I accidentally formatted my external hard drive but I quickly canceled it.. I have not overwritten it that much.. I had about 20GB of storage stored previously.. I used one of the the recovery programs and somehow I was able to restore all my data all the files but they were corrupted... Is there a way to fix those corrupted files?


In these cases we are not trying to make any modification on the corrupted disk! You should follow these steps (I am working in this way):

  1. Take off the HDD from the computer, and plug it into an external usb bay.
  2. Make a full raw copy of entire disk with dd. Example: dd if=/dev/sdb of=/my/backup/disk.raw bs=1M
  3. Make a copy of disk.raw and put it away, to have an untouched version if you have to revert.
  4. Scan the disk.raw with testdisk first to see if you can restore the partitions.
  5. If the method above did not succeded, grab as much data you can with photorec.
  6. If nothing worked, try other recovery softwares, but work all the time on the image file! This is crucial to not make bigger damages.

Note: About the usage of mentioned utilities please read their manuals first.


Frantique's answer about dd-ing is a very good practice, but note that it will take a long time to dd an entire drive. If you don't have luck with photorec, I might suggest R-Linux. I have tried PhotoRec on a FAT32 drive and then it got 90% of my files back but R-Undelete (Win equivalent to R-Linux) got 100% of the files I was trying to get. In most cases, photorec will do a very good job, so I'd try both for sure, especially if you are getting mixed results.


R-Linux(Recovery studio) is one of the best. I have used this tool many times before. I worked at a company where they used the commercial version, 9/10 times it recovers everything you want. Truly superb application. Saved mine, and friends behinds many times before.

R-Linux is a free file recovery utility for the Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 FS file system used in the Linux OS and several Unixes. R-Linux uses the same InteligentScan technology as R-Studio, and flexible parameter settings to provide the fastest and most reliable file recovery for the Linux platform. However, unlike R-Studio, R-Linux cannot recover data over network or reconstruct RAIDs, or provide object copy.

Features (from their website):

R-Linux recover files:

  • Removed by virus attack, power failure or system crash;
  • After the partition with the files was re-formatted, damaged, or deleted;
  • When the partition structure on a disk was changed or damaged. In this case, R-Linux can scan the disk trying to find previously existing partitions and restore files from found partitions.
  • From disks with bad sectors. In this case, R-Linux can first copy the entire disk or its part into an image file and then process the image file. This is especially useful when new bad sectors are constantly appearing on the disk, and remaining information must be immediately saved.

R-Linux Advanced features:

  • Standard "Windows Explorer" - style interface.
  • Host OS:
    • Linux variant: Linux, kernel 2.6 and above
    • Windows variant: Win2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Supported file systems: Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 FS (Linux) only.
  • Recognition and parsing Dynamic (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7), Basic, GPT and BSD (UNIX) partitions layout schema and Apple partition map. Dynamic partitions over GPT are supported as well as dynamic partitions over MBR.

  • Creates image files for an entire hard drive, logical disk, or its part. Such image files can be processed like regular disks. Images can be either simple exact object copies (Plain images) compatible with the old versions of R-Linux, or compressed images that can be compressed, split into several parts, and password-protected. Such images are fully compatible with the images created by R-Drive Image, but incompatible with the old versions of R-Linux.

  • Recognizes localized names.

  • Recovered files can be saved on any (including network) disks accessible by the host operating system.

Excerpt From Here:

protected by Community Oct 14 '14 at 9:28

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