[RESOLVED] How do I "recover" data from NextCloud to a new & clean /home partition

I’m really bricking it as I think I may have lost ALL my data, and could do with some simple step by step help to extricate myself, please.

I signed up for NextCloud through the guys at PCLinuxOS, and have synced my key data (60GB representing 25 years of scanned financial, investment and life records plus my financial software data). I had a problem with the PCLOS KDE Plasma version not recognising the numberpad on my keyboard after a reload 10 days ago, and one solution suggested was to run Linux from a live CD/DVD to rule out a hardware issue. I downloaded PCLOS MATE onto a DVD and the keyboard worked perfectly. To permanently fix this irritating keyboard problem, I decided to install PCLOS MATE on my desktop, and took advice how to do this without wiping all the current data off my /home partition. That advice did not work and wiped my /home partition so I now have no access to a lifetime’s data - EXCEPT most of it was synced to my NextCloud account.

My backup protocol also failed miserably (another story) although I always had NextCloud at the back of my mind.

I’m pretty sure I cannot just connect my newly installed Linux version to my NextCloud account (assuming I can work out the username and password - all stored in my scanned documents) as my layman’s understanding is that NextCloud would see that all my files were no longer on my desktop, assume I had meant to delete them, then simply sync them into oblivion. Without seeing them on NextCloud, I can’t even be sure of getting all the folders and their names right, and that might be important.

To try and recover the data straight off the hard drive, I have tried running TestDisk (which looked nothing like the user manual on screen and did nothing), and I’ve had PhotoRec running for almost 24 hours now and doesn’t seem to be getting very far (and even if it does, any of the files recovered will have their filenames removed/replaced which isn’t the optimal solution anyway - there are reports of people running it for weeks and weeks too).

I’m posting this message from my Chromebook as I’m petrified of causing more damage if I try and do anything on my desktop.

What I’m hoping is you great guys can tell me how a “not very techie” person can run a simple app (or a simple command line routine if absolutely unavoidable) to copy all the data held in my NextCloud space back to my new, clean and virgin /home space on my desktop.

I do hope there is a foolproof way to do this, and I look forward with trepidation to your expert help and guidance.

Thanks to all.

Tim J

Hi @timj_bsgcgoty2003, if I understand correctly, your data on your computer has been erased but you still have it on a nextcloud server ?

you can “normally” retrieve your password with your email address if you have entered one.

for the synchronisation client it will not perform any transfer because you have not configured a folder to transfer from nextcloud to your computer.
if you didn’t trust it, first log in via the web page, download the data for backup and then configure the nextcloud client on your “new” computer.

Hi Mageunic,

That sounds almost too easy to be true!

It’s getting late in the day now, but I’ll see how I get on with that suggestion tomorrow if the current QPhotoRec session ever ends!

I assume by “backup” you mean that I can download all my data to a local drive, e.g. my Samsung external 500GB drive, then copy them over to my new /home drive into new folders which match what is in the cloud in NextCloud? Then, when I open the NextCloud app, there should be no data loss as both places will have the same data in them? That would be terrific!

Many thanks again. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Kind Regards,



It is even simpler than you think.
@Mageunic means you should make a back-up via the browser (just to be sure) on an external drive.

After that you can configure a new nextcloud folder with the desktop-application on your new computer, you do not have to put any files in your home, the application will transfer them automatically.

As you are creating a new link to a new folder there is no previous synchronisation-state available for that folder, thus the client will not think you have deleted any files.

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Hi triver,

Thanks very much for the reassurance!

I’ve logged into the web portal and all the files, 70GB of them, still seems to be there. Phew!

What I’m not sure about is what you meant by “make a back-up via the browser on an external drive”. Sorry to be stupid. The only options I seem to be able to find are Copy/Move which are not to an external drive, or Download which creates a zip file. (I’ve just tested this on the first folder rather than go gung ho and do all of them in one). The folder I’ve chosen in only 2.3GB but it’s going to take so long to download, the downloader isn’t even able to suggest how long it will take. 70GB is going to take days - which is not ideal but better than losing the lot - but have I missed a specific and quicker “back-up” option on the portal?

Thanks in anticipation, and kind regards to all you helpful people out there.

Oh, and I don’t know if the standard app that handles unzipping is going to be able to cope with all this data, which has got some pretty big individual files in it. Is that likely to be a problem, do you think?

what triver and I are trying to tell you: download all important data for you from the web browser and store them on an external hard drive.
after launching the synchronization client and configuring it (at launch no transfer can be done because the client is not configured to transfer files from nextcloud to your computer but for security reasons you have to do the step above)

Thanks Mageunic,

That’s exactly what I am doing. I just wondered if there was any way to do it quicker as I only seem to be able to get a download speed of around 1.5MB/sec off the NextCloud website (on a 100MB fibre broadband line). It appears to be doing it successfully, but slowly.

UPDATE I left one folder of data downloading at 11:00pm last night and found when I got up at 7:00am that it had failed at 5:00am. This is, admittedly, one of the bigger folders, but I will never finish the back-up part of this exercise if this keeps happening. Am I doing this right? I select a folder on the NC website, click on Actions and select Download, I then get the option for Firefox to save the zip file or use Engrampa to open it - both methods crawl at downloading data, and more often than not fail at some stage. Is there another way to get the data safely to my external drive, please?

Thanks again for your help as I’m getting desperate.

@timj_bsgcgoty2003 do you have another computer? download the nextcloud client on it and transfer from it

Hi Mageunic,

Sorry, those instructions are far too vague for me, I’m afraid. I have TWO other computers (desktop + laptop). The download speed on my newly Linux installed desktop is so poor, I’ve got both connected to the NC web page downloading folders. It hasn’t affected the speed at all which is strange. But the speed is even more pathetic today - 200-300Kbs on a 100mbs broadband line. Why is it so damned slow?

What do you mean by “transfer from it”? Exactly which commands/menu options/instructions are you suggesting? If I recall the NextCloud client correctly, there aren’t many settings - just source folders of what on the desktop to sync and that’s about it. If I load the client onto a new device, there will be none of the folders I had on the original desktop, so what information do I put in where?

Thanks for your help.

@timj_bsgcgoty2003 use nextcloud client on other computer , configure the client to synchronize all your data. after that, transfer your data on your external drive
when you have done this ,
go on your linux desktop ( you have reinstall ) and configure your nextcloud client to synchronize your data.

Hi Mageunic,

Right. But I understood that when I configure the client on a computer with none of the NC cloud folder/file structure already on it that it might delete all the cloud files? I thought that was why I was trying to back them up to an external drive?

This data represents 25-30 years of my life, so I can’t afford even a 0.1% risk of losing it.

If anyone knows of another way of speeding up the Download function - another Linux app, perhaps, that works with NC - I would be a very, very grateful guy. Unless I can speed it up, I am going to struggle getting a lot of data saved locally - unless I break down the larger folders into many, many chunks. Not a happy prospect.

Thanks again for your help.

@timj_bsgcgoty2003 if you configure the client correctly, it will synchronize your data directly from the server to your computer.

if you select the first option and you set a local directory , the client will synchronyze all of your data in your data directory

What is the URL to your ‘Nextcloud’ web portal (who is actually providing your Nextcloud instance?)

If you are paying for the service, it seems time to get some paid support.

Firstly investigate where the slow download speed lies. What have you done so far to establish that the slow download and broken connection does not lie with your BB provider / your home network / your PC?

Does your ‘Nextcloud’ instance allow you to connect to remote storage?

Hi NeptuneUK,

I get the service through the PCLinuxOS group.

I’ve had a major rethink and now realise that I’m trying to use cloud storage as a “fit and forget” backup, and that’s not what it’s for.

I will be cancelling my subscription to extra storage, and relying on good, old fashioned external drive backups from now on. They don’t take two weeks to restore!

Thanks one and all for your helpful comments and suggestions