Data recovery for Linux disks

Nicholas Leippe nick at
Fri Feb 18 11:26:03 MST 2005

On Friday 18 February 2005 11:00 am, Doran Barton wrote:
> Anyone know or recommend a data recovery service for Linux data? I
> unknowingly mkfs'd over a MySQL database. I used 'dd' on the disk device to
> dump raw disk data to a file. It looks like there's still some data there,
> but I have no idea how to go about restoring it.

I don't recall any specific tools offhand (I vaguely remember passing over 
some while browsing freshmeat, so I'm sure there is at least something).

There are at least two critical, potential show stoppers:
1) did you mkfs w/the exact same parameters and partitioning scheme as
was already on it?
2) does mkfs zero/init all of the inode metadata, or just init the root inode?

If (1) is true, and (2) is the latter, then total recovery should be possible,
also assuming that your data was consistent at the time of the disaster.

However, doing so may not be trivial.  I have had great success using 
Ontrack Easy Recovery Pro for FAT and NTFS filesystem recoveries.  I do not
recall if it can handle ext or other Linux filesystems.  Worth taking a look.

The ext2 spec is not so complicated that you couldn't roll your own tools to
scan the image and piece it together.  I have done so myself for FAT, long
before I had heard of Ontrack.  But, it will surely take time.

The million dollar question is: How much is this data worth to you?

(and do you have backups? ;)


Nicholas Leippe
Sales Team Automation, LLC
1335 West 1650 North, Suite C
Springville, UT  84663 +1 801.853.4090

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