(Solved)recover info from hard drive

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(Solved)recover info from hard drive

Postby BoDill on Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:58 am

First, if you want to know the whole story behind this topic, just enter "BoDill" into the "Search" banner and you'll find a couple of topics posted by me which have lead to this latest problem. Basically, I am not a computer whiz, but I want to use Linux while keeping Widows XP for backup while I am learning Linux. With that in mind, I tried to load Linux onto my computer along with an existing XP that I have been using for years. I screwed something up and now my Windows XP is "gone" and my new installation of Linux barely works.

Now I have a legal copy of Windows XP to install, and since I have barely used Linux, I don't have any files in it yet, so re-installation of Linux should not be a problem. My problem is that there are some files that I REALLY don't want to lose on this hard drive, as I was using it for about six years. I'm confident that someone who knows what they are doing could recover at least some of the files from the "gone" portion of the hard drive. Every article about recovering info from a hard drive that I could find on the internet was based on a hard drive with Windows on it (I repeat; Windows is "Gone" and Linux barely works).

I would sincerely appreciate any advice here. Do you know of any articles that I might read? Do you know of anybody who might be competent to do it? Is there any way to determine if there is any recoverable data on the hard drive?

Thanks in advance....

Bo
Last edited by BoDill on Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby Flemur on Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:55 pm

(I repeat; Windows is "Gone" and Linux barely works)

What does "gone" mean? That didn't show up on boot menu, or the XP partition is missing or empty or is now your Linux partition?
What does "barely works" mean?
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby BoDill on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:34 pm

I apologize for my lack of the proper terms in this post, but my limited knowledge of such things is the reason why I named the other posts on this topic. Basically, I tried to install Linux on my hard drive WITH Windows XP by following step-by-step instructions on another website. I thought that I had backed up my files on a USB stick, but only got about half of them. Also, when I start to log on to my computer, I get a flowing list on the left hand side of my screen (I have actually typed out the "Flowing stuff" in the previous forums that I mentioned). Now, whenever I start my computer, I have to click on the "Pause-Break" key stop the scrolling, and then click on some more things to get Linux to come up. The various things that I have to do to get my computer up and running are quite frustrating, and not always the same sequence.

When I described Windows XP as "Gone", I simply meant that it does not show up when I look at the contents of my hard drive, but I'm confident that all the old files have not been completely erased. Due to my very limited experience with this sort of thing (read "none"), I don't know what to do, and I'm not confident in my ability to find lost files without doing more damage. Also, by "Barely works", I mean that my Linux installation won't send anything to my printer, does not underline misspelled words in these posts, etc. etc. I'm confident that I will learn how to do all the things once I get it installed properly, so I didn't go into detail about it.

As a "For instance", tonight I found a site on the internet that claims to be able to get information from a hard drive that is using Linux (cgsecurity.org). Actually, I found your post when I got on the computer to create a post asking if anyone is familiar with this site, or any similar site that might help me get info off my hard drive. The local "Computer repair shop" doesn't seem to know much about Linux, so I'm on my own.

A friend of mine has several old computers, and is willing to lend me a couple to use until I get Mine straightened out, or at least get what info I can off of the hard drive.

That's it for now, as it is late, I'm tired, and my friend with the extra computers is out of town for a few days.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby Derek_S on Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:08 am

Hello BoDill - The most important thing I can tell you - do not use that hard drive if you can help it. Every time you try to boot Windows you increase the chances of having those files overwritten. Take your friend up on his offer of a loaner pc. Once you have that, I suggest downloading the portable version of Piriform's Recuva and installing it on a USB stick. The link to download the portable version is here: http://www.piriform.com/recuva/builds - Be sure it's the portable version - .zip file

The instructions on how to use Recuva are here: http://www.piriform.com/docs/recuva - Please read and understand the difference between Wizard Mode and Advanced Mode

Please note: do not try to save any files that you recover back to the hard drive, use a second pre-formatted USB stick. Again, you do not want to perform any writes to the drive that you are attempting to recover data from.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby gold_finger on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:05 pm

@ ALL FORUM MEMBERS TRYING TO HELP:

Just to help clarify things for BoDill (I was involved in his last set of posts), he accidentally installed over the Windows partitions when installing Mint. His output from fdisk -l (on prior postings) showed that Windows partitions no longer exist. That's what he means by "Windows is gone".

Some of his data may be recoverable because it may not have been over-written by the Mint installation. That is what he is trying to find out and, if possible, recover. (He tried making a backup of Windows data before installing Mint to a USB stick, but the stick ran out of room before backup was finished. I'm not entirely clear on whether some data was successfully saved to it or not, or what type of backup he was doing.)

One question to Forum Members: In GParted, under "Device" there is an option called "Attempt Data Rescue". Does anyone know what that is used for? Do you think it's possible that the option might be able to roll back to prior partition table, which would show BoDill's Windows partitions as they were before Mint installation? Or is that option for doing something else?



@BoDill:

You might want to clarify a bit on how you tried originally backing up the Windows data to USB stick. Were you just copying data files over to it? Was it some kind of backup program? (If so, what program was it?) Were you "cloning" the partition? (If so, what cloning program was it?) Are you able to use any of the files on the USB? Or is it inaccessible? If documents, spreadsheets, pictures, etc. are on the USB, you should be able to open them in Mint. Can you do that?

As noted by others, safest to not use the corrupted disk at all before trying to recover the remaining data. Use either a live Mint DVD/USB or install Mint to another hard drive and use that for your web searching for answers. Or, use friend's spare Windows computer.

I don't have much experience trying data recovery, but have saved a few links on how to do it. Will provide those below for you to look through. Basically there are Windows-based tools and Linux-based tools. Despite the fact that Windows partitions on your drive were lost, you may be able to recover data that was not over-written by the installation of Mint. The tools for doing so will look at the whole drive in search of that now missing data. I don't know myself, but have seen many posts by forum member Mark Phelps on this topic and he has pointed people in your situation to using Windows-based tools to recover the old Windows data with some success. So I would first try following his advice in post below. Then, try what was recommended by Derek_S (above), because that is a Windows-based tool also.

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=138913#p738610


If no luck with either of them, then move on to trying Linux-based tools from a live Mint DVD/USB:

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EncqYP1ijFg

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

http://www.unixmen.com/recover-deleted-files-in-linux-with-photorec/


Note that you will need a drive at least as big as your original drive as the destination for any found files in the recovery process. So you'll need to have Windows or Mint running to conduct the recovery, your "bad" drive that you need to recover files from, and the "good" drive that recovered files will be saved to -- all attached to same computer.

Also note that the recovery process can take a very long time to run (possibly a full day).
Add "Solved" to title of thread if solution is found. (Go to your first post and hit "Edit" button.) This helps make it easier for others to find solutions that work.

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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby BoDill on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:58 pm

Well, this is the second time I've written a rather lengthy post and had it lost in space. I think it may be because “gold_finger” was posting at the same time. Lesson learned, from now on I write my posts in OpenOffice, or something similar, and copy them into the Linux Mint forum, saving a copy until I see it in the forum.

At any rate, thank you very, very much gold_finger and Derek_S; I plan to read, reread, and try all your recommendations within the next couple of days. For one thing, my friend with the extra computers is out of town for a few days, and for another, I have been spending all my time on this computer stuff. Believe it or not, after you tell me something in one of these posts, and there have been SEVERAL over the past few weeks, I spend hours trying to either do what you told me or researching the topic, etc. etc.

My actual business (oldmanleather.com) has been on the back burner for weeks now, and I'll use the next couple of days to get at least partly caught up.

To anyone who might be following my posts, I plan to write another post when this is all cleared up and relate my experience for the benefit of people like myself who are not “Computer wizards”. I will also put a cash contribution into Linux Mint!!!

As usual, thank you very much, and I'll “see you later”.

Bo
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby Mark Phelps on Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:46 pm

Unless your goal is to recover the entire former contents of the reformatted drive, you don't need another drive the same size. Since you have been using this drive, it's likely that you will have serious problems recovering files and folders because every time you use this drive, you risk overwriting more former files and folders.

My own experience recovering data from former Windows filesystems has been the best using RecoverMyFiles -- which is why I recommend it. You can try it out for free, but you need to install it to a Windows PC and you need to be able to connect your current drive to the same PC.

You could also try restoring the former Windows partition(s) using something like the Minitool Partition Wizard Boot CD -- but you have to download the ISO image, burn a CD and boot from that.

You could also try using Recuva -- another Windows data recovery app -- but this has a free version.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby Mute Ant on Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:26 pm

parted and his pretty sister gparted look for evidence of the start and end of file systems in disk-drive space and make a partition entry to match. I doubt option that will help this case.
Prefix your original post title with Voledsnu if the keyboard problem persists.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby BoDill on Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:39 pm

To Mark Phelps and all,

My friend with the extra computers bombed out as they are all junk, so I bought a used computer through the Internet. Since the new computer won't get here for a week or so, I'm going to spend the time catching up on work in my leather shop.

I plan to look into all the suggestions made in the previous posts, ask some friends about them, etc. etc. and eventually try to recover some information.

The compromised computer will eventually become my backup, as the one I am using now is ancient and painfully slow.

Also, I'm quite sure that I'm not done with this post, so watch for me again soon.

Bo

P.S. I have no idea who or what the "Mute Ant" thing is.
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Re: recover info from hard drive

Postby BoDill on Wed May 14, 2014 7:23 pm

This post is for the benefit of anyone who followed my forums (“Strange log on problems”, “Install from portable flash drive”, and “recover info from hard drive”), as I learned a lot from the experience.

First, without much computer experience, I backed up my Windows XP files on a small flash drive, and then “installed” Linux. I started into these posts because I thought that I had lost all my old Windows XP files, as they did not show up on the flash drive, and my Linux would not start until a lot of scrolling took place.

In my forum titled “strange log on problems” on April 26, a contributer called “wayne128” wrote that “there is nothing wrong with scrolling” followed by a laughing face icon. Apparently, he was right, but I thought he was kidding because of the laughing icon. After all these discussions, I finally broke down and took my computer to a repair shop.

The technician at the repair shop started the computer without hooking it to the INTERNET. Linux loaded immediately, and with NO SCROLLING. When I told him about my problems, he hooked my computer to the INTERNET and the scrolling took place. He very calmly said that the scrolling is normal.

Since I had purchased another used computer on the INTERNET, I tried looking at the flash drive stick again, and my lost files were on it!!!

Though I can't explain everything to everybody, I can tell you that my first mistake was in NOT CHECKING the files on the flash drive before moving on. The next mistake was trying to install Linux on the same hard drive as Windows XP. I believe it can be done, but not without some experience.

I now have two computers; one with Windows XP, and one with Linux. Now I can continue to learn Linux and run my On-Line-Business with the Windows computer until I become proficient with Linux.
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