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Old 10-30-2008, 09:24 AM   #1
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Recovering deleted files from vfat partition on damaged disk

I have the following situation: on a vfat partition some important files have been deleted. I tried to undelete them using some undelete tools for windows, but it turns out that the disk has bad sectors, and the undelete tools get stuck on these bad sectors.

Linux to the rescue. I connected the bad disk to my linux box and using ddrescue copied the bad partition to a file. Now I can mount this image file as a loop device.

This is how far I got. I can't find a good tool for linux that would find and undelete the needed files from the image.

The first idea I had was to dump the image onto a physical disk, connect the disk to a windows box and use an undelete tool on it. Unfortunately, I don't have a disk big enough for this.

The next idea was to somehow attach the image to windows in a VMWare VM. I could create another virtual disk image and dump the image file onto the VDI, but again, I don't have enough disk space for a VDI this big.

VMWare can also attach disk devices directly - but only physical disks that the host OS (linux) sees as /dev/sd*.

Finally the question: is there a way to create a loop device mapped to my image file that would look like a physical disk to VMWare? I know mount -o loop does something similar, and I have found examples of creating loop devices, but not how to map them to a image file.

If you can think of an unrelated solution to my problem (recovering deleted files from image file), that would also be helpful.
Old 10-30-2008, 01:34 PM   #2
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You could try using foremost and/or photorec to recover certain filetypes from the image file. Be aware that you need a good amount of space for the recovered documents, images, mp3's, movies, etc, because it will find EVERYTHING that has ever been on the hard disk (unless someone secure wiped it or that block has been overwritten).

I usually recover one type of file (jpg, mp3, doc, etc) at a time. Then I weed through the results. There's some scripts and whatnot that can help you remove duplicates, etc. The file names won't match up, of course, but you may find the file you're looking for...

Is there any particular type of file you're trying to recover? How much space do you have available and how big is the source drive?
Old 10-31-2008, 04:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.

The image file of the source disk is 75G, and I have about 15G of free space. Around my network I have another 50G in pieces. The 15G I have are the largest piece in the network.

The lost files are Outlook Express mailboxes, about 50 of them, and I expect them to be in total about 20-25G. The largest probably is not larger than 2G.


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