For Christmas my wife got me a "play system". One of the many things being tossed around was a $100 server good enough for a home linux system. I have been running Ubuntu and a few toys on it since. I trusted it enough, and had backups of the main files that mattered. Nothing went on there that wasn't recoverable.... or at least that's the thought.
The HD crashed. Okay, where are the backups? I had backups of the files I needed from before I moved them to the laptop, small changes mostly, no big deal.... um.... where are the backups? Oh, thank you Norton, when you backup the C drive of one system and the C drive of another system and place them into the same directory you get..... yes, one file. As in, last one in wins. Ouch.
Guess that was lesson one.
Lesson two; If your linux system drops the filesystem into readonly mode run backups before restarting. Ouch is the lesson for that one. I had access to the files I needed, but "assumed it would reboot" as it always had. No such luck, the partition information (looks like logical sectors 0 and 2 got smoked) is gone and although I have found some tools to rebuild it, I can't write it back to the disk!
Seems that dd_rescue is able to copy it off so maybe I can get lucky. Once I find a disk to copy it to... I don't think it'll all fit on my 1gig flashdrive.... although I'm going to find out.
Tools to remember....
testdisk by CGSecurity -- Found my missing partition information. Can't write it back because the disk is fubar.
dd_rescue - a better dd command, it'll keep running even with errors.
Knoppix live CD -- has bailed me out more than once, and did again. Comes loaded with testdisk and dd_rescue. Knew I kept this live CD around for a reason.
*back to praying....* I knew M$ would get even with me for having more than M$ OSes in the house!