I just formatted the wrong volume - is it possible to restore the old ext4 partion?

Of course that happened after deleting the old backup - great.

  • Did you power of the device direct after or did you do somethin with it? (that's being said: Even with luck a compelte restore most likely will not be possible) – frlan Apr 11 '14 at 6:46
  • It is actually a LuksVolume - I unmounted it instantly after noticing the error. However, I did not do a luksFormat, so old data is not encrypted. – Force Apr 11 '14 at 7:38

As long as you didn't completely shred your drive, if it was formatted fastly (it means, it just deletes the information, but it is still available in the hidden). It is possible, but requires amounts of time and a place to recover the files to (You should not recover to the same harddrive as they are located on)

I found this by searching, may wanna give it a try ?


Step by step:


Make sure to recover to an external hard-drive, and best of luck!

  • I updated my answer with new links for another program, which should, support ext4 recovery from deleted/formatted partitions. – Denny Apr 11 '14 at 7:29
  • 1
    That's OK now. Good work! – Danatela Apr 11 '14 at 7:31
  • I am currently trying PhotoRec (which is included in the Testdisk package), but all restored files are corrupted... I tried Testdisk just after realizing my mistake, but it could only find the new ext4 filesystem :/ – Force Apr 11 '14 at 8:44
  • i suggest you to remove that filesystem in GParted, so it appears as "deleted"- and then try to recover. (this wont change anything, it just removes the structure of it again, and your files should be there still) – Denny Apr 11 '14 at 8:55

Apparently it is not possible to recover the old ext4 filesystem. I am currently recovering some files with Photorec, with mixed success.

A response from the developing of UFS Explorer is as follow:

The reason is ext4 on time of format destroys completely all inodes and even file system journal so volume only contains file data; usually it is fragmented. Ext4 uses special tree structure to store map of file fragments and this tree is stored in inodes that are wiped with zeros.

It’s recommended to continue using PhotoRec and other similar free utilities in attempt to get some data back; no commercial software will help you more in this case.

As they are experts on that field and their statement is backed up by Wikipedia, I would therefore answer the question myself with the conclusion that it is not possible to restore the whole filesystem.

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