in the main partion ( Normally C )for a Folder named Windows Old. If that is there a lot of your information may be recovable.

  lotvic 18:52 PM 15 Jul 11

Sorry, but you can't do an ordinary upgrade from XP to W7. It has to be a clean install so there won't be Windows Old folder. More info on microsoft.com

"To upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7, you'll need to select the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. A custom installation doesn't preserve your programs, files, or settings. It's sometimes called a "clean" installation for that reason."


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