Partition problems

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Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:33 pm

My one brother had a lab assignment for his Computer Forensics class. The script he ran had cause some funky business with his boot partition when he was attempting to put the image onto a USB thumb drive. His laptop HDD is no longer able to boot to Windows XP. I loaded up Gpart from UBCD and it sees the HDD partition as a 30GB FAT16 Partition :o instead of a 30GB NTFS partition. When I mount the FAT partition it sees it as some 100MiB Partition with the incomplete image of his lab assignment.

FYI, he has some classwork on the HDD that he wants to save. I was wondering if it was possible to recover the data without resorting to expensive data recovery services. Otherwise, I am looking at a complete reformat and reinstallation of Windows. Suggestions?
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:49 pm

repair the MBR?
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:24 pm

and if this gets fixed, please consider a move to Windows 7...it's more stable and has better recovery options.
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:01 pm

computron9000 wrote:repair the MBR?

I had already tried that option. It didn't work. It seems like whatever the script did. It did a nice job of messing up the system partition. FYI, FAT16 is limited to 2GiB per partition, but Gpart (a freeware partitioning tool) is reporting the partition to be 30GB and being formatted in FAT16. :o See the problem?

Neutronbeam wrote:and if this gets fixed, please consider a move to Windows 7...it's more stable and has better recovery options.

It doesn't make sense for the laptop in question (P4 Northwood 2.8Ghz, 1GB of DDR1 memory). The platform is too old and finding drivers for 7/Vista on it is more trouble than it is worth.
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:13 pm

Have you tried repair install option from winxp CD?
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:06 pm

See if TestDisk helps you. See if GetDataBack NTFS helps you, they have a trial version. Forge used the former with success, I've used the latter with success.

This is a long shot, but if the drive had a single NTFS partition, you might get away with booting with Linux, and re-creating the partition, but without initializing the filesystem. I've done this in the past when I overwrote my partition table with a boot sector binary, and managed to get my stuff out (in that specific occasion, I had several partitions and re-created one which was at least as big as my old one). If you're going this route, make sure you image the drive, sector-by-sector (this option is very important), so you can roll back your changes. If this does work, then mount the drive, copy your stuff, then reformat it for safety.
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:24 am

Access the laptop drive (for free, from a local repair shop) or at home with something that let's you add it to a desktop computer. Then scan and/or grab the data off it you need. If it's not encrypted and the drive is OK physically, that should work. No reason to conflate booting with grabbing data... get what you need off the drive. Then deal with the other things.
Matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... back to you with the weather, Bob!
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:55 pm

It seems Disktest did the trick. It had allow me to find the proper NTFS partition and remove the flunky FAT16 one. I just had to rebuild MBR via Window XP discs to get the OS running. The data itself is intact and I am doing a chkdsk /f to make the file system wasn't affected. So far, so good. :D

Thanks for the feedback.
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:54 pm

I'd reformat the drive after getting your data back. Chkdsk /f may make things even worse. Don't ever trust a broken or formerly-broken filesystem, as it can introduce all kinds of silent corruption, which is the worst possible nightmare.
Last edited by morphine on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed grammar
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:47 am

agreed 1000%. After a fail like this, be wary. nice recommendation with Disktest morphine.
Matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... back to you with the weather, Bob!
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:05 am

computron9000 wrote:agreed 1000%. After a fail like this, be wary. nice recommendation with Disktest morphine.

'Twas actually Forge that mentioned it to me, so he should get the credit.
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Re: Partition problems

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:56 am

this sort of advice would have been useful years ago when I had to raw recover bit by bit a 40Gb HDD because of a damaged MBR :(
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