everyone! I'm an Ubuntu and tech rookie, so here's my question! I had my PC made double-boot (Windows and Ubuntu). However, my external hard disk could not be read by Ubuntu. Given this, I emptied it on Windows. Then, I switched to Ubuntu and formatted my disk into FAT, which is supposed to support both systems. After that, I switched back to Windows where I cut and pasted everything back to my disk. Everything appeared ok. I booted Ubuntu and I realized that, on Ubuntu, my disk appeared empty. Consequently, I switched once again to Windows and "puff!" the hard disk is empty on Windows too! All my important files were supposed to be there! As you can tell, this is a massive disaster. What could I do? Is there any way to get them back? I'd be grateful for your help!

Update: here's the output L. D. James asked for.

NAME   MOUNTPOINT                    LABEL              SIZE FSTYPE   UUID
sda                                                   119,2G          
├─sda1 /boot/efi                                        260M vfat     A6E2-A9DA
├─sda2                                                   16M          
├─sda3                               Windows           86,6G ntfs     C412539A12538FF2
├─sda4                               Windows RE tools   980M ntfs     F8D01F28D01EEC9E
└─sda5 /                                               31,4G ext4     3c15dab6-7c57-4602-a80b-57ccbeaa6117
sdb                                                   465,8G          
└─sdb1 /media/user/500GBTurboX       500GBTurboX      465,8G vfat     DD6A-FD92
sr0                                                    1024M          
sr1    /media/user/My CDROM          My CDROM           5,9M iso9660  2016-08-03-12-01-27-00

New update:

Filesystem     1K-blocks    Used Available Use% Mounted on
udev             3975276       0   3975276   0% /dev
tmpfs             800936    1608    799328   1% /run
/dev/sda5       32292640 7370472  23258732  25% /
tmpfs            4004672   19696   3984976   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs               5120       4      5116   1% /run/lock
tmpfs            4004672       0   4004672   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/loop0         14848   14848         0 100% /snap/gnome-logs/34
/dev/loop1          3840    3840         0 100% /snap/gnome-system-monitor/41
/dev/loop2         13312   13312         0 100% /snap/gnome-characters/96
/dev/loop3        142848  142848         0 100% /snap/gnome-3-26-1604/64
/dev/loop4          3456    3456         0 100% /snap/gnome-system-monitor/36
/dev/loop6         88704   88704         0 100% /snap/core/4650
/dev/loop5         21504   21504         0 100% /snap/gnome-logs/25
/dev/loop7         12544   12544         0 100% /snap/gnome-characters/69
/dev/loop8        143488  143488         0 100% /snap/gnome-3-26-1604/59
/dev/loop9         88704   88704         0 100% /snap/core/4486
/dev/loop10         2432    2432         0 100% /snap/gnome-calculator/170
/dev/loop11         1664    1664         0 100% /snap/gnome-calculator/154
/dev/sda1         262144   92476    169668  36% /boot/efi
tmpfs             800932      32    800900   1% /run/user/1000
/dev/sdb1      488264224   53952 488210272   1% /media/user/500GBTurboX
/dev/sr1            6002    6002         0 100% /media/user/My CDROM
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – terdon Jun 7 '18 at 13:09

The command output of the chat messages is indicating that your External hard disk isn't erased. The filesystem is corrupted due to not properly unmounting the drive.

This is a common problem with external drives. This data corruption can be avoided by being sure it's unmounted before disconnecting it.

This can be done from the commandline with this command (in your case of your /dev/sdb1):

$ sudo umount /dev/sdb1

It can be done from the GUI by clicking on the unmount icon in the file browser.

You run this command to fix the errors:

$ sudo dosfsck -a /dev/sdb1

You can run Testdisk from the repository to for more extensive file and disk recovery. Steps for doing this is provided here:
Help - Updates failed and lost all files

During the process of data recovery, be sure to minimize access to the problem drive. The more it's used will make data recovery from it harder, as the sectors containing data could possibly be overwritten.

When recovering files from a disk or partition, be sure to have a separate disk or partition for the recovery destination.

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