10.04 and 10.10 Install formatted ext3 partition (data lost)

Bug #579866 reported by Shekhar on 2010-05-13
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubiquity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: ubiquity

I have installed 10.04 yesterday. My system already had running 9.10 with following partitions.

 / (ext4)
 /home (ext3)

While installing I chose to format / and not to format /home but chosen wrong partition type for /home i.e. ext4. Install was smooth but I realized that installer actually had formatted (or converted ?) my ext3 /home to ext4 /home wiping out all the data. I think even if I have specified ext4 by mistake, why should installer format my partition when I have specifically not asked for it. At the most it should try to mount it as ext4 and the bell out.

I don't know what would you do in order to fix this but it would be great help if there is a way to undo this. This has hit more people I guess, see http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=8195037&postcount=1 . Also I am following good https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery .

Thanks for all the good work guys but this particularly is very scary.

frznlogic (oan) wrote :

Confirming this error in Ubuntu 10.10 as well, as it happened to me last night during reinstallation/moving from 10.04 to 10.10. This is a critical error to me and caused the loss of 150 gigs in my user home directories. Luckily there are (somewhat dated) backups.

frznlogic (oan) on 2010-12-06
summary: - 10.04 Install formatted ext3 partition (data lost)
+ 10.04 and 10.10 Install formatted ext3 partition (data lost)
sithlord48 (sithlord48) wrote :

This JUST happened to me w/ the 11.10 daily build (kubuntu 8.5.11) the drive simply contains a / , swap , and /home partitons in that order. disk is a MBR scheme. the swap and /home are logical partitons with the / being a primary partition. i chose to format the / partition,(was running 10.10 already). and when it finally booted i found my /home partition had also been formated . both / and /home were already ext4 partitions.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Laszlo Almasi (almalaci) wrote :

This happened to me too yesterday. I don't recall any warning messages just a greyed out format box. I did see it but I thought I will be asked before proceeding. Older versions of ubuntu installers always used to ask for confirmation. Where did that go?

I lost about 200GB irreplaceable data and NO BACKUP. I'm devastated...

Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2012-10-16
no longer affects: ubiquity
Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → High
John McCabe-Dansted (gmatht) wrote :

BTW, you can recover some files from a formatted partition. See e.g. PhotoRec. There are also more powerful proprietary tools that can recover pretty much everything including directory structure. That said WHY?

I just did this on 12.04. I chose ext4 in the Edit partition dialog box. I noted that the format box was unchecked. I ticked OK. The format box was in the "Install" dialog was STILL unchecked. I hit "Install Now". The precise moment I pressed "Install Now" it added a tick in the "Format?". I quickly tried to stop the install, but by the time I had it had already been formatted.

As I understand Ubiquity has a two second delay before it adds the tick to the "Format?" column; this allows the user to check twice (i.e in both dialogs) that the format box hasn't been checked, and still have their partition formatted under them.

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