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Old 07-21-2009, 02:22 AM   #1
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Cannot retrieve data from external harddrive

My laptop died, appeared to be a problem with the motherboard or CPU. Decided to get a new computer rather than fix it. I had just installed Fedora 11 days before the laptop died.

Here's the problem: I pulled the ~120GG hard drive out and put it into an external case, thinking I could just quickly and easily grab all my files. Not so; I can't see anything of what I would like to recover.

The drive is recognized as a 210MB drive, with config and img files, and a lost&found folder that has nothing in it. Something's fishy as the hard drive is much larger than 210MB.

Running fsck, and fsck.ext4 on the device returns the following error:

The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2
filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2
filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock
is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
e2fsck -b 8193 <device>

which would seem obvious to me as F11 uses ext4, not ext2.

I'm guessing the 210MB harddrive should have more partitions on it along with all the data I need. Any ideas on getting to those partitions?

Thanks so much!
Old 07-21-2009, 02:27 AM   #2
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well, the superblock and partition table are distinct.

sudo fdisk /dev/<device_name> will show you the partition table. F11 really uses ext4? Really? not ext3?
Old 07-21-2009, 07:19 AM   #3
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Ohio
Distribution: Fedora 24, 25, RHL 5.2
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F11 uses ext3 by default. You can double check the filesystem type using file -s on the device node of the partition. For example...
file -s /dev/sda1
This would return something along the lines of /dev/sda1: Linux rev 1.0 ext3 filesystem data.

jhwilliams has a good point about seeing the partition table using fdisk. It should give you a better idea of how the drive is laid out. I prefer using the command fdisk -l /dev/xxx, where xxx is the device name (sda, sdb, etc.).

Old 07-21-2009, 05:16 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2009
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Fedora's default is to wrap up all filesystems into LVM volumes. This has a lot of advantages, until you run into a hard disk problem and are confronted with LVM directly - it is much more complex even to mount a partition that belonged to an LVM volume. If you don't replace or add/remove hard disks a lot, then it can be easier to avoid LVM and go for the old-fashioned fstab scheme.


Last edited by jeromeNP7; 09-04-2009 at 08:48 PM.
Old 07-23-2009, 03:35 PM   #5
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Ohio
Distribution: Fedora 24, 25, RHL 5.2
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Good point, I had forgotten the default use of LVM. I have been going with a more customized installation since around FC6. machorse70 should still be able to use fdisk to view the partitions and their types. If it is using LVM you'll see an ID of '8e' and System of 'Linux LVM' when you print out or list the partition table. After that you can use some of the LVM tools to get a good picture of the drive and mount (see man lvm). These commands can be a little daunting for the uninitiated. Post back if we're heading in the right direction and I'm sure the community can help further.



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