There are many solutions on the market that are free, open source, and commercial. While many may argue that commericial solutions provide both ease of use and work well, I present to you that open source solutions are often a better solution. This being said, I wanted to share my experiences with TestDisk from CGSecurity, which is primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy and provides support for the following operating systems.
- DOS (either real or in a Windows 9x DOS-box)
- Windows (NT4, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7 (x86 & x64)
- MacOS X
For the purpose of this post it is important to note that I am running Fedora and once a terminal window is opened TestDisk requires root access in order to run. At the terminal type su root and then verify the password and if you’re just getting started with Linux be sure to understand what root represents and the security concerns that come along with root.
Now that you have root access, type testdisk and the following screen is presented and at this point it is entirely up to you how you proceed. I would however recommend the creating a log file so you can review exactly what actions occur.
Okay, so now that we have a handy log to reference should there be a need the next step is to select the drive where you want to recover your data from.
Next you need to determine and select the appropriate partition type.
As you can see from the following screenshot there are a number of actions that you can perform, but since we are talking about data recovery you must select filesystem utils.
At this point you are ready to begin your recovery process, select undelete to begin.
You may be asking yourself were the remainder of instructions and screenshots are at. Because I am conscious of my own data, I intentionally decided not to show my data. The truth is the process is simple and all you need to do is follow the terminal prompts. In no time at all you will have that ever important sales spreadsheet recovered and one again you will be a hero, even if it is in your own eyes.
As I indicated earlier there are so many options available with data recovery, so sound off in the comments if you have a favorite or even better if you’re aware of a dog that everyone should stay away from.