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Old 09-21-2003, 07:09 PM   #1
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Registered: Sep 2003
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tragedy!!! please please help me :((((

Hi there.
I was by a friend for helping him installing a linux distro (ARK linux).
He has two windows partitions (c: and d with his own personal (and very important) documents, and we planned to install Linux on a third partition.
He did not pay attention and did click on the "system install" option, that do format all his hard drive before installing linux. The time I made to realise the tragedy and press the reboot btton on the pc (ie, about 2 seconds) every thing was (or seems to be) lost. Infact, windows xp was unable to start, and the original disc partition was lost. When I restarted the Linux installation process, and when arrived to the partitioning screen, I could not believe what I saw: no NTFS partitions, but only a swap and ext3 partitions. It's a shame Linux does not request a confirmation before formatting the HD, so that we could escape such problems .

Now, I have no idea how to recover the data. Are there any tools that do "unformat job"? Does anone have an idea for help?
Any suggestion is welcomed.
There is only one hard drive of 37 GB.

Thanks my friends
Old 09-21-2003, 07:20 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Scotland
Distribution: Slackware, RedHat, Debian
Posts: 12,047

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You could try NT recover:
Old 09-21-2003, 07:28 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 246

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The installer has already wiped the partition tables and probably at least some of the NTFS equivalent to FAT tables. The important data should be intact however there is no way of finding out where they are. I would recommend that if he wants to keep his data then he should buy a new (larger) hard drive, boot to a Linux rescue disk and mirror the wrecked hard drive onto the new one (with dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb or similar) as this will give him something to try out rescue solutions on without wrecking his only (tenuously) surviving copy.

He should now remove his original hard disk and just experiment on the duplicate. There is a good chance that someone has written a piece of software which will sort your problem out.

This advice is based on a similar incident where my father's hard drive had it's partition table, master boot record and first FAT table destroyed. A similar backup and experiment routine sorted the problem in the end with absolutely no data loss. So don't despair/cry/commit suicide yet but making the backup is essential and the only useful way of doing this is directly onto another hard drive via a Linux boot/rescue disk.

If you would rather not take any risks or you need the files in a hurry then a data recovery company may be your only chance.


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