Can I restore an MFT to a hard drive?

Chemy April 16, 2015
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If I have a copy of the Master File Table (MFT) in a folder, can I copy it to the right place in the hard drive?

Something weird is happening to some of my hard drives. I have three drives connected to a cheap NAS (bought 5 years ago). They are missing folders and files and when I tried to recover the information with software like TestDisk and Ontrack Easy Recovery I didn’t recover everything, so I used a lot of other software and recovered the $MFT (275MB long). I was able to copy the MFT to another hard drive.

Is there any chance to copy it in the right cluster in the hard drive to recover as much as I can without running an exploration of the hard drive?

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  1. Anonymous
    April 24, 2016 at 2:04 am

    You can restore an MFT to a hard drive follow these steps:
    Step 1. Launch the software to scan the device where your files deleted
    Step 2: Preview the scan result files and make mark if it is the one you find
    Step 3: Recover files

  2. Jan F.
    April 17, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Try repairing the MFT using the method ha14 suggested. If both MFT files (live and backup) are stated to be bad, corrupt, I advise to stay away from that angle.

    Perform a deep scan of the drive and recover your data to another storage. Depending on the size of the drive this can take several hours, a day, more~

    You certainly don't want to work with a corrupt or incomplete MFT. Unless you mounted the drive in a read only fashion this would allow background activities to possibly overwrite good but missing data rendering it impossible to recover.
    Also, this may have been your issue in the first place. If the MFT didn't keep proper track of the files and folders the blocks data was stored in were considered available. Depending on how long this has been going on in the background the data you were not able to recover may have actually been overwritten and is therefor not recoverable.

    Finally, unless your NAS is running Windows I advice you not to use NFTS as a file system to store files. At the end of the day NTFS is a Microsoft proprietary file system. Use whatever is native to the system and perform regular backups (even to an NTFS drive if you prefer that).

  3. Elaine Baker
    April 17, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. ha14
    April 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    if you want to rebuilt MFT (maybe corrupted) The option in TESTDISK will attempt restore using the $MFT mirror
    http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Advanced_NTFS_Boot_and_MFT_Repair
    http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs-system-files.htm
    Master file table 2: A duplicate image of the first four records of the MFT. This file guarantees access to the MFT in case of a single-sector failure.

    NTFSInfo v1.0
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897424
    NTFSInfo will show you where on the disk (in terms of clusters) the MFT is located and how large it is, in addition to specifying how large the volume's clusters and MFT records are.

    mft2csv
    http://code.google.com/p/mft2csv/

    NTFS Master File Table (MFT)
    http://ntfs.com/ntfs-mft.htm

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