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I deleted my HDD partition while trying to install ubuntu 13.04. I installed windows 7 to get a recovery software (Phoenix recovery) I chose to recover after formatting but of course I didn't format it. I can't recover everything because when trying to recover certain pictures it crashes. I've tried other software and it still crashes.

I heard about being able to recover from Ubuntu but since I'm not a Linux expert I don't want to mess up and lose the files I've recovered. I have installed Ubuntu 13.04 on another Hard drive.

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  • This doesn't sound promising. Depending on how far you went with the Ubuntu installation, your drive probably went from NTFS to ext4 and then back to NTFS, making any files long gone. Can you give more detail about what happened when you where installing Ubuntu and how you installed Windows afterwards? Thanks.
    – Seth
    May 15, 2013 at 3:12
  • I always thought that any partition that contains data should force us to type an acknowledgment phrase like: to proceed you must type "I agree to loose all data on this partition". Til you have time to finish typing you may have time to think again if you did not made a mistake. Something like that could be suggested somewhere... May 15, 2013 at 3:25

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This is a tough spot, as you know. I can sympathize with you as I've hosed myself in similar situations like this before. You have some options. The good news is you will probably be able to recover most or all of your data. The bad news is it will take a bit of work.

The first thing I would try is TestDisk. It was made to help recover deleted partitions, so it may be the safest and easiest approach for you.

If that doesn't work, there are some good manual steps here. This is a bit involved but might save your data.

If it were me and TestDisk didn't work, I would download Helix 3 and try that with a Live CD. Helix 3 is a highly specialized Linux distro for forensics professionals. You can almost certainly recover your data from this, but it isn't the most user friendly. Since it's made for forensics professionals, you can tell it to basically ignore the partition table and look for any potential files/data structures on the disk. You'll be shocked at what you find that you didn't even know was there :-)

Don't give up. It will suck this time, but next time you'll be prepared and you can help others.

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