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Help recovering formatted drive

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I installed Ubuntu over windows on a desktop and just realized that I REALLY need to get files that were on it. Does anyone have ideas? Bootable ISO discs to recover file? Ways to pull old deleted messages off of POP email servers? Anything? I'm REALLY desperate. I installed Ubuntu 12.04 and replaced Windows XP.

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Did you overwrite the entire partition? How much have you used Ubuntu after installing it? What type are those files, how big? Normally, you don't overwrite the entire drive when installing a new OS, so your data should still be there somewhere, but not as files anymore, more like a bunch of bits scattered on your hard drive.

In any case, don't touch your hard drive (no, don't even boot Ubuntu) until you can figure a plan out, otherwise you're just running the risk of overwriting more of your files.

Depending on the previous and new partition, there should be recovery tools available which you can burn on CD/put on a flash drive and boot from there and it'll try to recover as much as possible. But as for deleted messages on POP email servers, that's really up to whoever runs the servers. Edited by Bacterius

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I've hardly used Ubuntu yet. It's an 80GB drive. I'll try Recuva first because it seems like the least destructive option. What about testdisk? Can you copy files to an external drive from that?

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