Hard drive broken? Computer crashed? What now? Useful tips and tricks, tools and utilites for hard disk drive recovery and repair with Linux, for Linux distributions and non-linux operating systems. (ext2 ext3 ext4 reiserfs ntfs fat32, etc.). Next time make a backup! But for now …
[this is a work in progress; most recent updates 2011-08-01]
Some sources and resources
Most distros – Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE, Ubuntu, etc. – come with a “fix” or repair option similar to the F8 options available when booting MS Windows. This provides a minimalist environment from which you can test a drive and run automated repairs (eg with fsck). However it’s best if you “touch” a broken drive as little as possible to avoid damaging data further and so using a boot-from-CD (or more commonly now DVD) tool is often best.
In addition to these options often a drive manufacturer – Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi, etc. – will have a tool to diagnose issues and possibly even perform some automated fixes.
Finally there are tools to recover partitions, MFT, rebuild boot sectors, copy back or undelete eleted files.
Some manufacturers recommend data recovery companies instead of offering recovery tools. Some of these companies (famously OnTrack) offer their own software tools for download as well as offering a mail-in service for repair and recovery of files.
Western Digital’s “platinum” recommendations:
All links tested March 2009.