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Hard Drive partition problems very odd

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by gameman, Apr 7, 2004.

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  1. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Hello all,
    Well here is a interesting situation and I think I know what is going on but I thought I would run it by everyone here to make sure. To start off, two years ago I put a new 40gig western digital HD in a Compaq Presario 5600 as a second slave drive (the drive was detected as the proper size etc). It was partitioned using partitoin magic 7.0 into a 12gig and the second one was the rest of the drive. The first partition was used as a backup of the main C drive (a 12 gig drive).

    Everything seemed fine untill I did a defrag (using Norton Speed Disk) of partition 2 about eight months later and everything it moved, it corrupted. Also partition 1 just disappeard (no drive letter, as it it never existed when I rebooted). I ran every diagnostic (including Western Digital's own Datalifeguard tools) and everything said the HD was fine. So I figgured that the older version of speed disk could not handle larger drives and just fixed first parition and deleted the few files that got corrupted in disk 2 and life went on just fine untill this past friday.

    As I was doing something (deleting a file from drive c I think) all off the sudden I got messag "drive D is not formatted would you like to format it now?". Well drive D is drive 2 first parition (the 12gig one) and sure enough it was gone. The drive letter was still there, but if you try to click on it that message just appeard. What is really odd is that I was not doing anything with drive D (at least as far as i can remember, I believe I was on drive C at the time, but perhaps I was copying something or clicked the wrong buttion and it tried to do so.....I can't remmber for sure).

    So I checked all the data on partition 2 and it was fine. So I just reformatted the first partition, norton ghosted drive C to D, verified it was a good copy and went on. Then the next day as I was working in parition 2 (drive e) saving some very large picture files (32 meg at least per file) I saw that drive D had some very odd charters for the name (which I never named drive D). It looked like a bunch of straight thick lines and other odd characters. And sure enough all the folders in that partition (drive D) had the same characters.

    Well I reformated it again and figgured I would run some tests later on that partition, but when I got back to saving those failes to drive E (drive 2 partition 2)......all the ones I had just saved had the same odd characters and were totally corrupted. I ran disk doctor which found them immeditely and cleaned. And all the data previously saved on the drive was intact, just these last 23 files or so were corrupted.

    I then pulled the drive and put it in another system, figguring the parition table had been messed up or such and to copy the data over to another HD then wipe the whole thing and rebuild it. Well when I started up another system (a P4 2ghz custom built, can't remember the motherboard model at the moment) partition magic upon start up warned me that this drive was running on a different drive geometry and should be backedup then rebuilt (which was my plan anyway). So I figgured I was right and the partition tabled had been corrupted at some point.

    Well I backed everything up, deleted all paritions (via fdisk, parition magic just said it was a bad drive and wouldn't let me do anything with it), recreated the partitions with partition magic, reformated them, then copied all the data back to it.

    Now here it really gets interesting. Upon putting the drive back in the Compaq and opening parition magic, i get the same warning of drive geometry problems as i did on the other system (just different numbers).

    So at this point I assume that the compaq just is not handling the larger drive properly (even though it looks like it on the surface)? And I am gussing that the reason I did not see any problems till now was becuase now the second partition is over 3/4 full and so this geometry problem is showing up? I also ran every diagnostic and the drive itself appears fine. What do does everyone here think?

    Any help, thoughts, suggestions is appearcated.

    -Gameman
     
  2. Mr. PC Doc

    Mr. PC Doc

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
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    Hmm. sounds to me like your hard drive is dead.

    Why don't you try downloading DARIK's BOOT AND NUKE: http://dban.sourceforge.net You can download a bootable floppy or ISO image. Reboot with either in.

    Press Enter to go into interactive mode
    Press Spacebar to select entire drive, or just a specific partition
    Press R to select rounds, and enter 7 (thats the department of defense standard)
    Press F12, and kiss your data goodbye.

    Now, reinstall windows, and if you still get that message, your HD is most likely dead.
     
  3. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Now here it really gets interesting. Upon putting the drive back in the Compaq and opening parition magic, i get the same warning of drive geometry problems as i did on the other system (just different numbers

    This is perfectly possible and in some repects is not an error. It is not widely known that there is actually no standard for setting drive geometry and different BIOS can set it differently. It is also likely to be different if used as an external drive accessed through USB/Firewire/PCMCIA etc. Many disks, when supplied retail wrapped, actually carry a warning about this.
     
  4. Wet Chicken

    Wet Chicken

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    Do NOT allow Partition magic to "fix" your drives geometry. It has a history of messing up hard drives! It could even make it so bad for you that you won't be able to boot :eek:
     
  5. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Actually it says don't adjust the partitions. The "warning" says to back up everything, delete and recreate not "fix". And it won't even let me try to do anything anyway, it just lists the drive as "bad" and I can't create, format, nothing. I had to use Fdisk to delete the partitions, then created the 12gig with Fdisk, and the other with Partition magic. Also I never heard about PM messing up hard drives. Everyone I have have talked to previously only said good things about it. I never tried deleting partitions full of data and adding on more or some advanced things like that. What version have you heard problems from? And what exactly happened? And other than PM and Fdisk, what do you suggest?

    As for boot'n nuke, well as I said this is a second drive not the primay boot drive. So windows is not installed. Never tried this program before though, I will have to look it up. I doubt it will do anything more than what I have already done (delete with FDisk, format, reparition).

    And dave thanks for the info about drive geometry, for some reason I never realised that it was different from BIOS to BIOS. Hmm
     
  6. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    I see no need to use partition magic at all. FDISK will do you fine for creating a second partition and it would be one less thing in the picture.

    Secondly you may want to test the physical drive for errors or failures.

    Here's WDC diagnostics: http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp#diagutils
     
  7. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Probably true about PM, but I was testing to try and determine what the problem is. As for WDC diagnostics, I have already ran them and they report no errors or problems. Both times I had problems (after the defrag and the more recent one in the past week), I ran those diagnostics (among other tools like norton etc) and all of them report no problems or errors.
     
  8. Wet Chicken

    Wet Chicken

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    The problems occur from versions 6.0 and up. Below is a sample of what one of the errors looks like.

    Of course the wording will vary from computer to computer.



    [​IMG]


    There is NO way to undo the damage that Partiton Magic will cause once you click on "Yes".

    We recommend using PartitionExpert which is typically 4-5 times faster than Partition Magic, and you can even recover deleted files and whole partitions that may have been damaged from accidental erasures or viruses ;)
     
  9. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Ok I will check out PartitionExpert. I never got a "error" box and a option to fix, but that is VERY good to know, thanks. Since this is V7, it sounds like it has the bug. It is interesting that I know several people that use it all the time and never had a problem. I will warn them as well. Thanks again.
     
  10. Wet Chicken

    Wet Chicken

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    Yeah I don't know what conditions trigger this partition magic bug, but I do know that it might as well be asking you "do you wish to format your hard drive" :D

    When you buy PartitionExpert, get the retail version. They include a free copy of RecoveryExpert with it, and it's worth the price of admission by itself ;)
     
  11. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Actually there is, but it is not trivial. There is a boot manager called Symon (www.symon.ru) which has a partition tool with it. Just one of the things it will do is allow you to recover a COMPLETELY destroyed partition table (it scans the disk surface for the actual partition headers and rebuilds the table- it cannot handle logical partitions just yet-) There is some good documentation on the site.
     
  12. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Ok will do, and thanks again!
     
  13. gameman

    gameman Thread Starter

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    Hmm sounds like Symon should also be in my toolkit (and at that price I think it will heh). Thanks Dave.
     
  14. Wet Chicken

    Wet Chicken

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    There are two reasons why this program will NOT work here...

    1.)Partition Magic changes the partition (or drive) to being "unallocated".

    2.)Partition Magic does it's damage in the logical partitions.
     
  15. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    The first would not matter, Symon can completely ignore the partition tables, and as long as the DATA on the disk is not altered it will refind the actual partitions.
    Being logical drives will stop the automatic search, however it still allows you to view and edit the disk manually.
    Is this error by any chance the known one where the last logical drive does not entirely fill the extended partition, leaving a gap at the end?
     
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