USB dead after trying to make it bootable with easyBCD : 3 years of data lost

dkj

New Member
#1
Hello,

My 3 yrs of manually collected data was lost when I tried to create a Bootable Windows USB without formatting existing data as instructed in following tutorial:
http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-make-bootable-windows-usb-without-formatting/

Basically, it shows to copy all Win7 installer files to USB and using EasyBCD to make it bootable. All went fine until the last step, when I hit "Yes" in EasyBCD. BAM!!, the usb became unusable. Although, Windows was still detecting the usb drive but the drive properties shows "USED space 0" "FREE space 0", file system "RAW".

Can anybody advice on a "safe" way to bring the usb back to the stage it initially was, i.e. before attempting the tutorial. I am not sure but I think EastBCD may have just overwritten the boot-sector (or it's not that simple, I don't know) Anybuddy ?
 
#2
I honestly don't mean to be negative, but did you seriously attempt what you described without first backing up your three YEARS worth of data???
 

dkj

New Member
#3
Yeah it was out of desperation to install windows on another PC and I did not have any other drive or any space available on my HDD for a backup. I don't know if there is a better term than stupid to describe what I did. But yes, I did it without any backup.

However, you can save my ass by helping me out.

Thanks
dk
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#5
All EasyRE recovery support is via email at easyre@neosmart.net.
Not sure what to suggest regarding the above, but my first would be to insert that USB drive, in Windows Explorer right-click > Properties and try using the Previous Version tab to go back.
If that's not possible then your only hope of retrieving what was originally on it might be a professional Data Recovery Service which would need researching online to find the best one.
BTW that link above leads to an older version of EasyBCD.
 

dkj

New Member
#6
Thankfully, I was able to recover most of the data using Photorec by cgsecurity.org however photorec renames recovered files based on recovery sector. See below screenshots:

recovery-directory.png recovery-directory-contents.png

The major problem with this is that the data was carefully manually organized under multiple folder's with many levels of hierarchy. Directory name and position in hierarchy identified file's data, therefore folder hierarchy and name is critical otherwise it's another huge problem to arrange it back in the order it was.

And worse is that all the above recovered data also contains Win 7 installation files (from ISO). So it's not hard to imagine what sort of a mess i'm into.

Initially the directory structure in the usb looked something like this:
ALL_data_dir (contains sub-dir's and data files within them)
(WIN7 installer dir's & files below)
boot
efi
sources
support
upgrade
autorun.inf
bootmgr
setup.exe

I have detailed the problem at cgsecurity forums:
!!!URGENT!!! 3 years of huge data collection lost: USB dead after trying to make it bootable - cgsecurity.org

In that post, I have uploaded screenshot of TestDisk's analysis but, I haven't received a reply.

Since you are experts with booting solutions/systems, would you be kind enough to take a look at those screenshots at cgsecurity.org and advice on how the problem can be fixed. I strongly feel that this issue can be fixed. Could you pls take a look?

Thanks
dkja
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#7
That's beyond my abilities. I'll ask for help.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#8
We've discussed this internally and I'm afraid we are stuck at the "scratching heads" stage. Apart from right clicking each directory > Properties and see if there is anything under Previous Versions tab, not much you can do other than do each one manually.
Next time use a separate USB drive from one carrying important stuff.
That article you used doesn't belong to anyone here.
My sympathies, you have an unenviable task ahead of you.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
The right software to use for recovery would have been testdisk and not photorec, as it will recover the partition layout instead of individual files. Having now written to the USB, I don't think it will be of use to you at this point, however.

As for what happened - I've seen this a couple of times in my development of EasyBCD. It's a bug in both Microsoft's bootsect.exe and bcdedit.exe tools when writing to a USB and can cause lots of misery and pain. I empathize with you greatly, unfortunately I've reported it to MS to no avail. I've already implemented a number of additional safeguards that have drastically reduced the occurrence rate, but it does happen. I have another few ideas I can try, but they won't be of help to you in your situation right now, I'm afraid.
 

dkj

New Member
#10
As mentioned in my previously post, I was able to use Photorec to recover data however,
Having now written to the USB, I don't think it will be of use to you at this point, however.
I don't think photorec or Testdisk writes to the USB unless you explicitly asks them to and by recovering the files I don't think Photorec has written anything to the USB.

I sincerely appreciate you for showing empathy and humbly acknowledge it and I can totally understand how you (as a dev) feels when it still shortfalls in some situation when you have gone great lengths to make it as robust as you possible could.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#11
Thank you for the kindness of your reply. I presumed you wrote the images back to the USB, if you actually haven't written a thing, can you please try running testdisk against the USB?
 

dkj

New Member
#12
No, I haven't written anything to the USB. After Ex_Brit's, last reply
We've discussed this internally and I'm afraid we are stuck...
I asked for help in sevenforums.com at
USB Bricked and Testdisk reports "Space conflict between 2 partitions" - Windows 7 Help Forums

And I & "Jumanji" a kind member at sevenforum, is trying to work through the problem and I have posted screenshots of Testdisk's analysis and other software screenshots (Minitools Partition Wizard and Get-data-back) he asked me to.

Plz take a look at the post in sevenforums.com (link above).
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#13
Recuva is also a great (free) program, have you tried that one? I'll take a look at the link.
 

jqp

New Member
#15
I hope this guy gets his stuff back. It looks pretty bleak but if he was smart enough to not write to the device, there might be hope.

Would it be possible for him to make an image of the drive and work recovering his files from that, so as to not risk making a bad situation worse, and to be able to try other tools if the ones he's using don't work?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#16
Yup, a dd of the raw disk contents will go a long way.
 

dkj

New Member
#17
Hi Mahmoud,

With all your guys support and the gr8 "Jumanji" in sevenforums, I was able to successfully reinstate the usb for its original state. Here is the link:
USB Bricked and Testdisk reports "Space conflict between 2 partitions" Solved - Page 2 - Windows 7 Help Forums

I always knew that the data was there just needed to get the be patience and seek help and follow right direction and thank god this time around I did just that.

In my experience, I have found getdataback and Testdisk to better than other recovery tools but TD is indispensable who really know what they are doing. Recuva was Ok but no where in comparison to getdataback.

Next time i will be more careful with EasyBCD. Once again, thank guys for your support.