Today I found the most impressive piece of open source file/data recovery software: foremost (also found here as sources). I think this also convinced me that I need to include in my toolkit an Ubuntu Rescue Remix (URR) thumbdrive. The most amazing this about this tool is its origins and the fact that it ended up in the FOSS community.
I called this utility into service out of a last-ditch attempt to recover files that were deleted from a Windows machine a month or so ago. Yes, from a Windows machine. And it worked very well.
I ran it from an Ubuntu Live USB and it installed with a hiccup that I was able to work out. The easier way would have been to run URR, but I didn’t have the time to make a Live USB of that.
From that Live USB, I was also to install that utility, switch to the Window’s disk to recover, and run the recovery with the file destination as that drive. I think something like 12,000+ files were recovered, and it included a vast majority of the files we were looking for.
I did not find the audit feature of this utility very useful, but I think if I was going into a drive cold and wanted to know what was available for recover, it could be useful. Also the audit stack dumped and was unable to finish — strangely, the actual file recovery ran successfully.
This has, without a doubt, convinced me that I need to make a URR Live USB as soon as possible. The great amount of documentation on the web about data recovery, and the availability of fantastic free tools makes this a must have for anyone who does this sort of thing.