Originally Posted by celegorm
I've used R-Studio and Restorer 2000 to great success. Neither are free though.
that's exactly what I was going to recommend.
I'm in fact using it at the moment to recover files from my sisters laptop hard drive where she had some kind of error that lost all the partition information.
I've also used it to recover files before after formatting a drive, and re-installing windows.
basically, the fast format feature of windows doesn't scrub a disk, it just resets various bits, so you should be able to use the program on your current newly installed windows installation to recover files from the previous installation on the same disk...
as above, it's not free, but it is cheap. and well worth it...
(the only annoying thing about it is -or at least was when I bought it) that you buy a recovery tool for a specific version, I bought the NTFS version, so I can recover files from NTFS drives, but couldn't use the version I have to recover files from a FAT formatted memory card).