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Old 10-07-2004, 02:06 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Suse
Posts: 85

Rep: Reputation: 15
help windows ate my MBR

Well I wasn't sure where to put this but since its my Slackware partitions I most need to recover and Slackware users are so often the smartest this seems like a good place.

I just put together a new AMD 64 system with an 80gb STA drive. I put old 160gb drive and 80gb drive on the EDIE cables,which I should have known better than todo while installing windows. I used live disk and used cfdisk to put and itial 20gb partition on the STA drive for windows. But when I booted up to install windows on the STA drive it didn't want to call the STA drive C: while there were IDE drives plugged in. So it looked at C: as the main drive, saw my linux boot loader in the MBR and decided to take it upon itself to "fix" this problem. And this version of XP had a 137 gb limit so it "fixed" it by reading the drive geometry wrong and making an unreadable 137gb partition and leaving me wanting to murder Gates and Balmer. But yeah its my own stupid fault for using windows install without a backup of the MBR.

Apparently there is a chance to recover with some Linux tools. I've read a few FAQ's this morning that explain how to use the Linux fdisk to recreate a partition table in this kind of disaster. For that I need the specifics of the original MBR. My only hope is in the Mandrake / partition on the second EIDE drive. Unfortunately the LILO boot floppy I used for it died a few weeks back so I can't recover the easiest way with that MBR. But /boot and everything else is there so the specifics of the MBR should be there someplace.

I also ran gpart this morning and it hungI think because its configured to find everything but ext3 partitions. But detected the NTFS and the three FAT32 before the EXT3 partition. Supposedly it can be configured to work with EXT3 as well but the instructins are unclear and I have to find help with that.

Anyhow, I had 7 partitions lost on this thing. Apparently they are still underther someplace. I particularly need to recover my Slackware /home partition and the suse partition that is there as well.

Any thoughts out there on the best way to go about rescuing my partitions?
Old 10-07-2004, 05:24 PM   #2
Amigo developer
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Germany
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,897

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If you know the EXACT arrangement you had, just run fdisk and reestablish the partitions. Don't worry about the MBR part, just fix the partition table. Then you can reboot your Linux with the installation CD, or a boot floppy, and rerun lilo.
Actually, even if you can only remember some of them ,it may work.
Understand that the MBR (first 446 bytes) and the partition table are two separate things. Lilo was in the MBR, and the partition table was in 446-512. Running fdisk only works on the partition table, not the MBR.
For multi-boot systems, it's best to install all windows versions first, in the order they were released (98>ME>2000>XP>Server2003), then install Linux, BSD or whatever. I've had the LEAST trouble by creating a primary windows partition and then an extended partition for the rest of the drive, with at least one windows logical drive in the extended partition. Then create your Linux partitions in the rest of the extended partition. This keeps everybody happy. Windows will ignore the linux partitions. BTW the partition table that Linux fdisk writes is a DOS partition table.

Last edited by gnashley; 10-07-2004 at 05:32 PM.


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