Lost files and how to recover them


New Member
Hello all! I'm a average linux user from long time ago, used many different distros but always ending with some debian/ubuntu derivative.
I have a machine with a 1,5 gb hd with 3 partitiones, a 30gb for /, 1 gb for home and the swap partition.
In the big partition i had inside the user home folder (PCMEDIA) some other folders with many many music videos i've downloading one by one from many time before.
The folder was called videos (or vídeos when spanish linux was installed).
The last time i've installed another debian/ubuntu derivative , linuxfx and as always, in the wizard for installation choose to format the 30gb root partition and the swap partition, leave alone the 1gb home partition (or that is what i think).
My suprise is when i reboot the system and go to the home user (i've named the new user same as old user, PCMEDIA) and it seems that the new installation recreated the pcmedia user folder and erased all the files and subfolders there.
The question is, is any program/application to recover the missing files? i've tried with photorec but restores the files without names and not in the folders i used to have.
Do you know any way to recover the files with name and paths? I've tried several commercial applications but those who retrieve things are always like photorec, without the name and path.


Well-Known Member
You can take a look here:

There's also some Linux software that recovers pictures - but also recovers other file types and people speak highly of it. I've forgotten the name but someone here will recall it.

Wait, it's PhotoRec...



Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
PhotoRec is a part of Christophe Grenier's Testdisk Utilities.

G'day @calebs and welcome to linux.org :)

You can visit here


to get a download, or else you haven't said what Distro you are using but Testdisk is likely in the Repositories for your Distro.

I would run a preliminary scan and if no joy a deep scan, to see if the files can be recovered. If they are recoverable, they will be restored with the original hierarchy and name features.

I haven't used Testdisk for ages, (I make extensive use of Timeshift), but it was very good. A deep scan could take a long time.


Chris Turner


New Member
Hello all, thanks! I've tried with photorec but it doesn't recover filenames or directory structures, only groups file by type. Since the files were music videos sorted in a decade, the filenames contains the year, artist and title and without that info it would be almost impossible to rename them again manually.
With testdisk i explore the filesystem and enter to the videos folder but it shows empty, no red files/folders to recover. It seems that installer recreated the folder videos on the existing one and somehow lost all the subfolders that were there, as, for example, 1950-1959 and so on. Do you know any other way to try to recover the files? After i noticed it i haven't write any aditional data to that partition


Gold Member
Gold Supporter
If it's really important data and photorec doesn't work, consider looking for a good professional data recovery company. I had to recover some files at one point from a still working system I think it was, if I remember correctly I did that with the debugfs command.

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