The result was that all I could get out of my hard-drive was a message saying "The disk in drive E is not formatted. Would you like to format it now?"
Now as anyone who knows a little bit about computers and their disks knows, the right answer is not 'Yes'. This is especially so when the disk contains holiday photos etc that you could afford to lose but wouldn't want to, and all your old copies of word processing material that doesn't come into the category of 'vital'. (The vital stuff is stored on Dropbox. Email me for details of this service.)
So what to do? Various attempted solutions - even a bit of commercial software - failed.
Then I came across a thing called TestDisk. It is free, though the writer asks for a donation. But that means you can at least see if it is going to work before you shell out. The other thing to note is that it is DOS based - it opens in a little window on your PC showing the old DOS interface familiar to those of us who have been at this game a long time. This means you (or your friend who is helping you) will need a bit of familiarity with how DOS works. If you can only do Windows, ask someone else.
But the important thing is, it works! So far I have fully recovered three 'lost' partitions (sections containing files and folders) from the 'unreadable' disk with all their data just where it should be. And despite the fact that another partition still refuses to play ball, I have also been able to recover all my word processing folders and files.
TestDisk also comes with a photo recovery option and a very useful programme called Bart PE.
Needless to say, a donation was duly made and I am a much happier bunny than a week ago.
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