any way to recover folders of photos after wiped drive?


New Member
i decided today to wipe my computer because it was acting up and i just wanted a fresh start. before i wiped it, i saved all the pics and files i wanted onto a USB, and then i wiped it. but plugging my USB in now, i see that the folders i saved are only the short cuts... and all my pictured i tried to save were gone. stupid mistake.

is there any way to restore them at all? i just wanted to be sure


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Recuva works fairly well, you may want to use the deep scan option and be sure when you recover, that you recover to a separate disk. For a Windows based recovery tool I've always had really good success with GetDataBack Getdataback For Ntfs - Free downloads and reviews - CNET or if you've used a Linux distros testdisk is a really good recovery tool.


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
I see this problem quite frequently in my computer repair biz so thought I'd chime in. Both these tools work well, but it would be helpful to know exactly which version of Windows you were running prior to reinstalling it (XP, VISTA, WIN7/8/8.1/8.1.1/10). You posted this in the Win8 sub-forum so I'm guessing you have one of the Win8x versions, correct?

The next question is that when you reinstalled your Windows did you run STANDARD or CUSTOM install from the Windows installer screen? If you ran CUSTOM and selected format the drive/partition; your Recovery using Windows tools as mentioned above is going to be very limited. You may get some stuff back, but in my experience best you can hope for is about 30-60%, if you are lucky. If you chose STANDARD or CUSTOM without manually formatting drive/partition, Recuva & Getdataback may get your more back; above 60% say.

However, if you get no love from either of those Windows tools, you'll need to use more advanced Linux recovery tools such as Testdisk or PhotoRec, and those both require expert level recovery skills. You're best bet is to pull that hard drive from your PC or laptop and take in to a local repair shop such as Best Buy Geek Squad and pay them to analyze it. If they can't do a good data recovery (say 60% or better) in house (costs about $65-$125 depending on your regional location), they will most likely offer to do a professional data recovery which means they send it to their Recovery Center in Memphis; and that starts at $250 and up. I have a drive there right now, and it's going to cost me >$500 to get it recovered at around 90-95%. You can easily buy a replacement hard drive on ebay or amazon probably for under $100, stick that back in your PC or laptop and reinstall your Windows8x and get running again. Data recovery is time consuming and you can expect the diagnosis process to take from 2-12 weeks or longer. Most folks have never done this and think they can get their lost stuff back in 2-3 days! Not!

Another thing to keep in mind, Data Recovery is not for amateurs, just like taking your transmission out of your car or truck and attempting to rebuild it having never done it before, your chances of repairing it and get your vehicle running again without the proper skills and tools is slim to none! Same with Data Recovery. Throwing a bunch of software tools you've never used, or know next to nothing about at it, is probably not going to give you a result you want.:(

Question you have to ask yourself is, "I messed up, didn't have my stuff properly backed up, I didn't know you were supposed to do that, and now I have to pay to get it back or some of it back; how much is that stuff (data) worth to me?" If you have important documents such as Tax Information, Property Titles, or irreplaceable family photo libraries, and you wiped that all out with your Windows reinstallation, how much are you willing to pay to get it back?

The key takeaway from this Post for you is to stop what you're doing on that drive you reinstalled on it and get a professional to help you get back what you can; otherwise that stuff or most of it will be gone forever!! Take it from someone who does this for a living.

Best of luck,:thumbs_up:

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