Can I get my files back?

So yesterday my laptop decided that the disk was full. After running the disk analyzer it said Timeshift was taking up all the space.
I Restarted the laptop since it was becoming unresponsive.

Now I'm faced with a black screen and a cursor on the top left. I have been able to open it with a new disk image but how can I access all my old data?
Is there a way to get it back?
Any help is much appreciated

Once you boot from a bootable / live USB, similar to how you installed ZorinOS, you should be able to navigate to all the directories in the hard drive. You can learn how to do this following this guide:

Once you are in, open the file explorer and navigate to /home/<your_username>. You can type in directly in the address bar by pressing Ctrl + L.

Assuming the hard drive works normally, you should be able to see your files there. I suggest you copy them to an external hard drive or cloud service first and foremost. Once your files are safe you can proceed in one of two ways:

  1. Continue to investigate where did Timeshift store all those excess backups that filled the hard drive. I never used it myself so I can't really help with this, but hopefully someone else here may be able to.

  2. Re-install ZorinOS. For me personally, this would be my preferred choice to guarantee a fresh start from scratch. Then copy over the files from that external drive or cloud, and read more carefully how Timeshift works and how to avoid this issue.


Ok, thanks a lot I got this all sorted and didn't loose anything. However I noticed that on start up I still get a lot of error logs and I was wondering if you can recommend a tool to test the hardware of my laptop?

You can clean out old timeshift copies. They should be saved in ~/timeshift
In your TimeShift settings, you can set it to only save recent backups and remove old ones as new ones are created.

For checking Drive Integrity, you can use the built in S.M.A.R.T test.

Hi, when i open disks and select the drive the smart test option is greyed out. How can I make this work, please?

If you are using an NVMe drive, then you may need to install:

sudo apt install nvme-cli

What happens if you run from terminal (use your actual /dev/designation)?

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

It just says command not found


sudo apt install smartmontools


sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

I followed the steps and it says : Smartctl open device: /dev/sda failed: No such device

Any other ideas?

You can use gparted or disks... Find the /dev/"ID" for your drive.

This is what I got: $ sudo smartctl -a/dev/nvme0n1p1
[sudo] password for hendrik:
smartctl 7.1 2019-12-30 r5022 [x86_64-linux-5.15.0-76-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-19, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,


This lacks the space between the -a and the /dev...

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

SMART/Health Information (NVMe Log 0x02)
Critical Warning: 0x00
Temperature: 33 Celsius
Available Spare: 100%
Available Spare Threshold: 50%
Percentage Used: 9%
Data Units Read: 40,466,182 [20.7 TB]
Data Units Written: 34,813,453 [17.8 TB]
Host Read Commands: 472,261,786
Host Write Commands: 514,854,435
Controller Busy Time: 12,862
Power Cycles: 1,475
Power On Hours: 6,382
Unsafe Shutdowns: 463
Media and Data Integrity Errors: 0
Error Information Log Entries: 0
Warning Comp. Temperature Time: 0
Critical Comp. Temperature Time: 0

Error Information (NVMe Log 0x01, max 256 entries)
No Errors Logged

This is what I got