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Old 06-25-2006, 08:31 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: SUSE 10.0
Posts: 10

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Trouble with partitions and boot loader.

Hello all,
I'm somewhat new to linux so please forgive me if my terminology is not quite right...

I have a duel boot system (Windows XP and SUSE 10.0) on a Dell Inspiron 6000. I ran into problems (a more detailed description follows below) while trying to delete a partition and create two new partitions in the freed space. Now I'd like to restore my partition table to its original state if I can. I'm also worried that the system won't boot up properly. Basically, I think the boot images are physically located in different places than what the partition table says, i.e. even though the boot loader points to the correct partitions, the partition table points to incorrect cylinders for those partitions.

Here is some more detailed info...

Old Partition Setup (as seen through the YaST partitioner):

Device	        Size		Type	           Mount       Start	End	Label
/dev/sda	74.5	GB	WDC-WD800VE-75HD		   0	9728	
/dev/sda1	62.7	MB	Dell Utility		           0	   7	Dell Utility
/dev/sda2	22.0	GB	HPFS/NTFS	   /windows/C	   8	2880	
/dev/sda3	4.6	GB	CP/M / CTOS		        9123	9728	Dell Restore
/dev/sda4	47.8	GB	Extended		        2880	9122	
/dev/sda5	1.0	GB	Linux swap	   swap	        2880	3010	
/dev/sda6	33.0	GB	Linux native	   /windows/F	3011	7318	
/dev/sda7	5.8	GB	Linux native	   /home	7319	8076	
/dev/sda8	8.0	GB	Linux native	   /    	8077	9122

I tried to delete /dev/sda6 (i.e. /windows/F partition) and then create two new ones in its place. First, I unmounted /windows/F and then used YaST to delete /dev/sda6 and create the two new partitions. I'm pretty sure the old partition was deleted successfully but when creating the first of the new partitions the process exited with an error message (I'm really sorry, but I did not make a note of the error code/message). The partition table reported in YaST is now much different than what it was and I need help restoring it (if I can).

New Partition Setup (after the error message):
Device	        Size		Type	           Mount       Start	End	Label
/dev/sda	74.5	GB	WDC-WD800VE-75HD		   0	9728	
/dev/sda1	62.7	MB	Linux native		           1	   8	Dell Utility
/dev/sda2	22.0	GB	Linux native	   /windows/C	   9	2880	
/dev/sda3	4.6	GB	Linux native		        2881	3486	Dell Restore
/dev/sda5	1.0	GB	Linux native	   swap	        3487	3617	
/dev/sda7	5.8	GB	Linux native	   /home	3618	4375	
/dev/sda8	8.0	GB	Linux native	   /    	4376	5421
So most of the file types are now incorrect as well as the "Start" and "End" cylinders for the partitions.

Can I use YaST to safely edit the "Start" and "End" cylinders to what they were before?
Aside from the deleted partition, the data is still there, right? -- the partition table just points to the wrong cylinders?
What about the file system types? -- can I use YaST to set them back to what they were or will that reformat the drive and erase all the data?
The extended partition is now "gone", can I just create it again with YaST?

I backed everything up before doing any of this, so I don't mind losing data on the old linux partitions, but at the very least, I would like to be able to boot into windows and do a fresh install of SuSE. Plus, I don't want to lose the "Dell Utilities" if that is at all possible, yet I don't know if I can restore the file types for the "Dell Partitions" to the correct values.

Note: the DVD drive on this machine does not work and there is no other floppy or CD-ROM drive so I won't be able to use a boot/rescue/live CD or floppy. I'd like to be able to use YaST if that is at all possible but any suggestions (including the command line) would be much appreciated. If I can at least boot into Windows, then I'll install a new DVD drive and start over with a fresh install of SUSE. As of right now I'm afraid to turn this machine off...

Another problem:
Because of the new, erroneous partition table I don't think I will be able to boot successfully, so that is another major issue.

YaST says that the boot loader is on the Master Boot Record of /dev/sda so I hope it is still ok. Also, the menu.lst file tells Grub to look in the "correct" places for the Windows and SUSE boot images, but b/c of the changes to the partition table, I think it will look at the wrong cylinders for the respective boot images (i.e. /dev/sda2 and /dev/sda8 aren't really where the partition table says they are... right?).

Here is some info about my Grub configuration:
"" file gives:
(hd0)   /dev/sda
"menu.lst" file gives:
# Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Sun Feb 26 06:26:48 UTC 2006

color white/blue black/light-gray
default 0
timeout 8
gfxmenu (hd0,7)/boot/message

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title SUSE LINUX 10.0
    root (hd0,7)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda8 vga=0x314 selinux=0    resume=/dev/sda5  splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: windows###
title Windows
    chainloader (hd0,1)+1

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
title Failsafe -- SUSE LINUX 10.0
    root (hd0,7)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda8 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume selinux=0 nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
    initrd /boot/initrd

Here is my old /etc/fstab file:
/dev/sda8            /                    ext3       acl,user_xattr        1 1
/dev/sda7            /home                ext3       acl,user_xattr        1 2
/dev/sda2            /windows/C           ntfs       ro,users,gid=users,umask=0002,nls=utf8 0 0
/dev/sda5            swap                 swap       defaults              0 0
proc                 /proc                proc       defaults              0 0
sysfs                /sys                 sysfs      noauto                0 0
usbfs                /proc/bus/usb        usbfs      noauto                0 0
devpts               /dev/pts             devpts     mode=0620,gid=5       0 0
/dev/cdrom           /media/cdrom         subfs      noauto,fs=cdfss,ro,procuid,nosuid,nodev,exec,iocharset=utf8 0 0
none                 /subdomain           subdomainfs noauto         0 0
/dev/sda6            /windows/F           vfat       defaults              1 2
The new fstab file is identical except the "/dev/sda6" line is no longer there.

I hope I have provided useful information and would greatly appreciate any help with these issues.
Thank you for your time...
Old 06-26-2006, 08:13 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jan 2002
Location: germany
Distribution: ubuntu, mint, suse
Posts: 1,589

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you will not be able to edit start and end of cylinders that are already configured with YASt. It will only allow to delete a partition and create a new one later. So i think there is nothing wrong with the installation yet but you will not be able to mount the vfat partition(if u didnt re-format any partitions yet). The boot loader will probably work.
If in doubt you can edit the bootloader in YAST and rewrite it to the MBR.

Last edited by j-ray; 06-26-2006 at 08:16 AM.
Old 06-26-2006, 03:03 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: SUSE 10.0
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thanks for the response. I really appreciate your advice. I'm just so reluctant to restart the computer as I'm worried that the boot loader won't be able to find the boot images. Let's say that all I want to be able to do is boot into Windows (I'll reinstall SUSE later). Suppose I reboot and can actualy see the Grub menu, then I select Windows and the boot loader happily tells the system to look at (hd0,1) (i.e. /dev/sda2 right?) for the Windows boot image. Won't it cause problems if the partition table says that /dev/sda2 (i.e. /windows/C) begins at cylinder 9, when in fact, it begins at cylinder 8? Also, will it cause problems that the partition table says that /windows/C is a "Linux native" partition, when in fact, it is HPFS/NTFS?

Since I can't do it with YaST, is there another way (preferably using a gui) for me to edit the start/end cylinder values of the partitions and edit the file type of the windows partition (if it is necessary) without actually reformating it? Can I do it from the command line?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Last edited by j-la; 06-26-2006 at 03:08 PM.


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