My mother got the Blue Screen of Death to END all Blue Screens of Death today-- it said there was a problem with the computer and it required her-- required her-- to reformat. It kept shutting off and turning back on, etc... so she reformatted.
And everything is gone.
I know the answer's probably no, but... is there any way to retrieve that data? We didn't buy an external hard drive, though you better believe I'm gonna do it now.
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There are programs you can use to try and retrieve the data, yes. Can't think of a name of one at the moment, but there are definitely free ones out there. Do a search for recover deleted files or something like that. Usually it's a program you can put on a boot floppy or CD that can see what's there. Some let you just restore the file, but it would be best to have a second drive in the system to copy the stuff over to.
I bought my daughter an off-lease computer from tigerdirect.com for Christmas, but it came without monitor or software (which was how I wanted it). They have a large range of options from barebones kits to CPU/HDD/keyboard/mouse to Desktop Bundles.