I mistakely installed ubuntu over my 1tb drive removing essential data and photos which took about 5 mins to install, so I want to know if I can use ddrescue in Ubuntu to create a virtual image of the drive to and then use TestDisk/Photorec to recover lost data? Or is it more recommended to use testdisk straight on the HDD drive?

  • It would be useful to know what files stem was on the original drive, but yeah one more copy is better than none! Jun 29, 2018 at 13:50
  • See my answer on another question and proceed with "Copy single files using testdisk" there. DD cloning 1 TB takes ages and only makes sense on a broken drive where each single read access harbours a high risk for terminal drive death.
    – Takkat
    Jun 29, 2018 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


Recover from a cloned copy or image

Yes, it is a good idea to make a cloned copy or an image with ddrescue and do the recovery job on the cloned copy. It reduces the risk, that the recovery attempts will damage what is still possible to recover on the drive.


Accidentally did dd /dev/sda - See also the other answers.

Repair the partition table and file system of a pendrive - scroll down to find 'Advanced repair of a partition table, file system and/or recovery of files'

  • As it is a good idea to recover data form a clone of a broken drive it may be a bit overkill if the drive is healthy. Cloning takes horribly long.
    – Takkat
    Jun 29, 2018 at 14:03
  • The drive is healthy and is running ubuntu perfectly well but a problem occurred where when using Photorec to recover previous data, the reading got stuck in a range and didn't skip nor move on but just keeps on reading the same sectors repeatedly, any solution? Jun 29, 2018 at 14:14
  • @Takkat, Cloning takes a long time, yes, but if the data are very valuable, I still think it is a good idea to do it from a cloned copy for safety reasons.
    – sudodus
    Jun 29, 2018 at 16:04
  • @Ashton, Is PhotoRec stuck on the damaged drive itself, or on a cloned copy (a drive), or on a cloned image file? Have you checked if there are bad sectors, that are difficult/impossible to read? -- ddrescue is the best tool I know for reading sectors (bad blocks) that are difficult to read, but some sectors are impossible also for ddrescue.
    – sudodus
    Jun 29, 2018 at 16:08
  • I haven't made a clone copy image file as it's a 1tb HDD, I keep getting stuck in the same sectors range every time I run photorec, I think the bad sector is in the disk itself, and think that Ubuntu has overwritten those sectors with new data and may be why it repeats the reading? Idrk. How would I skip the sector to read the rest of the sectors and forget the bad sector? I'm not too worried on recovering every dat, just as much as possible as I still have 700gb left to recover Jun 29, 2018 at 17:01

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