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I have got a laptop from one my friend which has installed Ubuntu by choosing a wrong option and has re-partitioned the entire hard drive and has lost all his private files.

I booted the laptop by a live Linux CD and I can see 4 partitions. First, one system partition 1,86 GB NTFS, then 2 X 46.5GB for Ubuntu and lastly a 603GB unallocated partition.

He doesn't need to keep Ubuntu just wants to back his files as there are crucial. I know some parts of data have been overwritten but wondering if there is a way that I can recover the data?

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Try using testdisk through a liveDVD or liveUSB.

Install it sudo apt-get install testdisk. Then try recover partition.

Next time backup your data before doing anyhing that important and risky as installing an operating system.

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Backup your data regularly or sooner or later something will eat it, and it probably won't be something you expected to. – psusi Dec 3 '12 at 14:38

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