Help! I don't know what I did! I was in the process of helping to fix a friends HDD by plugging it into my system to then chkdsk, get updates, etc, little did I realize I left some sort of bootloader on the flash drive that I was using and it loaded the USB drive first when I plugged back in my own HDD. some install.wim file or image or w/e was loaded and now my system doesn't even recognize my HDD as a viable loading source once I try to boot my system.

I have Windows 10 originally, I'm not sure what the bootloader was... drive says 'WINPE'... Windows Preinstallation Environment according to Google... idk what that is. I reran the beginning of the file again to get some screenshots, but ended it before it ended. If anyone knows wether or not I can fix this and simply load Windows 10 with my files again, please let me know!

The only thing showing on my HDD now when I open MY Computer from another HDD is a single file called recycler or something similar... empty

I really need some files on this system. restoring Windows and filesystems, external backup software, anything would help.

As you want to get your files out first, you NEVER write to that drive until you have your files safe. This is the first rule of data recovery.

So get your host PC working on another good drive and then install Recuva from Piriform. Now plug in that drive we need to recover files from and see what Recuva can find.

Once in a while someone wants to recover their drive without data recovery or other drives and all I can write is they are pretty new to this field. If they continue writing to that drive, recovery hopes dim and fade.

What I understand is that you swapped drives and now your drive does not boot. Do you have a valid Windows 10 install CD? If you do then you can boot from that and proceed to re-install Windows. However, you will get an option to re-install without losing your documents etc. It should then re-install and work fine. I would suggest treading carefully through the menus and do not commit yourself to losing all your data. If in doubt then do not proceed. As previously stated with a working drive you can run a recovery from a 'new' drive but that option may not be available to you. I have suggested an alternative solution which may solve your dilemma. Please post any informaion as to your progress as it may help others.
regards John

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