How to Undelete files removed with “rm” in Ubuntu

Recently I found myself in a situation where I needed to recover some files I accidentally deleted. I had written a program in Java to read off a JBoss Messaging Dead Letter Queue, and save them in a format that could be re-inputted back into the system.

So my program was writing files into a directory within my home directory, and while I was testing the program I was not committing back to JMS so ensure the messages stayed there. When I was confident that the program was correct, I added the commit, I then removed the files that my tests had produce by using “rm *”.

I then ran my program for real. In the directory I was expecting files to appear I typed the usual “ls -ltr” to see a list of files. I pressed the up key to run the last command i.e. “ls -ltr” to see some more files created. I repeated this a few times, until I accidentally pressed the up key twice…..yep you guessed it….”rm *”, the files were deleted and the commit to JMS means they were no longer on the queue. My heart sank.

Now I rememebered on the old days of DOS there was an UNDELETE command, so I was looking around the web to see if there was something similar for Linux. I was in luck, especially as my program was still running.

Basically thanks to this information, I recovered my deleted files with relative ease. 🙂

Ok so to do this, I believe you need to be as fortunate as I was and still have the program that created the deleted files still running, so let’s create a Java program that will write to a file and then keep running…

package name.kayley.undeletefiletest;


public class UndeleteFileTest {
 public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {  
  FileWriter writer = new FileWriter("/tmp/testFile.txt");
  PrintWriter printer = new PrintWriter(writer);
  printer.append("hello this file is going to be deleted.");
  Object lock = new Object();
  synchronized(lock) {

Ok, now run that program and it will create a file in /tmp called testFile.txt, so lets see it..

andy@andy-laptop:/tmp$ ls -ltr *.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 andy andy 39 2009-02-13 18:54 testFile.txt

So we can see the file is there, lets delete it to see if we can recover it…

andy@andy-laptop:/tmp$ rm testFile.txt

Now the file is gone. So how do we get it back? Well first we need to find the PID of the process that created the file that was deleted. We know that it was a java program that created it so we’ll use the lsof and search for java..

andy@andy-laptop:/tmp$ lsof | grep java
.....[lots of things listed]
java      9048       andy    4r      REG        8,1       39 1622029 /tmp/testFile.txt (deleted)

No now we know the PID is 9048 lets find the file… so there should be a directory /proc/[PID]/fd…

andy@andy-laptop:/tmp$ cd /proc/9048/fd
andy@andy-laptop:/proc/9048/fd$ ls -ltr
total 0
lr-x------ 1 andy andy 64 2009-02-13 18:54 4 -> /tmp/testFile.txt (deleted)
l-wx------ 1 andy andy 64 2009-02-13 18:54 3 -> /usr/local/jdk1.6.0_07/jre/lib/rt.jar
l-wx------ 1 andy andy 64 2009-02-13 18:54 2 -> pipe:[43665]
l-wx------ 1 andy andy 64 2009-02-13 18:54 1 -> pipe:[43664]
lr-x------ 1 andy andy 64 2009-02-13 18:54 0 -> pipe:[43663]

Bingo! We have found the deleted file, so now all we need to do is cat the link to a new file, so here I put it into my home directory…

andy@andy-laptop:/proc/9048/fd$ cat 4 > ~/testFile.txt

Next, I go to my home folder and have a look at the file, and hey presto…its restored…

andy@andy-laptop:/proc/9048/fd$ cd
andy@andy-laptop:~$ less testFile.txt 
hello this file is going to be deleted.
testFile.txt (END) 

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How to get Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision working in Ubuntu

I have recently removed Windows from my Dell Inspiron 9400, and replaced it with Ubuntu, which is a flavour of Linux (or GNU/Linux if you’re picky).

I was surprised at how easy the installation was, almost everything worked out of the box, wireless, all the media keys and 95% of the fn keys. (I’m having trouble with fn+f8 and fn+10 not working correctly)

Anyway I am very happy with the Installation, I love the effects you have on the windows, it looks really pretty.

I wanted to get my Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision working with Ubuntu, so I could use it on Skype. I plugged it in and nothing happened…ho hum… on windows it would have picked it up and installed it, and asked for the driver cd, but anyway, after a bit of googling around I found this thread, and I followed the advise of Andrew Barber on there.

Make sure first you have all the tools for the job:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` linux-restricted-modules-`uname -r` build-essential subversion

Once you have got all them you will need to use subversion to get the driver from the svn repo..
svn checkout

Then you need to compile and install

cd linux-uvc/linux-uvc/trunk
sudo make install

Plug the camera in and take a look at dmesg. It may [hopefully] give you the device listing for it... eg /dev/video1

Point your application at that device and see if it works.

I checked dmseg to see what had happened...

$ dmesg | grep -i vid
[ 0.000000] BIOS-provided physical RAM map:
[ 8.445959] Boot video device is 0000:00:02.0
[ 26.441798] input: Video Bus as /devices/LNXSYSTM:00/device:00/PNP0A03:00/device:2b/LNXVIDEO:00/input/input7
[ 26.489145] ACPI: Video Device [VID] (multi-head: yes rom: no post: no)
[ 26.497079] input: Video Bus as /devices/LNXSYSTM:00/device:00/PNP0A03:00/LNXVIDEO:01/input/input8
[ 26.537089] ACPI: Video Device [VID1] (multi-head: yes rom: no post: no)
[ 26.537246] input: Video Bus as /devices/LNXSYSTM:00/device:00/PNP0A03:00/LNXVIDEO:02/input/input9
[ 26.585000] ACPI: Video Device [VID2] (multi-head: yes rom: no post: no)
[ 2902.096243] Linux video capture interface: v2.00
[ 2902.175522] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device <unnamed> (046d:08c9)
[ 2902.189674] usbcore: registered new interface driver uvcvideo
[ 2902.189683] USB Video Class driver (v0.1.0)

After that it worked in skype, I needed to set the sound in device to be the microphone of the web cam in the options of skype...

Sound In: USB Device 0x46d:0x8c9 (hw:U0x46d0x8c9,0)
Sound Out: Default device(default)
Ringing: Default device(default)

and in the video settings of skype...

Select webcam: UVC Camera (0x46d:0x8c9) (/dev/video0)

I am still currently having a weird issue where it seems that skype takes over the sound of all other applications. If I try and play some music after a skype call then it won't play until I reboot. Also it seems I'm allowed a max of 1 skype call before the sound in skype doesn't work, and therefore doesn't let me make or receive anymore calls. Again it only seems at the moment that a reboot will fix it. For the moment I will live with this as I don't use skype that often anyway. (If anyone has any advice for this part please leave a comment)

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