To all intents and purposes it works perfectly. Essentially I had a hard disks that had its MFT totally wiped which basically rendered all the data on the drive inaccessible to windows. It also works for MANY other types of file system formats which also include more common strains for the Linux and OSX platform.

Testdisk can help you reconstruct the MFT depending on the extent of the damage. However the MFT on this particular disk seemed to be beyond Testdisk's ability to fix it in this particular instance. Although I do have a different application that might be able to rewrite the MFT it was something that I didn't want to risk doing at this particular time as any mistake in the MFT values could cause permanent  loss of the data on the drive. This basically meant that a RAW data recovery firstly needed to be performed on the disk before repairing the MFT and returning the drive to a regular functioning state.

Fortunately Testdisk also came with a RAW data recovery feature which was able to read the data on the disk where other pieces of RAW recovery software that I'd previously used in the past with relative success had completely failed to do so in this particular instance. 

The problem was that I had around 410GB of data to recover and at a squeeze I managed to free up a 320GB hard drive by doing a temporary data reshuffle and deleting a whole bunch of stuff I didn't really want to delete. Everything seemed to be fine in the fist 3 or 4 hours as it seemed to pull off around 70GB of RAW data, however for the next 16 hours or so it only managed to only get a further 20GB. At this point there was no way I could have waited this out as at the current rate it would have taken another 5 days just to recover a further 150GB of music data. Then there was still a further 150GB of photos and backup files, which could have potentially  meant it needed well over a week for it to finish recovering everything. There was certainly  a whole bunch of other stuff that I could have been doing in that time.

Fortunately though there just happened to be a spare computer that I could move the whole data recovery operation to, so I just had to cut my losses in terms of time wasted so far and start the whole data recovery process over again from scratch in order to free my computer up to do other things. 


Testdisk 6.1.4. beta has been recently written with native 64-bit support for Windows in mind. All those still rocking a 32-bit rig might want to grab the 6.1.3. the stable version instead. It will able to perform a RAW data read and data recovery where other pieces of software that I'd tested with relative success in the past had now completely failed in this particular instance (or at least in instances where the damage is a little more severe). It should be able to rebuild your original MFT for the drive in most instances, however if not it will at the very least be able to provide further details as to the unique post NTFS (or FAT32) formatted and partitioned sector parameters of the drive (where others might turn up a blank) which are different from the default base OEM low level formatted sector parameters. 

It's been written to run from the command prompt but don't be deterred!

Although there is a Windows version its been written to run from the command prompt for better performance. But don't be deterred! The navigation of the software is very easy to follow and there are included explanations as to what certain things are for and what they mean. Don't worry!  Any potentially irreversible/dangerous actions are highlighted before you accidentally unintentionally go through with them where applicable or possibly not applicable as the case might be. You can get it by clicking here now!


Rewriting the MFT using the base OEM sector parameters (none file system partitioned and formatted) will not be a problem if no further data recovery was required. It would essentially reset it back to its blank OEM state after which a fresh NTFS or FAT32 disk format would then be needed to be performed on the drive in order to be able to use the disk with Windows again.   


I was initially testing this on a Dell M6400 system. However if the Intel Rapid storage technology software was installed to the system using the drive with the completely moofed MFT caused the system to freeze and lock up completely, after which the only way to recover was to reset the machine/system. 

Using the damaged drive with a different instance of Windows 7 64-bit without the Intel Rapid Storage technology software installed allowed for the drive to be plugged into the system without causing a system lock up. After which it could then be accessed by Testdisk for diagnosis and data recovery.