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manishgarg21 05-27-2008 12:27 PM

how to recover home data, got deleted with the profile

i have deleted my complete home (/home/username) while deleting one profile which was sharing same home folder with my home. This has been done under root. After doing that i switched off the machine and hard disk was removed to avoid any overwriting. I have tried with two professional data recovery companies, they are not able to recover it. I am having HP Workstation xw8200 with RedHat EL3. I will really be very thankful if some body can help me in this.


stefan_nicolau 05-27-2008 01:23 PM

If you are using ext3, it has an anti-file-recovery mechanism. Files are deleted for good.

From the ext3 FAQ ( ):

Q: How can I recover (undelete) deleted files from my ext3 partition?
Actually, you can't! This is what one of the developers, Andreas Dilger, said about it:

In order to ensure that ext3 can safely resume an unlink after a crash, it actually zeros out the block pointers in the inode, whereas
ext2 just marks these blocks as unused in the block bitmaps and marks the inode as "deleted" and leaves the block pointers alone.

Your only hope is to "grep" for parts of your files that have been deleted and hope for the best.
Try reading

seraphim172 05-27-2008 06:59 PM

The two professional data recovery companies didn't fail without a reason.

You could create a copy of the disk using 'dd' and parse the created file for certain known filetypes (based on specific file headers or tail information) but this is extremely painfull and takes a lot time. If you want to get back images or fonts, then it could work. To retrieve textfiles you will have to read your way through the dd file. For complex binary files like office documents it will be a horrible task. You could write a few programs to parse the contents based on what you are looking for, if the value of the contents is worth the effort. I don't think that there is any existing single application that does it all, just the way you want it to be.

Sharing home directories is not a good idea, as it seems.

Linux Archive

manishgarg21 05-28-2008 01:31 AM


Thank you for both of the replies.
Would you recommend any company for doing this task.


stefan_nicolau 05-28-2008 07:08 AM

I cannot recommend any company that will write a custom program to search the disk for whatever file types you lost. What you need to understand is that most of your data is gone for good, even though, at great expense, you might recover a few bits.

jay73 05-28-2008 08:16 AM

I have to say that I have had some success with photorec (even with ext3), which can be found on the internet for free. It is very likely that larger files (especially video) will have been badly mangled but pictures and text documents should have survived. You need to bear in mind that recovery can be quite time consuming: not only does the program take time to scan your drive, everything will be renamed in the process as a format does not destroy data so much as their meta-data (i.e. file names and the like) so you'll need to check and sort the results manually.

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