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Someone at work loaded windows on my linux file server because they thought no one was using the computer!!!!!!!!!
Anyway, there was about 200GB of data on the reiserfs3 partition before they let the windows installer automatically reformat my hard drive. I would really like to retrieve this data. Please recommend me data recovery methods or data recovery software I can utilize to recover my data. Thanks.
If it was a work machine as you say and the data is valuable, I would pay someone else to do it. Google for this type of service or look in the local phone book.
Now if you really want to do it yourself, use foremost. It's pretty easy to use, but it currently only defaults to recovering a limited number of filetypes (jpegs, gifs, wav, mov, doc, xls, ppt, pdf, and a few others). You can add more filetypes, but you have to manually figure out what the headers look like and then add them to the config file. I've used foremost and recovered 1500 digital photos and several documents from my parents machine after someone accidentally formatted it.
Note that formatting the drive this way leaves most of the data intact. It just wipes out the partition table. Now if they successfully installed Windows, you may have lost up to XX GB of data (however big the windows install was) because it would have overwritten that much data on the drive with Windows files.
I glossed over the filesystem change part (my parents drive was NTFS to NTFS reformatting).
But I still assumed it would work the same, because isn't formatting just changing the the partition table and telling the OS how to use the blocks/sectors of the disk? I feel like you shouldn't lose data unless you write over a particular block (like when you shred a disk). Foremost actually scans the disk block by block and finds file headers and looks for a break as to where the end of file should be.
I'm by no means an expert, but the last time I saw an XP/Win2K
installation and it said it was formatting NTFS it took an awful
long time for a change in the partition table, and the progress
bar didn't suggest a write to a single block ;}
That said: I have succesfully revcovered data from a machine
that had two partitions originally and was accidentally re-
imaged with ghost.
Even if it was formatted over, the pro's can recover it without a problem. So they either have software, hardware, or methods of recovery I don't have. I'll have to do some searches and figure out what they use...
If the tools I mentioned above won't recover data (because the
formatting was actually writing blocks of 0s over the whole drive)
what they do is decouple the original electronics of the hdd so
they an read levels of magnetic charge other than an absolute 0
or 1 ... good luck ;}