I have an external Seagate HDD of 1TB. I was using the default partition it came with. Never repartitioned it.

Yesterday I accidentally started reformatting it instead of my other disk, with an option to overwrite with zeros. But then I quickly noticed my error and plugged out the HDD in a moment of panic.

Now if I try running testdisk, I'm unable to find any partitions. Deeper search doesn't help too. Photorec is able to recover files. But since there are a lot of files and all without the original names or folders, it is turning out to be a re-organization nightmare.

I just wanted to know if anything can be done to recreate the Partition table and recover the data(remaining 95% of the disk) with proper folder structures in the disk. Especially since my HDD had only one Partition(the default one), is there a weird tweak I could try?

  • 1. umount the disk at once. 2. get a big place to which to copy the recovered files (not the 1TB HDD). 3. Look at the tools from sleuthkit.org – waltinator Aug 23 '15 at 3:05
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    Consider adapting my answer here askubuntu.com/a/664663/25618 for your future mass destruction avoidance needs. – waltinator Aug 23 '15 at 3:08

Likely the filesytem your external drive came with did not store additional file system details or recovery partition tables to ease recovery. Therefore, once the partition table, or the file allocation tables where overwritten by zeros I see little to no chance to recover these.

Therefore you are faced with the cumbersome task to manually rename files recovered by PhotoRec to be able to use them again.

For some files such as photos, audio, video, or text documents there are tools to mass-rename them according to metatag information but still reconstructing the folder structure, or file dates would have to be done manually, and many file types can not be renamed by this.

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