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how to recover deleted files from a HFS+ partition on Linux?

Programming - Apr 27 2010
Question:a very needed tool is one can let you recover deleted files (after emptying the trashcan, of course) on HFS+ partitions, from a Linux tool - and better if this tool can support as many filesystems as supported from tools like gPartEd - do someone know similar tool? and there is no similar tool available, are there skilled people can help starting the development of this tool? thanks!

Answer:There are a number of different tools out there which may be of use in recovering deleted files of which you may find your milage vary.

First and foremost is an interesting set of tools known as "The SleuthKit (http://www.sleuthkit.org/)", although it is console based there is a front end via the browser called autopsy. I've never used it on HFS before (only on fat32. ntfs and ext3 but its fairly versatile and if it can't be used directly there is always raw mode) although I'm fairly certain it can handle HFS.

Lower down in the spectrum is a nifty little tool called photorec which is purely terminal driven but I find to be quite handy on occasion (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec) Photorec comes as part of testdisk (sudo apt-get install testdisk) package and I think is shipped with most major distros as part of the file-system utils

Most of the tools available specify that you should take an image of your drive and recover from that. If you do that, make sure that the image is stored on a completely separate drive and not on a partition on the same drive. Partition managers are good but there is still a risk of over-writing data. Similarly, if you are working off the same drive directly (IE passing /dev/sd* as a file descriptor, make damn sure that the drive is mounted read only. You don't want to be over-writing the very data you're trying to recover). Any files you do recover should then be written to a separate disk as well for the same reason.

There is a variety of liveCDs out there which may aid in this, Helix and Backtrack are two which I can think of off the top of my head but I'm sure there are many more.

One piece of kit I should also mention is PyFLAG. This is a web-based Log Analyser which also has wraps onto the sleuthkit. Pyflag might be too heavy for your requirements though as its aimed at network, data and log forensics (still, well worth a play though)

I've found all of these tools to be useful over the last couple of years. Sleuthkit, Autopsy and photorec (testdisk) you should be able to find in your distros repository, if not you can get them from the sleuthkit website. PyFLAG I think you will have to download and build yourself (Its all python based and not a complex procedure).

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