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File Recovery How To Use A Sector Editor To Find Lost Data

A lot of times when I am talking to customers who are in a catastrophic data recovery situation, I tell them they can use a sector editor in order to find a majority of their missing TEXT from their Microsoft Word and Excel documents. This article will explain how to do that.

How to Use a Sector Editor to Find DOC Files

NOTE: You will need a sector editor, I personally use WinHEX. Warning: this is a very powerful data recovery tool and should be used with extreme caution, as to not have further data loss.

The first thing you need to do is to think about the content of the document you are trying to recover. (In my example I am going to use a previous article I wrote) In my document I was discussing how to build a boot sector with Recover It All Professional. I have a good idea of what was contained in the article and most important I have some key words I can search for in order to find the text I am looking for.

So let’s open WinHex. Now let’s open the drive where we think the file is located.

hex editor

After clicking the “Open Disk” icon we will be presented with a drive list. I recommend you search the physical disk, not the logical disk.

file recovery sector editor

After you choose the drive you will get a HEX/TEXT look at the hard drive.

data recovery with hex editor

The next step is to search for the text contained in the file. For me I know the file contained the words “building a boot sector” so I hit CRTL+F and the find screen comes up.

file sector recovery

I type in my search string and click OK. The search will begin. Now depending where the file resides on the hard drive will determine how long the scan takes.

software file recovery

Once the software has found the first instance of your search you will be able to look in that text area and see if this is the data you are looking for. If it is not the data you can hit F3 and continue the search until you come across what you are looking for. If it is the data you are looking for you can then select all of the relevant text and copy and paste it into any word processor. All of the formatting will be gone of course, but at least you will have the text of the document back.

undelete data with sector hex editor

Often times a data recovery program will recover a document, but it is corrupt. This means of pure file recovery can help you restore files that have become corrupted. Check out our data recovery software page for information on all the programs we have to offer. All data recovery software on our site was created by our own programmers and engineers right here in our labs.

If you need data recovery software please visit our file recovery programs pages:

  • Undelete NTFS Windows XP file recovery
  • Undelete Win. 98, 2000 or FAT 32 files
  • Partition repair format recovery XP, NTFS
  • Partition repair format recovery Win 2000, 98
  • Digital Picture flash media data recovery
  • Novell data recovery partition repair software
  • Mac data recovery software

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2 Responses to “File Recovery How To Use A Sector Editor To Find Lost Data”

  1. Recuperação de dados May 7, 2007 9:55 am #

    This kind of actions should be taken with extreme care. I know of clients that used this kind of tools and worsten the situation…

  2. Jacqui Best December 7, 2007 11:52 am #

    Recuperação de dados-
    You are very correct, I say that above. These types of software are forensic in nature and therefore very technical in nature

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