A good data recovery tool can be hard to find.
Two good tools to try are from CGSecurity (GPL licensed software):
- TestDisk – recover deleted partitions, restore deleted files, or copy deleted files to a recovery location.
- PhotoRec – recover deleted or lost files.
If your disk is physically damaged (bad sectors, etc) then you will be lucky if any of it can be read successfully. For damaged disks, use a program like GNU ddrescue to make a duplicate copy (clone) of readable parts of the bad disk onto a fresh fully-functional disk. You can then attempt file recovery using testdisk/photorec on the fresh clone disk without physically damaged sectors.
These programs can turn a very bad day around and give hope when disaster strikes. Here are some hints to improve your odds of successful data recovery:
- Shut the system down and don’t let anything else write to the disk.
- Boot from some type of recovery CD/DVD to run these recovery programs safely.
- Save recovered files to a different physical disk or drive – avoid writing changes to the disk with lost or deleted data.