Well, I went to my client site today armed with a couple of software tools to try to recover the deleted folders and files. Unfortunately, I was unable to get them back.
There are a couple of reasons for this, (and lessons to be learned for next time this type of thing happens).
Firstly, some of the files had been recovered from the tape backup. This was great to have but restoring the files to the same drive that they had been deleted from considerably reduced the likelihood of recovering the ones that the backup hadn’t got.
Secondly, the server had been rebooted before the recovery tools were run. Again, this goes against recommended practice. The process of shutting down and restarting the computer will write files to disk and increase the likelihood of the “deleted” files being overwritten.
And thirdly, it’s much easier to recover files from a proper backup than trying to use these tools to “undelete” them.
It is possible that the files and folders are still recoverable, but I think at this stage it would take an awful lot of time, effort and of course money to do it, so it’s probably not worth it. However, as I’ve said before, this is not my area of expertise so if anyone knows of a cheap and easy way to get them back I’d love to hear it.