On Friday last week I purchase an old HP Compaq DC7600 Pentium 4 computer from gumtree. After researching for a week I managed to find a cheap solution for $20 from a guy called Mike in Thorlie. I arranged a time in the afternoon to collect. When I arrived I was surprised to be greeted by a tall man in his mid 20s. Here I was thinking I would be purchasing from a teenager looking to get rid of his parents old computer. I was very surprise to find the unit in great condition. XP was preloaded and startup was under 30 seconds. For $20 you could not ask for a better deal.
Now I can see some of you reading this asking, now why the hell would you want to buy a $20 Pentium 4 system. It uses more power and is slow compared to todays standards of computers. Well I’m very glad you asked. Back in 2005 my dad bought me a Pentium 4 3.0Ghz computer on a LGA775 MSI motherboard. At the time the fastest HDD on the market were SCSI drives. Our computer guy at the time convinced us to buy 2x SCSI drives on a Adaptec 29160 controller card. These cards were all the rage. Flash forward 8 years later…I’m designing my new portfolio website for 2013 when I realise I don't have the source files for my Motions in Space Project. Although I have the final AVI, it’s low resolution and in much need of a re-render as most computers are running at 1920×1080 these days. I build my old system in the hope of finding my files on my lost SCSI drives only to discover the BIOS on the MSI had been corrupted and the SCSI drives re-formated. One of the drives is NTFS and the other formated to RAW. Then it hit me, my brother Chris at the young age of 15 decided to take over my computer and computer desk whilst I was away living and working in the UK. If you know my brother you will know that he likes to take things apart and fiddle with the little bits and pieces. I started researching and reading online reviews, I discovered that the adaptec 29160 worked well with XP systems. Finding most copies of XP were expensive it made sense to pre-purchase a second hand machine for the job.
Once home I plugged in the new HP machine, I inserted my Adaptec 29160 into a free PCI port and it loaded up straight away in the BIOS. After trying many varieties of recovery software the package that worked the best for me was EASEUS Recovery, see http://www.easeus.com/
This program scanned my HDD and organised all my lost files into their respective file types. The downside is the name of the file had been lost so all I managed to get back was File001, FIle002 and so on. Still not bad for 2 re-formated drives. Glad I backed up 90% of my data before moving overseas. After going through some of the files I have noticed that these are beyond recovery.
These days I backup my data on a regular basis, even though I did back up 10 years ago I still managed to find files that I had forgotten about. I don’t recommend trying to find lost files, one you reformat your drive it’s a painful process to get your data back.