, yeah, I knew most of the things you mentioned, but still good to refresh them in my mind, thanks.
And okay, as much as don't want to admit it, now I really feel stupid
All the data I've been trying to recover the whole week for countless hours was actually safely stored on my old fat PS3 system. I could swear I saw an official note somewhere that your data gets deleted from the old PS3 during transfer, so the thought of actually checking it hasn't crossed my mind even once until you reminded me about it! Talk about choosing an easier way, huh? Right now I'm using "Data Transfer Utility" to copy all saves to my new PS3... again. Seriously, I've never felt this dumb before. >_<
Of course I still lose some saves that I managed to gather during a couple of weeks playing on my new PS3, but hey, two weeks are not even close to five years, right?
Anyway, thanks for the help! No idea how much more time I'd have wasted trying to recover my data by playing with byte strings. Still, this week was very educational for me, the experience may come in handy one of those days.
Also, I hope this thread and my suggestions may somehow help other people if they find themselves in a similar situation. Just remember, if you created a backup image of your drive, DON'T
reinstall the PS3 firmware when formatting the drive if you plan to insert the corrupted MBR to the image. It won't work. If your system refuses to format the drive without reinstalling the firmware, take the HDD out again, do a low level format using your PC tools (fill it with zeroes as if it was newly bought), insert it to PS3 again and format using safe boot tools. That way the encryption key will not change, thus allowing you to take the MBR (bytes 00000000-00F03000
on the drive) and put it to the original image that contains all your precious data, making it bootable again.
P.S. All of the above is IMHO created during my own observations. I may be wrong at some things since I'm not a file system recovery/encryption expert, just a humble IT Support Analyst.