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While installing Ubuntu 11.10 (ext4) I accidentally chose a wrong partition and it overwrote my Windows 2003 installation (ntfs). How can I recover files?

So far I tried photoRec and it recovered some. Testdisk refuses to recover the entire partition, perhaps because it would have to recover a partition it is running from. Should I try making a liveCD "rescue disk" and run testdisk from there? Is there any software that could help me? Or should I install Windows again on another partition and try recovery with some Windows software?

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    Recovery is a black art, the only security is to backup, regularly. And double-check your partitioning when doing any potentially destructive operation.
    – invert
    Jan 23, 2012 at 6:10

2 Answers 2

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Your overwritten files are lost forever from that partition. Restore them from backup.

Running Testdisk from a live CD might help a little; use the Testdisk live CD, which has a number of recovery tools. But be aware that recovery quickly gets difficult; it'll be quicker to recover your own data from backups, and to reinstall any third-party software from where you got it in the first place (and you will have to redo a clean installation of Windows itself).

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You should also try Foremost and Scalpel. Here you can find an excellent article that explains clearly how to do it: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/15761/recover-data-like-a-forensics-expert-using-an-ubuntu-live-cd/

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