I have a Western Digital USB Drive that I use for data and testing new Linux releases. It had one NTFS partition for files I could share with Windows systems, one big data partition that I use to designate /home and several smaller partitions where I install varied Linux distributions. I had just deleted a couple of partitions that contained older Linux Mint versions and moved my /home partition to the outside of the disk using Gparted when an error occurred. After refreshing the application, it showed that my /home partition was unreadable. If I had been using Windows XP or Vista, my first instinct would be to wipe out the corrupted data and start from scratch. Not so in this case, I searched for a recovery utility that worked with EXT3 filesystems and discovered Testdisk.
The creator of this nifty tool provided sufficient information for me to install, operate and succeed in my task. I only used two commands in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install testdisk and
testdisk. It did not even take 5 minutes for the program to be installed. In a few keystrokes, Testdisk was able to fix my partition table and I got all of my data back. There are no guarantees in recovery. The best course of action is still to back up your data before you move or make big changes.