dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal files

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dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal files

Postby gjh42 » 05. October 2017 21:58

My HP Pavilion g7 laptop running a probably five year old version of XAMPP had its hard drive malfunction and it had to be replaced. Obviously this destroyed all installed programs, but files should have been retrievable. The shop tech found my files in the standard user folders in the old hard drive, but every trace of my personal files and folders was gone from the /xampp folder. It was as if there was a fresh installation of XAMPP that had completely deleted and replaced what was there. She had never heard of XAMPP and didn't touch anything but the user folders on the old hard drive. I didn't think to check while I was there for "last modified" dates, and have no way to access my old hard drive at home. My last backup to external hard drive appears to have failed, and I have lost a lot of work.

Does anybody have an idea how this could have happened, and if there is any chance of recovery of any part of it?
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby Nobbie » 06. October 2017 10:06

It is not a feature of Xampp to resist to any hardware crash - its a little strange question. We have no clue how to retrieve any files from your harddisk. Whatever happened to your disk, if even you dont know, how can we?
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby gjh42 » 06. October 2017 15:12

Yes, it's a very strange question, prompted by an inexplicable event. How could certain folders and files (all of the ones I created in /xampp) have disappeared while apparently all of the stock XAMPP folders and files remain? Is it possible for a certain part of a hard disk to be reset to an old state (just after XAMPP was installed five years ago) while the rest stays in its latest state? I suppose this is more of a hardware question, but I don't know where to ask about that.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby Nobbie » 06. October 2017 18:29

gjh42 wrote:Yes, it's a very strange question, prompted by an inexplicable event. How could certain folders and files (all of the ones I created in /xampp) have disappeared while apparently all of the stock XAMPP folders and files remain?


Either because someone has deleted all files (and or overwritten) and simply does not remember anymore. Or the harddisk is partially broken and in most windows file systems files are stored differently to folders. Whatever has happened to the disk.

gjh42 wrote:Is it possible for a certain part of a hard disk to be reset to an old state (just after XAMPP was installed five years ago) while the rest stays in its latest state? I suppose this is more of a hardware question, but I don't know where to ask about that.


Yes, but there is no chance. Resetting a certain state requires a working Windows and a working hard disk. None of these is given. Of course you might ask a hardware specialist which offers to restore any data which can be found, but these are extremely expensive and there is no guaranty for success. You should have done backups - but this is always the same story. People dont do backups until a crash opens their eyes - too late, of course. I dont think that you can retrieve any data from that broken disk anymore.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby gjh42 » 06. October 2017 21:35

The odd thing is that the tech did retrieve data from the disk, but a complete specific subset of files and folders has vanished (not corrupted, vanished).

I thought I was making a backup, but didn't test it to see that it saved. It was very cumbersome, taking hours.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby Nobbie » 07. October 2017 09:02

gjh42 wrote:The odd thing is that the tech did retrieve data from the disk, but a complete specific subset of files and folders has vanished (not corrupted, vanished).


As already said - someone deleted the files and forgot about. Or accidently deleted the files. Its still not a feature of Xampp to "vanish" automatically.

gjh42 wrote:It was very cumbersome, taking hours.


Instead of backing up programs and windows (what is quite useless in my mind, as i simply can re-install everything), i simply copy my most importand files (like a htdocs folder from Xampp) to a NAS. Or an USB Disk. Or whatever. Fast, simple, safe.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby gjh42 » 07. October 2017 17:59

I'm the only one with access to the files, so it's not possible they were deleted intentionally or accidentally. The databases are gone too.

I trusted that the dashboard for the external hard drive was a reasonable mechanism for backing up... it wasn't, the backups are in weird organization and hard to restore (there is not a backup setup on the new hard drive, so it doesn't know how to restore the old backup automatically.) Before my desktop got fried by a very close lightning strike, I had a synchronizing program between it and my laptop which worked nicely. Now that it is repaired, I will be doing that again.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby gjh42 » 07. October 2017 18:12

I guess the best question I can ask here is: If somehow the executable for installing XAMPP was still on my laptop (I don't think it was; others were still in the /downloads folder, but that wasn't), and it somehow got activated as the hard drive was dying for the last time, would it have erased all traces of the existing installation? Is there any way whatsoever that an installation could proceed without several manual confirmations?
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby Altrea » 07. October 2017 18:54

Hi,

A harddrive stores files as blocks (fragments) of binary data and directory entries to know where the file is exactly on your HDD. So there are multiple reasons why a specific area of data can get lost due to a harddisk crash. If the files are created or modified at nearly the same time there is a higher chance that this data fragments or directory entries are stored near to each other on the harddisk. I don't think that someone or something has deleted these files specificaly.

If only the part of the directory is damaged there is a chance to restore the data by restore tools, but you will probably not have meta information about these files available like filenames, etc. This can make restoring very challenging.

best wishes,
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby Nobbie » 07. October 2017 19:53

gjh42 wrote:I'm the only one with access to the files, so it's not possible they were deleted intentionally or accidentally. The databases are gone too.


Of course it is possible. You wouldnt be the first and neither the last, who accidently deleted files. As the database is simply a folder with files under c:/xampp, still you may have wiped out all the files. Also, i wonder whom did you mean by " She had never heard of XAMPP and didn't touch anything but the user folders on the old hard drive". Obviously, you have NOT been the only one accessing your PC. There also has been a mysterious "She".

gjh42 wrote:I guess the best question I can ask here is: If somehow the executable for installing XAMPP was still on my laptop (I don't think it was; others were still in the /downloads folder, but that wasn't), and it somehow got activated as the hard drive was dying for the last time, would it have erased all traces of the existing installation? Is there any way whatsoever that an installation could proceed without several manual confirmations?


No, no and no. Thats crazy.
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Re: dead hard drive retrieval shows wiped xampp personal fil

Postby gjh42 » 08. October 2017 16:00

"She" was the tech at the computer repair shop. I had to show her where the C:/xampp folder was to try to retrieve files from it, after she had retrieved the data that was in ordinary user folders. I am pretty certain that she had never touched the /xampp folder, let alone deleted anything from it. And I use files in the /xampp folder every day, and am 100% certain that I did not delete any files or folders in the day or so before it died.

I had added and modified files and folders under /xampp continuously for about five years; is it reasonable that these would all have gone into the same block of the hard drive, separate from the location of the basic XAMPP files?
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