How to Restore an Overwritten File on Linux

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Linux is an operating system that runs on Unix computers. Users can control computers with the Linux OS using a command line interface or a graphical interface. Backing up your files on a computer that operates with Linux is important because file recovery can be tricky. If you accidentally delete or overwrite files while working on a Linux computer, you will need to enter commands using the Linux interface to retrieve the lost files.

Step 1

Assess which partition on your computer you need to access to recover the files.

Step 2

Unmount the directory using the "unmount" command in the interface. This will help prevent damaging the file you are trying to recover.

Step 3

Type "debugfs" in the command line interface (all typing without quotation marks) and include the file system where the overwritten file is into the command. For example, typing "debugfs usr/personal" will bring up your personal directory. Hit "Enter" after typing the command.

Step 4

Use the "Isdel" command by typing "Isdel" in the command line interface and hitting "Enter" while the system is being debugged. This will bring up a list of overwritten and deleted files in the file system.

Step 5

Recover the overwritten files by typing the command "dump filename" in the command line interface and hitting "Enter."

Step 6

Type in the "inode" number associated with the files you want to retrieve, which is located in the first column that is displayed in by the "Isdel" command.


Make backup copies of important files and store them in your personal directory to prevent overwriting them.


Turning off your computer while trying to retrieve overwritten files in Linux can corrupt those files.