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When the data loss problem occurred:

My Lenovo laptop has both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04. There are two ntfs partitions shared between the two OSes: one for Windows 7 installation ,and the other for personal data files.

Earlier today, when I was in Windows 7, I restarted the computer into Ubuntu. The ntfs data partition shared between Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 was not able to automatically mounted, which is unlike usual, while The ntfs Windows installation partition was mounted automatically just like usual.

Then I restarted the computer back into Windows 7, and the ntfs data partition had been completely emptied, except leaving only one Windows system file bootsqm.dat and one Windows system directory `System Volume Information. The time shown by Windows 7 has also been adjusted to be 4 hours in advance than the actual time. The ntfs Windows installation partition was still fine.

When I restarted the computer again into Ubuntu, same things as in the previous paragraph happened.


What happened before the problem occurred:

Right before my first reboot from Windows 7 to Ubuntu 12.04,

upon logging into Windows 7, there was some automatic configuration of Windows, which took two reboots and a couple of minutes to complete.

after logging into Windows 7, I installed some software (MathType and MikTex and LibreOffice), and edit some documents in Microsoft Office Word, and MathType (I got it from http://dl.portablesoft.org/down/?id=2515, which I originally thought was a trial version, but later I learned was a cracked version and felt wrong. I made a copy of it at dropbox http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13029929/MathType_6.8_PortableSoft.rar, not for distributing it but to list it there just in case it will help to identify the problem), and LibreOffice. De-select the autorun of some "message center" of Lenovo Toolkit when Windows starts each time.


Possible reasons and recovery solutions?

I got some suggestion from another person:

First tip is to look at your partition table. Windows is particular about the partition IDs and order of partitions in a way that Linux is not, and if it sees something it doesn't like, it will rewrite the partition table. Check the tables to see if they are in the same order as before you booted into Windows.

I wonder how to look at the partition table, and how to see whether Windows rewrite the partition table, and whether they are in the same order as before I booted into Windows?

Any other possible reasons and recovery solutions for the data loss? Can the cracked MathType be the reason?

When trying to make diagnosis and recover my data, which operating system shall I work under, Windows 7 or Ubuntu 12.04?


Thanks in advance!

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When saying "leaving only one Windows system file bootsqm.dat" does that mean that partition still exists but only that file is left or that the partition is gone for good? –  vitiv Sep 10 '12 at 18:35
    
@vitiv: yes, the ntfs data partition still exists, but my personal files disappear, only one system file and one system directory left. –  steveO Sep 10 '12 at 18:37
    
Check the output of fdisk -l to identify the partition and manually mount it with sudo mount /dev/<name>. If neither Ubuntu can see any files, they might have been wiped somehow. –  vitiv Sep 10 '12 at 18:42
    
@vitiv: (1) The ntfs data partition can be automatically mounted every time I started Ubuntu. My personal files are not shown in that partition, only the two Windows system file/directory. I umount it and then mount it again, still no my personal files. (2) In order to use fdisk -l, I have to provide the device. The device file for the partition with data loss is /dev/sda3. What is the device for that? fdisk -l /dev/sda3 will output Cannot open /dev/sda3, which is similar when I tried with other device files with partitions that have no problem. –  steveO Sep 10 '12 at 19:13
    
use testdisk for partition table recovery and data recovery... –  Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh Sep 11 '12 at 1:01
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