Please help - lost files due to system crash!!!

Hello, y’all. I have Windows 8.1. Recently my laptop crashed and I was devastated, thinking I had lost a bunch of files which I hadn’t backed up. The most important of these was a track that I’ve been working on for about three months. Then I realized that even though I couldn’t get to my computer’s Start screen, I could still transfer files from the computer onto a flash drive.

Unfortunately, when trying to transfer project data, I kept receiving messages like “The system cannot find the path specified” and “The volume for a file has been externally altered so that the opened file is no longer valid” (?!?!?!?!) and the data wouldn’t transfer. Being an amateur with Audacity (and computers in general) I’m somewhat at a loss as to exactly where to proceed from here. Is there any way for me to recover my data using my flash drive? Thanks, everyone!

Your disk’s file system is corrupted. There’s a good chance some of the files can be recovered.

If you’re up to it, download TestDisk on another computer, burn it to a bootable CD and boot your crippled computer from the CD.

TestDisk is a specialized Linux distro, meant for data recovery. If TD can’t get your files back, there is little hope, unless you spend a lot of money for one of the commercial data recovery labs.

Cyrano’s suggestion of using a Linux live CD is a good one for quick rescue of files. I’m not sure if it contains Microsoft chkdsk or similar to repair the file system. Set your boot order to boot first from CD.

Or you can insert your Windows 8.1 DVD. After loading its files, if it can see your Windows 8.1 installation it will try to fix boot and file system problems. There are also many troubleshooting choices such as refreshing or resetting the PC (refresh lets you keep your files).

Or you can use its command-line to run SFC /SCANNOW to replace damaged system files and/or chkdsk to fix a corrupted file system.


Thanks for the responses! I’ll try TestDisk.

If the data is important, rescue data first.

Think about repair later…

I see repair failing a bit too often. And when it fails, your data is usually gone forever. If a crash occurs and eats file tables, I’d suspect something wrong with the harddisk.