Is there a way to read HD data past EOF?

Is there a way to read a file's data but continue reading the data on the hard drive past the end of file? For normal file I/O I could just use fread(), but, obviously, that will only read to the end of the file. And it might be beneficial if I add that I need this on a Windows computer.

All my Googling for a way to do this is instead coming up with results about unrelated topics concerning EOF, such as people having problems with normal I/O.

My reasoning for this is that I accidentally deleted part of the text in a text file I was working on, and it was an entire day's worth of work. I Googled up a bunch of file recovery stuff, but it all seems to be about recovering deleted files, where my problem is that the file is still there but without some of its information, and I'm hoping some of that data still exists directly after the currently marked end of file and is neither fragmented elsewhere or already claimed or otherwise overwritten. Since I can't find a program that helps with this specifically, I'm hoping I can quickly make something up for it (I understand that, depending on what is involved, this might not be as feasible as just redoing the work, but I'm hoping that's not the case).

As far as I can foresee, though I might not be correct (not sure, which is why I'm asking for help), there are 3 possibilities.

Worst of the three: I have to look up Windows API functions that allow direct access to the entire hard drive (similar to its functions for memory, perhaps? those I have experience with) and scan the entire thing for the data that I still have access to from the file and then just continue looking at what's after it.

Second: I can get a pointer to the file, then I still have to get raw access to HD but at least have a pointer to the file in it?

Best of the three: Just open the file for write access, seek to the end, then write a ways past EOF to claim more space, but first hope that Windows won't clean the data before it hands it over to me so that I get garbage data which was the previous data in that spot which would actually be what I'm looking for? This would be awesome if it were that simple, but I'm afraid to test it out because I'd lose the data if it failed, so hopefully someone else already knows. The PC in question is running Vista Home Premium if that matters to anyone that knows the gory details of Windows.

Do either of those three seem plausible? Whether yea or nay, I'm also open (and eager) for other suggestions, especially those which are better than my silly ideas, and especially if they come with direction toward specific functions to use to get the job done.

Also, if anyone else actually has heard of a recovery program that doesn't just recover deleted files but which would actually work for a situation like this, and which is free and trustworthy, that works too.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Answers


You should get a utility for scanning the free space of a hard drive and recovering data from it, for example PhotoRec or foremost. Note however that if you've been using the machine much at all (even web browsing, which will create files in your cache), the data has likely already been overwritten. Do not save your recovery tools on the same hard drive, or even use the same PC to download them; get them from another computer and save them to a USB device, then run them from that device.

As for the conceptual content of your question, files are abstract objects. There is no such thing as data "past eof" except (depending on the implementation) perhaps up to the next multiple of the filesystem/disk "blocksize". Also it's possible (very likely) that your editor "saved" the file by truncating it and writing everything newly from the beginning, meaning there's not necessarily any correspondence between the old and new storage.


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