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  1. #1
    RetroSteve! My location

    Stephen Coates's Avatar
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    Partition problems

    About a month ago I rearranged all my partitions so I could reinstall some operating systems. This worked nicely until yesterday.

    I tried to make a new partition in some free space (using GParted) to install Windows. And from that point, something seems to have gone badly wrong.

    My partitions disappeared.

    Using some restoration software such as TestDisk, does make my partitions appear. Well, the main one I am interested in, a 300GB logical partition shows up, but when the partition table is restored and the disk is looked at in other software, it looks like the partition is in the wrong place. Also, the file system (EXT3) is not accessible.

    I'm 99.8% sure that the data is all there on the drive still, but I just don't seem to be able to get at the partition(s).

    This isn't critical as I can reinstall the OS, and most of the data is backed up, but I would like to recover what is on the disk if possible rather than using my crude backups.

    I suppose an option would be to buy another 500GB HD and use Photorec or similar to just try and recover the files from the disk.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Windows always needs to have the first partition on a HDD, so if you tried to create one on a disk with some already existing then the Windows install would have overwritten the HDs partition tables and MBR, which is why you can't now access the other existing partitions.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I actually created the partition using Gparted prior to installing Windows, so Windows shouldn't have messed with it.

    I have never seen any need to install Windows on the first partition. I have had Windows on other partitions plenty of times in the past and it hasn't caused any problems. Only thing I have never tried is installing it in a Logical partition. I set my partitions up so that all Linux and data stuff was in Logical partitions, leaving 3 primary partitions available for Windows/DOS stuff.

    What seems odd is that I am having so much trouble recovering my partitions with TestDisk etc.

    [Edit: My 1500th post ]
    Last edited by Stephen Coates; 17th May 2011 at 00:10.

  4. #4
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    If it was Windows Vista/7 being installed it definitely needs a primary partition and a logical partition, because the OS needs 2 partitions to install (a small one at the beginning of the drive that holds important OS system files that you can't access, and the second for the main OS. For XP it only needs one... but in most cases the first OS in a multi OS partitioned HD should always be a version of Windows, and annoyingly the older version first before any others, so something like 98 would need to be installed to the first partition before another newer version.

    One question. If you have Linux installed, why not just run Windows in a Virtual Machine? No need for dedicated partitions and you can mess around with no real HD setup impact.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  5. #5
    RetroSteve! My location

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    If I set TestDisk to think I have a GTP partition table, then it seems to detect my partitions fine, and the one which I installed Debian on even seems to be mountable. Unfortunately, my Data partition isn't mountable and it appears there is something very wrong with its EXT3 filesystem.

    [Edit: It wasn't actually a GTP partition table that I had, but TestDisk didn't seem to recognise the partitions correctly when set to anything else.



    ---------- Post added at 00:33 ---------- Previous post was at 00:28 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    If it was Windows Vista/7 being installed it definitely needs a primary partition and a logical partition, because the OS needs 2 partitions to install (a small one at the beginning of the drive that holds important OS system files that you can't access, and the second for the main OS. For XP it only needs one... but in most cases the first OS in a multi OS partitioned HD should always be a version of Windows, and annoyingly the older version first before any others, so something like 98 would need to be installed to the first partition before another newer version.

    One question. If you have Linux installed, why not just run Windows in a Virtual Machine? No need for dedicated partitions and you can mess around with no real HD setup impact.
    It was Windows XP first, which I installed just to have a quick fiddle with, then I attempted to replace it with 2000. The reason for this is that I wanted to see if 2000 would run fine with some older hardware inside the PC instead of the modern hardware which I normally use.

    I do have Windows in Virtual machines, but it is never as fast as running it on its own. I thought about scrapping Windows completely but have decided not to as I find it does give convenient plug and play access to virtually all SCSI and USB stuff, as well as network printers etc. One of the main things I have used Windows for on this machine in the past is for accessing my SCSI film scanner in VueScan. VueScan ran fine in Linux, but I couldn't get it to recognise my SCSI scanner.

    ---------- Post added at 00:38 ---------- Previous post was at 00:33 ----------

    I found recently that the idea of always installing Windows first is a bit stupid. Last time I installed Windows after Linux, it overwrote my LILO, but I just booted the machine from my VectorLinux CD, told it to boot an already installed system, which it did fine, then than the LILO installed again, which conveniently detected my new Windows installation .

  6. #6
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    Yes, the NT bootstrap is annoying at taking over the MBR and installing itself regardless of whatever is already there. As you mentioned there are ways around it with third party boot selectors like Lilo or grub, but none are perfect. M$ also always assume Windows will be in the first logical partition on the drive, so it can cause annoying behaviour if it isn't, although most versions of NT will run. Win 9x OSs are a different matter, as they need to be C: and the first partition or they just won't work. They also need to be installed before attempting to install any other OS. But these days with VM's it is pointless running a 9x OS for real.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  7. #7
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I've decided to scrap the file/partition recovery and just revert to my old backups, as all I will have really lost are recent programme downloads, ISOs, some videos/MP3s which are easy to get again and some scanned photos which I still have the negatives for.

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