Thu, 20 Jul 2006

Undeleting from ext3

Kudos to Paul Wise who suggested late last night to try magicrescue to recover an OpenOffice file with meeting notes I had mistakenly deleted from the laptop before I even got to editing these very notes, or backing them up.

And it worked -- despite the dire warnings from the ext3 FAQ about the near impossibility of undeleting from ext3 partitions. But a few things worked in my favour here: OpenOffice files are zip files 'under the hood', and magicrescue knows how to deal with certain file formats via its collection of 'recipes' (which one can extend), and zip is among the shipped recipes. Also, I still had the 'ls -l' session in one konsole tab so I knew the exact file size I was looking for. And I wasn't in a hurry. So this morning, after magicrescue had faithfully restored 4479 files in over four hours, its companion magicsort then filtered these into a handful of directories, one of which was 'OpenDocument Text' -- which contained a few files, including two versions of the desired file as well as copies of the version from the previous meeting. Nice. And OpenOffice gladly opened the file. Lastly, it cetainly helped that I happened to have a lurking debian-devel irc session open where --- where Paul not only caught my remark, but almost immediately suggested to try magicrescue. So here goes a well-earned Thank You to Paul!

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