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I have a Toshiba satellite A-200 laptop with a Vista OS on it with 4 NTFS partitions

(C:) Vista 
(D:) Entertainment 
(E:) Work 
(F:) Sources

and I wanted to start using Ubuntu instead. So I tried it first from the live CD and everything was OK and all the partitions were shown and working and so I decided to install Ubuntu to replace Vista on the (C:) drive. After I did that I can no longer find my folders and files on the (D:), (E:), (F:) partitions and the only file system that is shown is one 198 GB although my HDD is 320 GB.

I can't access the lost data on the remaining 120 GB which I hope is still there and not totally lost

I am now working from the live CD but I am unable to install testdisk. Can I recover the Vista partitions by the product recovery CD to get my laptop back to the factory settings? Can I recover the NTFS partitions using a recovery program for Windows or will that make the problem worse?

I need these data badly as I don't have a backup for them.

share|improve this question
    
Which option you selected when installer asked you how to install (should be a screen similar to this)? –  Salem Apr 26 '13 at 20:26
    
I selected the second option Replace windows Vista with Ubuntu –  Totally newbie Apr 26 '13 at 20:52
    
Also read this: omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/ubuntu-installer-bug-wipes-partitions The wording in our installer seems wrong. –  Rinzwind yesterday

2 Answers 2

Unfortunately it seems you accidentally partitioned your whole drive replacing your Windows partitions with a single Ubuntu partition.

You will not be able to recover these partitions by restoring Vista with the recovery CD. In fact every write attempt to your hard drive will make things worse as remnants of your data may get more and more overwritten.

Encrypted partitions can not be recovered

You may however be able to recover your partitions with testdisk Install testdisk but you may not be able to recover all of your data. You can temporarily install testdisk on a live session too (however this will then not be a permanent installation).

  • Please have an external drive ready to save your recovered data before you proceed. You can't recover the data on the same drive.

  • Install testdisk from a live session ("Try Ubuntu") by:

    1. Adding the "Universe" repository to your software sources

      enter image description here

    2. Updating your apt cache in a terminal with

      sudo apt-get update

    3. browsing to above link, or by typing

      sudo apt-get install testdisk
      

      in a terminal.

  • Mount your external backup drive in the live session (e.g. with Nautilus) to be able to store recovered data later.

  • Follow the concise step by step guide on the Testdisk Wiki which will help you to recover lost partitions.

  • If you are not able to recover from an image of your overwritten drive (this will need an external drive with more than double the free space than your laptop's hard drive) you need to save all your data on an external drive soon after recovery.

  • You will not be able to recover your Windows installation, as this was overwritten by Ubuntu.

  • Only if you fail to recover partitions you may be able to recover single data file using PhotoRec from the TestDisk suite but this will not recover filenames, folder structures or time stamps of your files.

  • Do not use the drive before you were able to recover your lost data.


Copy data from the live system to an external drive

To be able to save our data to an external drive we need to mount both, the recovered partitions, and the external USB drive in the live environment. The below picture shows how the USB drive will be mounted on insertion (the internal partitions will be mounted on selecting them):

enter image description here

We can then copy & paste (or drag & drop) our rescued files from the internal drive to the external drive (e.g. by opening a separate Nautilus window, or in releases < 13.04 by adding an extra pane with F3 ). From the command line we can issue:

copy -a /<mountpoint_source>/* /media/ubuntu/<name_destination>

After sucessful copy we need to unmount the drives to avoid data loss. This will be done in Nautilus from a right click context menu or on the command line:

sudo umount /media/ubuntu/<name>

Copy single files using testdisk

In case we were unable or did not want to recover the partition table we may try to copy selected files or directories with testdisk from the <Advanced> Filesystem Utils menu:

enter image description here

In above example I had selected examples.desktop and rsynctest folder by pressing : . To copy these files we press C for the next menu giving the file hierarchy of our running system. We have to browse to the mountpoint of our external drive (here /media/23GB_USB but this will probably be /media/ubuntu/<name_of_device in your case). The content of our USB is now listed, and can be browsed for deeper directories:

enter image description here

When we press C in the example above our above selected example.desktop, and the folder rsynctest will be copied to the external USB drive.

To verify we had succeeded we can now open Nautilus in our live system and see the content of the rescued files. After we are done, do not forget to unmount the USB drive.

share|improve this answer
    
i'll try that, but why did it shows only 200 GB out of the 320 GB, doesn't that mean that they are there but it can't see them? –  Totally newbie Apr 26 '13 at 21:23
    
i managed to install testdisk and i run it but it only shows the partitions that is already shown in the system with only 200 GB what shall I do now??? –  Totally newbie Apr 27 '13 at 12:14
    
i did the deeper search and it found 2 partitions of the 3... Now I need to copy the files to the Usb that i attach to the lap and I need to choose it from the list shown but I don't know how... how can i find it??? Help –  Totally newbie Apr 27 '13 at 14:53
    
I did already followed the instructions and I already copied files abd folders to the home.. but now i want to copy them directly to the USB.. so what should I choose to do that? is it media as I found the location for the USB is media/ubuntu –  Totally newbie Apr 27 '13 at 15:07
    
I am so so sorry but I am really a totally newbie and i'm now alitle bit confused. now i am at the screen of testdisk that it shows me the list of the folders and files in the partition and i select the ones that i need and i copy them by pressing C letter on my keyboard BTW it told me at the beging that the partition cannot be recovered however i can access the folders :( i'm confused –  Totally newbie Apr 27 '13 at 16:00

DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING ON YOUR HARDDRIVE! Don't install any software, updates or anything else, if possible don't even use Ubuntu until you recovered your data. Else, you will render yor data unrecoverable!

Download SystemRescueCd and burn it. Use it to recover your old partition table. After recovering it, copy all data to an external drive. You will probably be able to recover most of your data, although some will likely be lost forever. After copying your data you can safely install Ubuntu over the entire disk. After that, you can create more partitions if you want and copy the data back to your PC.

Keep in mind, that regular backups are always a good thing to have. (Ubuntu has a tool for that, just hit the Windows key and type "backup".

share|improve this answer
2  
Recovery from SystemRescueCD is also done with TestDisk, which is included in this disk. However it may be a bit difficult to download and burn a CD when you should not use your computer's hard disk. –  Takkat Apr 26 '13 at 21:35
1  
That's right. It would have do be done on another machine. Your solution seems better. –  Donarsson Apr 26 '13 at 21:40
3  
Best solution is to always have a rescue system handy in the drawer ;) –  Takkat Apr 26 '13 at 21:42

protected by Community Dec 18 '13 at 2:43

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