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I had Ubuntu installed until last week and forgot to backup one important document before I formated the disc as NFTS and installed windows 7. I there any change I can get my document back?

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marked as duplicate by Karan, davidgo, Breakthrough, Scott, CharlieRB May 17 '13 at 20:21

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If you are lucky, and your document hasn't been overwritten during the installation of Windows, you may be able to recover it. There are several tools that allow you to scan unclaimed space on a disk for deleted files. See this question for a couple of options. One further option would be Recuva.

What is important now is not to write to the disk any more - so do not boot into Windows, but use an external system to access the disk (ideally in read-only mode), as any writes to it may overwrite just that file (and once overwritten, your file is gone forever).

It's helpful to know that once the space management system of a file system – the library that allows the file system to know what files are stored where, e.g. the File Allocation Table of a FAT file system, the Master File Table of an NTFS system, or the superblock and the inode list of an EXT file system (if I'm not mistaken – I am not very familiar with EXT file systems) has been deleted, it doesn't make any difference what the file system was: The medium is now nothing more than a vast space of binary storage for which you have no "map" to find individual files - you have to scan the entire space for meaningful chunks that might be indicative of file content. This is why recovery tools like Recuva or Photorec are basically file system agnostic.

However, this brings us to the question whether it might not be possible to recover the file system itself, which would make recovering your document a snap. Reformatting the drive and installing an operating system to it makes this quite unlikely, but you might still try the usual tools to recover an EXT file system. See for instance here or here.

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If your Ubuntu partitions are still there, you may be able to easily recover your data. Use Computer Management (Control Panel > System And Security > Administrative Tools > Computer Management, Disk Management in the left pane) to find out if you still have those. The File System will most likely show up as RAW. If this is the case, use a Ubuntu Live CD to boot into and copy over the data to your NTFS partition.

If the partitions aren't there, it's more a matter of chance. You can try to use TestDisk to recover your deleted partition if you haven't overwritten it. If you do manage to undelete the partition, some of the data might still be corrupt. You can use the same program to recover it if it's possible.

I wish you luck!

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