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Before you start - it is recommended to do a disk clean up, get rid of unnecessary files and defragment your hard drive to create as much continuous free space as possible. If your drive is very fragmented, you may want to defragment twice.
Still others may be able to help you recover partitions that you have already deleted, that is unerase or undelete partitions.
There are free tools and commercial tools. Among free tools linux bootable CD is the most reliable. Among the commercial tools Norton Disk Editor was an amazing tool, but Symantec discontinued it.
Disk editor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A disk editor is a computer program that allows its user to read, edit, and write raw data (at character or hexadecimal, byte-levels) on disk drives (e.g., hard disks, USB flash disks or removable media such as a floppy disks); as such, they are sometimes called sector editors, since the read/write routines built into the electronics of most disk drives require to read/write data in chunks of sectors (usually 512 bytes). Many disk editors can also be used to edit the contents of a running computer's memory or a disk image.
Unlike hex editors, which are used to edit files, a disk editor allows access to the underlying disk structures, such as the MBR, volume boot records, file system, and directories. Programmers can use disk editors to understand these structures and test whether their implementation (e.g. of a file system) works correctly. Sometimes these structures are edited in order to provide examples for teaching data recovery and forensics, or in an attempt to hide data to achieve privacy or hide data from casual examiners. However, modifying such data structures gives only a weak level of protection and data encryption is the preferred method to achieve privacy.
Some disk editors include special functions which enable more comfortable ways to edit and fix file systems or other disk specific data structures. Furthermore some include simple file browsers that can present the disk contents for partially corrupted file systems or file systems unknown to the operating system. These features can be used for example for file recovery.
 Free Software
- HxD - fast and intuitive hex editor (including disk editor and RAM editor) for Win9x/NT and up.
- wxHexEditor - designed for huge files/disks. Tested up to 1 PetaByte drives. It's Open source and Cross-platform.
- Roadkil's Sector Editor - A lightweight sector editor which can also save a specified number of sectors to a file (all functions tested good under Windows XP Pro).
- ICY Hexplorer - Hexplorer doesn't format file content, but it displays it as it is, that is as binary data, allowing you to edit it hexadecimally or like text editor does, so it gives you low level access to each kind of file, providing many tools to operate on data. (this description may need cleanup)
- iBored - cross-platform block oriented disk and file editor with templates system and remote network disk access. Knows several common disk structures such as MBR, GUID partitions, Apple Partition Maps, FAT16, FAT32, UDF, ISO 9660, and a bit of HFS, ext2 and NTFS.
 Proprietary Software
- HHD Software Hex Editor Neo - Fast and reliable hex editor (including disk editor, process editor and RAM editor) for Windows 2000 and up.
- Hexprobe Hex Editor - A professional hex editor for Microsoft Windows capable of editing and searching in hard-disk and logical-drives.
- WinHex - forensic, file recovery, disk cloning, full disk, image and memory editor (extra features when editing FAT, NTFS, CDFS and Linux file systems); runs under Windows NT and higher (older versions can be used under Win9x).
- T-Software Technologies System Console - Multifunctional system software. Allows to process any part of hard drive, floppy drive, CD/DVD etc, including hidden partitions and unpartitioned space; runs under Windows NT and higher.
- Runtime Software Disk Explorer FAT/NTFS - tool that allows for copying and pasting at the byte-level in addition to full sectors. Companion to the GetDataBack and Drive Image XML tools.
- R-Tools R-Studio - forensic tool that competes with WinHex. The suite has the editor in addition to a powerful selection of tools. There are multiple 'levels' of features depending on price.
- DMDE - multifunctional disk editor and data recovery software for FAT, NTFS. Disk editor is freeware for non-commercial use.
- wxHexEditor - designed for huge files/disks. Tested up to 1 PetaByte drives. It's Open source and Cross-platform.
- hexedit shows a file both in ASCII and in hexadecimal. The file can be a block device file as it reads portions of it on demand. You can modify the file, search through it and more.
- shed (simple hex editor)
- Linux disk editor (for ext2 file system).
- debugfs (debugger and editor for ext2)
- iBored - (Freeware) cross-platform block oriented disk and file editor with templates system and remote network disk access. Knows several common disk structures such as MBR, GUID partitions, Apple Partition Maps, FAT16, FAT32, UDF, ISO 9660, and a bit of HFS, ext2 and NTFS.
As you can create and then restore dd-image hex-editors that edit files are also suitable substitute. I highly recommend Hiew
Hiew (short for Hacker's view) is a popular console hex editor for Windows written by Eugene Suslikov (sen). Amongst its feature set is its ability to view files in text, hex and disassembly mode. The program is particularly useful for editing executable files such as COFF, PE or ELF executable files.
Comparison of hex editors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
When a hard drive, CD/DVD, USB stick, or any digital storage media is on its way to the Great Bitbucket in the Sky, GNU ddrescue is my favorite data recovery tool. GNU ddrescue is included in the default SystemRescue image. Before we dive into the fun stuff, there is some vexing naming confusion to clear up. There are two ddrescue programs in SystemRescue. GNU ddrescue, by Antonio Diaz, is the one I prefer. The version on the current SystemRescue release is ddrescue 1.14. There is also a dd_rescue, version 1.23, by Kurt Garloff. dd_rescue is nice, but it's slower than ddrescue and doesn't include as many features.
Just to keep it interesting, Debian Linux adds its own bizarre naming conventions. The Debian package name for GNU ddrescue is gddrescue, and the package name for dd_rescue is ddrescue. But the binary for gddrescue is /sbin/ddrescue, and the binary for dd_rescue is /bin/dd_rescue. Fortunately, SystemRescue doesn't mess with the original binary names, and calls them /usr/bin/ddrescue and /bin/dd_rescue.
Enough of that; let's talk about what makes GNU ddrescue my favorite. It performs block-level copies of the failing media, and so it doesn't matter what filesystem is on the media. You're probably thinking it sounds like the venerable dd command, and it is similar, with some significant improvements. dd works fine on healthy disks, but when it encounters a read error it stops, and you have to manually restart it. It reads the media sequentially, which is very slow, and if there are a lot of bad blocks it may never complete a full pass.
GNU ddrescue is fully automatic and fast for a block-level copy program, and you want speed when a drive full of important data is dying. It seeks out good blocks to copy and skips over the bad blocks. It optionally records all activity in a logfile, so you can resume where you left off if the copying is interrupted for any reason. It is best to always generate a logfile, because every time you power up the failing drive the more likely it is to die completely. Using a logfile ensures that ddrescue will not repeat operations, but will move on and look for new good blocks to copy.
When you are rescuing a failing drive, the first step is to copy it with ddrescue. Then take the original offline, and perform any additional recovery operations on the copy. Don't touch the original any more than you have to. You can copy the copy as many times as you need for insurance.
You need a healthy drive to copy your rescued data to. I prefer USB-attached media such as a USB hard drive, USB thumb drive, Compact Flash, or SD cards. Of course a second internal hard drive is a good option, or this might be your chance to finally use that eSATA port that always looked like it should be cool and useful, but you never found a reason to use it. Your second drive should be at least 50% larger than the drive you're recovering. The troubled drive must not be mounted. The simplest invocation looks like this:
# ddrescue /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 logfile
Here, /dev/sda1 is a partition on the failing drive. Everything on /dev/sdb1 will be overwritten, and the logfile will be written to /dev/sdb1. You can name the logfile anything you want. You can rescue an entire drive if you prefer, like this:
# ddrescue /dev/sda /dev/sdb logfile
Note that if there is more than one partition on the failing drive and the partition table is damaged, you will have to re-create it on the rescue drive. I copy one partition at a time to avoid this sort of drama.
You can have ddrescue make multiple passes with the -r option; sometimes you can make a more complete recovery this way. You can go as high as you want; I use 3-5:
# ddrescue -r5 /dev/sda2 /dev/sdb1 logfile
Sometimes ddrescue is nearly magical for rescuing scratched CDs and DVDs. The first command copies the disk, and the second command copies it to a blank disk:# ddrescue -n -b2048 /media/cdrom image logfile # ddrescue -d -b2048 /media/cdrom image logfile
You can give the image file whatever name you like. While I've never needed to go beyond the basics in this article, ddrescue has a whole lot of other capabilities that you can learn about in the GNU ddrescue manual.
HxD is a carefully designed and fast hex editor which, additionally to raw disk editing and modifying of main memory (RAM), handles files of any size.
The easy to use interface offers features such as searching and replacing, exporting, checksums/digests, insertion of byte patterns, a file shredder, concatenation or splitting of files, statistics and much more.
Editing works like in a text editor with a focus on a simple and task-oriented operation, as such functions were streamlined to hide differences that are purely technical.
For example, drives and memory are presented similar to a file and are shown as a whole, in contrast to a sector/region-limited view that cuts off data which potentially belongs together. Drives and memory can be edited the same way as a regular file including support for undo. In addition memory-sections define a foldable region and inaccessible sections are hidden by default.
Furthermore a lot of effort was put into making operations fast and efficient, instead of forcing you to use specialized functions for technical reasons or arbitrarily limiting file sizes. This includes a responsive interface and progress indicators for lengthy operations.
- Available as a portable and installable edition
- To edit the main memory
- Memory sections are tagged with data-folds
- Disk-Editor (Hard disks, floppy disks, ZIP-disks, USB flash drives, CDs, ...)
- RAW reading and writing of disks and drives
- for Win9x, WinNT and higher
- Instant opening regardless of file-size
- Up to 8EB; opening and editing is very fast
- Liberal but safe file sharing with other programs
- Flexible and fast searching/replacing for several data types
- Data types: text (including Unicode), hex-values, integers and floats
- Search direction: Forward, Backwards, All (starting from the beginning)
- File compare (simple)
- View data in Ansi, DOS, EBCDIC and Macintosh character sets
- Checksum-Generator: Checksum, CRCs, Custom CRC, SHA-1, SHA-512, MD5, ...
- Exporting of data to several formats
- Source code (Pascal, C, Java, C#, VB.NET)
- Formatted output (plain text, HTML, Richtext, TeX)
- Hex files (Intel HEX, Motorola S-record)
- Insertion of byte patterns
- File tools
- File shredder for safe file deletion
- Splitting or concatenating of files
- Basic data analysis (statistics)
- Graphical representation of the byte/character distribution
- Helps to identify the data type of a selection
- Byte grouping
- 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 bytes packed together into one column
- "Hex only" or "text only"-modes
- Progress-window for lengthy operations
- Shows the remaining time
- Button to cancel
- Modified data is highlighted
- Unlimited undo
- "Find updates..."-function
- Easy to use and modern interface
- Goto address
- Overwrite or insert mode
- Cut, copy, paste insert, paste write
- Clipboard support for other hex editors
- Visual Studio/Visual C++, WinHex, HexWorkshop, ...
- Ctrl+Shift+Number (0-9) sets a bookmark
- Ctrl+Number (0-9) goes to a bookmark
- Navigating to nibbles with Ctrl+Left or Ctrl+Right
- Flicker free display and fast drawing
lde is a disk editor for linux, originally written to help recover deleted files. It has a simple ncurses interface that resembles an old version of Norton Disk Edit for DOS. lde is 100 percent free under the Gnu public license.
I've put a little bit documentation on this site. There is a very basic walkthrough of the editor which includes something like screenshots. Also, you can read the man page online and a file with some tips on restoring deleted files using lde.
There's more information and the latest binaries over at the lde sourceforge project page.
SystemRescueCd View topic - Linux disk editor
Firstly, thank you for your efforts in creating such a useful collection in a package that works so well. I love it and think it's a great system rescue tool.
Will you please consider including the Linux Disk Editor (http://lde.sourceforge.net/) in the next release of SystemRescue CD. I use it for recovering 'lost' partitions that parted won't even look at (yes I use 1.6.6 from your 0.2.8 CD). I use the statically linked lde-i386, as downloaded directly from SourceForge, and run it from a floppy after booting from your SystemRescue CD.
Incidentally, to really mess up a disk's partitions, just create them with parted, then load Partition Magic and let it 'fix' the 'misalignment' errors it finds, then watch as neither Partition Magic, nor parted will look at the disk again. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes yes. One way to avoid this is if only one person with one set of tools works on a system. Not always possible unfortunately.
To fix this, I use gpart to give me a list of 'possible' partition locations, use linux disk editor to view the contents of the partition tables, and a calculator to determine the 'actual' table locations, then linux disk editor again to edit the tables so they work. Tedious, but such a relief (especially for the owner) when it all works again.
I used to boot a DOS floppy and use Norton Disk Editor, but I much prefer to stay within Linux and use Linux tools :-)
Thank you for your consideration.
For additional information about the differences between the FAT and NTFS file systems, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
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Help2Go - How to Repartition Hard Drive without Reformatting
How to partition and format a hard disk in Windows XP
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Free DVD and CD Burners and Copying Software
Free Defragmentation Programs / Free Defrag
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