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Someone did a re-installation of his Operating System of the C: drive using his computer's 'Acer hidden recovery partition' (the alt+f10 procedure). Then he chose 'do not back up personal data (this will wipe the entire C: drive)' during the recovery process and his system was 're-installed'. All of his personal data was in that C: drive.

Does an Acer hidden partition recovery install zero-format the disk?

Serious issue: He didn't backup his data. His data is now lost, supposedly. Would it be possible at all for me to recover all of his 'my documents' data (important financial data, years of family pictures, ..)? The data is crucial.

I called up Acer (some low level helpdesk support girl answered) and they said "no it's not possible". I don't believe them. Would it be possible to recover his data with data recovery software?

His computer: Acer AZ5610

    Windows 7 Home Premium
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closed as off topic by MDMarra, Greg Askew, HopelessN00b, Sven, EightBitTony Dec 20 '12 at 14:55

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The partition reinstall almost certainly does not zero the disk. It likely does a quick format. You should be able to recover some of the files. As Hopeless says, turn it off and leave it off, take it to an expert in data recovery, or you'll just lose more. There's a specific procedure for dealing with this situation and unfortunately it appears you don't have the technical resources necessary to complete it. Most local data recovery services will work just fine; not a big box store, especially not Worst Buy's Idiot Squad. Also, lesson learned about backups I hope... –  Chris S Dec 20 '12 at 15:05

2 Answers 2

Yup. But if it's that important, don't just download some data recovery software, take it to a data-recovery expert/company. For a software-level recovery like this (fairly simple), you should expect to pay a few hundred dollars.

And don't do anything else or use the system in the meantime - anything you do on that system itself is likely to do further damage to the data you're looking to recover.

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To be fair, there's little a data recovery will do with this that he can't do with off the shelf software. Especially if they're after well known file types (JPG, DOC, etc). Not that I disagree with your comment, I'm just saying there's nothing special they'll do on your average cheap and cheerful service. –  Dan Dec 20 '12 at 14:54
    
@Dan Yup, you're right, but even when doing this in a professional capacity, I always prefer to have an expert do it, so if things go sideways, someone else catches hell. And frankly, I'd rather have someone who does this kind of thing all day do it, especially for important data. –  HopelessN00b Dec 20 '12 at 15:03
    
Can't argue with that! –  Dan Dec 20 '12 at 15:03

Most likely, but no one can know for sure until they try....so try.

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Most likely it's getting negative votes, because questions about home editions of operating systems are usually off topic. Our faq says that this site is for IT Professionals managing systems in a professional capacity. Generally speaking, you don't see Acer notebooks with Windows Home Premium in a professional setting. On top of that, your question basically boils down to "Can I get my data back after a format of the HDD" which has been answered here at least a dozen times. It's probably a better fit for Super User, but I'm sure it's already been answered there as well. Search is nice... –  MDMarra Dec 20 '12 at 14:52
    
The question was more specific than just 'after reformat'. There's zero-format and there's full reformat. This is why I did not use the search function because my question was unique. It's not just any data recovery. It's data recovery after a specific manufacturer's process. –  MrStack Dec 20 '12 at 15:08
    
A zero-format is generally the same as a full format. I think you mean that there is a difference between a quick format and a full format. Either way, the rest of my points are still valid. The rest of the subject matter is off-topic. You, yourself, even said that you called Acer and they told you it was a full format. If you don't trust the level 1 tech's opinion, ask to be escalated at Acer. In short - your question is off-topic here. If you need further clarification or want to argue your case, Meta Server Fault is the proper place to do that, not the main site. –  MDMarra Dec 20 '12 at 15:10
    
@MrStack That's not really true. Zeroing the disk is only really useful from a security perspective and nobody is doing bit by bit imaging unless it's for a specific purpose (i.e. forensics). It would have been an automated installer, like any other. –  Dan Dec 20 '12 at 15:10
    
@MDMarra Just to clarify for posterity, a generic full format won't zero the disk either. –  Dan Dec 20 '12 at 15:11

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