View Full Version : testing windows sata drive

06-09-2007, 01:43 PM
ok, complete newbie here, so be gentle :oops:

my flatmates sata hard drive has been goosed by norton goback, cant boot it. i installed a second ide drive and installed windows xp, which can see it but doesnt mount it. i borrowed a knoppix 5.0 cd from a friend, boots in fine, and can see the sda1, but when i click on it, it says "Volume is dirty. Forced to continue". It then opens up, but only shows me a folder containing "my documents and settings". I think this is a partition created when i tried the second drive, which is now unplugged, not sure how it got on this drive.

The drive properties is showing 130GB used out of 250GB. The properties on the folder i can see is 21GB.

I dont know where to go now, as i've never used Linux before. Can anyone give an idiots guide to restoring his partition?

The computer is attached to my windows network, and i can see my servers drive, so once i can see his files, i can rescue them and format his drive (and recommend he never uses norton products again !!)

many thanks,

06-10-2007, 02:56 AM
Boot the live CD

Open a Konsole. Go to root: su then password.

From root now type this: fdisk -l (That's an L lower case)

It will give you a list of all the partitions of all the drives. You SATA drive will show up with /dev/sda1 /dev/sda2 etc. as the partitons.
Take note of which ones look like they are reported as being wrong. Sounds like its the /dev/sda1 though. So you might be able to skip that step and proceed to the next one:

Type: testdisk from the Konsole window. It will tell you if you need to make the console window bigger. (25 lines minimum)

This will run a powerful program with which you may check and repair your drives.

It doesn't have a friendly user interface, but it is not too hard.

If the drive is formatted as Win32, you could also do this which you may find a little less scary:

In a Konsole Window Type: dosfsck /dev/sdaX -- X being the partition number of the drive you wish to check and repair. If the drive is clean
it will simply report back the size and number of files.

If it needs repairing, just follow the prompts and type Y every time. :-)

Is the drive NTFS ? All bets are off if the drive is NTFS however.

You could also use your Windows XP install CD and boot to the repair console. There are several commands you could try:


From the repair console also use chkdisk with the advanced repair switches. I don't remember them at the moment. Type chkdisk /? You'll see them. There are only two. Run that on the drive in question.

Overall, Testdisk is your best bet IMHO. It's the most powerful.

Good luck.


06-10-2007, 01:26 PM
ok, now im getting somewhere :D i think it is NTFS, it was XP

ive run dosdfsck :

dosfsck 2.11, 12 mar 2005, FAT32, LFN
currently, only 1 or 2 FATs are supported, not 0

not sure what that means ?

ive run testdisk :

it shows two lines, one is hda - 4344MB/4143MB one is sda - 250GB/232GB

if i analyse the hda, it is CHS 133/255/63, doesnt have an endmark 0xAA55 (is this the old IDE drive i was using initially? it was 8GB though...), so i cant do anything with that one

if i analyse the sda, it is CHS 30401/255/63, has a partition 1 * HPFS - NTFS 0 1 1 30399 254 63 488375937. Structure OK, Boot Sector OK. * means primary bootable. the 488375937 seems consistent with 250GB.

I proceed on this one, and it goes green, if i hit T (change type) it was 44, i have changed it to 07. when i hit P, it just shows 3 lines, a "." and ".." and "Document and Settings".

so im closer, but no nearer lol, any ideas where all the files are, and if/how i can get them back? i suspect they are on the sda partition, but for some reason the file structure has been lost ??

06-10-2007, 11:00 PM
yippee, having changed the partition type aand MBR, i was unclear where to go next in Linux, so i started it up off my other hard drive, it fixed loads of problems on the sata drive, and hey presto all the files are recovered !!

thanks for your help, i wouldnt have been able to rescue this without your assistance,

06-12-2007, 02:41 AM
I knew my hard drive disasters would help out someone else someday. :-)