I usually back up before formatting and doing a re-installation of Ubuntu, it was in the process and then obviously stopped prematurely but I was thinking all my data was transferred.

After installing formatting the drive and sticking a fresh Ubuntu on there I proceed to transfer the files from my memory stick to my hard drive, some files are there but most of my 6 years worth of pictures are gone. Is there any way I can get these back? I don't know what to do, I feel absolutely crap :/

Any help would be very appreciated.

  • 7
    1. Stay calm and don't use the medium at any cost. 2. What's the medium where the photos were originally stored (hard disk, memory stick)? 3. What filesystem had the partition where the photos were stored? 4. Did you install Ubuntu over the partition with the photos after formatting it? 5. Instead of hoping for online support, I'd personally let someone who has experience with data recovery of that kind take a look at it.
    – htorque
    Mar 30, 2011 at 14:28
  • If you are still trying to recover your pictures i have free download for Data Rescue PC 3 which comes as a zipped file that can be burned to a disc after un-zipping. Run the program from the disc and then run a scan on the drive. You can run this program in demo mode which will let you see the data it has found after the scan finishes. You still have to purchase the software to recover the data. The disc is running ubuntu. s3.amazonaws.com/prosoft-engineering/drpc/…
    – user154103
    Apr 30, 2013 at 15:32

4 Answers 4


This answer may help you. It was for recovering data on an Android phone but I believe it would apply for hard drives as well.

From this answer, I have personally used PhotoRec. Not the easiest to use as I had to use the command line ( a couple years ago anyway), but it works.

  • Thank you, I'm using PhotoRec now.. Can't say I completely know what I'm doing but apparently it's recovering something, I've just got to find out where it's going to put all the files it's recovered. I'll keep us posted :)
    – user931
    Mar 30, 2011 at 14:39
  • 3
    Make sure you don't restore the photos on the same drive that you originally had them!!! You should run photorec or foremost on the drive, but set the output folder to some external drive with enough space.
    – UrkoM
    Mar 30, 2011 at 15:13
  • euhm, not knowing what you're doing is not really a good idea. I've used testdisk (in the link of the answer) for some friends once when they accidentally formatted a drive, it's really great.
    – steabert
    Mar 30, 2011 at 15:16

You may wish to take a look at this: Recovering deleted data from deleted partition- solved

It's quite long, my personal experience when I accidentally removed the whole partition on a 500GB HDD.

The procedure I used is documented at the very bottom, placed here for your convenience:

IMPORTANT: Try not to use forensic recovery procedures and not to use MS based recovery tools in the first instance.

  1. First of all you calm down. Tranquil, if you erased or removed the partition's table, the data is still there. You need to find a way to bring it back, that's it.
  2. The most you can keep the drive off new data, the best for your data. If you write new data, the older data will be replaced by the new as this starts using the clusters.
  3. If possible, try not using MS based tools, which (in my case) just wrote a few clusters in the disk which made unusable some data. MS Recovery Tools (such as Easy Data Recovery and others) tries to read the partition table but it also writes some clusters which can't be fully read in order to recover the "usable part of the data". This may harm your data replacing the original allocation clusters with blank data which allows the software to gain access to the cluster itself.
  4. Follow the instructions shown on the video documented by amzertech, which was embedded in the previous post and that clearly explains exactly what I did in order to recover my data.
  5. If you follow these instructions, I am sure you are going to succeed. Even in the worst cases (how can a different case than mine be worst?) you will succeed if you follow this easy instructions. Remember, the data will remain intact if you leave the disk intact. The most things you do to the disk, will be the most risk your data is reaching.

This won't help you now, but these days you should be using Ubuntu One,Dropbox or some other backup solution, like Picasa with 50 gb storage for $5 a year from Google keeps improving as well. I actually use all three, plus a backup hard drive.


Ive used PhotoRec on Ultimate Boot Disc several times now successfully on 1GB and 2GB SD photo chips that I thought were destroyed. You'll find PhotoRec within Parted Magic. Good Luck!


Its not a bad idea to burn a copy of this Ultimate Disc anyways, as there is plenty of good diagnostic and recovery programs.

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