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Computer disaster


£440,000

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This morning while the missus and the kid were asleep, I decided to have a play around with Ubuntu on a USB as I've been thinking about installing it as a second OS. I'd just got it booted up when my son came in the room and asked for a drink and some food. I was gonna no more than two minutes, but when I came back, by randomly banging keys looking for the Cat in the Hat, he'd started to install Ubuntu over Windows. It had only just started so I thought I'd gamble on it only being in the process of preparing files and pulled the plug. Naturally, it wouldn't even think about rebooting. I couldn't even get the Ubuntu USB drive to boot.

 

I used an old laptop to install PartedMagic on a pen and that shows the hard drive as being partitioned for Linux and all the Windows folders have gone. I'm using the PhotoRec program on there to pull off all the files I want, but, unfortunately, they're all coming off minus their original names.

 

I've got a Windows 7 installation disk ready to reinstall, but before I do that, does anyone have any other ideas? The Ubuntu installation was only running for a minute so it can't have had time to wipe anything, Is there a way of putting the windows partition, boot record or some such back without deleting everything and at the same time getting the file names back?

 

Thanks.

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Sounds like you have a desktop. If you do, do you think that using the hard disk as a slave to a master would help you get your old files back?

 

It's a laptop. Thought about getting someone to take the drive out, but would doing that be more likely to preserve the file names?

 

PartedMagic is just about to finish moving about 60,000 media and office files onto an external drive, but the names are meaningless.

 

Can your son remember what order he hit the keys? If he hit the same keys, but backwards in order, he could reverse the disaster. Or not.

 

He's not talking to me because, before I tried to undo the damage he'd done, I hunted down and killed the Cat in the Hat.

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Have you tried booting the USB Ubuntu disk on the other laptop? If pulling it somehow f***ed it and you can recreate the bootable USB drive try booting from that and seeing whether you can recover anything by mounting the disk on the laptop

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Have you tried booting the USB Ubuntu disk on the other laptop? If pulling it somehow f***ed it and you can recreate the bootable USB drive try booting from that and seeing whether you can recover anything by mounting the disk on the laptop

 

Starting to feel out of my depth! I can boot the other computer usng PartedMagic, would using Ubuntu make a difference? Happy to try. Th drive isn't mounted at the moment in PartedMagic. Should I mount it?

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It's a laptop. Thought about getting someone to take the drive out, but would doing that be more likely to preserve the file names?

 

Not sure. Depends on what was deleted in that one minute period, I'd guess.

 

Photorec says that the original file names are replaced with numbers, so thats a feature of the software. Maybe doing some research and finding another one that does preserve file names be the next step?

 

I wouldnt want to fiddle with the hard disk on a laptop if its not a hardware issue and especially if the things under warranty.

Edited by carrafan
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I don't really know parted magic and disk stuff isn't my thing but, the fact it wouldn't boot from the USB drive concerns me. My understanding is that in starting the install your cat in the hatless son will have overwritten the boot record. When you boot from USB you shouldn't touch that MBR because the USB will have its own. If you can get it booted from ubuntu it may be that you can see the drive and mount it.

 

If you can mount the drive I would it may alter the way the files are presented. Can you check in parted magic whether there's an option to preserve file names. Like when you see the files you are recovering do you see the file names and paths?

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I don't really know parted magic and disk stuff isn't my thing but, the fact it wouldn't boot from the USB drive concerns me. My understanding is that in starting the install your cat in the hatless son will have overwritten the boot record. When you boot from USB you shouldn't touch that MBR because the USB will have its own. If you can get it booted from ubuntu it may be that you can see the drive and mount it.

 

If you can mount the drive I would it may alter the way the files are presented. Can you check in parted magic whether there's an option to preserve file names. Like when you see the files you are recovering do you see the file names and paths?

 

Thanks, Vic. At the moment, it's running something to look for hidden or missing fle systems. It won't let me mount the drive. Maybe because of what it's doing. In the mornng, I'll put Ubuntu on another pen drive and give that a go again.

 

Do you think using a Windows recovery disk and an installation disk would do anything? Does a Windows installation disk have a repair option?

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It does but it may not recognise the filesystem. I think carrafan is right when he suggests trying to find an alternative that preserves the file name because other options are going to be trial and error. The file system is there the partition table is f***ed. If you don't have any joy in the morning post back here and I'll see if I've anything that may help.

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It does but it may not recognise the filesystem. I think carrafan is right when he suggests trying to find an alternative that preserves the file name because other options are going to be trial and error. The file system is there the partition table is f***ed. If you don't have any joy in the morning post back here and I'll see if I've anything that may help.

 

Thanks again. Been doing lots of reading online. Can see ways that might work from within windows, but not from Linux. Def gonna give up for the night. Leaving it searching for lost file systems and will see what the morning brings.

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That kinda makes sense thinking about it. It's going to be a windows filesystem just that it can't be accessed because the partition table is f***ed. Good luck and let me know.

 

Mounted the drive, but no joy. It's just showing the Linux files. It's an HP laptop which had a recovery partition, but that's gone as well. Downloading Master Boot Cd and going to see what that can do. The Win 7 Installation Disk is offering me a repair option, but it asks for drives and I'm not sure what it means.

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No joy with master boot CD?

 

I'm out the door for a couple of hours and I'm only on a tablet here but I'll get on the laptop and see if I can see any utilities in work that may help. The fact photo rec sees the files I think is cause for optimism

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I'm not familiar with photo rec at all. Try downloading Acronis True Image 2013. Http://www.Acronis.eu

 

You can get a free 30 day trial.

 

Install it on another machine (if you have one) & create a boot disk. Use this boot disk to backup the entire contents of hard drive to USB. The backup will be in .tib file.

 

You should then be able to restore individual files and folders from the .tib

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No joy with master boot CD?

 

I'm out the door for a couple of hours and I'm only on a tablet here but I'll get on the laptop and see if I can see any utilities in work that may help. The fact photo rec sees the files I think is cause for optimism

 

No joy. I've emailed you about what I'm doing now.

 

I'm not familiar with photo rec at all. Try downloading Acronis True Image 2013. Http://www.Acronis.eu

 

You can get a free 30 day trial.

 

Install it on another machine (if you have one) & create a boot disk. Use this boot disk to backup the entire contents of hard drive to USB. The backup will be in .tib file.

 

You should then be able to restore individual files and folders from the .tib

 

My other lapotop is running a linux distro, but could do it at a mate's. Would it find files that aren't currently showing under any normal search. I think the Master File Table might have gone. Any ideas how I miht check that?

 

 

Had great recovery results with Boomerang but it isn't free. You can at least run a trial which shows what will be recovered.

 

Ta. I'll have a look at that too. Don't mind paying for something if I know it's going to work.

 

Gonna try and run these Windows programs in Wine off a Live USB, but not sure if that'll work.

 

Thanks for the help everyone.

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Used that last night to look for files and got a log file, but nothing showing. Not that I really know what I'm lookin for. Might go back into it, but not really sure what I can try wth it. I'll do some research. Could it find an MFT that had been written over or corrupted?

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Switch which card out?

If you are referring to the Pi, the you can replace the SD card as per usual. I'm just running the operating system/XMBC on that and using network drives as storage. I'm definitely going to use it to run some other stuff in the house but I think I'll just use separate devices to keep things simple.

 

BTW, have you had any luck sorting your hard drive issue?

 

Yeah, meant the Pi. Think I'll order mine today.

 

No joy with Drive yet. The two pieces of Windows software I tried didn't work in wine for different reasons.

 

Swan Red is going to ask some people he works with today what they think, so fingers crossed.

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thanks for the reminder ;)

 

Can you try this, this should look for any partition markers and should allow you to rebuild the partition table, when you've done that you should be able to recover them.

 

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

 

let me know how you get on and we'll take it from there

 

That's where the report I sent you came from. I'll have another look at it in a bit.

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