View Full Version : HVX200 Accidental HDD Formating-Data Loss

Bill Paris
May 3rd, 2006, 02:40 AM
After transferring video to my firewire drive, I accidentally hit the "Format HDD" selection in the menu thinking I was erasing the P2 Card. Ouch! The 150 gig Maxtor firewire drive contains all the video files I've shot to date, so it's important to recover the files.

The first thing I did was to download "Disk Warrior", to try to rebuild the directory. The problem is that my G5 now won't recognize the firewire drive since it was formatted by the HVX200 and there are no P2 files in the directory. I get a warning message whenever I plug the drive in....."Mac OS10 does not recognize this device". Since the computer doesn't see the drive, Disk Warrior can't fix it.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to restore the files? I've written an email to Panasonic tech support and will post their answer when I receive it.

Also.... users beware! Don't make the same mistake! I think this will be problem for others until Panasonic updates the software with a warning/reminder message.

Philip Williams
May 3rd, 2006, 08:33 AM
<snip>I've written an email to Panasonic tech support and will post their answer when I receive it. <snip>

Bummer about erasing that drive :( Having said that, I wouldn't count too much on Panasonic support on that one. They're pretty much there to support your camera, which appears to be working perfectly, and are probably not going to know much about using Mac computers to recover formatted hard drive data.

You might want to hook up with a super-nerd in your area with a PC. There's a ton of data recovery software for PCs floating around out there. I suppose you might consider contacting Apple as well, though I'd guess they'd want to charge you for the call.

If you do keep working with it on your Mac, and the footage is important, you might want to consider putting footage on a different firewire drive, format that with the HVX and use that drive as your "test" drive. Once you've successfully created a routine to recover data from that drive, move on to the important one.

Steev Dinkins
May 3rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
Does anyone have any ideas about how to restore the files?

I've never had any success recovering deleted video or audio files, not to mention trying to recover files from a reformatted drive, not to mention reformatted to a different file system. Any files I have successfully recovered were so scrambled, it was as good as gone.

Let us know if you find a way to recover your files, but I think your media is now "into the cosmos".

Philip Williams
May 3rd, 2006, 11:29 AM
<snip>Let us know if you find a way to recover your files, but I think your media is now "into the cosmos".

I didn't want to sound too discouraging at first, but yeah, Steve is probably right. Usually data recovery gets back fragments of data - its probably the rare lucky case where truly usable files are recovered.

To be perfectly blunt, if it were my drive, I'd re-shoot any of the video that I humanly could and work around the missing stuff. If its a once/lifetime thing, then I'd make an effort at recovery I suppose, but otherwise it would probably be less time consuming and frustrating to re-shoot. Guess we're not exactly full of good news on this one...

Tim Brown
May 3rd, 2006, 11:37 AM
Sorry Bill. I understand your predicament.

Disk Warrior won't help as it only repairs and recreates the directory in the event the HD won't mount. It won't reconstruct the data that has been zapped.

You might want to try: It has an evaluation download available and is worth a try. Your only real hope at this point is a data recovery service, but brace yourself. These companies cost an arm and a leg, but may be able to get your data back. I've used these guys with great results:

Good luck.

Craig Seeman
May 3rd, 2006, 12:11 PM
It may depend on whether it was a low level format or a "quick" one. If the later some header/disk info may have been changed to make everything "appear gone" and available.

If it's the camera that did the reformating to it's own proprietary format it may require some "program" or individual to identify that and change things back.

Craig Seeman
May 3rd, 2006, 12:14 PM
deleted duplicate post

Bill Paris
May 3rd, 2006, 12:59 PM
Thanks to everyone for your insights. I received a respose from Panasonic:


We checked with the Panasonic Product Manager and he indicated that
there is no way to recover this information.

Panasonic Technical Support

I'm hoping the camera only erased the directory, since the operation happened in a split second. I'm therefore also hoping that the data is still intact, but needs to have a new directory bult for the files. I'm going to check locally first with a group of PC geeks, then try some of the other suggestions you guys have offered including disksavers. Some of the shots are impossible to re-shoot so I'll just have to suck it up and pay the price.

Once again let me warn any of you using the camera as a host to a drive (Including the Firestore 100) DO NOT HIT THE FORMATT HDD after off loading your files from the P2! This has happened to me twice since owning the camera so I feel pretty stupid, but it's an easy mistake to make when your in a hurry. In my opinion the work flow should be:
1. Off load the files to the Firewire Drive/FS100.
3. Now delete the files from the P2 cards.

Thanks again for your suggestions, I'll post my results as I try to fix this problem.

Tim Brown
May 3rd, 2006, 01:31 PM
If it did indeed happen quickly, then Prosoft's Data Rescue II may be able to help. It bypasses all disk directory information and scans the disk for specific file structures and recreates the files directly from the data. You'll lose the file names, but in my experience with the software, it does a good job of retrieving the data. Check the link I left as it has a "free" evaluation version which allows you to scan the disk and shows you what's recoverable. I use it and it's great software, and at free is certainly worth a shot, but don't try to use too much "snakeoil" on the disk before sending it to a recovery service. It'll just make the data harder to retrieve, but DR II is non-destructive so it should be okay to use.

Hope this helps.

Ash Greyson
May 3rd, 2006, 01:40 PM
Welcome to the joys of the tapeless workflow! Sorry to hear of your trouble, you will not be the last. Redundant back-ups are a must! Until BR burners get here, backing up is going to be a pain...

ash =o)

Chris Barcellos
May 3rd, 2006, 03:48 PM
If the material is critical to have, My advice is not to attempt to write anything to drive until you have the material professionally recovered. The data is most likely still on the disk, and a recovery process is out there to recover it. It could be expensive, but not as expensive as a reshoot, or a the loss of onetime only data.

On the PC side, I have successfully recovered many files using available software, even off of photo memory cards... But when you start "dinking" with the drive, or even add a little data, the chances of losing data starts going up.

Keith Wakeham
May 3rd, 2006, 04:31 PM
I've used Hex readers to read down at the drive level and have found something strange. A format (like in windows actually just formating and not just a quickformat either or at dos prompt like c:\>Format q:) never seemed to alter data. I was under the impression that before this Formatting wrote all zeros to the drive but Now I think it more or less just writes the tracks and leaves data intact. Either way I've heard tell of amazing recoveries.

Evaluate how much the data costs and what you need.
Find a reliable HDD recovery center that will do a free estimate.
If the estimate is higher than cost of reshooting needed footage then reshoot or attemp a recovery yourself.

The absolute most important thing to do is never write to the disk at all and until the data is recovered.

I've had some success with a free windows based program called Restoration, I found it at Worked well, can show me certain files that I lost are can normally recover it, but it will recover the raw data, even if it has been written over, so if you haven't written any data to the drive this might be a half decent option, though I'm sure some commercial software might be better. You need somethign more down at the disk level and not at the file level.

Good Luck

Dan Euritt
May 3rd, 2006, 05:43 PM
there are software formatting tools like the seagate disk utility that comes with a new hdd, and it'll do a format in just a couple of minutes... vs. letting winxp do the formatting in a couple of hours.

low-level formatting tools are not very common, so you probably did a standard quick format on it... which means that the data should be there for an easy recovery, i've done it a number of times myself, assuming that you follow the xlnt advice in this thread... the files typically have just the first letter of the filename changed.

on a pc, good file recovery software will let you see what's on the drive, even if it's not recognized by the o.s.; the computer knows it's there, and recognizes it at the bios level, but you may have to plug the drive in directly via the ide connector, not firewire... i would attempt the fix with a pc first, not a mac, if the disk used to be recognized by the pc o.s.... there are so many more utilities on the pc side of the fence.

i kinda doubt that panasonic would use a proprietary o.s., hopefully it would be something universal for both pc and mac, maybe fat32? it's not like computers can recognize anything other than what their o.s.'s came with in the first place.

Barry Green
May 4th, 2006, 12:36 AM
When the HVX formats a drive, it doesn't actually "format" it -- it only takes a second because, near as I can tell, it just deletes all the partitions off the drive. Right now that drive looks like one big unallocated partition to any device you plug it into.

Accordingly, I would expect that it would be possible to restore everything. The drive allocates partitions in a predictable manner, so perhaps some data recovery service can re-allocate those partitions?

I doubt a standard disk recovery tool is going to be able to restore it, but any data recovery service should be able to if you explain to them what happened and how it happened and the procedure that the camera uses to "format" a drive.

Peter Jefferson
May 4th, 2006, 05:10 AM
THE BEST (and i will put my reputation on teh line with this.. ) is a prgram called "Getdataback for NTFS") theyres also get data back for fat

this program has saved my ass about 6 times without failure.. were talking huge 13gb files, copious amounts of other media as well..

thing with any file restoration program is to NOT use the drive once uve discovered theres a problem..