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Old 09-03-2007, 03:33 AM   #1
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Question Retrieving semi-formatted data: Kernel Panic (cannot find file or dir /dev/root)

Hi All,

This is my first post in this community... I wud like to make an excuse for creating a new thread even though a similar thread is already present by saying that "the other threads problems are not exactly same as mine!!"

Saying this i state my problem below:

I had installed Fedora 6 in my laptop Compaq 3256AU, after having a wonderful time downloading rpms for my mplayer, and other games and goodies i find that I want to play my copy of rome total war in windows. Here the problem starts:

1> /boot - starts at cylinder 0 (100MB size)
2> / & /swap are the other 2 partitions running ext3 FS. (Total space for linux is 40 GB out of 120GB HDD space).

1> Install Windows XP
2> Restore GRUB MBR using Fedora CD
3> Have a dual boot system


1> I start by trying to install Windows XP which starts by detecting the h/w configurations and then the LCD screen goes blank (not a blue screen but blank).... so I suspect it might be a display issue and press some "enter"s etc....

2> Then I try to reboot it to Linux to find what might be the display configurations (frequency etc for my LCD). Then I get Kernel Panic !!
Afterwards I panic thinking where will my data go? All those games and my projects :-(

Probable cause of the Kernel Panic:
1> This is just my hypothesis with my limited knowledge. What might have happened is that when I pressed a few "Enter"s when the XP installer display was blank, the installer might have been asking me:
"If you want to format the Drive press Enter"

2> As i pressed enter it might have started formatting the drive starting from the /boot followed by /. Thus when the GRUB MBR directs the BIOS to load linux it is finding the already formatted section of the HDD, and thus unable to understand what it is, it is saying /dev/root file or directory not found and goes for Kernel Panic.

Retrieving Data From semi-formatted Partition

Now what i want to know from you guys is will the following trick work?

1> Take the Fedora CD again and install Fedora at the end of the HDD cylinders, (so that i dont have to format the data lying at the first 40GB of the HDD).

current HDD map
|<- /boot* ->|< - Linux* ->|<- Free Space ->| *- semi formatted data

expected HDD map - after installing fedora at end of HDD
|<- /boot ->|< - Linux* ->|<- Free Space ->|<- Linux_New ->|

2> Now I would try to mount Linux* (old ext3 partition) for the Linux_new and copy all the required rpms, project data etc in the new and fresh FS.

Will this be a good idea or whether there is a better alternative?

Thanks & Regards,
Old 09-03-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Distribution: Slackware-current
Posts: 50

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IF your attempted windows install had damaged the EXT3 Journal, then data I do not think data recovery is possible.

I have worked with some windows based applications that enable you to recover all data, including deleted data, from a hard drive because they ignore the file indexes. I would recommend looking for similar software, has some good Linux software recommendations.
Old 09-05-2007, 04:02 AM   #3
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Registered: Sep 2007
Posts: 2

Original Poster
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Smile resolved


The problem got fixed after i went thru the BIOS settings, the issue was that there was some specialized SATA mode for the HDD(which wud give better performance) for which the LINUX was not having appropriate driver. It said it works with windows XP.

On disabling the specialized mode for SATA, i could boot my FC6 properly. Then it was not giving the driver not found error that i was getting from the installer cd for fedora.

Thanks for ur inputs.



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