How to Recover Lost Partitions and Files using TestDisk/PhotoRec.

I hope everything is fine going and you are just reading this blog to get informed about “TestDisk” and “PhotoRec”. Because the conditions in which people use these utilities… is quiet, not fine! Anyway, your purpose may vary. So,

Have you ever accidentally deleted any of your files even from the trash or a more cherishing moment when you deleted one Whole Partition of your drive? If anyone is the case with you, this blog may help you out. Alright, the question comes again: “How to recover deleted partition or files using TestDisk or PhotoRec?”

PhotoRec: is a companion program with TestDisk, we will see how.

TestDisk is a powerful utility software helps to recover lost data and partitions. Not just this sole purpose but Its usage is highly versatile. Let’s have a look…

I would refer to Linux Ubuntu in this blog, however, TestDisk is applicable on multi-platform like DOS, Windows, Mac OSX, etc.

It won’t be nice enough for a beginner geek like me, To intentionally delete a partition of my system to present the whole working of TestDisk in this blog. I have a better way, hmm… a smart plan!

There are people who have actually worked on TestDisk and if not then we always have The “Ask Ubuntu” forum, and useful links. Since I am a lazy geek, I would be using a couple of links in this blog, to ease myself. Using links probably will make this blog short. But combining the content of all at one place might be helpful for you. (I recommend you to go through the complete blog first then choose an appropriate option (link) to use. Because by the time only you will know which one would suits you better. Okay?) Here we go!


1. First, why don’t you understand and learn What TestDisk actually is?

TestDisk is powerful free data recovery software! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software: certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy.

TestDisk can

  • Fix partition table, recover deleted partition
  • Recover FAT32 boot sector from its backup
  • Rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 boot sector
  • Fix FAT tables
  • Rebuild NTFS boot sector
  • Recover NTFS boot sector from its backup
  • Fix MFT using MFT mirror
  • Locate ext2/ext3/ext4 Backup SuperBlock
  • Undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 filesystem
  • Copy files from deleted FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2/ext3/ext4 partitions.

TestDisk has features for both newbies and professional. For those who know little or nothing about data recovery techniques, TestDisk can be used to collect detailed information about a non-booting drive which can then be sent to a tech for further analysis. Those more familiar with such procedures should find TestDisk a handy tool in performing onsite recovery.

  • Want to know more about TestDisk, on which OS it works, on which file systems, go Here (source of these details).

2. Go with TestDisk and let’s recover a lost partition. The working of TestDisk Step-by-Step is given Here.

3. What if you want to recover just some files (not the whole partition) or copy data from the live system to an external drive, what would you do then.

Go Here and read the answer most voted first (usually on the top of all answers).


What if you want to recover just media files specifically, then “PhotoRec” might sound a better option than “TestDisk”.

1. What is PhotoRec?
PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents, and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or reformatted.

PhotoRec is free – this open source multi-platform application is distributed under GNU General Public License (GPLV v2+). PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, an application for recovering lost partitions on a wide variety of file systems and making non-bootable disks bootable again.

For more safety, PhotoRec uses read-only access to handle the drive or memory card you are about to recover lost data from. Important: As soon as a picture or file is accidentally deleted, or you discover any missing, do NOT save any more pictures or files to that memory device or hard disk drive; otherwise you may overwrite your lost data. This means that while using PhotoRec, you must not choose to write the recovered files to the same partition they were stored on.

*note:- also recovering from PhotoRec will not recover your filenames, folder structures, data will be recovered just in abstract names of alpha-numeric codes, But file’s extensions will be preserved. So, after recovering you would need to sort out each file by yourself. This is not the case with TestDisk. Therefore, I always recommend TestDisk over PhotoRec.

  • want to know about Operating Systems it works on, on which type of file systems, on which extensions. Kindly visit Here (source for these details).

2. Working of PhotoRec Step-by-Step. Here.

With this last point, We have reached the end of this Recovery Tools. I know this blog is filled with inter-related links only. But I just wanted to share all in one place. Hope you are helped with it.

Have a wonderful day!

And this, is GeekyShacklebolt

bidding you goodbye!

3 thoughts on “How to Recover Lost Partitions and Files using TestDisk/PhotoRec.

  1. Exactly – Do not panic! In bulk cases, deleted files can restore – even if you have cleared the trash or did not used the trash when deleting files.
    For successful resuscitation deleted data it is necessary implement specific actions. Do not be discouraged – for this, it is not necessary to be an expert in the field of information technology, you also do not need to pay hundreds of dollars to a specialist professional for restoration of your remote information.
    recovery file software


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