[Case Study] How to Recover Lost Files in Multiple Cases [MiniTool Wiki]

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This instruction could help you quickly find and recover files in MiniTool Power Data Recovery under different cases.

Note:
  1. Please do not write any new files to the drive from which you want to retrieve deleted data, for doing this may overwrite the files which have been deleted.
  2. Please do not save recovered files to the original drive, because this may also overwrite deleted data.
  3. Overwritten files can’t be recovered anymore.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Deleted Files

Run MiniTool Power Data Recovery, and choose the partition where your lost data is originally saved to scan. In our test, we select partition E: to scan.

choose a target partition to scan

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the scanning result interface:

software interface you see when the scanning is finished

In this window, you can find and save files from one of the following 4 locations:

1. Original Folder Tree

find files from the original normal path

In general, you could find the deleted items from the original path. Please double-click each partition to view contents, and in most cases, you can find needed files from the first partition (Existing Partition). The deleted items are always marked with red "x". Of course, you may find them from other partitions in addition to the first partition.

2. $Dir Folders in the Lost Files Folder

find files from the $Dir folder

If you can’t find your needed files from the original path, please double click the Lost Files folder in each partition and view files in the $Dir folders. The deleted items are always saved in $Dir folders if they are not in original path.

3. Recycle Bin Folder

If lost files were originally saved on HDD, you can also check the Recycle Bin folder, as the following screenshot shows:

find files from the Recycle Bin

4. More Lost Files Folder

Find files from More Lost File (RAW)

Just double click the More Lost Files folder and recover specified types of files. Files saved in this folder are found by directly scanning data area (bypass file system), so they will lose original names, and you need to recover them to a different drive to view the contents.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Formatted Drive

Run MiniTool Power Data Recovery, and then select the formatted drive to scan. In the test, we formatted G:, so we choose it to scan:

select the formatted drive to scan

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the following interface:

the interface when the program has finished scanning a formatted partition

Please double click each partition to view contents. If you can find files from the original folder tree, just choose needed files and save them to another drive. But in most cases, there is no folder tree found, and you can only see the Lost Files folder after opening a partition. Please double-click the Lost Files folder, and then view files in the $Dir folders. In our test, we find desired files from $Dir folders:

find desired files from $Dir folder

You can also find and save files from the More Lost Files folder.

find files from the More Lost Partitions (RAW) if $Dir fails to return good results

Please choose specified types of files and save them to another drive.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Damaged/Inaccessible Drive

Firstly, please run MiniTool Power Data Recovery and select the damaged or inaccessible drive to scan:

select a damaged partition to scan

After the scanning is completed, you'll see the following interface:

software interface when the program has finished scanning a damaged partition

Please double click each partition to view contents. If you can find needed files from the original folder tree, that’s great. Just choose and save needed files to another drive. But in most cases, users have to recover data from the More Lost Files folder:

try to find files you want from the original path or from More Lost File (RAW)

Please choose specified types of files and save them to another drive.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Lost Drive

Firstly, please run MiniTool Power Data Recovery and see whether you can find the lost drive from the Lost Partition module:

select a lost partition to scan

If found, just select the lost drive to scan. If not, please click the Hard Disk Drive tab, and choose the whole hard disk to scan:

or you may turn to scan the whole hard drive

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the following window:

software interface after scanning the lost partition or the whole hard drive

Please double click each partition to browse contents in either the original path or the Lost Files folder. If you can find desired files from one of those partitions, just save them to another drive. But if you can't find needed files, please double click the More Lost Files folder, and save specified types of files to another drive.

Tip: Files saved in the More Lost Files folder are found by passing file systems, so they will lose original names, and users need to recover them to a different drive to view contents.

How to Perform RAW Scan

In some cases, you are suggested to do a RAW scan using MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This always happens when the program gets stuck in the process of rebuilding the virtual file system. After RAW scan, all files found will be listed in a drive named ALL RAW Files.

To perform a RAW scan, please run MiniTool Power Data Recovery, find the existing partition/lost partition/unallocated space to be recovered and go to Settings. Then uncheck all the file systems before scanning the desired.

RAW scan setting

However, if RAW scan also fails to display useful data, that means there is no data our program can recognize or the disk read failed.

Tip: The RAW scan does not work for Hard Disk Drive module where you will have to select at least one file system.

FAQ when Using MiniTool Power Data Recovery

1. How to recover files from ESD-USB drive?
ESD-USB drives are usually caused by burning Windows to an external hard drive. And then you get a hard drive with 32GB FAT32 partition followed by unallocated space taking up all the rest disk space. To recover data from ESD-USB drives, please make sure you are select the whole disk drive (in Hard Disk Drive module) instead of selecting the 32GB partition or the unallocated space to have a scan.
2. How to recover data from BitLocker encrypted hard drive?
MiniTool Power Data Recovery cannot recover data from BitLocker encrypted hard drive unless you decrypt in advance.
3. How long will it take to complete the scan process?
The time required to scan a drive depends on many factors, such as how many data you saved in this drive and the current status of the drive.
4. Got the error message "failed to find any file system information from the specified device", and no files are found.
Most probably your device has physical issues. In this case, please take a screenshot to show us your disk layout in Windows Disk Management or use hard drive testing tools like CrystalDiskInfo to see whether your hard drive has physical issues.
5. Why the program found a lot of partitions?
When our program finds a file system track, after scanning it will show it as a partition no matter the file system is intact or not. If it finds 10 file system tracks, it will show 10 partitions. If the file system is intact, all files in this partition will be shown correctly. If file system is incomplete or corrupted, all files will be in the RAW Files folder and lose their original name. Files in the All RAW Files partition are found over the file system, so they lose original names and date info.
6. What does RAW Files mean?
RAW Files means that all files in it are found over file system, so they lose original names and date info. How does this occur? Well, when our program found files form incomplete or corrupted file systems, all files will be in the RAW Files folder.
7. What does $Dir file mean?
$Dir files are found from NTFS file system and the file record gets corrupted. When our program cannot find the parent directory of a file, that file will be included in a $Dir folder.
8. Why recovered files lost original names and are shown as file1, file2, file3…

In general, there are 2 causes for this issue:

  1. Errors occurred during the process of scanning. In this case, please rescan the drive.
  2. File system is damaged. In this case, the original folder structure can't be restored.
9. The program said it saved files successfully, but I just found an empty folder.

In general, there are 4 causes for this issue:

  1. There is not enough free space on the drive to save the file. Please double-check the unused space of the drive.
  2. There are errors in the path selected for recovered files. In this case, please right-click an individual file and recover it to the root directory of a drive to see whether it is there. If you have already closed the program, you can relaunch, choose the function you used to scan the drive and load previous scanning results.
  3. Errors occurred during scan. In this case, please rescan the drive and then save an individual file to see whether it is there.
  4. File system of the drive you used to save recovered files isn't supported by Windows. Please try saving files to an NTFS or FAT32 partition.
10. Recovered files can't open in any other supported programs.

In general, there are 3 causes for this issue:

  1. There are errors in the path selected for recovered files. In this case, please right-click an individual file and recover it to the root directory of a drive to see whether it can open correctly. If you have already closed the program, you can run it again, choose the function you used to scan the drive and load previous scanning results.
  2. Errors occurred during scan. In this case, please rescan the drive and save an individual file to see whether it can open.
  3. The file got damaged before recovery. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can only recover lost/deleted files but can't repair damaged files.
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