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hard disk crash after uninstalling Norton Ghost, now won't boot or mount

Discussion in 'Linux and Unix' started by revah, May 4, 2010.

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  1. revah

    revah Thread Starter

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    Dec 20, 2002
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    Hello everyone.

    Several days ago I was cleaning up my wife's computer (IBM Thinkpad T43 laptop, Windows XP SP3), including uninstalling several programs she no longer uses. I uninstalled Norton Ghost. When the computer rebooted after the uninstall, I was greeted with a BSOD during boot. Attempting to boot into safe mode or into the Recovery Console produced the same result.

    I then used UBCD Windows to boot up. This showed me that the hard disk was not being recognized and would not mount. Next, I used the Ultimate Rescue CD and booted into Live Linux. Once again, the various file managers again did not show the existence of the hard disk.

    Next, I ran TestDisk from the Live CD. TestDisk showed the hard disk and said the partition table was missing or corrupted. It also said the backup MFT was missing or corrupted. Running through the repair sequence didn't work. After all that, the disk was still not being recognized and wouldn't mount. I was also getting messages about geometry errors. Changing the geometry from 255 to 240 as recommended still didn't fix the problem. I did get to the point, though, where TestDisk was showing all of my files and folders using the list command.

    I also tried mounting it through the terminal using mount /dev/sda1 but got an error every time.

    Finally, I mounted an external USB hard disk and tried copying individual files and folders using TestDisk. Though the files showed up using list, copying either failed completely, or I got the correct files name copied to the external drive, but all the files were empty.

    I fear that by now, with all the messing around I've done with TestDisk, the drive and it's contents are hopelessly lost. I had been doing backups, so there are only a handful of files on there that I really care about that have changed since my last backup.

    Any ideas to salvage either the entire drive or just retrieve some files would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. saikee

    saikee

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    Messages:
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    You need the original geometry as well as the partition table if the files can be retrieved at all. The description sounds like the disk is on its way out and has a hardware fault.

    If the disktest has a hardware fault then you will not be able to see it in the Bios. If you can see it in the Bios that means the disk has been detected and can be accessed, say like a raw disk without any partition table.

    You can delete the faulty partition table and recreate the original table. This affects only the 64 bits in the MBR but the partition interior is not touched. With a healthy partition table every system can mount, read and write the hard diskt.

    The partition table may not be a serious problem if you only have one partition taking up the whole disk so you can re-create the partition table without a p[roblem. A laptop disk is normally shipped with a recovery partition housing the manufacturer's drivers and tools. You should never change the geometry as it will cause damage to the data if you ever write on it.
     
  3. revah

    revah Thread Starter

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    Dec 20, 2002
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    You need the original geometry as well as the partition table if the files can be retrieved at all. The description sounds like the disk is on its way out and has a hardware fault.
    So how can I find out what the original geometry was? It's coming up 255 but TestDisk seems to think it should be 240.

    If the disktest has a hardware fault then you will not be able to see it in the Bios. If you can see it in the Bios that means the disk has been detected and can be accessed, say like a raw disk without any partition table.
    The BIOS is seeing the disk, it just won't mount.

    You can delete the faulty partition table and recreate the original table. This affects only the 64 bits in the MBR but the partition interior is not touched. With a healthy partition table every system can mount, read and write the hard diskt.

    The partition table may not be a serious problem if you only have one partition taking up the whole disk so you can re-create the partition table without a p[roblem. A laptop disk is normally shipped with a recovery partition housing the manufacturer's drivers and tools. You should never change the geometry as it will cause damage to the data if you ever write on it.
    Alas, this disk had 2 partitions, one a recovery partition. So I've tried writing to the partition table several times now, probably at both the 240 and 255 geometries. Does that mean the disk is hopelessly hosed at this point, or is there still some chance of recovering any files from it?
     
  4. jrbuergel

    jrbuergel

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    First Name:
    Jim
    If possible try to write down that BSOD stop code error message seen at boot. There is an option in the safe mode menu to not automatically re-start upon a system failure, which then should show your stop code error.
     
  5. saikee

    saikee

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    The standard large capacity hard disk accessed by LBA mode should have 255 head and 53 sectors/track.

    You will not be able to damage the hard disk until you write something on it. The partition table confines only to the 64 bytes in the MBR.


    I think your best bet is to get hold of a "fdisk -l" output from a similar machine with the same size hard disk and try to repartition your hard disk the same layout.

    It is quite easy to construct the partition table for a hard disk with 2 partitions. A partition always terminates at a cylinder boundary regardless how much is used inside it. Therefore you need to know exactly which cylinder the first partition terminates. Say you have 1000 cylinders in the hard disk and n is the last cylinder of the 1st partition then

    Partition 1 occupies from 1st to nth cylinder
    Partition 2 occupies from n+1 to 1000 cylinders.

    The other important information is the partition type but if you look at a similar laptop with a similar hard disk the manufacturer's partition type will be obvious. Type 7 is used for NTFS partition.

    With the cylinder boundary correctly defined and the partition type know an operating system can go in to read write the data accordingly. Every operstaing system uses the partition boundary locate the address of the filing system. The partition type tells it which driver is needed to read/write the content.
     
  6. itsjusme

    itsjusme

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    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
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    Was the operating system a restored image from Norton Ghost? Someone who uses ghost will correct me if i`m wrong, but i believe ghost has to remain installed for the image to boot.
     
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