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Device repair and information for HP's line of Pavilion 15" laptop computers.

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Linux Mint 19.3 deleted drives - how to recover drive partitions

Hi, I had Windows 7 partitioned with four drivers but decided to replace it with Linux Mint 19.3. I made a mistake of erasing all the data as I assumed the new OS will only format drive C and leave the other drives intact. I am now le ft with Linux with no access to all my data with no backup. The question I have is whether I could recover any of my data (400 to 600 GB) with a data recovery software.

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I had Windows 7 with four drives (C, D, E and F). I then decided to get rid of Windows OS and replace it with Linux Mint 19.3. During the installation, I went for a clean installation and erased all data. I mistakenly assumed my data on drives D, E and F would remain intact. Some data recovery software suggest that I might still be able to recover some data but I am not sure how. I just don’t want to do anything that makes it harder to recover the formatted data.

Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated as I badly need to recover my lost data.

par

Too scared to turn the laptop on as I might make a bad situation worse and reduce my very limited (if any) chance of data recovery. The laptop is an old one (HP Pavilion g series = Intel i3 – I think 2th Gen - Windows 7) so I guess it must have come with an HDD disk.

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Hi Mona Lisa,

Answer part 1 for now

Recovery is certainly quite possible.

First of all I must tell you I know Windows very well but have not done extensive work with Linux. Ideally to help you it would be good if you have access to another Windows computer.

Do you remember what drive format you used for Linux? Linux's default file system is called Ext4. Windows uses NTFS or FAT 32.

I know this doesn't help you now but ALWAYS back up data before doing anything you are not familiar with - never mind that just always back up important data.

If you have another Windows computer normal data recovery procedure is , as you have done, don't do anything or as little as possible.

Sector by sector cloning:

  1. Take the drive out of the laptop ( we need your exact HP Pavilion 15 model number if you don't know how to remove the drive)
  2. Get a USB to SATA converter cable - get two if the other computer is not a desktop model.
  3. Get a SATA HD/SSD drive to back up your current data.
  4. Get freeware cloning software that does a sector by sector clone. This is very important as you want a complete copy at the most basic level. AOMEI Backupper Standard free does this. It is free and the trade-off is it is slow. If you want speed buy the pro version. There are others. Take your pick.
  5. Once the drive is copied put it aside and use the copy to recover your data.

Data recovery:

# Now that you have a backup you if you make a mistake can relax and just do a sector by sector clone again.

  1. Anything over written by Linux files is probably lost other wise it is most likely just sitting on the hard drive. You just can't see it at present.
  2. I wasn't there so did not see what you actually did. For the !&&* of it see if your Windows machines sees any of you data. Yes then you are laughing if not then we will get on with it. I never assume anything when attempting to recover data.
  3. You will need data recovery software. Test Disk is the best freeware partition recovery software, that I know of and use. I also use Active@ Boot Disk (and others) for my professional work but again that is your choice and cost money. Test Disk requires reading the manual to become some what familiar with how it works and what is does. It can:

TestDisk can (from their web site):

  • Fix partition table, recover deleted partition
  • Recover FAT32 boot sector from its backup
  • Rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 boot sector
  • Fix FAT tables
  • Rebuild NTFS boot sector
  • Recover NTFS boot sector from its backup
  • Fix MFT using MFT mirror
  • Locate ext2/ext3/ext4 Backup SuperBlock
  • Undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 filesystem
  • Copy files from deleted FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2/ext3/ext4 partitions.

Again, it all depends on what NTFS or FAT32 files were overwritten by Linux files.

So I'll let you go at this point. Let me know what you decide to do and chat with me again. We may be able to find work arounds if you don't access to another Windows computer, etc.

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Hi,

Thanks so much for taking the time reading through my not-so-clear notes and thanks for your help so far. I’d like to add a few points below as it may clarify things a bit and also help me decide the best course of action going forward.

My laptop:

- HP Pavilion g series = Intel i3 = Toshiba HDD drive (750GB) was made in 2011

- Previous OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit partitioned with four drives (C, D, E and F)

- The new or current operating system was installed mid-January 2022: Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon 64-bit installed with "Erase disk and install Linux Mint":

748GB Block Device dev/mint-vg/root = Filesystem 748 GB Ext4 – Free 730GB

Device: dev/sda1

Partitioning: Master Boot Record

Volumes Partition 1 767MB Ext4 = Extended Partition 2 749GB = Partition 5 749GB LUKS = 749GB LVM2 PV

par

What I am going to do:

I have already taken the HDD disk or drive out. I’m in the process of purchasing two USB to SATA converter cables and a SATA HD/SSD drive to back up my current data. I also need a cloning software that does a sector by sector clone. I also need a data recovery software. And most importantly, I’ll need a lot of time and patience! :)

par

I totally understand the complexity of the issue. Considering my limited IT knowledge, I am fully aware that my chance of success is very low. I also know the status of my finance and that I cannot afford the cost of someone else doing the job with me. No need to say that there is no guarantee they would be able to recover all my data and the privacy and data security risk of entrusting my data with someone else.

I would be eternally grateful if you could offer further advice.

Many thanks,

Privacy concerned Mona Lisa! :-)

par

Hi @privacymonalisa

If you clone the drive then the original data that is not over written is safe.

Noting your "Comment" below that you posted as an "Answer" <grin> not rushing is good. Don't hesitate to ask questions each step of the way. Also it is better to stick with one source, at first at least, of help as you can end up "all over the map" but hey that is your choice.

I did data recovering commercially for a number years filling the gap in service before the $2000+ meter starts ticking data recovery labs. Of the choice is yours.

So clone before doing anything else.

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Hi Mike,

Thanks so much for your reply to my question and your detailed answer. Ifixit website would not let me add a long text at once so I broke it down in four sections. It might be easier to see the whole text here https://forums.tomsguide.com/threads/lin...

I am not in a huge rush to try the data recovery process as I want to make sure I make as little mistake as possible. I'll follow the process detailed in your reply but I thought there were no harm adding additional notes.

Many thanks

PMS

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Mona Lisa sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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