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A few days ago, something bad happened that caused my Windows Vista 32-bit OS on my Dell laptop to be unbootable. Since I didn't have a Vista CD, I decided ...
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  1. #1
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    how to fixed hosed NTFS partition


    A few days ago, something bad happened that caused my Windows Vista 32-bit OS on my Dell laptop to be unbootable. Since I didn't have a Vista CD, I decided to try using Linux to recover my files. I know virtually nothing about Linux, but decided to give it a shot.

    I did this by trying to run the live CD for Ubuntu and Fedora. In my attempt to install, I accidentally messed up my primiary Windows partition and am now no longer able to retrieve some of the files off of it. I am writing with the hope that someone has an idea of what tools to use and how to use it to restore\repair my partition. If nothing else, I'm hoping for pointers to where else to look for information or other parts of this forum or other forums to ask this question on.

    Here are the details.
    1. At the point of initial Vista failure I had 3 partitions
    - small unrecognized partition... EFI maybe?
    - a 10 gig DELL recovery partition. - I had no idea my laptop even came with one.
    - a 228gig OS partition. The NTFS partition with vista and all of my valuable data.

    2. I tried installing Fedora from a live CD, but it claimed it did not have enough disk space. It also did not recognize the contents of my partitions as NTFS.
    I then tried to repartition the drive myself. I believe that this is where I made my mistake. I repartitioned my 228 gig OS partition to a 208 gig partition and created a 19 gig partition to attempt to install Fedora on it. Fedora gave some error about the device. Note that at the time the Fedora installer performed the repartitioning, it displayed ext4 as the new format for my 19 gig partition and did not recognize my OS partition as NTFS.

    3. Having given up my attempts to install Linux, I tried using a different recovery method. Using a different boot CD, I was able to mount my shrunken OS partition. It was then that I discovered files to be missing from that partition. I was told that the issue could be that my data actually resides on the 20 gigs that I took out of my OS partition. Since the Fedora installer did not recognize NTFS, it did not know how to deal with the files and meta data that may have been on the 20 gigs I removed.

    4. At this point, I tried using Gparted to fix the problem by deleting the 19 gig partition and restoring the OS partition back to 228. Humorously, gparted was able to see that the OS partition was NTFS and that something was wrong with it. Gparted was able to delete the 19 gig partition, but was not able to resize my OS partition back to the original size due to an error. I believe it claimed that it could not validate the NTFS partition and would not continue.

    At this point, I'm stuck. Does anyone have any tools that they can recommend I try? What should I do to restore my OS NTFS partition so that I can read my original files? Where else can I look for information to help me solve this problem?

  2. #2
    oz
    oz is offline
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    Welcome to the forums!

    The best tools that I'm aware of for restoring lost or corrupted partitions and data are TestDisk and PhotoRec, both of which come on the Parted Magic LiveCD:

    Parted Magic News

    You can find documentation for using them at the TestDisk website:

    TestDisk - CGSecurity

    Hopefully, one or both of the applications will be able to help with your recovery efforts.
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, you are probably SOL. You should not have tried to install the Linux distributions, but used the boot CD as a recovery tool. You could have mounted the NTFS partition and copied your data files to an external drive at the very least. At this point, I think you are hosed, well and truly. Without physical access to the hard drive, I cannot be certain of that, but from what you say, it is likely.

    And for whatever it's worth, I do this sort of recovery for clients professionally all the time...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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