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Recently I have installed Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 on a USB flash drive and decided to install it on an old external HDD which I have taken out of the casing and succesfully mounted in my desktop computer. There is no other operating system besides the newly install Ubuntu. However, there is about 500gb of data on the drive. This is why i used a partitioning software on my windows 7 netbook to partition the hard drive to set aside 1tb for files, 350gb of space for linux and the remaining 650gb for Vista which i plan on installing soon. But this is where the problem sets in...when installing Ubuntu it does not recognize that the drive is partitioned at all, it's just one big open block of space...so I used the installers built in partitioning feature to set aside 300gb for main Ubuntu install and 50gb for swap space. I set both of these partitions to be created at the "end" so that it wouldn't delete or write over my data. And this is where i am really lost; when booting into Ubuntu i am able to use it perfectly fine, got on internet, etc...but i have NO CLUE as to how i can view files that were previously on the drive (all of my data that i had prior to install).

How can I mount/be able to view the other partition so that i can have access to my data? Thank you ahead of time! I REALLY appreciate any help or advice! ~Preston

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1 Answer 1

I'm sorry to tell you this, but your files are likely to be gone.

Any partitioning/formatting/installing operation is potentially dangerous and it is important to have a backup of your important data before doing anything. Especially if you have no experience with partitioning or clear understanding of what is going on. Especially when the partitioning tools see the drive as "one big open block of space".

The problem was likely caused by Windows converting the disk to so-called "dynamic disk" - see this for some details: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1705481

If the files were important, you can try to recover them - the data (at least some of it) is likely still on the disk. The first thing to do in this case would be to stop all use of the disk immediately.

I'm not too familiar with recovery tools, but basically the procedure would involve creating a snapshot of the disk (which is a bit problematic with a 2Tb drive as you'll need a bigger drive to store the snapshot) and then using some program which would try to find the partition. This answer explains how to use TestDisk program and provides helpful links.

Regarding partitioning - now, when your disk is not a "dynamic volume" anymore, you can use GParted to add some partitions in the free space. Installing Windows after you intalled Ubuntu will override the bootloader so you won't be able to boot into Ubuntu, but it's reasonably easy to fix with Ubuntu LiveCD

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I was afraid of this and was really hoping that because of the speedy install, that it hadn't deleted my files. Luckily, I did back up my music and pictures! How would I go about recovering the data? Also, how could I partition this in Ubuntu (or in windows) so that I can put my files and vista on there (but on different partitions)? Thanks!! –  Preston Zacharias Apr 24 '12 at 1:44
    
I took out the 2tb hard drive and hooked it up to my netbook (via the original SATA to usb adapter it came with) and it doesn't show up under "My Computer". I opened my partitioning software and it shows that it is 1.82tb of unallocated space. It says 0 bytes are used and I am now running a test on it via the partitioning software (Mini Tool Partition Wizard) If I get it recovered how should I go about installing Ubuntu? Should i install windows first then download Wubi and create a dual boot? Or will windows delete my files too? –  Preston Zacharias Apr 25 '12 at 0:41
    
It is generally recommended to install Windows first and then to let Ubuntu to resize Windows partition to make some space for itself. This ensures that GRUB (Ubuntu bootloader) is properly installed and can boot both Ubuntu and Windows (if Windows installed second, on the other hand, it will wipe the bootloader and possibly the Ubuntu partition). The only problem is to make sure the disk is not "dynamic volume" in Windows, which is a proprietary thing nothing but Windows understands. –  Sergey Apr 25 '12 at 9:29
    
Ok, how do i make sure that is not a "dynamic volume"? –  Preston Zacharias Apr 25 '12 at 9:58
    
In Windows Disk Management tool each disk is marked as "Basic" or "Dynamic". There are also options to convert one to another. I do not have access to Windows so I can't give you step-by-step instructions, but if you google for "windows dynamic volume" and go to Images you'll see what I mean –  Sergey Apr 25 '12 at 10:09

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