Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

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Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby F0 0F C7 C8 » 2020-09-24 10:15

Hello everyone,
My "Documents" folder is missing from my file manager (dolphin) and from my hdd . In system settings, in "Location for Personal Files", the documents folder path is set to my homedir.
When I type "xdg-user-dirs-update" in a terminal I got :
"/home/<username>/Documents was removed, reassigning DOCUMENTS to homedir."
I didn't remove them by mistake, I checked zsh history.
It is likely to be because of updates. I did the standard "apt update", "apt dist-upgrade". The updates were pretty big and was mainly libs and linux-image. Could the updates be the cause ?

I'm running Debian 10 buster, Dolphin 18.08.0, KDE 5.54.0 and Plasma 5.14.5.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby andre@home » 2020-09-24 11:30

Put at least your last backup on its place with the contents of that Document folder.

If that's a problem, maybe Testdisk can find back your files.
It is generally advised to make a clone from the problem hard disk where Document folder is on and do the recovery with that other disk.
Stop working now complete on the problem disk as any action may over write the files Testdisk may find.
The best method is to use Testdisk on another computer and use the cloned disk to find your files back.

https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
Impression how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l8Yx3VL6CI
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby sunrat » 2020-09-24 12:40

It's extremely unlikely upgrades would remove any personal data from your HOME.
If you have 3 years of work you should definitely have it backed up in 2 other places, external drives preferably, and to be extra safe have one copy in another location. Hard drives (and all other storage) should be considered as temporary storage.
It's possible your drive has died or is about to, or maybe another bit of hardware.
As andre@home said, clone your drive to another external disk and work on the copied image with Testdisk/Photorec. Use a live CD/USB Linux to do the clone and then you may be able to use it to see if your files still exist.
“ computer users can be divided into 2 categories:
Those who have lost data
...and those who have not lost data YET ”
Remember to BACKUP!
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby andre@home » 2020-09-24 14:44

sunrat wrote:It's extremely unlikely upgrades would remove any personal data from your HOME.
I agree... but it can happen... cannot go into too much details because of confidentiality, but someone updated an "office program".. and all kind of important templates were wiped from the Document folder .... It was decided to bring that disk to a recovery company. Cannot tell more... but apparently there were no backups.... unbelievable....

I think to have 5 copies on different media of my private photos and other important data and in principle they are spread over 2 physical locations....


Tip: If you are not sure about your skills... do not do this your self. If its for the company you work for, ask an IT-person who has good/proven recovery skills, to do the jobs.
Or... do as in my example: Ask an recovery company to do the job. The costs depend a lot on the cause of the data loss. If it is "just " a small user failure.. you likely will stay below 1000 US-dollar ?
If it is a hardware failure, it becomes quite unpredictable if the recovery may be successful at all...
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby sgosnell » 2020-09-24 16:05

Any files I care about are backed up to external drives, both HDD and SSD, and to both Dropbox and Google Drive. Files with any sensitive information are encrypted before going to the cloud, using gnupg. I also have some encrypted with Minilock in addition to gnupg. I would never trust any single storage device for files that couldn't be easily replaced. The price of storage is so low that it makes no sense at all to me to not use multiple devices, updated daily or more often. Cron makes this easy and reliable.
Take my advice, I'm not using it.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby MALsPa » 2020-09-24 20:59

andre@home wrote:but it can happen


Wouldn't the OP be able to examine the info under /var/log/ to determine if this is what happened?
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby sgage » 2020-09-24 22:14

Three years of work, and no back up? :shock:
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby andre@home » 2020-09-25 06:06

MALsPa wrote:Wouldn't the OP be able to examine the info under /var/log/ to determine if this is what happened?
Agree, always check the logs. If you keep the original disk untouched it should be easy to find, but I wonder if such a data loss wil be logged?
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby F0 0F C7 C8 » 2020-09-27 19:08

Thnak you all for your replies.

andre@home wrote:Put at least your last backup on its place with the contents of that Document folder.

If that's a problem, maybe Testdisk can find back your files.
It is generally advised to make a clone from the problem hard disk where Document folder is on and do the recovery with that other disk.


How do I clone a disk ? I have found tools suited for this task but will it really copy every single bit of my disk or just data found by the filesystem ?
Should I use the dd command for example ?
I don't think a mere drag'n'drop would work.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby Bulkley » 2020-09-27 22:58

F0 0F C7 C8 wrote:How do I clone a disk ?


I use Clonzilla on a live-CD. Yes, it clones everything including Grub (boot). I clone to a spare drive. I do it before attempting any major changes so that I have an exact replica when I need it. I also save important things elsewhere but that's a different story.

Those who's livelihood depends on computer work need an automatic backup system and there are lots to choose from.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby sickpig » 2020-09-28 01:02

F0 0F C7 C8 wrote:Should I use the dd command for example ?

dd will work.
Also easier option is gnome disks - allows you to img individual partitions as well.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby F0 0F C7 C8 » 2020-09-30 15:57

I ran testdisk and found ... nothing...
Image
The software did find some deleted files and folders but not "Documents".
I ran a deeper search in my disk and the result was :
Image
Lastly, I did a scan of the disk wich resulted in :
Image

It doesn't seem I can recover anything.
Last edited by F0 0F C7 C8 on 2020-09-30 18:42, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby F0 0F C7 C8 » 2020-09-30 16:07

It is not that bad anyway. It was mostly homework from previous years. Most projects I worked on are in the git folder. For those not in git, since the projects were in groups, I can still retrive the files from my classmates. Hopefully the pictures and movies folder are not gone :shock:. I will backup everything from now on :D.
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby bester69 » 2020-10-07 17:35

sgosnell wrote:Any files I care about are backed up to external drives, both HDD and SSD, and to both Dropbox and Google Drive. Files with any sensitive information are encrypted before going to the cloud, using gnupg. I also have some encrypted with Minilock in addition to gnupg. I would never trust any single storage device for files that couldn't be easily replaced. The price of storage is so low that it makes no sense at all to me to not use multiple devices, updated daily or more often. Cron makes this easy and reliable.

I do almost the same, I use Dropbox and Google Drive for my sensible data files with a daily.crontab push daily backups into both clouds by using "rclone sync"; I also use encfs for my private folder and exclude keyfile unlocking from pushing into cloud in order to add a security layer...

For no sensible data but home backups (debs, music, settings files, etc), I use a local deduplication daily borg backup that its pushed each three months to Mega (50Gby) by using rclone and duplicity backend for rclone.. so, borg repository its pushed into cloud by being enveloped in a duplicity upload..; this way you can send a huge amount of data backup to cloud in a very trusted way (Duplicity reliability)..

In resume.:
- My important data documents:
Data + Data encrypted (encfs) => Daily borg repository backup (local backup) => pushed by rclone into Dropbox and GoogleDrive (cloud data and redundancy backup)
- My data Home:
Data Home => Each 3 Months, borg repository backup (local backup2) => pushed by duplicity (huge data upload with rclone's duplicity backend) into Mega (big free Cloud, 50Gb)
bester69 wrote:You wont change my mind when I know Im right, Im not an ...
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Re: Documents folder gone (with three years of work...)

Postby tomt » 2020-10-14 05:19

You may take some consolation in hearing that this is not the first
time top level dirs in ~/ have disappeared arbitrarily.

Many years ago (2009 & 2013) I had reported instances where multiple
top level dirs had disappeared leaving behind a few as well as all the
dotfiles/dirs. These happened not long after I had migrated to new
versions.

At that time I did not associate the disappearance with updates but
there may have been a link.

Regards, tomt
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