My Ubuntu crashed so I installed a new one in a new partition.

I now need to access the old partition.

How do I do that?

I found a partial answer here: How to access old partitions after installing Ubuntu? but I'm stuck because there's a huge list of entries at my /dev and I don't know which one is my old partition.


lshw includes disk information under the entries labelled 'disk' - that should give you some idea - look for a disk with no mounted partitions there.

                description: SCSI Disk
                physical id: 0.0.0
                bus info: scsi@2:0.0.0
                logical name: /dev/sda
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  • Thanks that solved it for me. I could find my old partition by how much hard disk space they were taking. – Fzs2 Sep 21 '12 at 9:15

If you run dmesg you can see a listing of every partition you have and where you can access it (/dev/sda, sdb ...)

For example

[    1.652568] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 625142448 512-byte logical blocks: (320 GB/298 GiB)
[    1.652575] sd 0:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
[    1.652740] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
[    1.652745] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[    1.652870] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA

dmesg outputs a lot of data, but you can redirect the output to a file and then search through it, for example:

dmesg > log
nano log
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  • hmm, running it through grep and/or less might make sense here. I'd guess dmesg | grep SCSI | less would do the trick since it seems to read sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI disk for me. – Journeyman Geek Sep 21 '12 at 9:09

If you want the easy GUI way, try pysdm. Install and then run it, like this:

sudo apt-get install pysdm
sudo pysdm

You will see the available partitions in the left pane something like sda, stb, ... You can click on them to reveal the logical partitions there. Choose the one that looks like the old partition. It is likely to have the type "ext4".

Click on Assistant to change the options as desired, for example, to enable auto-mount on boot. Or enable read-only mode should you want to protect the mounted partition.

You should also specify the "Mountpoint" as the directory where you will be accessing the mounted partition. Something like /media/oldstuff might do. You may choose an existing (empty) directory, or create a new one. Then click on Mount. The partition should be mounted now.

How it works: The program edits the /etc/fstab file where the mounted partitions are defined. An expert might edit the file directly. You might want to make a backup copy before trying. And if you want to do the mounting by hand - read man fstab.

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