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Thread: WinXP corrupted MBR and/or Partition Table - how to fix?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    WinXP corrupted MBR and/or Partition Table - how to fix?

    Hi there,

    I had Win XP and Red Hat Linux running quite happily together for some time. The other night I put another hard disk inside my machine and decided (foolishly) to convert both disks to Dynamic disks from the XP Disk Management snap-in. What happened then was that the Linux boot loader (which manages booting into windows or linux) could no longer read the disk!

    I installed a fresh copy of XP on the new disk (reverting it to a Basic disk) and booted into that thinking I'd be able to see the contents of the original disk, but no. In the Disk Management snap-in the original disk comes up as "Unreadable" and I can't see the partitions on it. Strange that, because I could see the partitions from the XP setup program. The only option I have in the Disk Management snapin is to revert the original disk to a Basic one which apparently WILL destroy it's contents, no question.

    What I'd like to know is if there is any way of recovering the contents of the original disk? I see in the XP recovery console that I can do a "FIXPART" or "FIXMBR" command, will either of these help or are they more likely to destroy whats on the disk completely? Would something like DriveImage or Symantec Ghost be able to read the partitions on the Dynamic Disk? Anyone know of any other good data recovery tools? I'm prepared to pay for something if it is likely to work well as, being a "fiddler" with PC's, it's not unlikely that I'll wind up breaking it again

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I'm not a Linux expert nor am I a fan of dual boot systems, but I've been in spots like the one you've described. Have you heard of a program called Partition Magic? It's saved my butt a few times. If you can find the utility you shouldn't have any problems finding help on how to use it and apply it to your particular problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Thanks a lot, I'll have a look for that. I had heard of it but it didn't occur to me that it may help with partition table recovery.

    I'd already resigned myself to rebuilding my Windows install but if I can save my data (about 73Gb's worth!) I'd be more than happy with that. Like I said i'm fairly certain it's just the partition table and MBR that got waxed so hopefully I should be able to recover from this when I get a chance.

    Cheers, if anyone has any further ideas then I'll still be happy to hear them?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    K I've had a look at the documentation for Partition Magic on the Symantec website (Symantec recently acquired PowerQuest, the original vendors of PartitionMagic) and it clearly states that none of the versions support operations on dynamic disks.

    Back to the drawing board then, anyone know how I can recreate a partition table and MBR on a Windows XP dynamic disk?

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