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So I have a laptop dual-booting Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04, and my Ubuntu partition ran out of space. I shrank the only partition I could to make more room for Ubuntu, but the unallocated space came before the partition and I couldn't extend into it. I tried switching the partition and unallocated space, but quickly realized that my computer no longer knew where Ubuntu was. I tried moving it back, but that didn't fix it. I did back up my filesystem beforehand, but like a noob I forgot to copy the backups somewhere else. All my important files are already backed up, but I'd prefer to be able to easily restore all my system settings when I reinstall Ubuntu. Is there a way I can recover my backup files from my Ubuntu partition?

EDIT Can I recover my data by cloning the partition into the unallocated space? Since I only moved the partition, presumably nothing inside it is actually corrupted, so in theory cloning it would produce an exact copy and my computer would know where it is.

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I'm assuming the partition you moved contained /boot? Try this question:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/299886/partitions-is-it-safe-to-move-partition-containing-boot

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