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

Possible Duplicate:
Formatted and lost 6 years worth of photo memories.. any way to get this back?
Best tools to recover removed files
How do I recover Ubuntu partition after computer failure

One day before I had Ubuntu 11.10 on my laptop I was trying to install an mp3 application during the process something broke (As far as I know it removed bin and usr directory for some weird reason) and from the next reboot it was not going further grub screen, one black screen with no information on it.

I had then re-installed (Without formatting the partition) Ubuntu 11.04 on the same and the only partition I have. Do you or anyone in your knowledge know, how to get the old data back?? Any help or reference to help me out of this will be appreciated.


share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Marco Ceppi Jan 16 '12 at 14:55

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

i am very sorry my friend the chances of getting back the data are very less i would like to say ZERO – VENKI Jan 15 '12 at 13:41
If you didn't format then there is nothing gone to get back. If you did format, then it's time to restore from backup. – psusi Jan 15 '12 at 14:53
I didn't format it. I just installed 11.04 on top of 11.10 which was not booting at all. – Surya Jan 15 '12 at 17:40

Any way take a look at this:

Best tool to recover removed files

Formatted and lost 6 years worth of photo memories.. any way to get this back?

How to recover Ubuntu partition after computer failure?

Where the answers of some other people under those questions may also be helpful for you.

Good luck!

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the links. I'll keep this post updated if, anything works out. – Surya Jan 16 '12 at 5:12

Since you didn't format the partition , only *conflicted* files , e.g /bin/ls is removed by the installer , which means you need no data recovery files, they are just there.

Otherwise it's replaced by the installer , there's no way to get it back.


next time try to move your old files into a different folder before installation , e.g

mkdir /old
mv /.* /old

Note: You may not get enough disk space to install if you did this.


@Surya i won't expect a data recovery since you didn't format your hdd , make it short here , inode wasn't changing which means the data pointing to will be replaced , so impossible to find even a clue for those files being replaced. (But don't format it after seeing this ..)

And for the partition creating issue:

It's simple , but you need another bootable media to launch the following process:

Start another system , with e.g you ubuntu live cd or a USB start disk (there's a USB disk creator tool , search in software-center)

Try with resize2fs to resize your partition , and use fdisk to create another one when done

share|improve this answer
Does it include home/user_name/Desktop/ data too?? – Surya Jan 16 '12 at 8:52
@Surya , that won't be overwritten by the installer , just switch to that folder and take a look. I've done this in the old days , creating a user in the same name won't kill existing file in /home – warl0ck Jan 16 '12 at 12:45
I did check home/user_name/Desktop/ using testdisk but it doesn't show me any deleted files. May be they are untracked?? And yes I have created the same user_name I had before re-install. I've also tried foremost it doesn't show much information too. I feel I'm lost now :'( Well now for future I want to create a new partition and since I have only one drive(unfortunately which is a primary drive :( ). Is there any way to create a partition on that?? Or do I have to format and install the OS again after creating new partitions?? Please help!! – Surya Jan 16 '12 at 13:32
@Surya , see the update , it's possible. – warl0ck Jan 16 '12 at 13:58
Thanks for the info I'll try it out. – Surya Jan 17 '12 at 19:05

I would recommend you to use forensic tools like "photorec,testdisk,foremost,seluthkit,extcarve" to salvage some data out of the disk.

share|improve this answer

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