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Hard Drive Problem

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February 16, 2006 9:55:02 PM

Comp Specs.

3 HDs
2 Serial ATA Raptors - 36 GB
1 IDE WD - 80 GB

Originally, Windows was installed on the 80 GB. Recently I removed some files and placed it on one of the Serial ATA Raptors. I wiped the other raptor and WD, and installed WIndows XP PRo to the the wiped raptor. Now, when I try to access the files and things on the other raptor, it asks me to format. I don't want to format cause I have valuable data on there. Originally, I thought it was in NTFS format. It turns out it's not... Is there a way to retrieve that data or convert it to NTFS? It shows up currently as a mix between FAT32, FAT16, and RAW. I just want to recover it. All of my programs, documents, and things are there. It all ends up being 22 GB's worth of stuff. I've looked in a lot of places. I'm a techie so I know enough, but it just seems not to work.. any help anyone? Thanks in advanced.

More about : hard drive problem

February 16, 2006 10:27:22 PM

You could try this advice. His technique on aligning the partition is nice. However it says FAT32. I do not know how it will work with a mixed format like you have

According to Microsoft's site you shouldn't lose any data.

This covers converting your C: drive. You should do more research to see if it will work for a drive other than C: It may be as simple as changing the drive letters in their instructions, to the drive letter of the partition you need changed. Then again it may not.

As always, try this stuff at your own risk.
February 16, 2006 10:29:10 PM

Sounds kindof like the partition table in your 2nd raptor got corrupted someplace.

Ive seen utilities out there that will try to reconstruct that for you.

Could also be something unique to SATA drives (which I dont currently use)
Related resources
February 16, 2006 10:31:42 PM

Thanks, but I figured out that it is showing up as RAW when I look in it under windows. So, I either have to format it or find some other way to retrieve the files. I can't find one way at the moment so i'm really stressing over this. I've been working on my PC since 10:00 last night. Didn't sleep til 6 and got back up at 9 to work on it. I guess what's bothering me the most is that I know that it's there, but I just can't access it. if i could figure out a way to transfer it from being RAW to a readable NTFS format for the PC, I'd be happy. Everything cost money, and thats what I don't have..
February 16, 2006 10:59:05 PM

So your saying if I can fix my partition table, I might be able to view it in Windows. Do you know of certain programs that would be able to help me?
February 17, 2006 1:26:47 AM

If the partitions are not being recognized properly any changes or modifications you make are going to permanently trash your data.

Unless you actually write zero's to the drive all the data is still there until overwritten by a new peice of data.

First rule in recovering data is that you make zero changes to the drive.

I have had good results with GetDataBack (FAT32) and GetDataBack for NTFS. Even if the drive has been repartitioned I usually get above 97% of the data.
----
I am very curious as to what happend to the drive in the first place. Its unlikely that the drive spontaneously and coincidentally corrupted itself.

Could you have accidentaly wiped the 2nd Raptor instead of the 80 GB?
Could you have wiped the wrong Raptor or installed to the wrong Raptor?
Did you accidentally delete its partitions when installing Windows?

---

Unless you actually overwrote the drive with zero's (or had the drives in RAID 0 without mentioning it) your data is mostly still there.

If you think there is a chance you installed XP on the wrong drive run your recovery program on that drive as well, although the new files will have overwritten many of the old files.

Also you should be able to recover nearly all the files that were on the 80 GB as well.
February 17, 2006 1:51:29 AM

Thanks... but there are no raids. I'm 100% sure I erased the correct drives. When i ran EaseUS DiskRecovery, I saw the files in a raw format. all the mp3s, docs, etc. However, I was unable to transfer it to another hard drive because it was a demo and I don't have money for the full program. I'm lost as to what is wrong with it. it could be the MBR, Partition Table, or just the simple fact that it has the wrong letter. But! This is how my hard drives are setup

SATA 1 - 36GB Raptor
5 Paritions
5 GB - Windows Installation = D:
9 GB - Future Linux Installation = F:
1 GB - Linux Page File Swap = G:
5 Gb - Linux Storage = H:
14.46 GB - Applications for Windows = 14.46 GB

SATA 2 - 36GB Raptor
3 Partitions
4.99 GB - ??? - E: (Unrecoverable Data)
1 GB - ?? - J: (Unrecoverable Data)
9 GB - ?? - K: (Unrecoverable Data)
19.46 GB - Free Space - N:


IDE - 80GB Western Digital
1 Partiton
74.52 GB - Storage - C:

Now, how they all got labled their drive letters, I have no clue. One thing is though, the unrecoverable data used to be lettered "D:" until I removed it from the system when i installed Windows to SATA 1. I removed it so that I wouldn't risk losing or formatting anything, but as you can see, it turned out quite the opposite. Thanks in advanced for all you helping and those who already have helped.
February 17, 2006 2:43:09 AM

A wrong drive letter wouldn't cause any problems with partitions or file systems.

---

Unfortunately there is simply no (legal) way to use these utlities to recover your data without purchasing them first.

All the data recovery programs are alike in the trial version only shows you what you could recover once you buy the full program.

---

There are some open source recovery programs out there that can help recover FAT 32 partitions, but I have no clue how well they work.

There is a program called TestDisk that works with Fat 32 partitions, but it works by trying to fix the partition rather than recover the files, so its risky to use.

You can try Googling open source hard drive recovery Fat32 and see what you get.
February 17, 2006 3:02:27 AM

Knoppix and other Linux distibutions can all read and write FAT32 out of the box.

Knoppix can also read NTFS out of the box.

I have seen Knoppix read FAT32 partitions that windows refused to recognize.

So I think it's a great legally free and open source tool you can try for starters.

If your partitions and or filesystems are seriously damaged you may have to use recovery software, however I would try Knoppix or another Linux Live CD first.
February 17, 2006 3:21:59 AM

If I use Linux, which I do plan on doing... will I be able to access or convert it to NTFS so that I can access there. Thanks in advanced.
February 17, 2006 3:33:08 AM

Quote:
If I use Linux, which I do plan on doing... will I be able to access or convert it to NTFS so that I can access there. Thanks in advanced.



Linux can read FAT12 FAT16 FAT32 and NTFS so if the partitions and filesystems are not too damaged you should be able to read them with Linux and copy your files to another HDD, USB flash drive, CD-R, DVD-R, etc

Unfortunately there is no easy way to convert a FAT32 partition to NTFS under Linux.


I would suggest this:

0. boot Knoppix 4.0.2

1. bring up a terminal

2. su -

3. fdisk -l /dev/sda [ should be the 1st SATA Raptor ]

4. fdisk -l /dev/sdb [ should be the 2nd SATA Raptor ]

5. mkdir /0

6. mkdir /1

7. mount -o ro /dev/sda1 /0



mount -o ro /dev/sda1 /0

ro=READ ONLY

/dev/sda1 = 1st primary partition on your first SATA drive

/0 = mount point


you can also

umount /0

mount -o ro /dev/sdb3 /0 # etc


Good Luck
February 17, 2006 3:35:24 AM

You can't convert a broken partition. At best you will end up with an empty NTFS partition and futher corrupt the old files.

Linux and NTFS don't play nice, reads are usually ok, but write access to NTFS partitions is usually blocked to prevent data corruption. A new kernel driver is in the works, but last I checked they haven't fixed the problem.

To copy files from linux to Windows you need to put them in a Fat 32 partition.

You best bet is still, unfortunately, comercial recovery software.
February 17, 2006 3:43:57 AM

Quote:
You can't convert a broken partition. At best you will end up with an empty NTFS partition and futher corrupt the old files.

Linux and NTFS don't play nice, reads are usually ok, but write access to NTFS partitions is usually blocked to prevent data corruption. A new kernel driver is in the works, but last I checked they haven't fixed the problem.

To copy files from linux to Windows you need to put them in a Fat 32 partition.

You best bet is still, unfortunately, comercial recovery software.



You're right. You should NEVER attempt to write to a potentially damaged partition or filesystem.

Which is why I advised the OP to mount them read-only under Linux to prevent any damage.


NTFS writes under Linux are still experimental and I wouldn't recommend it.

FAT32 reads and writes work fine.

If the OP has another FAT32 partition on a different drive then files could be copied from the broken partitions to the working FAT32 partition on a different / new drive.

However it would be better to copy the files to another fresh/new HDD, USB flash drive, Flash storage, CD-R, DVD-R, or other storage device.
February 17, 2006 4:02:33 AM

I've rescued lots of drives with knoppix, it works great!
February 17, 2006 4:17:36 AM

okay, i made an attempt to get this working... I installed Linux White Box (a version of RedHat) but now I can't get it to boot. It says NTLDR missing, press ctrl alt del to restart. Both OS's are on one hard drive, but different partitions. What's going on?
February 17, 2006 4:20:46 AM

Your bootloader (probably grub) is messed up or misconfigured or wasn't installed correctly.

Which drive / partition did you install Linux on?

You may not need NTFS support but just so you know most RedHat and RedHat derived distributions do not come with NTFS support compiled in so you have to compile it yourself.

Also Knoppix is a lot more suitable for recovery because it does not need to be installed, it runs entirely from CD or DVD and has FAT32 and NTFS support out of the box.
February 17, 2006 1:48:14 PM

I installed it on the Linx Partition that I had plans on installing it on. A 9Gb partition wih a 1 GB Swap Partition. I have Knoppix somewhere over here. Another thing, thanks for help with the Get Data Back for NTFS & FAT. Thing is, it's another one that needs a serial number and I can't get that. Any other options. I found my data, just couldn't copy it to another drive.
February 18, 2006 4:53:04 AM

Can White box Linux mount your windows partitions read only?

You can list the partitions on a drive like this:


fdisk -l /dev/hda

# or

fdisk -l /dev/sda


# devices are:

/dev/hda PRIMARY MASTER PATA
/dev/hdb PRIMARY SLAVE PATA
/dev/hdc SECONDARY MASTER PATA
/dev/hdd SECONDARY SLAVE PATA

/dev/sda 1st SATA or SCSI drive *
/dev/sdb 2nd SATA or SCSI drive *
/dev/sdc 3rd SATA or SCSI drive *
/dev/sdd 4th SATA or SCSI drive *
/dev/sde 5th SATA or SCSI drive *
/dev/sdf 6th SATA or SCSI drive *

* = External USB drives, USB flash drives, etc also appear as SCSI drives on Linux.


Please run:

fdisk -l /dev/$device # where $device is /dev/hd? or /dev/sd?

and post the output here.

Thanks!
!