It becomes a nightmare if, as a computer user, you mistakenly delete a file or discover that you need a file you initially deleted. Although deleted files usually go to the Recycle Bin, this may not always be the case, especially for older files. That is why this article will show you how you can recover the Windows files you deleted, with Linux. With the use of Ubuntu Live CD, or by dual-booting Linux and Windows, you can apply the solutions provided in this article.
Things to Do Before Recovering Deleted Windows Files
Before you start the recovery of your deleted Windows files as will be taught below, you must do the following in preparation:
- Start by creating the folder to which you would send all the files you recover i.e., the destination for your recovered files. Choose either an external storage device or your home directory to serve this purpose.
- Make a switch from the directory you are currently using to the one you just created so your recovered files won't be overwritten. You can use the commands below to achieve this:
Note: Where it says, "username", input your username.
- Next, you have to figure out where your deleted files are. Search for all the filesystems that are available by opening a terminal and inputting this command:
sudo fdisk -l
- Go through the list of partitions and filesystems that appear to identify the device your file is located on. If you still cannot identify the device, try this command:
- The above command will display all the filesystems that have been mounted on your computer. You can then choose the correct device where your deleted files are contained. Once you have chosen the right filesystem, run the following command to unmount it:
Recover Deleted Windows Files from Linux through Ntfsundelete
Recover deleted Windows files using the pre-installed Ntfsundelete on the Linux system. This utility is also available on Ubuntu's live CD.
- Run the command below to scan the selected filesystem for deleted files:
Use the "-m" flag if you know the exact name of the file or files you wish to recover. This retrieves files that match the indicated pattern. For instance, the following is a match for the deleted files, "SpecialFile2" and "SpecialFile1"
sudo ntfsundelete -m *special* /dev /sda2
- Now, Ntfsundelete will format the results and provide such details about the files like names, sizes, and the percentage of the file the tool can cover.
- To find out more about the flags of the ntfsundelete utility, type:
sudo ntfsundelete -h
- Recover a file by using the "-u" flag which represents "undelete" and also the "-I" flag, which represents "flag inodes". As shown below, you can specify more than a file inode by using a comma to separate them:
sudo ntfsundelete -u -I fileinode1 , fileinode2
Recover Deleted Windows Files from Linux Using Testdisk
A powerful tool you can use to recover your Windows deleted files from Linux is Testdisk. This tool is so powerful that if you do not use it correctly, you may end up causing more harm than good to your system. This is why you need to carefully follow the steps below if you must do it correctly:
- Install Testdisk in Ubuntu by running the below in a terminal:
sudo apt-get install testdisk
- To run this program interactively, type:
- Go ahead to choose the option that creates a new log file for you.
- Select the hard drive which contains all your files
- This tool will indicate the type of partition found on your hard drive, so you can have a guide on what you ought to choose. Now, unless you are sure beyond all reasonable doubts that the hint given by testdisk is wrong, take note to choose the partition type suggested to you by the tool.
- Choose the option, "[Advanced] Filesystem Utils" and ignore all others
- Using the up/down arrows, choose the specified partition. Then, using the right/left arrows, go to the bottom of the terminal and choose the undelete option.
- Find your way to the directory which you are sure has the deleted files you want to recover. You will know the files that have been deleted when you see them written in red. Now, navigate to the files using the up/down arrow.
- Copy the files by pressing the "c" key on your keyboard. Again, undelete the files by pressing, "y" and then choose a target destination for them after being asked by testdisk, where you wish to save them. You will see a color-coded message which is meant to serve as an alert on whether the process is a failure or a success.
Further Reading on Recovering Deleted Files on Windows
A bonus tip for recovering deleted Windows files with Linux: use the professional recovery tool Recoverit Data Recovery. This tool retrieves files that you may have given up on ever getting back due to such data loss scenarios such as deletion, system format, damage to the internal hard drive, system crash, SD card corruption, etc. You can download and install Recoverit on your Windows operating system, then recover your files in a three-step process.
You should know that Recoverit is quite secure and effective and it can be used even by novice computer users because it is user-friendly. Now, who doesn't want a tool they can easily navigate through? You can recover a vast number of file types and formats with Recoverit, hence it is not limited in that regard.
Follow the steps below after you have installed the software:
Step 1: Select a Location
Click on the folder where you deleted the files and tap on "Start".
Step 2: Scan the Location
Recoverit performs the function of scanning through the selected location to retrieve all your missing files
Step 3: Preview and Save
Preview all the recovered files and click on "Recover" to save them to a new location of your choice. It's as simple as it gets!
The Bottom Line
With the solutions provided in this article, you now know how to recover deleted Windows files with Linux. For the ultimate result, install the Recoverit Data Recovery tool on your system and get back those lost files!
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