Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have installed ubuntu about an hour ago, and during the installation I took some horrible steps which accordingly resulted in a terrible conclusion.

I knew what I was doing. I just wanted to install ubuntu over my windows 7, completely replacing it. First I booted with a USB, selected install ubuntu option, then selected replace windows, and then next, and then I clicked on the install button. Without another word, the installation started immediately. And shortly after then a message box popped over my screen and just told me that I am doomed now("The entire disk will be used for install" or something like that..). And suddenly I noticed that there was a little orange line of text saying "Advanced partition options" at the lower middle portion of the screen. I thought clicking the install button will automatically bring me to the partition menu. But sadly that didn't happen.

Well, you see it was too late. I even tried to interrupt it by restarting during the installation. But after restart, I realized that the damage is done. All the previous partitions are gone. So I completed my installation by partitioning my HD(250 GB) as 2.00 GB for swap and 50.00 GB for linux. And after the installation, guess what? There is no trace of that 198.00 GB HD space. All there is is the file system(which says 255 MB volume) and the HOME(the 50 GB one I guess).

Frankly speaking, I am a complete noob at OS installation(except windows). So I have no idea of what exactly has happened with my HD. I tried

sudo fdisk -l

It gives me this as output.

Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders, total 488397168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0001c5a7

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048      499711      248832   83  Linux
/dev/sda2   *      499712    98156543    48828416   83  Linux
/dev/sda3        98156544   102062079     1952768   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Finally my question--

  1. Is there a way to fix all these, I mean can I get my old partitions back? If not the partitions, can I at least have the data which were in the HD before before ubuntu installation? Please, I can't lose them, I have kept those in my HD for almost 5-6 years.

  2. How to view the HD through file system or something like that? Its like the entire 200 GB has gone missing. I can't find them anywhere.enter image description here

Lastly, thanks in advance.

EDIT : This is the GParted version of my current partitions. Now can you please tell me how can I use that unallocated space?

share|improve this question
Your files are gone. You might be able to get them back if a professional can take a look at your hard drive an attempt to recover what hasn't yet been over written, but basically, you've borked it. BTW "installing Ubuntu over Windows 7" indicates you were trying to replace Windows 7. The fact that you didn't choose the option to install alongside Windows 7 backs that up. Is that (replacing Windows 7) what you were trying to do? If so, you would have lost all your files (and the installer has a warning about that IIRC). – RolandiXor Sep 18 '13 at 15:43
@ RolandiXor Yes, my intension was the option "installing Ubuntu over Windows 7". – allocated Sep 18 '13 at 15:46
You can use Gparted from a Live system to see where is the space no partitioned, to see the 200GB. About your data, you really borked it, you should have read twice what was being done since there is a fine warning that says "This will delete all your data". – Braiam Sep 18 '13 at 16:10
You need to recover the remnants of your partitions:… – Takkat Sep 18 '13 at 19:42

Linux is not large. But it writes randomly to hard drive not at beginning like Windows. So much of your data may still be on hard drive, but difficult to get to.

Stop using hard drive, only use live system, but Ubuntu live system uses swap and if you have data in swap area on drive it may overwrite that. Most Linux recoveryCD like parted magic or gparted will boot without activating swap.

You can try testdisk. It may see old partitions and deeper search may show files. That would be best case as then you can copy files with full file names. If that does not work then testdisk has photorec which just scans drive for anything that looks like a file, but only restores with file extension not file name. Slow process to run, lots of space on your backup drive needed and then lots of work to rename files. ( I have done it just for a few files and it took forever).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.