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I think I just ****ed up in a big way. I deleted all partitions on my external backup drive.

Why did I do this? I was copying backup files from one disk to another and accidentally deleted all the partitions off the wrong disk. (I was going to do a dd afterwards but fortunately I didn't do that yet!)

Can anyone please help me restore this disk? I will be in big trouble if I can't get the data back!

marked as duplicate by mikewhatever, Android Dev, karel, Pilot6, David Foerster Aug 12 '16 at 8:42

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As it is not your system disk, you may install testdiskprogram:

sudo apt install testdisk

Then run

sudo testdisk

Accept the first question (Create a new logfile). Then select the disk you want to recover - be very careful, as this may damage any disk if you do not select the right device!

Next select which type of partition table was (is) on the disk. Usually this will be "Intel PC partition". But testdisk tells you what type of partition table it did find.

After that, select "Analyze", then "Quick search". If the result is not what you expected, select "Analyze deeper" as the next action.

Some time later after having analyzed the disk you will be shown the result of the analysis. As this depends on your configuration, I cannot help from this point.

Nothing will be written to disk until you request to do so.

A good step-by-step instruction may be found on the testdisk wiki:


  • Okay thanks - I've had to go with analyse deeper as I had an extended partition as the second partition (which contained a single sub partition) – user3728501 Aug 11 '16 at 19:17

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