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Background: i began with a single partition ~72MB, with Zorin OS 6 installed. Yesterday I was following these instructions to move my /home folder to a separate partition. After partitioning (Original partition - ~39MB, New partition - ~33MB), however, whenever I try to boot to my Zorin 6 installation, I receive a black screen and "could not write bytes: Broken pipe", along with other, varying stuff. I continued to follow those instructions from a liveUSB of Xubuntu 12.10. It was getting too complicated, however, so I just moved the files I wanted to keep onto the new partition using gksu thunar, and booted into my liveUSB to install Xubuntu 12.10 over Zorin.

I started the installer after choosing "Try Xubuntu without installing", and when it came to the option on how to partition, I chose "install over Zorin 6", and checked the "Use LVM" option. Then I clicked forward, but some error came up. (I can't really remember, I started to panic shortly after this) When I closed out of the installer and opened gParted to see what had happened, I saw that I had two partitions - a 255MB ext4, and a new 72 GB "unknown" partition, with a flag of "LVM". When I tried to mount the 33 GB partition still listed on my desktop, it was unable to - it received some error of "not enough space".

This is where I really started getting frantic - I tried to open the installer again, it wouldn't, so I shut down, and rebooted the liveUSB. This time choosing "Install Xubuntu" - I followed the same steps, and resigned myself that I lost the data, but after selecting the option to erase the whole disk and install. Immediately after it said that the installer had encountered an unrecoverable error; it was going to boot a live desktop so I can see what went wrong and/or to try the installer again. Afterwards it just stayed on a black screen. To wrap it up, I have three partitions:

  1. ~255MB, type "unknown", no flags
  2. ~72 GB, type "ext4", flag "LVM"
  3. Linux Swap

Question: Is there any way I can recover my data without being able to boot the installed OS?

I have a considerable amount of music, game data, etc. that I would really not want to lose, so any help is appreciated.

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This is highly confusing. What were your partioning starting point? How big did you made your new \home partition? (76? 32?) Please make clear the state of your system at each point. ---- Now some advices, if you want to recover data on a broken partion, stop writing things to it or booting from it. Use the live CD to boot and try your stuff. If you run out of alternatives, maybe this can help but it is quite a messy thing to do. –  Presbitero Nov 23 '12 at 19:47
    
@Presbitero Sorry about that; I just added a few things to try and clarify. I started with a partition of ~72 GB, with Zorin OS 6 installed. The new partition was ~33 GB, making the original partition now ~39 GB. Yeah, I knew that I needed to avoid using the drive at all, and not being able to boot into it has helped me avoid that :/ I'm going to take a look at that link now, and see where that takes me. –  DaimyoKirby Nov 23 '12 at 20:00
    
@Presbitero Man, that's awesome! I followed the instructions in you link, and TestDisk pulled both partitions back, just like they were. Thanks! How does this conclude? Are you going to make an actual answer so I can select it and upvote it and stuff, or should I just answer my own question? –  DaimyoKirby Nov 23 '12 at 23:30
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here are some advices, if you want to recover data on a broken partion, stop writing things to it or booting from it. Use the live CD to boot and try your stuff. If you run out of alternatives, maybe this can help but it is quite a messy thing to do.

ps: BTW I'm glad it worked, when I posted the link I thought that it would be kind of a long shot and was expecting someone to post something clever and easier.

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