Help recovering after factory reset (Windows 11)

What I’m trying to do

I’m trying to recover any of my files, notes, screenshots, and/or vaults after factory resetting my laptop for performance issues. I didn’t realize I didn’t have an account with Obsidian (until now) and assumed I would be able to just open back up my vault.

Things I have tried

I’m using a data recovery software (IBeeSoft) and despite finding my obsidian folder locations I can’t find the folders containing my actual notes/vault. Any help would be amazing because some of these things I’ll never be able to access again.

Sorry to hear this happened.

Were you paying for Obsidian Sync? That is the only way Obsidian natively* backs up files, to a paid Obsidian account. If you were, the notes probably exist. If not, they’re only on your hard drive.

*You can also use services like Syncthing to sync and share your notes; look on the forum and the Obidian website for more info.

Do you have a hard drive backup at all?

First things first, don’t use the computer too much if you are trying to recover deleted files from the hard drive.

Click the Start button and type “backup” or “restore” and see if there are any available backups or restore points. Maybe Windows was running a backup automatically and saved it, maybe not.

Open File Explorer and look for a folder named Windows.old which may exist after a factory reset (further info). I’d poke around in there. Do a search in the search box for a note title that you recall. (Every Obsidian note filename is the title of the note with the extension .md).

Check out a site like reddit’s r/datarecovery for more tips on general data recovery. Maybe beesoft isn’t the best software for this and they have other ideas, I don’t really know.

It sounds like you found the Obsidian app data folder. This isn’t the same folder as your notes/vault. Your vault is in whatever folder you selected when you created the vault. It might be under a folder like “Users/username/Documents” or “appdata”

Good luck.

The even more important thing here than retrieving your files is establishing a good backup in the future. If nothing else, I always recommend getting a Backblaze account, that’s a pretty no-brainer way to back up all your data. Or get an external hard drive and regularly copy files to it.

Of course, signing up for Obsidian Sync is a great way to preserve your notes.

Remember the backup adage: one copy is none, two copies is one, etc.

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