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Old 08-07-2018, 07:07 PM   #1
kenb1000
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How to recover formatted external USB drive?


Well, I guess today was the Day of the Dodo for me. I have an external 1TB USB drive attached to my computer running Linux Mint. Lots of files on this external drive. I placed a RW CD in my CD drive, right clicked and chose "format." By the time I noticed that the volume label during format was labeled "USB Stick" it was too late - I had formatted my external TB drive.

I don't understand how I could click on the CD drive icon to format and end up with another disc being formatted. I suppose it's my punishment for not using command line tools more often.

In any case, is there a way to recover the formatted drive - or at least the data that was on there? Unfortunately I do not remember the file system I used on the external drive. I know there are a lot of data recovery tools out there - not sure which one would be best in this situation.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 07:12 PM   #2
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I might start with testdisk.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #3
kenb1000
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Thanks Jefro. I tried installing using Synaptic but I can't find it anywhere in the start menu. Also downloaded and extracted manually but can't figure out how to run it. Is this a GUI tool?
 
Old 08-07-2018, 07:42 PM   #4
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I prefer its stablemate photorec - more user-friendly when you need to get back a lot of files. Formatting typically doesn't over-write a lot of the disk, just enough to lay down the required meta-data. Still screws the previous meta-data of course - but a (very) large proportion of your data should be recoverable.
You will need another terabyte somewhere to recover to - and all the filenames will be lost. And it will take a while (maybe weeks) for you to sift through it all.

Now, about my sigline ...
 
Old 08-07-2018, 08:14 PM   #5
kenb1000
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@syg00 All filenames lost? I may have to just chalk this up to experience and move on. <sigh> Not sure it will be worth the time and effort. Mostly mp3 files that I could possibly get back over time. In the words of that great blues-rock guitarist, Johnny Winters: "Serve me right to suffer."

Thanks.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 08:15 PM   #6
kenb1000
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@jefro Okay, I see it's a command line tool. Thanks.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 08:30 PM   #7
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Phhht - give it a go.
For the mp3 you should be able to pull enough data out of the internal tags to get something workable. Fair bet someone has already posted a script to do it all for you. I don't use mp3, but I'd be mighty surprised if not.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 08:34 PM   #8
kenb1000
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@syg00 Okay, that's a little more encouraging news. As soon as I have the time I'll give it a try. At least it's good to know there are tools out there for this scenario. Thanks again.
 
Old 08-07-2018, 08:48 PM   #9
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The photorec wiki has some tutorials - go to the bottom of this page for a exiftool one-liner to loop over a dir that will have recovered files in. Tagged files like that are a god-send for this sort of thing - lots of other formats, you have to scan the data itself.
 
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:55 PM   #10
kenb1000
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@syg00 Thanks again.
 
Old 08-08-2018, 10:41 AM   #11
kenb1000
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One more thing regarding formatting a RW CD. When I right click on the CD icon on the desktop and choose Format there is no option to choose the CD drive. My mistake was assuming that it would default to the CD drive because that's the icon I was clicking - which would have been the case if I were doing this on a Windows machine. Upon closer inspection, the only options are external USB drives connected to the computer. This makes no sense to me. Can anyone explain? Thanks.
 
Old 08-08-2018, 01:40 PM   #12
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I've never seen an instance where testdisk returned no information. It usually has quite a bit of things it can recover. A format ought to return almost every file.

I can't replicate what you have on the CD. A CD ought to be a CD (optical drive). One may find it easier to use CD/DVD disc program that may help over a file manager.

If one booted to a live usb I guess it could see it's on usb as a cd??
 
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