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I previously had Heron 8.04 installed. Today I decided to upgrade.

During the partition phase of the install of 10.10 it asked me what portion of the drive I should use. There were a few options:

  • Drag the partition size to indicate what I wanted to use
  • A button that said use entire partition
  • A button that said use entire drive

I selected use entire partition as the Windows partition did not appear on the screen I assumed this was just displaying the existing Ubuntu partition.

After install I think I have wiped my entire Windows partition, I can't see it anywhere.

I would appreciate some advice as to find if it really is gone forever (My stupidity I didn't back up my Windows partition which includes 3 years of baby photos).


UPDATE: Thanks all for your great answers. I read on a forum last night about Active Partition Recovery. I didn't realise it was a commercial product, so the demo doesn't let you recover, but it did allow me to see that the whole partition still exists somewhere on the drive. It even let me see the individual files.

As suggested I have stopped doing anything with the drive until I can give Testdisk a try. If this works I will confirm it in a separate answer for future reference.

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There is a good chance to recover the photos even in the less likely case that the installer used your Windows partition. Don't write to the drive in case you need to recover –  Takkat Feb 9 '11 at 11:46
    
Takkat's bold point cannot be stressed enough. Personally, I'd not even boot the drive, just run off liveusb. –  djeikyb Feb 9 '11 at 13:21
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8 Answers 8

You can see all of your partitions by running System->Administration->Disk Utility. Once the window opens, click on your hard drive on the right hand side. Have a look at the partitions.

If one of the partitions is an NTFS partition, it is likely that this is your Windows partition. If it is there, you can access the partition from the Places menu.

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Thanks for this, it was the first thing I checked, but unfortunately it didn't show in there after the first boot, thus my panic. –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 9 '11 at 21:37
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Until you know what happened, stop using the computer. Even if you did re-use the partition, there is a chance you did not overwrite all of the stuff on it and you may be able to recover. But the chance of recovering goes down the longer you use the partition!

All the work you do to recover should be from a bootable CD or USB key so you don't risk overwriting something.

Personally, I like the System Rescue CD as it bundles a lot of good stuff in one place.

Good Luck.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I want to add this as a reference to others. Here is how I fixed it:

  1. Try to avoid doing anything else with the disk. I installed TestDisk on my drive as part of the recovery effort, but I only had a single drive. A safer option would be to install Ubuntu to a thumb drive and then install the TestDisk package there.

  2. Ran TestDisk and recovered the partitions and wrote back to disk. Note this still didn't fix my MBR with Gnome 2 installed.

  3. Booted from 10.10 CD and was able to mount the 2 previous partitions. Copied contents including my precious photos onto a 16GB thumb drive.

  4. Wiped drive and reinstalled Windows and Ubuntu (carefully reading instructions this time to correctly specify partition).

Lessons learned:

  1. Always back up your data before doing anything!
  2. Always read the instructions before doing anything! If I wasn't hasty I wouldn't have screwed up the partitioning. The second time I did it I read carefully and I easily saw where I went wrong.
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A big thanks to everyone here who helped with suggestions and gave me a swift education in recovering files and drives. Especially to user @htorque who spent 20 minutes in chat discussing my issue. –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 11 '11 at 21:54
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Yes, you have trashed your Windows install. That screen normally shows what it is going to do with your Windows partition. By default it splits it and shows Windows on one side, and Ubuntu on the other. Choosing to use the entire partition does away with the split and has Ubuntu use the whole partition, replacing Windows. This was a bad user interface choice in 10.10 and is a known bug. See https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/655950.

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Unfortunately when I saw this screen it didn't show my windows partition so I thought it was only showing my old 8.04 Ubuntu partition and leaving the Windows untouched. Again, my bad for not backing up. –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 9 '11 at 21:32
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In case you can't see your NTFS Windows partition by using Disk Utility as recommended by dv3500ea, or by typing

`fdisk -l`

from the command line you may indeed have messed up your partition from the bug psusi mentioned.

To recover the remainders of your data I suggest you try to do this with PhotoRec, quite a powerful tool to recover data even from heavily corrupted partitions or drives.

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Probably you had installed ubuntu on your windows partition.If so maybe you can recover some of your files with TestDisk http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Please post output of this command:

df -h

It shows information about your partitions.

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rather use fdisk -l to show all partions (df shows mounted partitions only) –  Takkat Feb 9 '11 at 11:40
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Funny, I was just reading this post recovering files with Testdisk or Foremost.

Best tool to recover removed files

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If you can't find the disk you can use TestDisk to recover the parititon, otherwise you can recover the files from the partition using foremost.

Please enter in terminal:

cat /proc/partitions

Can you please put the results here?

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