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Suppose you have an ext3 partition which was unfortunately formated as ext4 partition (and where now are some but not a lot new files on it). Is there any way to recover (some) files from the old ext3 partition?

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You can go fishing for files that haven't been overwritten. See undelete files from local fileserver, and possibly other questions in the data-recovery tag. There's not much more we can say at this stage; if you run into specific problems while doing the recovery, add details to your question and flag it for reopening. –  Gilles Jul 22 '11 at 15:59

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can use a tool like PhotoRec to read the blocks and try to recover files. It actually recovers a lot of file types, not just images like the name may suggest.

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

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Thanks, I could recover some of the missing files using PhotorRec. –  student Jul 27 '11 at 15:21

It's not easy, but if the data is worth it....you can try to go through the data blocks on disk and attempt to reassemble them. It's probably a heck of a puzzle though. Also, the amount of data you'll get back is not going to be 100% in any event.

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Thanks. Could you give more details? –  student Jul 22 '11 at 17:09
    
A little bit beyond me. Basically, you'd have to understand the ext3 file structure and use that information to find the physical disk locations of data and dump that partial sector containing data for that file to a new file on another disk. Tedious, time consumming, a lot of hard work, with possibly little reward. –  mdpc Jul 22 '11 at 22:28

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