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Old 12-07-2003, 05:13 PM   #1
J_Szucs
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Win98+Linux. Help me determine my stupidity level!


This is kind of a poll to determine my supidity level (range 0 through 10, higher numbers mean higher stupidity), with respect to an action I did the day before yesterday.

Here is my system and what I did:
System: old Acorp Ali51 motherboard, 2.5G and 30G HDDs, dual booting Win98 and Linux, bootloader: grub.
hda: Win98 (C:, 2.5G)
hdb: Linux (30G, devided into several Linux partitions)
(I gave all space on hdb to Linux because Windows only saw 8G of that HDD)

Later I found that 2.5G is small for my windows games, so I freed up 5G on hdb, and gave it to Win98. It was happy with the new space (D, and everything was fine for some months.

Then a demo game that I have been using for some days without any problems suddenly crashed. From that time win98 always BSOD'd instead of normal startup, and nothing helped: scandisk, scanreg, replacing system.dat and user.dat with backups from Linux, all had only a temporary effect. But Linux on HDD was well.

Finally, I decided to clean and reinstall the windows partitions completely, and issued the following commands from a clean win98 boot disk:
format d: /u
format c: /u

I wonder if you can find out:
1. What was the result of these commands as regards my precious Linux installation on hdb?
2. Why?
3. Could I still be regarded as sane after all this? Please rate my stupidity level on the 10 points scale mentioned above.

P.S. Unfortunately, I cannot grant any reward to those who find out the right answers and rate my stupidity correctly. However, they can still laugh at me.

Last edited by J_Szucs; 12-07-2003 at 05:16 PM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 05:18 PM   #2
trickykid
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Moved: I don't really see any Linux technical questions, moving to General as its more suitable there. Regards.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 05:36 PM   #3
J_Szucs
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> I don't really see any Linux technical questions, moving to General as its more suitable there. Regards.

You are soooooo right.
The question how the Win98 command "format d: /u" can kill your Linux system is reeeeeeally not Linux related, and it is reeeeeelly not a technical one.
It is a general question like speaking of the weather or your mother's health.

So, you can close this thread. Regards.

Last edited by J_Szucs; 12-07-2003 at 06:18 PM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 06:58 PM   #4
natalinasmpf
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You know, it'll just format the partition, instead of the entire disk...
 
Old 12-07-2003, 07:25 PM   #5
J_Szucs
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Quote:
You know, it'll just format the partition, instead of the entire disk...
Wrong answer. In my case it completely destroyed the separate Linux partitions, too. This happens under certain circumstances.

But, for Trickykid's sake, let's speak about the weather, instead.
How is it in your area?

Last edited by J_Szucs; 12-07-2003 at 07:55 PM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 08:20 PM   #6
JesseJames
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It probably just formatted the partitions and wiped the MBR. The only way you can remove partitions in dos is using fdisk.

Edit: And if I remember correctly fdisk cant remove any sort of linux partition.

Last edited by JesseJames; 12-07-2003 at 08:21 PM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 08:56 PM   #7
trickykid
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Your asking questions in regards to using formatting in Windows, I see that as Windows related problem/question. I'm sorry it wiped your Linux partitions but if your going to ask why formatting in Windows accidently erased your Linux partitions, that's Windows related to me so its more suitable in General, not Linux - General.

You wouldn't go to a Windows forum and ask, hey, how come mke2fs command wiped my Windows partition, now would you?

And yes, JesseJames is correct. Most likely when you reinstalled Windows or even possibly format drives, it will always wipe your MBR where most likely your boot loader was installed. Boot up with a rescue disk and reinstall Lilo after reconfiguring it, etc.

PS. The weather here was awesome, 60's and sunny.

Last edited by trickykid; 12-07-2003 at 08:57 PM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 08:56 PM   #8
J_Szucs
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Wrong answer again. I must repeat here: under certain circumstances a dos "format d: /u" command kills a Linux system.

I wonder if anyone finds out why.

(Never mind, I also only realized the reason after it had happened. Though I should have known it before that, and be more careful.)
 
Old 12-07-2003, 09:20 PM   #9
mcleodnine
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not having the man pages for MS-DOS handy I'll have to guess that windows will look at the partitions available and assign them drive letters as it sees fit. The /u switch just means unconditional format, but since MS-DOS format shouldn't be able to write to a partition labeled as anything other than fat/vfat I'm doubting that you actually damaged any of your Linux-ish partitions.

If you have a Knoppix CD handy I'd try booting with that and see what partitions you still have and whether or not you still have your stuff.

Now if you used fdisk in ms-dos... that could hurt.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 09:21 PM   #10
J_Szucs
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Quote:
if your going to ask why formatting in Windows accidently erased your Linux partitions
I see now that you completely misunderstood me.

It was not an accident, and I never said that I actually re-installed Windows. It was the "format d: /u" command that destroyed Linux. It had a well-founded reason, which could be found out from my system setup. I started this thread partly because I was curious if anyone finds out the reason from the description of my system (like I did after the disaster), and partly to let others learn from my example.

A little help: the problem was related to DRIVE GEOMETRY. Have it appeared to you how could I devide my 30G drive into an 5G Windows partition and a 25G Linux partition, when I said I had an old system BIOS that only saw 8G of that drive? And the possible consequences?

Last edited by J_Szucs; 12-08-2003 at 04:25 AM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 09:27 PM   #11
mcleodnine
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Weird. You men that dos format used the 8Gb as the base for the partition table? That's nasty.

But how did you format the 2.5Gb the first time?
 
Old 12-07-2003, 09:53 PM   #12
J_Szucs
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Here is how I built up the system:
1. Installed Windows on the 2.5G HDD (VFAT). Meanwhile the 30G HDD was not connected, since I dedicated all of that to Linux (because of the 8G BIOS limit).
2. Connected the 30G HDD and installed Linux on it. Grub became the bootloader.

Months later my windows HDD began to be full, and I decided to:
1. Delete a hardly used, 10G Linux partition on the 30G drive (accidentally located at higher cylinders, since it was the last Linux partition I created during Linux install).
2. From the space freed up, create an 5G VFAT partition with the LINUX fdisk command (then give back the remainder 5G to Linux).

To my surprise, Win98 accepted the newly created 5G VFAT partition on hdb, and I used it without any problem for months.

It was, however, an abnormal system setup, and I am completely sure that that was punished by the DOS "format d: /u" command, which completely messed up the partition table on hdb, thus destroying my Linux system.

Do you agree?

Last edited by J_Szucs; 12-08-2003 at 04:12 AM.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 10:01 PM   #13
mcleodnine
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Yeah. Could be. There's a lot of funky stuff going when you create an fat/vfat partition with GNU fdisk/cfdisk that requires some extra work if you want to make it bootable for dos. I would not suspect it was a problem if you were able to fill the FAT partition and still: a) read with no errors and b) not be able to put more data in the partition than is allocated.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 11:15 PM   #14
natalinasmpf
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My experience in partitions:

Firstly, when I first installed Linux (ASP Linux), I tried to reallocate some to Windows. So the installer took a really long time, and I mistook it for freezing. Out of desperation, I restarted, then proceeded to wipe the entire disk then install.

After that, I used cfdisk to reallocate the Linux partition and free up space. I rebooted to my Windows CD and then used fdisk to use the free space as a primary DOS partition. Then used the recovery program's "format and recover" option, prepared to ctrl-c it if it did anything wrong. Whee! It didn't. It used half the space/40% of my hard drive, which was my partition, just as planned (13 GB).

After that, stupid Norton thought my MBR was modified. What did it do? "Restore" my MBR of course, which uh, wiped out LILO. In desperation, not having a boot disk (foolish me, I declined because I didn't think I would ever need it, I was wrong lol), I took the install CD, reallocate a bit of the Linux partition, make a new one out of it, and use that as a root partition then, and used minimum install. After repairing LILO, and restoring the root partition to my old one, I used Windows DOS' fdisk to delete the new partition (hda4) and replace it with Windows space. I needed a separate partition for my Windows swap anyway. I don't want my swap to run slow because I didn't defrag it.

So, FDISK can alter non-DOS partitions. It just can't create them flexibly like Linux cfdisk can.

Quote:
And yes, JesseJames is correct. Most likely when you reinstalled Windows or even possibly format drives, it will always wipe your MBR where most likely your boot loader was installed. Boot up with a rescue disk and reinstall Lilo after reconfiguring it, etc.
Not for me...mainly becaused fdisk left it untouched except for creating free space. And my experience afterwards barely altered anything except for freeing the useless space.

Quote:
when I said I had an old system BIOS that only saw 8G of that drive?
I missed that. I also suggest updating your BIOS.

Quote:
that requires some extra work if you want to make it bootable for dos
All you have to do is toggle the "bootable" flag. I think its the fact that it was located on the higher cylinders with the old BIOS that wiped out Linux.

P.S Weather here is 33 degrees Celsius, partly cloudy.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 11:35 PM   #15
mcleodnine
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Quote:
Originally posted by natalinasmpf
All you have to do is toggle the "bootable" flag.
from the man page for fdisk
Quote:
DOS 6.x WARNING
The DOS 6.x FORMAT command looks for some information in the first sector of the data area of the partition, and treats this information as more reliable than the information in the partition table. DOS FORMAT expects DOS FDISK to clear the first 512 bytes of the data area of a partition whenever a size change occurs. DOS FORMAT will look at this extra information even if the /U flag is given -- we consider this a bug in DOS FORMAT and DOS FDISK.

The bottom line is that if you use cfdisk or fdisk to change the size of a DOS partition table entry, then you must also use dd to zero the first 512 bytes of that partition before using DOS FORMAT to format the partition. For example, if you were using cfdisk to make a DOS partition table entry for /dev/hda1, then (after exiting fdisk or cfdisk and rebooting Linux so that the partition table information is valid) you would use the command "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1 bs=512 count=1" to zero the first 512 bytes of the partition.

BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL if you use the dd command, since a small typo can make all of the data on your disk use- less.

For best results, you should always use an OS-specific partition table program. For example, you should make DOS partitions with the DOS FDISK program and Linux partitions with the Linux fdisk or Linux cfdisk program.
 
  


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