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Old 04-27-2004, 01:22 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Linuxville, USA
Distribution: Red Hat-->Mandrake
Posts: 46

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Angry OMG!!!! Linux boot, home, and swap partitions have dissapeared!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have (ahem... HAD) a triple-boot system between Windows 98, windows xp, and Mandrake 10 community. I also have System Commander installed as my boot loader, as well as Lilo installed on the boot partition.

Recently I turned on the computer, and my Linux partitions were GONE! They have been DELETED!!!

I don't know what happened. Everything was fine. System commander booted up and I was presented with a screen to choose between Windows 98, XP and 'fat 32 OS ???'

I would like to know what would have caused the Linux partitions to be deleted. Did Windows delete them? I would certainly hope that Microsoft wouldn't be THAT low!!!!

I attempted to boot into Linux and nothing happened, not even LILO came up. The whole partition has been destroyed. The boot partition, the / partition and the swap partition--GONE!!!! The actual partitions itself is missing, not just the data within them. I am MAD.

Has anyone else had this problem before, where there partitions have been DELETED? Unfortunately, Windows hates Linux and I would hate if Microsoft 'accidentally' deleted the partitions. Who knows what these scumbags have up their sleeves.

One word sums up Microsoft's deceitful business practices: INDEX.DAT

Is there a way to recover Linux partitions? Because of the unique file system (EXT3) Windows will not see the partition, but yet a wired drive always shows up and Windows asks if I want to 'format' this unknown partition whenever I 'delete' the files in the recycle bin.

Old 04-27-2004, 01:45 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Indiana
Distribution: Suse 6.0+, Mandrake 5.0-10.0, Redhat 6.0-9.0, Gentoo 1.2+, Gnoppix, Knoppix, Sabayon, Ubuntu 5.04+
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Me bets that somehow, through some permission error, windows went on ahead and "formatted" that for you anyway.. or tried to anyway.
Old 04-27-2004, 04:25 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Breezy
Posts: 27

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did you update windows via Windows Update?
Old 04-27-2004, 04:39 PM   #4
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: The North of England
Distribution: Suse 10.3
Posts: 172

Rep: Reputation: 30
Boot from your rescue disk or cd 1.
Windows can't see linux partitions, to delete them they would have to format the whole disk, not just the linux bit.
It sounds like it has rewritten the master boot record, which can be cured very easily.
Old 04-28-2004, 08:50 AM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Seattle. WA
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1/Mandrake 9.2
Posts: 23

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Funny but this very same thing just happened to me. Win98SE shared a 30GB drive with MDK9.2.

Mandrake would not boot. I booted to MDK9.1 on another drive and it could not access the 9.2 partitions.

I loaded the 9.2 CD, tried the rescue option, then the install option and the installer reported that it was unable to continue. The specific error message escapes me now but it looked at though some unpleasant event had taken place.

I posted a note on this issue here but received no significant replies. I could not recover those partitions and finally reformatted the entire drive, then reinstalled MDK9.2. It now uses the entire hard drive, Win98SE is on another, along with 9.1 on the third drive.

All the times I've ruined a Windows installation, I've relied on Linux to help recover my 'important' files. But I've never before had any Linux distribution fail me like this.

Some thoughts on how this might have happened are still appreciated. If only to learn and hopefully keep this sort of thing from happening again...
Old 04-29-2004, 01:35 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: SuSE
Posts: 22

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Firstly, get rid of System Commander -- LILO is far better and more reliable.

Secondly, put your Mandrake Installation disc into your drive and boot into it by typing


when prompted. You should then be able to select an option to mount your existing partitions under /mnt. If they're still there, you then only need to reinstall LILO and everything should be OK.

Alternatively, here's another solution to your problem (and also a good tip for those who want to read their Linux partitions from within Windows). Download explore2fs and unpack it in Windows. Launch the executable and a window will pop up with a list of all your Linux partitions. If these partitions are formatted in ext2 or ext3 you should be able to access them without any problems.

You can then backup all the data on your Linux partitions to your Windows setup by right-clicking the files you're interested in and selecting "Export File". Once you've finished with that, you can then reinstall Linux.
Old 04-29-2004, 01:59 PM   #7
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: CentOS
Posts: 281

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I think MunterMan is correct. If the partitions are gone, then it could just be that windows rewrote the partition table. In which case, your partitions are still there. I used something called "testdisk" to recover a partition that was missing from the part table, worked perfectly. It's free I think, google for it. good luck,

Old 04-30-2004, 12:07 PM   #8
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: USA & Canada
Distribution: Slackware 12.0
Posts: 978

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fortunatelty for you i too am a fan of system commander and mandrake 9.1, i tried 9.2 on this same machine but had no choice but to retreat.

my first guess is that 9.2 just wasn't ready for your configuration

as for system commander, had you said it stopped coming up altogether and you had a large partition under XP (10Gig+) for your fat/boot were your /sc is located, i'd say watch out for it exceeding 8+ gigs. something happened that it caused my system commander to stop functioning altogether.

i gave up on it until a few weeks later when after a routine clean up of that drive (and removing some big files, bringing it down below 8 gig), low and behold system commander kicked back in

however i don't think that was your problem

sounds to me like you windowsupdate took a crack at your mbr.

other than that use 9.1

- perry
Old 04-30-2004, 12:09 PM   #9
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: USA & Canada
Distribution: Slackware 12.0
Posts: 978

Rep: Reputation: 30
Re: OMG!!!! Linux boot, home, and swap partitions have dissapeared!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Originally posted by aweir14150
I have (ahem... HAD) a triple-boot system between Windows 98, windows xp, and Mandrake 10 community. I also have System Commander installed as my boot loader, as well as Lilo installed on the boot partition.
i don't know but my Mandrake wants/demands that i set Lilo to operate under the first sector of the /root partition. don't use a /boot partition with system commander.

it is possible that while you where doing a routine windowsupdate, your partitions got renumbered, confusing system commander. use to happen to me until i figured it out. by specifying /root for lilo, you give system commander a chance to recover by identifying the bootable Linux partition when it a renumbering has occured.

- perry

Last edited by perry; 04-30-2004 at 12:13 PM.
Old 04-30-2004, 12:14 PM   #10
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: USA & Canada
Distribution: Slackware 12.0
Posts: 978

Rep: Reputation: 30
Originally posted by coalquay404
Firstly, get rid of System Commander -- LILO is far better and more reliable.
well considering your like me, in the Newbie catagory, i can say that system commander is not just about multiboot partitions. i don't know how many times it's fabulous partitioning software has saved the day.....

you can have the best of both worlds though....


- perry


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