EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Quick to answer questions about finding your way around Linux Mint as a new user.
Forum rules
There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.
Before you post please read how to get help
User avatar
meToo
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:52 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by meToo »

Every time I've installed linux distros, the installer has warned of possible data loss and offered a 'something else' option rather than formatting the whole drive. Did you not get this warning, if not which installer did you use? I want to be sure to exclude use of that in the future.

A net search brought up the following https://www.wondershare.net/ad/data-recovery/ but I can't claim any knowledge of it, it claims 100% safe. Look it up but the decision to use or not is yours.

Good luck and keep backups.
Last edited by meToo on Sun May 16, 2021 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lenovo T520 i5, 8GB ram, 1TB HDD Mint 19.3 Tricia XFCE
User avatar
absque fenestris
Level 10
Level 10
Posts: 3193
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:42 pm
Location: Confoederatio Helvetica

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by absque fenestris »

To be honest, I don't know. I'm thinking if the FBI can sweep hard drives and such to get lost contents, shouldn't the general public be able to locate and recover lost data.
It's purely a question of price. In a professional laboratory with the appropriate budget, a lot is possible. And a good piece of propaganda must also be considered.
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (MATE) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook
Linux Mint 20.0 Ulyana (Cinnamon) - Huawei MateBook X Pro
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

Moem wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 4:14 pm
ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 3:21 pm
unfortmating my USB Drive
I don't think unformatting is a thing that exists. It's like unboiling an egg.
And yes, as said above, any and all write actions on that disk will make thing worse, not better. The more writing is done to your disk, the more data gets overwritten, making it unrecoverable.

So did you or did you not see a prompt or a warning about 'formatting'?

No, that is what I said earlier this morning. I didn't see a warning or such. With YUMI, you can safely add Linux OS, the other contents on the flash drive are safe and not touch or bother. I reached out to a computer repair shop here in Shreveport to see they can help me. Tomorrow, when I installed a new graphics card on a Windows PC I'm try and see if I can recover the flash drive from a Windows PC.

I haven't added anything new or delete anything from flash drive, the only thing I've done is run Testdisk and PhotoRec to try & recover the stuff from the flash drive
User avatar
Moem
Level 21
Level 21
Posts: 13057
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:14 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by Moem »

ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 4:22 pm
With YUMI, you can safely add Linux OS, the other contents on the flash drive are safe and not touch or bother.
That is true, but that is a very specific property of Yumi. It can create multiboot media. Most tools that are used to create bootable media cannot do that.

Best of luck, I hope you get your data back.
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!
User avatar
absque fenestris
Level 10
Level 10
Posts: 3193
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:42 pm
Location: Confoederatio Helvetica

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by absque fenestris »

With YUMI, you can safely add Linux OS, the other contents on the flash drive are safe and not touch or bother.
No, that is just your fatal error. Never, never use a medium with valuable data on it for any experiments.
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (MATE) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook
Linux Mint 20.0 Ulyana (Cinnamon) - Huawei MateBook X Pro
DAMIEN1307
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 3974
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:13 pm
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by DAMIEN1307 »

This was the best i could come up with for an answer...This can be done on either a Windows or Mac machine...Don't think it works with doing it from a Linux machine though...Wishing you the best...DAMIEN

Ps...
Just remember to stop using the device you have accidentally formatted until you have recovered its data. There’s a good chance you can get that lost information back.
https://www.handyrecovery.com/recover-d ... usb-drive/
ORDO AB CHAO
"I refuse to be assimilated, I refuse to become one with the Borg Collective"
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

DAMIEN1307 wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 4:43 pm
This was the best i could come up with for an answer...This can be done on either a Windows or Mac machine...Don't think it works with doing it from a Linux machine though...Wishing you the best...DAMIEN

Ps...
Just remember to stop using the device you have accidentally formatted until you have recovered its data. There’s a good chance you can get that lost information back.
https://www.handyrecovery.com/recover-d ... usb-drive/
I appreciate that link

I'm not going to fool with the flash drive anymore till I can either get it to a place here in Shreveport or once I installed a new graphics card on this Windows PC, try to use Recuva program
gittiest personITW
Level 8
Level 8
Posts: 2411
Joined: Tue May 28, 2019 4:27 pm

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by gittiest personITW »



I'm not going to fool with the flash drive anymore till I can either get it to a place here in Shreveport or once I installed a new graphics card on this Windows PC, try to use Recuva program
That is probably the best thing you could do.
If the drive is NTFS you could also try GetDataBackNTFS or GetDataBackFAT in Windows.
Recuva also works as well as can be expected.

If you take it to a shop they will use this or similar software.
If you take it to a specialist, they will take the chip out and do all their work in a clean room with VERY specialist equipment.
The FBI has a little more funds than I'm betting you have.
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

Just to give a update -

I ran R - Studio and it looks like the majority of my stuff is still there. I didn't go through all the R - Studio links though. Albeit for example my Puroresu ( Japanese Pro Wrestling ) folder that had over 18,000 files / folders within the folder including pictures were all broken up in different sections. The folders still had the original names and the pictures still had the original file names, so there is that. I guess a consolation prize is okay

Tomorrow I'm try some Windows recovery software once I install the new graphics card I bought this past week and see if I get better results
User avatar
zcot
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by zcot »

That data that was under the now 2.9GB is gone, the rest should be fine and retrievable, without folder structures and names. The first 1.9GB was positively overwritten, but a 1GB cache partition is added as a usage area during live session boot. If you didn't boot that live session after doing this, then it's possible a small part of the 1GB cache area is not physically overwritten and could be retrieved, but if you booted it then at least some part of that is overwritten and the original is gone.

You can retrieve data from the sectors of a drive, without using the table of contents, but not after you have overwritten it physically. The FBI can't do it either. Or a magician, or pc repair shop -it is absolutely gone.

If you simply format a drive, it only erases the table of contents so-to-speak, so it appears that nothing is on the drive. In your case, the table was removed and a new one was added that shows the current structure, but that only takes up the 2.9GB of 16GB. The rest of the data after that can be retrieved and one or both of those programs you mentioned can do it. Beyond that, there is absolutely no way that the data under the first 1.9GB is retrievable. It was positively overwritten and will never be regained, it's impossible. Maybe, even probably, that next 1GB cache area will have some data that can be retrieved, which is good also.

Any random file in question will likely take up more than one sector on a drive, and there is a link to the next sector in each of those cases. If a file takes up 5 sectors then 4 of the sectors will have a pointer to the next sector. At the end, there is an end marker of the file. These recovery softwares simply traverse each sector looking for pointers, and they can very manually and laboriously piece everything together. But in some cases you can image where a boundary was broken and you only get the last half of a file(or the beginning, or middle). If a disk is highly fragmented(adding files, deleting files, adding more files, repeat) where the files are less sequentially oriented across the sectors then there is more possibility that a boundary of the file is broken in the point of area that was positively overwritten and forever irreversible, and the area that was utterly untouched and still intact, just missing its obvious table of contents.

If you happened to have had Yumi on that stick then you are probably in great luck!! -because it would likely be taking up more than the first 2.9GB which means only that stuff was erased, and the rest of your important stuff was on the physical sectors past that point. The so-referred-to "table of contents" on a drive is, yep, "backed up", because it's that important, so there is always 2 versions. In some states in a case like this you would be able to use the backup content and replace it to the main used table and and possibly regain nearly everything beyond the definitely overwritten Yumi area.

Anyway, good luck.

Btw, this exact same thing would happen on Windows if you used the "burn iso" feature. I'm just mentioning it. An iso file is just like any other file in some senses, but you generally don't just open an iso like you would a jpg, -you "burn" it, you "image" it to a medium. It's akin to cloning a partition and writing data onto a physical area removes the data that was previously there, just by the fact of that action. It's not like a piece of paper where you might write a word, then erase it and write another word on top, and then maybe somehow use inks and certain lights or X-ray and be able to visualize that first word written again. And Linux or Windows, or otherwise, it's a destructive copy onto the disk, and each of the operating systems are the same.
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

@ZCOT, I appreciate the help. It gives me a little bit hope that all is not lost.

I didn't want to " your post, so please forgive me.

Once I downloaded the fresh install of Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20.1 and I saw that it completely took over my flash drive, I didn't boot up and use it.

Also, I did have YUMI install on that flash drive. That is how I would install any Linux Mint Cinnamon OS. Unfortunately, the graphics card burnt out on the PC I used and I should had been more patient and wait till I got the graphics card tomorrow, install it then download a new fresh install of the Linux Mint OS.

I contacted a Data Recovery specialist here in my local area of Shreveport / Bossier, to see what can be done. It's probably going to cost me, but if I can somehow get my stuff back the same exact way before Linux Mint OS took control of my flash drive, then I'll have to pay!
User avatar
zcot
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by zcot »

ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:13 pm
I didn't boot up and use it.

Also, I did have YUMI install on that flash drive.
That's all GREAT news!

at the minimum you probably had at least 1 iso with Yumi, so the chances seem good that you can get almost, if not ALL, of the stuff recovered! :D

So, btw, maybe pick up another usb stick, or two(or multipack) while you're out and about. It's kinda surprising how you can pick up a 5 or 10 pack of these things nowadays. ;)
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

zcot wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:57 pm
ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:13 pm
I didn't boot up and use it.

Also, I did have YUMI install on that flash drive.
That's all GREAT news!

at the minimum you probably had at least 1 iso with Yumi, so the chances seem good that you can get almost, if not ALL, of the stuff recovered! :D

So, btw, maybe pick up another usb stick, or two(or multipack) while you're out and about. It's kinda surprising how you can pick up a 5 or 10 pack of these things nowadays. ;)
Yea I did have YUMI on the flash drive, I had Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20 on it originally and it was still on YUMI when this horrible event happen. I never got a chance to remove it. I usually remove the previous OS through YUMI whenever Linux releases a new updated Linux Mint Cinnamon OS. I upgraded Linux Mint Cinnamon OS this time directly from the Download / Software Manager through Linux. The last couple of days, it start running rough, so that is when I downloaded a fresh install last night of Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20.1 through Linux itself and that is where I start running into this matter and issue of Linux completely taking over my flash drive.

My only other question, is how do I properly removed the install of Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20.1 that is now on there without further damaging the flash drive?

I'm leave it on there for now, till I can fully recovery all of my files and folders. I was just wondering how to remove it if I can once I'm able to recover all of my folders and files from the flash drive.
User avatar
zcot
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by zcot »

I hope I can clear up a few things. I think you might have some misconceptions going here.
ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 11:14 pm
I upgraded Linux Mint Cinnamon OS directly from the Download / Software Manager through Linux.
If you are running a system from this Yumi install, you are actually just running what we call "the live session", it's simply a test environment of the full desktop, -a "test drive" situation. You can't save any files, when you reboot, all will be lost and any customizations you made are lost. It's actually running off of a "read only" filesystem. But within that live session there is the "installer" program, and that program allows you to fully make a real system installation onto some other drive(even a usb stick), and all changes will be saved from boot to boot. 10 years ago it was popular to do these test-drive setups as "a persistent install", so it would act like an actual installed operating system and you could save stuff and make changes during use and still have it after you rebooted. But these "persistent installs" fell out of popularity because disk drives have become cheap, and because these "persistent" setups will eat up a usb stick quickly, and because they do not all always work fully correctly for some particular system(certain hardware setups are not really running very well and only using generic drivers so it's a potential big performance hit compared to a real install), and also the persistent setups are not designed around the same security model of an actual install. Anyway, this Yumi setup is giving you a false view of what is actually at play here. When you are using "the live session / installer" you shouldn't be trying to upgrade or update stuff really. It's a read only system, although there is the extra 1GB cache that can be used and it will let you do a variety of non-read-only actions, but if you rebooted, it would still be lost. But the Yumi situation does set up a different situation where you have some persistence to changes between boots. It's not an "installation", it's still just a test-drive environment.

I'm not familiar enough with exactly how Yumi is implementing persistence with this but in general it's not a preferred method to try to be using this as a long term setup. But, it's fine for just booting the system and using it(including saving files to an alternate personal data partition).

What most people do, is burn the image to the usb stick, boot up, and run the installer to actually make a fully installed operating system onto a drive, even a usb stick, or removable usb drive. For example like this: http://linuxmint-installation-guide.rea ... en/latest/ And doing it on a simple usb stick would require more than a 16GB stick though, at the very least a 32GB stick. If you wanted to pursue that in the future you could check out this guide and of course there are plenty of users here that would be glad to help you through any questions or issues. See the guide here: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=287353
ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 11:14 pm
how do I removed the install of Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20.1 that is now on there?
You format the usb stick clean, and it will become a 16GB stick again. If you look at it right now it appears to be a 2.9GB drive. 2.9GB, 0 free space. It's because that's how iso's work. The usb is in fact 16GB but it was "imaged" with the iso you used, so it just seems like the size of the iso. It all comes down to partition sizes and the disks table of contents.

Most of us keep the original usb stick that the iso was burned to and just use that as a "recovery disk" if ever needed. Or you can just format and reuse it until you might need a recovery later in which case you can just download and burn it up again using another computer and use it.

If you have a few usb's laying around it's nothing to toss the original in the back of the desk drawer for later.

You CAN get into partition and disk management on this usb stick and make modifications to the point to where you could use it like you were using the Yumi setup before. But you can't do that from that usb stick, you would have to boot some other system to do it because you can't do partition management on mounted partitions. But this whole thing is complex and absurd when you you can just format the thing and start over and less than a minute.

ChrisJNorris wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 11:14 pm
running into this matter and issue of Linux completely taking over my flash drive
Again, just so you really grasp it, Linux or Mint specifically did not take over your flash drive. The same exact thing would've happened on Windows, or a Mac rig. I completely understand what you are saying, and agree to the terms you are describing. But, what actually happened is that you made a user error just simply because of your lack of knowledge of what was going on. I would blame it on the Yumi environment that you've become accustomed to. But in the end, when you "burn an image", or "image an iso", "image a cd file", "burn a bin file" to some medium, the end effect is that it makes an exact copy of that file onto some other medium, -hence it appears your usable 16GB usb stick has now become a mere 1.9GB stick and you can't use the rest of the space. It actually writes the "iso", -the "image" in a byte-by-byte format onto the usb stick, and it populates the "table of contents" to reflect the exact folder and file layout of that "image". If you format the stick, it returns to being a blank 16GB stick again(and as mentioned before, it actually just clears the table of contents so it can be used fresh as needed but the data on the sectors is still there until you overwrite onto each and every one of them).

-pretty long winded, but hopefully that puts some more clarity into the situation.

Anyway, so do the file rescue stuff and then you can start over with this stick. ;)
ChrisJNorris
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by ChrisJNorris »

@ZCOT, that is a long winded answer so I'll try to keep my answer short

With YUMI, what I would do is download the new Linux Mint Cinnamon OS every time it is released. So I would tell YUMI to delate the previous Linux Mint Cinnamon OS and add the new download. It work for me every time and all of my other contents were never touch or harm. I would do this every time from a Windows PC

So for example, as I said previously. I had YUMI with Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20 on the flash drive. I never got around to deleting it. It's still there on the flash drive right now. I decided to just upgrade to the 20.1 Linux Mint Cinnamon OS when it was released through the Update Manger. It started running really sloppy a few days ago, so I decided to just download a fresh install myself and start over with Linux Mint Cinnamon OS 20.1

I wouldn't run YUMI or my flash drive every single time I boot up my laptop, I think there is misunderstanding with the post mainly on my part. I would add the OS to my laptop using the YUMI bootable drive and that is it. I would remove the flash drive once I upload the Linux Mint install. YUMI would stay on my flash drive so when Linux would update with a new fresh Linux Mint Cinnamon OS. I go to the Windows PC, download it from the Linux Mint website then run YUMI to delete the previous OS and add the newer OS. Then I would go back to the laptop and add the new Linux Mint Cinnamon OS. I didn't ever like updating through the Update Manger, cause even know everyone says it was safe, I'm OCD and I was scared about losing my files and folders. Well look at me now

I had to use YUMI for me, because every single time I try adding a new Linux Mint Cinnamon OS on the flash drive using Linux Mint itself, it would never work for me in the past. I cough that up to my inexperienced with Linux even after all these years using it. I know a lot about computers, but as far as the command line and terminal and the coding of such, that is way out of my comfort zone and expertise
abraunegg
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:18 pm

Re: EMERGENCY! Please Don't Tell Me My Entire USB Drive Contents Is NOT Gone!

Post by abraunegg »

@ChrisJNorris
I would use it to transfer stuff to my OneDrive, since there is no OneDrive option on Linux.
Just for your future reference there are OneDrive clients for Linux:
  • Rclone (1 directional, has issues with SharePoint API oddities etc)
  • Commercial / paid clients
Post Reply