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Old 12-26-2004, 11:20 PM   #1
zimzam
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Unhappy Formatting failed, now my fat32 windows partition is non-existent.


I'm pleading for help here. Hopefully this is fixable, and some guru out there knows how to fix it.

My partitions are as follows (all one disk):
[---WinXP(25GB)---] [---WinXP64(10GB)---][---unallocated(5GB)---][---DATA(40GB)---]

I am completely new to Mandrake, and I wanted to see what it was like - I have a 64 bit processor in my laptop, so I got a copy of 10.1 x86_64 distro and booted off the boot CD. The installation starts, I get to the partition screen. I choose the custom option and make a / ext3 partition and a swap partition in the unallocated space (see above).

So my partitions were about to become:
[---WinXP(25GB)---] [---WinXP64(10GB)---][---ext3(4.5GB)---][---swap(500MB)---][---DATA(40GB)---]

It warns me that it's about to write to the partition table of hda, so I figure yeah, that's what it's supposed to do, so I go ahead. Unfortunately, it pops this lovely little gem up:

"Undefined subroutine &MDK::Common::System::SYS_umount called"

I click OK, it tries to keep going, but there's an error in formatting the partition it says, and stops. I sigh and reboot to see if everything is still OK everywhere else. And holymother, it isn't.

My windows can boot, but all the DATA partition, where I keep, well, my DATA, all my really important stuff, that I'll get around to backing up, is not visible any more. When I try to access the drive windows tells me it's not formatted!

I'm sure all my data is still there, but I can't access it! What did Mandrake do to my poor data!? I absolutely need that stuff, my masters project was in there among other things.

Please please anyone who knows what's going on, can you help? I'll be your bestest friend forever*.

*Note: forever does not mean forever.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 12:25 AM   #2
MikeZila
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Try and get a copy of "PartionMagic". It can detect and fix all kinds of partition problems. I don't know if it'll help in this specific case, but it's saved me from similar situations before.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 08:46 AM   #3
caladbolg
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If it's really important, I suggest trying a commercial thing, whether it be a product or service. Don't bother with it ANYMORE. Act right away.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 09:10 AM   #4
MikeZila
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeZila
Try and get a copy of "PartionMagic".
You can get PQ from Symantec.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:03 PM   #5
gd2shoe
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Re: Formatting failed, now my fat32 windows partition is non-existent.

Quote:
Originally posted by zimzam
I'm pleading for help here. Hopefully this is fixable...
....
I'm sure all my data is still there, but I can't access it! What did Mandrake do to my poor data!? I absolutely need that stuff, my masters project was in there among other things.
....
Woah. Masters thesis in trouble! How much are you willing to spend to keep it safe? In order to guarantee the continued existence of anything on that drive, you MUST make a back up copy. If you take it to any professional, ask him where he intends to start. If he doesn't say that he will start with a backup, go elsewhere!

With a good backup, you can try to repair with one tool or method, and if it doesn't work you can restore the backup and try again. This is vital in a highly important data recovery situation.

If you want to use partition magic or other tools yourself, then you should buy another drive bigger than the one you already have and backup to that. (there are several ways to do this including Norton Ghost, or knoppix and dd, etc.)

Chances are it's just the partition table that got messed up. Good luck getting it back.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 09:11 PM   #6
jiml8
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You have received some good advice. Almost certainly it is only your partition table and/or partition boot block that is hosed and there are a number of tools that will recover it for you, probably including chkdsk.

Actually, you should load the WinXP CD into the system and run the recovery console. This may well lead to a recovery of the partition and won't do further damage.

If it doesn't work, there are a number of other tools that you can use to recover the system, but before you try, you need to image the HD off to another location. I would suggest you connect the laptop to a network that has a machine on it that has enough space on it. Then, boot the laptop with a Knoppix CD.

After you have booted into Knoppix, mount the share on the other machine that has the space for your HD image. To do this create a mountpoint on the laptop that is running Knoppix:

su root
mkdir /mnt/space

Then, mount the share on the other machine (assuming it is a windows machine)

smbmount //othermachine/volumewithspace /mnt/space -o username=myusername,password=mypassword

where myusername and mypassword are the windows logon name and password.

Then, image the HD. You should split the image into smaller files on the other machine or you likely will encounter file size limits associated with remote access.

dd if=/dev/hda | split 500000000 - /mnt/space/LTImage.

Note that the - has a space before and after it, and don't miss the period at the end of the line.

This command will image your HD over to the destination machine, splitting it into 500 million byte files that will be named LTImage.aa, LTImage.ab, LTImage.ac and so forth.

After you have made this backup (it will take hours to complete) you are free to work on your system until you have it fixed. If you screw it up, or if whoever you take it to screws it up, you can image the entire thing back to the HD by loading Knoppix, su to root, creating the mountpoint, mounting the share, then issuing this command:

cat /mnt/space/LTImage.* | dd of=/dev/hda

This will concatenate the files, in order, and pipe the result to the dd command which will copy the datastream onto the HD.

Now, to get an idea of what your problem is (though it almost certainly is a hosed partition table) from Knoppix , su to root and issue this command:

fdisk -l /dev/hda

This will tell you what the partition table looks like. If it is rational then probably the partition boot block is hosed. YOu didn't specify your file system on the data partition; if it is NTFS then recovery will be easy because the partition boot block is backed up at the end of the partition. If the master partition table is hosed, then you will have to recover it, which is possible.

Last edited by jiml8; 12-28-2004 at 06:50 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2004, 01:30 AM   #7
zimzam
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Wow, thanks so much for the help everyone!

I really appreciate all the time everyone took to try and help me out of a frantic situation, especially the detailed message last posted - thanks jiml8!

Too bad I only saw the last post now - using the XP recovery console may have done it without the hassle I went through.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've managed to recover my folders and files (if not everything, then almost everything) with an AMAZING little windows app called GetDataBack .

Yes, it has a very lame name. But h-e-double-hockey-sticks can it find lost files or what! I ran it and it found every little file (to my recollection) on my DATA partition. Everything's out of order directory-structure-wise, but at least all my folders and files are here again.

I didn't back up the drive before trying out some so-called recovery programs (I went through many before I found salvation in GDB), but it doesn't seem like it made a large difference, since windows couldn't write to the partition anyways (it thought it wasn't formatted) . So I managed to work off of my C: partition while non-invasively scanning for files on the DATA partition (FAT32, btw).

I keep wanting to install a linux distro on my lappy to take advantage of the 64-bit processor, but every time something strange happens and my comp eats itself. The last time I tried Fedora Core 2, which had a strange bug with the partition table which rendered my comp unbootable, and this time with Mandrake, such a strange error and partition table lunchtime. My disk must be slightly f0x0red by now.

Sorry to make you write such a great step-by-step post jiml8 (and not use it...), but hopefully it'll be of use to someone else in a similar situation as mine!

Thanks again everyone - tonight I sleep easy. Tomorrow I'll live... again.
 
Old 12-28-2004, 02:15 AM   #8
MikeZila
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Quote:
Originally posted by zimzam
Wow, thanks so much for the help everyone!
Not a problem, it's what we're here for. (I know I didn't really help.) Sorry I didn't suggest anything helpful; good thing there were more knowledgeable folks around.
 
Old 12-28-2004, 08:53 AM   #9
caladbolg
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Glad things turned out
 
Old 12-28-2004, 10:12 AM   #10
Jurassic Ranger
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I had a situation where I had a 160 GB unpartitioned drive running WinXP and one day it wouldn't boot. I reloaded WinXP and only a fraction of my data showed up. Most of my data was held in a Window on the Desktop. When I look on the desktop now I only see a small 1.5 GB portion of the 18 GB I know was there. Meanwhile, doing a check of the drive shows that 20 GB is stored, so the info is locked on there somehow.

My take is you were well served by NOT trying to use WinXP to solve your problem. I am now going to look for Get Data Back for my own self.

Congratulations. Forever doesn't mean forever, but it is usually 40 years...
 
Old 12-28-2004, 11:06 AM   #11
Vijairaj
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zimzam, If you were able to boot in to windows. then you could have tried this.

1. Got to computer Management>>Disk management
2. See the partition it shows. If it shows your old DATA partition, then you can just right click on it >>Change drive letters...>>Add>>give a mount point.

--
Regards
R. Vijairaj
 
Old 12-28-2004, 12:17 PM   #12
zimzam
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Well, I could still do that, but I don't understand how that will help - there's already a letter mapped to the partition, the trouble is that windows doesn't see a file system structure on the disk. Right now the DATA partition is mapped as D:. If I change it to another drive letter, then what difference would it make? Would it recognize the new drive letter as having a valid file system (with all my files)?

And good luck with GDB, Jurassic!

[edit] Ok well I was hesitant to change anything on the partition, but I tired your method and it unfortunately didn't change anything - it was simply listed as another drive letter with an unformatted drive.

Last edited by zimzam; 12-28-2004 at 01:48 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2004, 06:51 PM   #13
jiml8
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I am glad you got your data back. I am not at all familiar with the tool you specified, but I am certainly going to look it up because I can always use another arrow in my quiver.
 
  


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