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Old 12-05-2017, 02:22 PM   #1
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Slackware
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Question Recovery ideas and/or advice

Ok - preliminaries.
I had a spare laptop (Thinkpad T420) that I was running (in 'legacy mode') Dual Boot with Windows 10, and slackware64-current (it was running the 14.4.2 kernel). I was happily getting it to my liking (meaning getting it to mostly match my daily driver 14.2 machine.) by use of slackpkg+, sbopkg (using ponce's git repository), and some packages from Alien ....

For some reason, I booted into Windows, and ran a Windows Update ... It seems to have decided to rework my partition table (I think). So, now I have a machine that can run Win 10 or panic ...

From my daily driver, I used Alien's to get a copy of current64 from last night, which I burned to a dvd, and am re-installing to the spare laptop ... to be followed by trying to get back where I was.

I've made a vow not to run Windows Update again until I have a better way of recovering from the fact that Microsoft "does not play well with others". But I still do want to run Dual Boot, and there's no point in running multiple OS's if I'm not going to keep them updated (patched).

So, that's what I'm looking for I guess --- ideas on how to do that (recovering from Windows Update). I do have a 1TB USB SSD that I can plug in as a backup target. I'm a fan of rdiff-backup (but I hadn't installed that yet). I also normally run Insync (from SBo), and I did have that working before the Windows event, but don't have anything useful (for this) stored on my Google Drive.

Ideas (half baked) that I've had include:
1) Just dd the working installation to the USB SSD on a regular basis
2) get rdiff-backup installed and working, write some scripts to get the working installation back and forth from the USB SSD
3) same for Insync and Google Drive
4) Of course, if my partition table goes wacko again, I'll need to re-install to the point of being able to use 1), 2), 3) .. so maybe I should burn a copy of Alien's latest liveslack and learn how to use it as a recovery tool.
5) Hey, while I'm re-installing anyway, maybe I should try running slackware64-current as encrypted --- but again, how to restore ...
Well, that's where I am I guess. Ideas/advice ...

Thanks In Advance
Old 12-05-2017, 04:28 PM   #2
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If they're just changing partitions (add, delete, resize) but not modifying Slackwares, it sounds like you should switch to some form of persistent naming for your devices. I've heard Windows likes to mess with the partition tables, which can throw off the order your devices are listed.

Have a look at this slackdocs tutorial and I think you'll be on your way (unless Windows botches the bootloader itself, but you won't get kernel panics with that... you just won't even see an option to boot Slackware ).
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:06 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2014
Distribution: Slackware, Proxmox, Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu MATE
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I'll offer a wild guess that Win10 added a new partition somewhere, which disrupts your Slackware fstab. Boot with any live ISO, any distro, to look at the partition layout and the Slackware fstab. I think the general advice when dual booting with Windows is use UUID in fstab. Seems the MS folks don't really give a rat's end about people who boot multiple systems.
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:52 PM   #4
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Slackware
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upnport - yes, I think that's what happened (addition of a new partition) - I now seem to have one that cfdisk thinks is of type 27 (Hidden NTFS WinRE) that I don't remember being there before.
bassmadrigal - yes I'm planning on moving to a scheme like that - I did have a fstab UUID entry there for the USB SSD I mentioned earlier, for instance - but all of the partitions actually on the laptop were referenced as /dev/sda? - that will be changing
Old 12-06-2017, 12:27 AM   #5
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A live ISO should get things back on track. Mount the Slackware root (/) partition, edit fstab, and reboot. Been there done that many times.
Old 12-06-2017, 04:08 AM   #6
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One thing I have seen Windows10 do is re-order partitions by changing their ID's so that the partition numbers order is same as "on disk order". This usually messes up Linux bootloaders.

Maybe, booting using a Slackware USB, mounting and chroot into the Slackware partition, and runing elilo/grub-mkconfig might fix the problem quickly. Oh yes, should also mend /etc/fstab.

Last edited by aragorn2101; 12-06-2017 at 04:10 AM.
Old 12-06-2017, 10:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by upnort View Post
I'll offer a wild guess that Win10 added a new partition somewhere, which disrupts your Slackware fstab.
Yes. When Microsoft releases a new service pack once or twice per year for Windows 10 it will very likely add a new partition on your HD. MS does not care about other operating systems. I currently dual boot Slackware/OpenBSD on one Slackware station. I've given up dual booting anything with Windows; I currently maintain one Windows 10 Pro Thinkpad.
Old 12-06-2017, 10:49 AM   #8
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I see no reason to dd all system. Routinely backup your personal data. The problem is if you have big chunks of data like media file which tend to be large. In such case reconsider to create partition shared by both: W10 and Linux - such partition should be good place to keep such data - and mind W10 won't try to loose this partition. Myself I am using ntfs partition to keep stuff like movies, songs etc. Due to ntfs3 which strips files from ownership and permissions.

I think it is easier to reinstall system than to restore it from its image on ssd. As I understand you are taking care about frequent updates, so even loosing some additional apps, out of Slackware defaults, should not be much of pain. I don't know maybe there is more civilized way of making update of W10, I mean giving more control.
Old 12-06-2017, 10:57 AM   #9
Registered: Oct 2005
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All you need to is to fire up a live distro, mount both the ESP partition and the Slackware root file system and edit both the eliloconf and fstab file to use UUID's instead of kernel device names (/dev/sdX etc) and you will not have this problem again. I have had this happen to me several times and come to the conclusion that it's really a Slackware problem. Yes Window updates do sometimes add new partitions which may or may not mess with the device order that the Slackware kernel see when booting up, but this problem can be avoided by using UUIDs. I can also create this issue by going into Windows and creating a new partition (usually in available free space somewhere in the middle of the drive), which is a reasonable action for someone who dual boots. I made a suggest a couple of weeks back in the "Request for current' to change the installer to use UUID just for this reason. I checked several other distros and they all seem to use UUIDs.
Old 12-06-2017, 11:20 AM   #10
Registered: May 2003
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hitest -

will very likely add a new partition on your HD
? - in addition to the one it apparently added this last time? That doesn't sound right - assuming that the 'type 27' partition I think it added last time (assuming that 'WinRE' means 'Windows Recovery') would be re-used - why would they need multiple recovery partitions? Surely you'd only recover the last working set; why go back 2, or more?

Still, I do boot in legacy mode with lilo - and my understanding is that stores physical offsets, so if it moves around my slackware 'root/boot' partition in the process it could be a bad deal - I'm hoping that following bassmadrigal's tutorial to refer to my partitions by persistent label would alleviate that (which is assuming that the physical offsets in lilo are from front of the partition that it finds by the UUID reference). If that assumption is wrong, I might need to try Grub, I suppose; or play with UEFI - although I'd rather not.

Does your experience with Win 10 include the persistent label variation? I'm not inclined towards picking up an additional laptop for Win 10 only. Any additional monies I expend on hardware are more likely to be a larger SSD to replace the smaller spinning HD currently in the affected laptop.

I can see making and keeping a bootable USB or DVD around to keep in the laptop bag for future failures, tho.


igadoter - I had done "basically" what you're suggesting to share date between Win10 and Slackware by adding an fstab entry for the main win10 partition and keeping anything I might need in a dedicated directory there. Don't really see a need for an additional NTSF partition.

And yes, the idea to dd the whole system was 'over the top' - I was just so very upset by this event.


laprjns - thank you - that's where I'm leaning now (carrying a live USB / DVD around for recovery) - although I'm not messing with an ESP partition or elilo until forced to.


Thanks everyone for their input, so far. I'll report back what I do, but I'm not planning on booting to Win10 again until I have my dual boot recovery setup better in hand.


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