Between semesters we format the student FireWire drives for the new students to use. I get a stack of them and re-initialize partitions (faster than deleting 20,000 files and emptying trash on each). Usually there’s someone who hasn’t yet backed up and needs me to save something. Working quickly, I got through the stack of drives until I got to the “marked for save” drive and found… the wrong data. Double-check that email… Sure enough I had marked the wrong drive for saving, and had just re-initialized the wrong drive. Ulp.
Spent the rest of the evening and this morning trying Tech Tool Pro, Norton Utilities, and Disk Warrior. None of them were able to find data on the reinitialized partition. Then mneptok came to the rescue with a URL he dropped into my phone (amazing!) — BinaryBiz’ Virtual Lab. Took an hour to scan the 80GB drive, but it found everything that had been there before the wipe. And the angels up above sang hallelujah.
Interesting licensing method – you can scan any volume for free, but then have to purchase a quota-per-GB you want to save. We’re buying a 5GB quota for $120. One use is all you get. Sounds pricey, but not when compared to what you can pay for professional data rescuing services.
Update: A few days later we lost power in our home office. When power came back, my 120GB MP3 drive wouldn’t mount. DiskWarrior was able to rebuild and restore the master directory, and I got my music back. Lesson: Journaling may make drives come up faster after a power outage, but it won’t protect from all types of damage.