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[HELP] CCleaner wipes every photo on external hdd

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Please I am desperate for help.

My mum is a professional photographer, her hdd was failing so she used CCleaner by piriform to do what she thought was like a defrag and totally wiped her hdd (3 pass). She has tried many free recovery programs to no luck. She had weeks of unedited/edited and not given to client yet (nearly 300 gb of photos) and thousands of dollars of losses. Is there any way to recover the lost photos at all.

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Is it an external or secondary drive/partition, or the system drive? Did she run Wipe Free Space or Erase Dtrive?


CC will not delete or overwrite live files unless a non-system partition is erased, in which case there is very little hope of data recovery.

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Is it an external or secondary drive/partition, or the system drive? Did she run Wipe Free Space or Erase Dtrive?


CC will not delete or overwrite live files unless a non-system partition is erased, in which case there is very little hope of data recovery.

it is an external drive (iomega) and she did "wipe free space (3 pass)" Fortunately we had a great idea, try to use recuva to get the photos off her sd cards (these are just formatted) so far we got back about 30% of the sd card photos. (recuva got some back but most were corrupt)

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Every photo that you restore has a high chance of writing on top of at least two photos that have been deleted and WERE available to recuva,

but are now corrupted by being over-written

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Please note that if the external drive was given "wipe free space" that puts previously deleted files beyond reach of Recuva,

but it does NOT delete any files.


The photos you require may still be available.


What does Windows Explorer see in this drive ?

What does Disc Management see ?

What is your Operating System ?

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Hi there, this is Jaimyn's mum, the one who's world imploded when this happened last night. Here is what has happened:


I had massive HDD issues yesterday and my computer was crashing and all sorts of errors popping up. So, I did some maintenance on it, cleaning up drives, defraging, ccleaner etc. When complete, I thought I would do the Drive Wiper on my main working external drive too, and selected to "wipe free space" (using the 3 pass option) on the drive, thinking it would help it to run more smoothly. I then merrily went off to the gym and returned to find my entire drive wiped. All 300gb of it, and about 2 months worth of yet to be edited client RAW files, as well as my new website and blog coding and artwork that I have been working on since my last website was hacked and deleted 2 months ago. There is HEAPS of other stuff gone too, but my little head just can't comprehend it right now. :(


So, after falling in a heap and blubbering like a baby for a few hours, I went to work and with the help of my precocious (13yo) son and awesome hubby, we started to run recovery software on my SD cards in the hope of recovering the RAW files at least. To answer the questions posted above, and to run some more:


1. Windows Explorer sees nothing but a completely empty drive with 298gb "free" (on a 300gb external drive).

2. Disc Management says: Layout - "simple", Type - "Basic", File System - "NTFS", Status - "Healthy", Capacity - "298.09gb", Free Space - "269.21gb", % Free - "90%", Fault tolerance - "No", Overhead - "0%". Below this, it has all of my attached drives listed and for the one in question, it simply says "Disk 2 - Basic 2989.09 GB Online / Iomega HDD (I:) 298.09 GB NTFS Healthy (Primary Partition).

3. Operating system is Win 7, 64 bit.


I have run Recuva and it has found a whole lot of files, but I haven't actually clicked on "recover" yet. I am too afraid to do more damage. I was planning on recovering them to a folder on my desktop.


I also am running REMO Recover, which has the ability to restore file/folder structure and correct file names etc, but it will be 9 hours or so before I am able to see what it can retrieve.


I am mainly concerned about the RAW (.dng) files, of which there were about 120gb on the drive (rough estimate). I am seeing some of them being found but they appear to be coming up as TIFFS, not sure why this is.


Please no lectures about backing up etc. I have multiple mirrored (raid) drives that I do my final backups too, as well as cloud storage, but these never made it that far. I have been working interstate and run off my feet with commercial shoots these past two months and have just been dumping onto this HDD to clear my SD cards, planning to edit/backup as I can.


So distraught over this, I just can't believe I could have done it. I really don't understand why, when Drive Wiper was supposed to only "wipe free space", it deleted everything? I actually double checked it and looked up the support doc on this website to confirm that it would only affect the free space before doing so, I was ultra careful and confident that it wouldn't affect any files on the drive, only the unused space?


Thanks so very much for any help!



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Defragging and Free Space Wiping have a safe reputation,

but I remember the old days before NTFS when it was prudent to back up the entire HDD on 5.25 inch floppies before defragging,

and wiping was never considered.


I suspect trouble struck you because significant HDD errors caused grave difficulties.


I once lost everything on my Laptop. 7 complete partitions.

I had a Partition Wizard Boot CD and that included a partition Recovery Wizard.

That showed me many boundaries where my partitions had been (I shifted and shrunk and expanded over the years)

After an hour I figured out exactly which were my latest boundaries and it rapidly restored the partition table and all my files were as they had been.

I did not need any tool to recover individual files - they all instantly appeared in the original folder structure.


It is just possible you might be lucky.

This is the version that runs Under Windows and may do what you need


This is the Boot CD if you ever lose Windows itself



They have more powerful commercial recovery software



As a freeware user their support generally respond to email requests within one day.

Those who pay get higher priority support.


There are others here with wider experience than myself of recovery software.


Perhaps you could post a screen snapshot showing all the details of what Windows Management can see of your drives.

For now I would suggest restoring to a new folder on C:\ and not to the desktop.

I have been told accidents happen to the desktop and loss of desktop links is inconvenient,

but loss of several days effort retrieval would be a head banging experience.


All the best


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Just to add to the suggestions already made, "PhotoRec", although not the easiest of programs to use is well worth a try.


It looks initially like a command line utility, but it does have an ordered "choose and select" structure to it, and can be very successful in recovering data from pretty dire situations.


PhotoRec: (Open Source)


It also has very good help files.

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Hi again Alan,


So, I have installed and run MiniTool Partition Wizard and low and behold it finds my entire hard drive contents just as you predicted! Woohoo! However, when I click through each of the screens and get to "Finish", it doesn't do anything. I watched the video (http://www.partitionwizard.com/video-help/partition-recovery-wizard/partition-recovery-wizard.html ) as well as followed the instructions here: http://www.partitionwizard.com/help/partition-recovery.html. Everything is pretty self explanatory and works perfectly, but when I click "Finish" nothing happens. The pop-up disappears and it returns to the main page and my HDD is still "empty".


Am I missing something?


It is like it is dangling a carrot in front of me! So close, yet so far! lol.


Thanks so much,

tan. :)

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Hi Alan,

Thanks so much for your help. She got everything back. ^^ It (MiniTool Partition Wizard) had restored the files back as hidden so I enabled view hidden files/folders and they were all there. Thanks heaps for your suggestions!!

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I was hoping that the MBR and/or Partition Table had been broken before you launched Wipe Free Space.,

in which case perhaps W.F.S. would not have found a valid partition to wipe and the sector's would not have been wiped.


My guess now is that either before or during defragging of a damaged HDD the directory or MFT may have lost track of the files,

and the probability is that W.F.S. found a valid partition with apparently no files accessible so it was all overwritten.


I could however be wrong and those with more experience may be able to advise.

The only "Good" news is that I understand "3 Pass" does not apply to W.F.S. which defaults to single pass,

and also only the latest version of CCleaner wipes the "Tips" - but I doubt a "Tip" would be large enough for a photo.

I never knew of Tips until a few weeks ago, and still cannot explain.


I think you may have more success retrieving files from the SD cards.

Dennis and others can advise you better than I.


I wish you every success



ATTN Moderators :-


Should this topic be moved to the Recuva forum for the benefit of advice from those who never visit CCleaner forum ?

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Hi Alan,

Thanks so much for your help. She got everything back. ^^ It (MiniTool Partition Wizard) had restored the files back as hidden so I enabled view hidden files/folders and they were all there. Thanks heaps for your suggestions!!

I really am happy for you.


Since the HDD was failing before this I suggest you urgently backup to a different HDD before it fails again.

My personal favourite is TeraCopy because after it has copied everything and reads it back and compares has checksums..

I switched to this after Windows Explorer copied Macrium partition image backup files from my secondary HDD to an external drive,

and then Macrium decreed the copies were corrupt, and a MD5 comparison utility confirmed they differed.

Terracopy would have spotted the deviation and retried.


When you have good copies (preferably duplicated) it would be time to consider or obtain advice on the failing HDD,

whether to scrap outright or whether a reformat might rejuvenate it.

I am on a pension and computing is a hobby so I would probably rejuvenate but never trust.


Since this can damage your family income you may decide to scrap,

in which case before scrapping or giving away remember to securely erase,

in case you lose any financial/identity data, or perhaps your copy-write photos enter Public Domain.




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