My external HDD suddenly decided that it doesn't want to mount one of the partitions anymore. When trying to open under Windows, I got "corrupted partition. Can't open" type of error. So I just formatted that dude, but it would be nice to recover some files.

I tried with R-Linux GUI software and was unsuccessful - could not read any deleted files. Then decided to try the good old TestDisk in the terminal. I go to Advanced Filesystem Utils and then for the selected partition I choose Undelete but cannot find any deleted files.

I haven't installed any OS on top of that drive after it has been formatted. Not even a single .txt file has been copied to the drive after the formatting.

Is the recovery of any files doomed? Do you have any magical suggestions?

P.S. I formatted the partition from Windows, and the partition itself is NTFS.

  • Try ddrescue (not dd_rescue). Get some hint maybe here... but if, when you have formatted your HDD, you have done not in a Quick way you have overwritten all the empty space and it will be really difficult to find something... – Hastur Oct 1 '15 at 17:05
  • It was a quick format. So, that's why I am hoping for smth :D – Milkncookiez Oct 1 '15 at 17:09
  • ddrescue is to make a raw copy, after or even directly, you can use PhotoRec. (PhotoRec ignores the file system; this way it works even if the file system is severely damaged.). Let me know if it works... [and it is not because is named Photo rec that it can see the disk image :-) ] BTW if you have space and time you can find a lot of forensic and administrative tools to help you. – Hastur Oct 1 '15 at 17:12
  • 2

Probably you are not doomed, not yet!
Not until you will try all the method known to restore your data!

Since you said you have done a "Quick format", the procedure

leaves all your data in place and makes the drive appear to be empty. [1]

Probably you can try easily Photorec since you have just installed testdisk.

If the HDD had physical damages and you have enough space elsewhere you can do a raw copy with ddrescue (not dd_rescue) and then work on that one in order to minimize the possibility to brick your HDD.


  1. How to format a hard drive in Windows...
  2. On "Forensics Wiki"
  3. On "What's the difference between ddrescue, gddrescue, and dd_rescue?"
  4. On internet "LINUX - dd_rescue VS ddrescue (gddrescue BEST)"
  5. Another answer applicable.

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