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Best recovery procedure for a system drive
 
Windows® frequently writes new data onto a system drive. Therefore data lost from a system drive can be overwritten any time while Windows® is active. The safest procedure to ensure maximum data recovery is as follows: shutdown the computer, remove the drive and mount it on another Windows® computer where it becomes a data drive. Then follow the simpler and safer recovery procedure for a data drive. Make sure "CheckDisk" does not attempt to repair the drive at boot time.

If you only have one computer, proceed as follows:

  • Remove the source drive holding lost data to avoid making accidental changes to it in the next step.
  • Install a new drive. Install Windows® XP or later. Install File Scavenger®.
  • Reconnect the source drive as a data drive. Make sure "CheckDisk" does not attempt to repair the drive at boot time.
  • Follow the recovery procedure for a data drive.

If these procedures are too difficult, use the 95% effective procedure for a system drive. The chance of a successful recovery is somewhat reduced. The reduction depends on the lost data, the level of activity on the computer and how closely the procedure is followed.