I have a dual System of Windows 8 and Ubuntu (12.04, I think). I accidentally quick-formatted the Linux partition using Windows to NTFS, with the built-in formatting option. Since it contained my grub installation, nothing boots anymore. Is there a good recovery tool I could use from a Ubuntu live disk? Will It be able to restore the file structure completely, that booting works immediately (If nothing new was written to the partition), or is some structure needed to boot the system lost when quick-formatting and I am only able to restore select files before having to make a new installation?

I would be very happy for information on this, I never did data recovery and am afraid to destroy it. Thanks in advance!

  • You will have to reinstall.
    – psusi
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


You can recover your data from formatted disk using testdisk and photorec, these are good open source software that is used by thousands of user when such case arrived in Linux type system.

I am not sure that you would be able to fix your grub also, but you can give a try to Boot-repair once you restored all your data.

Here are your steps how can you restore your datas:

  • Boot from live CD/DVD/USB

  • Install testdisk:

      sudo apt-get install testdisk
  • Run testdisk to fix your partition.

  • If testdisk fails then you can give a try to another s/w photorec. Find out here How to use Photorec step by step

If you had valuable data then you can give a try to this, other wise re-install Ubuntu again. Its totally your choice.

  • 2
    Thanks! I only managed to retrieve 60gb of scraps with PhotoRec after TestDisk found nothing, but I am able to stitching together parts of important documents in my spare time, so better than nothing. Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 11:15
  • Yes.. I can imagine how tough that would be.. You have to spend a lot to filter data.. Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 11:45

People here will need some more information before being able to answer your question.

  1. What is the partition layout of your system? Did you just wipe the boot partition or your entire Ubuntu install partition. From a liveCD, you can run gparted which will tell you your current partitioning scheme.

Testdisk or grub-install/grub-repair is what you'd need for this depending on what you wiped out. There's a small chance this will work, otherwise you'll have to re-install Ubuntu.

If the data on there is important, I would strongly suggest giving this job to a data recovery professional. The more data you write to that hard disk, the more likely it is that you will be unable to recover the data.

  • I wiped out the Ubuntu install partition. Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 18:54
  • I just noticed, however, that there is still some version of grub booting, but not the graphical menu, but only some command-line tool. Could it be that grub is installed in another partition, but the grub configuration file is what was wiped out? I have 8 different partitions (most of them small windows recovery partitions), only two of them were associated with ubuntu - one 4GB swap, the other one is what I wiped out. Anyway, In this case I think I will have to use testdisk, am I understanding you right? Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 19:01

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