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nfisk 01-28-2003 03:51 AM

HELP machine won't boot (partition table messed up???)
 
Suddenly, my hard drive started making strange repetitive noises (click-click-click, click-click-click) and the machine became very unresponsive. Then X died and a bunch of magic incantations appeared on screen (unfortunately, being the idiot that I am, I didn't write any of it down). Although there was no prompt or anything, the machine accepted typing but didn't respond in any way to anything I typed. I therefore rebooted it, only to find that GRUB can no longer find any partitions on my hard drive.

Okay, so I booted from the Red Hat CD and selected "linux rescue" mode. It told me there were no Linux partitions and gave me a prompt. Not really knowing where to go from there, I tried fdisk, and there they were. Output as follows:

Disk /dev/hda: 240 heads, 63 sectors, 2584 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 2286 17282128+ c Win95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/hda2 2287 2584 2252880 83 Linux

(I still have a large Windoze 98 partition and a smaller Linux one, although I almost exclusively use Linux nowadays.)

Never even having used fdisk before, the "verify" command sounds interesting. It says, "62 unallocated sectors." Huh? Changing units to sectors and redisplaying the partition table reveals that the Windoze partition does indeed begin at sector 63. Whether this has always been the case or is a result of the error I encountered, I have no idea. I fail to understand, however, how this might prevent me from booting.

I would be extremely grateful for any pointers on where to go from here. I'm a developer, not a hardware guy, so I'm way out of my depth here and I don't want to take a stab in the dark and potentially go from bad to worse.

--nfisk :cry:

rootboy 01-28-2003 06:23 AM

Chances are that if your hard drive haven't gone south yet then it's packing for the trip.

So taking a cue from another LQ guy who had a very similar problem, I would find yourself a second drive and install linux on that. Then use linux to mount the old drive and rescue as much as you can.


John

nfisk 01-28-2003 07:40 AM

Thanks. Problem is, it's a laptop, and I'm not sure I can put two drives in it at once; I probably should've mentioned this. Seeing that fdisk reports a believable partition table (the partition sizes seem about right), does it seem likely that simply writing the table back to the disk would do me any good (reading the Partition-Rescue mini-HOWTO, http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/mini/Parti...ue/index.html, I kind of get the impression that it might)? Or would that only get me even deeper into trouble?

--nfisk

Darin 01-28-2003 08:18 AM

Re: HELP machine won't boot (partition table messed up???)
 
Quote:

Originally posted by nfisk
...my hard drive started making strange repetitive noises (click-click-click, click-click-click)...
Like rootboy said your HDD is about to go to that giant linux computer in the sky if it hasn't made it there already

You could try cfdisk instead of fdisk, a little friendlier but not by much. Also see if you have e2fsck or any filesystem checker on the CD in rescue mode. If you can get into any partitions grab some floppies and save anything you can find and want to keep though because clicking noises followed by missing partitions is a "bad thing" (tm).

The internal drives can be replaced with special smaller sized "laptop drives." These are usually sold at many large hardware outlets on the net or in your town and if you can't get info from your laptop manufacturer's site on what size goes in your laptop try a www.google.com search for it. Also, it's not an overly advanced procedure involving soldering irons and an oscilloscope (at least for most laptops) but the replacement CAN be done by someone with at least basic PC hardware experience otherwise you can pay to have them replaced at a computer store. some laptops even have a modular setup where you can undo a screw or a clasp and slide out a section of the laptop that has the drive in it.

deadbug 01-28-2003 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by rootboy
Chances are that if your hard drive haven't gone south yet then it's packing for the trip.
ROFLMAO!

OK, now I have a straight face. Hard drives do not make the noises you have described. If yours is, you have a very limited time to rescue the data from it and then replace it.

But, hey, since you backup your system regularly, that isn't a problem, right?

nfisk 01-29-2003 04:25 AM

Thanks to all who replied. I have reluctantly accepted that my drive is no longer among us and started shopping for a new one.

You may be surprised to hear that, as far as I can tell, I have no data on the drive for which there isn't an acceptably recent backup. (Still, installing a new OS and putting everything back in its place is probably going to take me a while...) The only possible exception, really, is Windoze. The machine came with Win98 preinstalled and a couple of "rescue CDs" or whetever they're called -- but, since Bill Gates probably needs another house or jet or space station, I'm not really expecting to be able to install a fresh copy of Windoze from them.

--nfisk

MasterC 01-29-2003 04:44 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by nfisk
Thanks to all who replied. I have reluctantly accepted that my drive is no longer among us and started shopping for a new one.

You guys are all funny. It's all dead :D "No longer among us" :D :D

Anyway, good luck :)

Cool

rootboy 02-02-2003 05:12 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by nfisk
Thanks to all who replied. I have reluctantly accepted that my drive is no longer among us and started shopping for a new one.
Sorry about the late update, I had a CPU fan that snapped off of my heatsink and flung itself to the far reaches of my case (well as far as the power leads would allow).

Amazingly enough, an AMD processor will survive the fan falling off of the heatsink (I was pleasently surprised to say the least).

Quote:


You may be surprised to hear that, as far as I can tell, I have no data on the drive for which there isn't an acceptably recent backup. (Still, installing a new OS and putting everything back in its place is probably going to take me a while...) The only possible exception, really, is Windoze. The machine came with Win98 preinstalled and a couple of "rescue CDs" or whetever they're called -- but, since Bill Gates probably needs another house or jet or space station, I'm not really expecting to be able to install a fresh copy of Windoze from them.

--nfisk

Good to hear about the backup! :)

It would be nice to be able to "Ghost" the old drive over to your new one, but that would take a second laptop to act as the master (laptop drives are a pain to replicate). Sounds like you are pretty well off as it is (it could have been worse).

You could use "gpart" to try to guess the lost partitions on the old drive and then partition it from that.


John


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