I'm currently running Ubuntu 13.04 and my external hard drive no longer seems to mount. I've tried plugging it into a Windows OS Laptop and it comes up with a corruption error when trying to access the disk.

On Ubuntu I can only view the disk using gparted but again cannot access any data etc.

What is the best method for trying to recover this data? Most of it I have backed up but there are some folders which aren't, so ideally I would like to be able to recover the data.


I would recommend that you don't use the drive, and try TestDisk. Also if you have room on another drive, you can try using dd.

Note: Keep in mind, that when it comes to data recovery nothing is guaranteed. Also it can be a time consuming project, so be patient.

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  • I will give TestDisk a go. How long will it take to scan the disk do you think? 1TB disk with about 70GB used up on the disk – user1505127 Aug 19 '13 at 13:42
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    Update after scanning with testdisk it found no partitions etc so I tried photorec instead and managed to recover hopefully the things that I need, says it will take 54hrs! I may already have enough to stop it and just keep what has been recovered! – user1505127 Aug 20 '13 at 8:00

I can't think of a better answer than this https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery

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  • This also helped with the photorec option so thanks for this link. Unfortunately I cant vote up due to my reputation being under 15! – user1505127 Aug 20 '13 at 12:53

You can use a drive cloning utility to move your data to a new harddrive. Many of them have the ability to clone a failing harddrive by skipping the bad sectors. You can create and .img file of the drive or clone it directly to another drive. Hirens Boot CD has a cloning utility, as well as some other stuff that might come in handy.

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  • Ok will also look into that, cheers. Also if a disk has 4 bad sectors does that mean its basically broken or going that way? – user1505127 Aug 19 '13 at 13:50
  • I wouldn't trust it with important data. – Dan Aug 19 '13 at 13:54

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