So I did something incredibly stupid the other day. While trying to do a clean Linux install, I wiped my external HDD clean and overwrote it with an OS. I meant to do that to my internal drive but I messed up, badly. I absolutely was just not paying attention to what I was doing. I had other things on my mind and when I realized what was happening, my reaction was something like this:
I had 4+ years of photos, a large collection of wallpapers, animated gifs, purchased mp3s, and other valuable information stored on that external HDD. I thought everything was lost forever, but I wasn’t going to just give up. So I turned to my trusty friend Google and asked it for help. I came across a number of resources which I’d like to share with you here.
The steps laid out in the above link is what I used to recover most if not all of my data that was wiped AND overwritten. I’m not sure if I got it ALL because I had so many photos and other files but a large majority of them seem to be there. Follow the instructions in that link and you should be good to go.
This was the first thing I stumbled upon. When you download it, you get a zip file containing an iso. Burn that bad boy onto a CD/DVD and boot your computer from the CD/DVD you just made. It’ll load Ubuntu 10.10 with some custom tools installed. When Ubuntu boots up it’ll open a website in FireFox automatically with some instructions. You can use either TestDisk (this one didn’t work at all for me) or PhotoRec (worked amazingly). I recommend burning a copy of this iso to have handy in case of emergencies! It has a lot of nice tools packaged into one iso.