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Old 04-25-2007, 07:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Recovering a filesystem (do you know something about NTFS or HFS?)

I recently had a data loss panic moment because I was installing Mac OS 9 on an old imac and accidentally chose the install volume as my 250GB "all my data from the last 5 years" external USB disk instead of the imac's internal drive. I didn't realize what I had done until I hooked the external up to my windows PC and got told that the drive is "not initialized". I'm assuming though that it is possible to recover at least some of my NTFS data still since the mac OS installation would have only written a few hundred MBs to the disk.

I don't know anything about filesystem recovery and I trust the people here on LQ more than any other forum to provide accurate technical expertise instead of uninformed "maybe it works like this" responses.

Right now the entire disk is formatted as whatever filesystem Mac OS 9 (is it HFS?) uses and it has had one or two hundred MB of data written to it in that filesystem. I haven't done anything to it after that because I want to get some expertise first.

What I want to do is recovery my NTFS and get whatever data off of it I can.
What do you suggest? I thought maybe I should first do a "NTFS quick format" and then use an undelete tool, but I'm not sure if there's a more sophisticated method.

Do you think the Mac OS 9 installer would have written all of its data on one part of the disk, or did it write little bits all over the place thereby messing up my NTFS files much more?

Also if you know of a forum I should post in that has a lot of expertise in filesystems and data recovery, let me know.
Old 04-25-2007, 09:10 PM   #2
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I don’t know about ntfs specifically (more correctly: not at all), but for ext2/3, what you would do is to recreate the superblock structure and the block-group descriptors, leaving alone the inode tables, and the block and inode bitmaps. You would need the exact specifics of block size and number of block groups, number of inodes, etc., which you would obtain from a backup copy of the superblock (which are strewn about the filesystem).

So the point was, there is probably something more sophisticated than doing an “NTFS quick format” to restore the NTFS equivalent of a block-group structure. I don’t know exactly what that would be, nor do I feel like using you as a guinea pig. Will all due respect to this site, I would recommend also asking someone on the mailing lists of the linux-ntfs and/or ntfs-3g projects.

It seems you caught the mistake in (enough) time. Good luck.
Old 04-25-2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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You mentioned two separate file systems, HFS and NTFS so I may be missing something about how OS X works. Does the disk contain two partitions, one HFS and another NTFS, or it the NTFS partition actually an image file on the HFS partition?

The ntfsprogs package includes an ntfsfix utility which might be able to fix an NTFS partition. However the repair is limited. It may enable it to be mounted and then mark it as dirty so that windows will run a check on it.

From the README in /usr/share/doc/packages/ntfsprogs/.
The ntfsprogs includes utilities for doing all required tasks to NTFS
partitions. In general, just run a utility without any command line
options to display the version number and usage syntax.

The following utilities are so far implemented:

ntfsfix - Attempt to fix an NTFS partition and force Windows to check NTFS.

mkntfs - Format a partition with the NTFS filesystem. See man 8 mkntfs for
command line options.

ntfslabel - Display/change the label of an NTFS partition. See man 8 ntfslabel
for details.

ntfsundelete - Recover deleted files from an NTFS volume. See man 8
ntfsundelete for more details.

ntfsresize - Resize NTFS volumes. See man 8 ntfsresize for details.

ntfsclone - Efficiently create/restore an image of an NTFS partition. See
man 8 ntfsclone for details.

ntfscluster - Locate the owner of any given sector or cluster on an NTFS
partition. See man 8 ntfscluster for details.

ntfsinfo - Show some information about an NTFS partition or one of the files
or directories within it. See man 8 ntfsinfo for details.

ntfsls - List information about files in a directory residing on an NTFS
partition. See man 8 ntfsls for details.

ntfscat - Concatenate files and print their contents on the standard output.

ntfscp - Overwrite files on an NTFS partition.

ntfsmount - Mount an NTFS partition from user-space using libntfs and FUSE.
Alternately, you could purchase a commercial program such as diskinternals' ntfs-recovery.

Last edited by jschiwal; 04-25-2007 at 10:30 PM.


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