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Partition Table Party!

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  • Partition Table Party!

    My Windows 2000 installation, which served only for games, was behaving slightly out of order. Re-installation is of course the magic cure-all for Windows, but as we all know, Windows likes to be all to itself. I hit Google briefly and found that Grub can be popped back in to restore access to one's Linux dual-boot, so I figure this should work. I'm stupid sometimes.

    An hour later, the system won't boot from the HDD.

    Live Ubuntu shows the drive (it's SATA) as a generic removable media and contains the Windows stuff. Getting a look at the partition table shows it has been turned to mush. Awesome.

    The official easy-fix is gpart, which will look at the data patterns and find where the partitions actually are at in the technical sense. Now, I know the approximate sizes of the four partitions so I can yea or nay, but it needs to come at least close. gpart successfully finds my 200GB NTFS partition, which is good, because that is the most important partition on the disk. I'm allowed to edit the partition table generated in gpart so I stab a few guesses in on my Linux OS partition and the little extra-crap partition on the end.

    Rebooting as directed, Ubuntu Live still sees the drive as a generic removable storage containing the Windows installation junk, fdisk sees nothing at all, and gpart returns the table I saved (which does not include the spot where the Windows installation was placed. So, something isn't happening correctly and I'm not sure what.

    ITT: How you learned to stop worrying and use a separate physical disk for EVERYTHING.

  • #2
    Re: Partition Table Party!

    I found a program called testdisk that found both my NTFS data partition and the Linux partition. So, I'm now doing what I should have done -- copy everything to one of my old junker drives -- in preparation for el reformatto grande. Or as they call it in France, la royale du reformatteaux.


    • #3
      Re: Partition Table Party!

      Hmm, sounds like you dived into partition tables before you knew the mess it was. :p

      Did you manage to save your data or was it all jibberish (aka corrupted)?
      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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      • #4
        Re: Partition Table Party!

        As mentioned, testdisk wrote a valid table. Everything on both the data and Ubuntu partition copied flawlessly to a junker drive, and I am now up and running again, although now I am running three HDDs instead of two. Windows is on a little IDE drive with a huge on it because it could die at any moment, Ubuntu is on a small SATA, and data is on a large SATA. It took a few stabs before BIOS somehow figured out how I wanted the booting to work*, but it seems to be the way I want it... GRUB is on the SATA and the Windows drive is exactly as Windows wants it, so if the SATA is plugged in, GRUB dual-boot works, and if I unplug the small SATA, Windows boots obliviously. So, if the small IDE drive explodes, I can throw in the next junker IDE, install Windows, and everything should be as if nothing happened at all.

        * it was reading the IDE drive first forcing me to select the SATA explicitly via choosing boot device, and later it started booting off the SATA as I wanted and I don't know why. I will not question this good fortune.

        I've previously played the recover-from-a-scrambled drive game, when an application apparently rolled over a 32uint and started writing video data everywhere at once. I'd rather not play again.


        • #5
          Re: Partition Table Party!

          Separate disks, or you have enough RAM, a virtual machine.

          Sadly, I can't put different installs on my two hard drives... because they're kind of in a RAID :D
          "But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother. We don't like to make our passions other peoples' concern." -Dar Williams
          Former Captain of the 55th Infantry Division


          • #6
            Re: Partition Table Party!

            I'm not running a server so I don't need speed, and I'm not making movies (yet) so I don't need a huge band of logically contiguous space, so I've decided to stay out of RAID for the time-being.




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