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Folder and sub-Folder Recovery Possible?

Posted: 13 Jan 2021, 21:21
by bdbx18
For weeks, I was doing a mass cleanup of the family photos and movies collection on my Synology. In the midst, I was using PhotoStation to (logically) remove an album and it (or me stupidly) deleted the actual physical folder containing some 20+ years of data off the drive. Within minutes, I discovered what it was doing and cancelled it but it was too late. The entire folder with thousands of sub-folders were gone. My backup setup has not been working for the past 5 years so my last backup was 2015. And Recycling was not turned on. Yes, that was idiotic.

I have since removed the 4 drives (ext4) from the NAS and attached it to a spare PC. I have ran multiple s/w and they all report the same result. The jpgs, mov, mp4 files are there but it would be a jumbled mess of different names, folders e.g.

I'm now using Photorec with Ubuntu on a USB stick. I have scanned the 'freespace' partition and recovered what jpgs I could find there. I'm thinking the deleted files would go under 'freespace'. However, there weren't as many files as I thought. I then scanned the 'allocated' partition and recovered a lot more. I have yet to go through the thousands of files, remove the thumbnails e.g. but I would be using PhotoMove to sort them by EXIF for the files that have at least EXIF data preserved.

I am now scanning the drives again to look for the mov, mp4, mpg, avi files and it looks like another 70 hrs to go. After which it would likely be weeks before I could complete sorting out the files in this partial recovery.

Once this last scan is done, I would like to check again to see if there is *any* possibility that I could be able to retrieve the original folder structure and hence the underlying files using Testdisk or Photorec? I have read up on ext4 and am a bit aware that any file access would wipe out the node info. I thought I would inquire here before giving it up completely.

Thanks in advance for a great tool.

Re: Folder and sub-Folder Recovery Possible?

Posted: 14 Jan 2021, 14:04
by recuperation
bdbx18 wrote:
13 Jan 2021, 21:21
Once this last scan is done, I would like to check again to see if there is *any* possibility that I could be able to retrieve the original folder structure and hence the underlying files using Testdisk or Photorec? I have read up on ext4 and am a bit aware that any file access would wipe out the node info. I thought I would inquire here before giving it up completely.
Photorec cannot do that by design. Testdisk allows you to do so but only in case of certain minimal dammage to the partition involved.
In case of your four drives belonging to a combined virtual drive using techniques like JBOD or RAID you can only run Testdisk on your virtual drive.

Re: Folder and sub-Folder Recovery Possible?

Posted: 14 Jan 2021, 16:44
by bdbx18
Thank you. Once I'm done with the file recoveries and before I starting writing onto the disks again, I will give Testdisk a shot.

Re: Folder and sub-Folder Recovery Possible?

Posted: 15 Jan 2021, 14:28
by cgrenier
If you ends by using photorec, it's possible to sort the recovered jpg by date/time as this information is stored in the EXIF metadata.