• Windows 7 32-bit
  • 2.5" laptop disk with two partitions (A & B).
  • When mounted via USB, files on partition B can be accessed fine.
  • Partition A was working intermittently, but is no longer readable via any Windows tool I've tried.
  • CRC error pops up with I try to access the partition, and Windows prompts me to format it.

I've tried using various file recovery programs - but all the tools either fail to read partition A when I try to recover files from it, or they don't pick up the partition at all.

Is there some way I can do file recovery at the disk level, and not the partition level, to get past this?

Or, is it worth formatting the partition A so that hopefully it's accessible, and then running a search with file recovery software on the empty partition?

Any suggestions appreciated.

(Note: I've look at the other posts and can't find anything that fits my situation. I'm trying to find out if there's anything I can do aside from shipping the disk off to a expensive data recover company - which I can't afford. Thanks).

EDIT: Let me put it another way. Is it possible to take an image of the entire disk, even though some sectors of the disk will throw up CRC errors?

Because the disk seems to be continually degrading (and USB is slow), my thinking is that I can then run some of the 12 hr+ deep recovery routines

6 Answers 6


The most effective tool Ive ever used for recovering files from a screwed drive is R-Studio. It's worked for me even when the partition table was damaged and couldn't be reliably rebuilt.

  • same here. Not exactly cheap, but the most effective way to recover data from a dead media short of sending it to a data recovery firm.
    – Stephane
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 10:05

Have you tried Get Data Back? It's probably your best option. If that doesn't work, I think you'll need to take it to a data recovery place.

And not to tell you something you already know, but backing up is imperative. It's a pitty it wasn't done this time but you should make sure it's done on all of your machines now.

  • Yes, I've tried it, and yes, I know that backing up is a good thing!
    – Sam C
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:33
  • Just tried this software and recovered most of my files I didn't know about it before this, very pleased. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 19:18

Try to clone your drive with ddrescue.


I've used Photorec (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec) in the past to do this with a mangled file system. Despite the name, it will recover all kinds of files from damaged partitions, including photos, Office documents, and so on. However, it won't recover names, or directory structures, so you might want to treat it as a last resort before shipping it off for professional recovery.

  • My problem is that the main partition is damaged and PhotoRec doesn't give me any option to try and recover. I've tried all these pieces of software but they only work with valid partitions.
    – Sam C
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:31

I know this is an old thread, but for others that might be looking for help: in with photorec is a tool called 'testdisk' again, it is a misleading name, but it is a full recovery tool. When filestructure problems are at hand and not just deleted files this will be a lifesaver. It includes some powerful partition recovery and rebuilding options, but be warned: read the manual! If you don't understand what you are doing, go to a professional or you can make a bad situation worse. Here are some recovery scenarios test disk can help with: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Data_Recovery_Examples


When dealing with a failing disk, the first step is to clone the entire drive to an healthy drive, only then data recovery programs such as R-Studio should be used.

To maximize data recovery from the failed drive, you should use Roadkil's Raw Copy or my very own Raw Disk Copier, both will attempt to read the data sector-by-sector if a bulk read operation of multiple sectors is unsuccessful.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .