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Old 03-14-2005, 07:56 PM   #1
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Recovering Files From My FC3 Drive

I did a very bad thing today... I was trying to install another OS on my primary hard drive (Fedora is on hard drive 2), and the media was corrupted or something because I got errors for every single package that the OS tried to install. It also messed up my MBR, so now GRUB doesn't load and the computer tries to boot to the non-existent OS and then just sits there. I had a LiveCD of damn small linux lying around, which is what I'm booting off of right now. I tried getting some ideas online, but nothing I've tried has helped me resuce my system or at least back up my data.

After trying various things, I decided it would be best to use the FC3 rescue disc, and burn all of the files that I need to a CD and simply reinstall my system. I used mkisofs to make the iso image, but when I run cdrecord -scanbus, my cd-burner doesn't show up. Does anyone know if it's possible to record a CD in rescue mode?

I also tried installing FC3 to the primary hard drive, thinking I would be able to mount my second hard drive and fix GRUB. For some reason, the installation fails. I selected the automatic disc partitioning and told it to wipe the whole disc, so I should have plenty of space. When it comes time for anaconda to actually install the packages, it tells me there isn't enough room on / for my files. I don't know what would cause this, but from what I saw in disc druid my computer thinks that / is on the second hard drive that already has FC3 installed, so there might be a way for me to get anaconda to do something sensible, but I don't know how to do it. So now I'm out of ideas, and I really need help. If anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate some help.
Old 03-14-2005, 08:26 PM   #2
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When using a rescue disk, nothing is mounted except the root partition. If I am not mistaken, you will have to manually mount the cdrw. On my system, it would be "mount /mnt/cdrw" sans quotes. Adjust for your mount point.
Old 03-14-2005, 09:42 PM   #3
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For some reason I don't get the same devices when I use the rescue disc, but I'll check again after this post. I've been trying to see what I can do when booting DSL, and it's a bit better - I can access my cd burner, and I can sort of see my FC3 drive. What I mean, is that when I boot up DSL, the default files under the /mnt directory are my cd drives, and directories called "hd" "hda1" "hda2" "hdb1" and "hdb2". If I mount hdb1, I get a directory that seems to have some stuff associated with my kernel - files called[kernel], config-[kernel], initrd-[kernel], and vmlinuz-[kernel], where [kernel] stands for the kernels I had installed on my system. There is also a directory called grub and another one called lost+found. I haven't been using Linux for very long, but if I recall these are the files in my /boot directory. If I run ls /dev/hd* I get a whole bunch of hard drives - hda1 through hda20, hdb1 through hdb20, all the way through hdh20. I'm pretty sure that these are artifacts of DSL, and it's making it difficult to figure out where I would find the rest of my files are. For example, when I try to mount hdb2, which is where I would find more of my files, I get the following error message:
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/hdb2, or too many mounted file systems
It's obviously not because I have too many mounted file systems because I get the message even if I unmount /dev/hdb1 first. Here's what /etc/fstab looks like:
/proc /proc proc defaults 0 0
/sys /sys sysfs noauto 0 0
/dev/pts /dev/pts devpts mode=0622 0 0
/dev/fd0 /mnt/auto/floppy auto user,noauto,exec,umask=000 0 0
/dev/cdrom /mnt/auto/cdrom auto user,noauto,exec,ro 0 0
/dev/cdrom1 /mnt/auto/cdrom1 auto users,noauto,exec,ro 0 0
# Added by KNOPPIX
/dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1 ext3 noauto,users,exec 0 0
# Added by KNOPPIX
/dev/hda2 /mnt/hda2 auto noauto,users,exec 0 0
# Added by KNOPPIX
/dev/hdb1 /mnt/hdb1 ext3 noauto,users,exec 0 0
# Added by KNOPPIX
/dev/hdb2 /mnt/hdb2 ext3 noauto,users,exec 0 0

Anyone have any ideas of what else I might try?
Old 03-15-2005, 04:14 AM   #4
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Go grab a copy of Knoppix, the live CD upon which DSL is based. (If you can't download and burn a copy in your present state, see if you've got a friend who can, or buy a copy; it's cheap.) Knoppix is a live Linux CD that has tools to let you connect through a network to other Linux or Windows computers, if you have them. It also includes the GUI-based CD/DVD burner app, K3b, as well as partitioning and other tools.

If all you need to do is reinstall GRUB, you can do that with Knoppix (I don't know what DSL includes, but you can find out from their web site.)

Those entries in /dev aren't "artifacts", they're files that act as the interface between the filesystem and your hardware. The hd* and other files exist there regardless of whether or not you have the actual hardware. (Let's not bring udev into this. Knoppix doesn't include udev, anyway.)

So, what DSL (using Knoppix-based hardware detection) is telling you in /etc/fstab is that it sees two partitions on your master drive (hda1 and hda2) and two partitions on your slave drive (hdb1 and hdb2). It doesn't specify what format your hda2 partition is, but all the rest are ext3 (a filesystem used by Linux). You also seem to have two optical drives (on /dev/cdrom and /dev/cdrom1), which is good, for you can use one to run a live CD, and the other to save your files.

If your hard drive partitions aren't trashed (doesn't sound like the ones on hdb should be), you can mount them by bringing up a terminal, and typing:

cd /mnt
sudo mount hdb1
sudo mount hdb2

They'll be mounted at /mnt/hdb1 and /mnt/hdb2.

Before this answer gets too long, one other thing: when you tried reinstalling Fedora, it probably wanted to upgrade itself in the place it found itself before. Run Disk Druid manually, and tell it what partitions to reformat and use.

Knoppix Rescue FAQ
Computer First Aid Using Knoppix
Old 03-15-2005, 09:01 PM   #5
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It turns out that my first hard drive had totally died. This morning my BIOS started giving me intimidating messages about the hard drive being corrupted, so I replaced it, and when I reinstalled I could read/write fine. I followed your advice, and used Disk Druid to partition manually and everything came out fine. In retrospect I should have done this manually anyway, as I now why it's a good thing to have /home on a separate partition. Thanks a ton for the help, I have all my data back and I can sleep easily now.


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