Recovering from an ext3 hard drive crash

If you run a Linux system and have had the misfortune of having your hard drive crash without a recent backup or RAID configuration you’re in for a world of hurt. Thankfully, there are some free utilities that might make things go a bit easier for you.

My favorite utility is a gem called dd_rescue. This program will work quite hard (and efficiently) to recover as much of your data as possible onto another hard drive or a disk image. It does this by reading smaller and smaller block sizes, isolating as much of the good data as possible before copying it off. Of course this program can’t bring back data that is in the bad area itself, but it does salvage everything it can. I’ve used it a couple of times and one time it worked pretty well, recovering all the important data and the other time I got almost nothing usable. If you need a quick and dirty attempt to get things going again as quickly as possible this is your ticket.

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