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I got a new Windows 7 laptop, tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 for dual boot and messed up my hard drive partitions. So opted for a clean install of Ubuntu by formatting the entire disk. (Which makes my question different from this one, How to recover data from formatted swap?)

I need to use Windows every now and then so I was looking for a way to restore everything back to the factory setting. I didn't make the recovery disks, silly me right. I was wondering if I could reset everything back to the original setting, i.e., Windows 7 with the orignal 750GB HDD and the recovery partition which is still there. I can see the recovery partition as /dev/sdb in Ubuntu.

Is it possible to do this with testdisk, http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk ? If so how can I do it?

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No, I doubt testdisk will recover even a partially usable Windows installation after you installed Ubuntu over it twice; a lot of the original data has been overwritten and is now irretrievable.

Your best option is to look at the manual or online on how to use your recovery partition to restore the computer to its "factory" state -- the recovery partition should contain everything necessary to do so. This recovery mode is often triggered by pressing a special key combination at bootup, an option in the BIOS boot menu, etc.

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That was my concern exactly! I've taken your suggestion and just get the recovery kit from HP. Thanks. –  tsega Aug 6 '12 at 14:24
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Good choice @tsega! Make a few copies of the recovery kit DVDs when they come and keep them in different safe places ;). Please consider accepting the answer in this case. –  izx Aug 6 '12 at 14:35

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