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Thread: NTFS is seen as FAT32-cant access data

  1. #1
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    NTFS is seen as FAT32-cant access data


    To any god sent people,

    Seems that we have a pretty unique problem here, I have spoke with numerous hard drive recovery people, all saying they cant help. Here it goes.

    The problem is with XP and 98 confliction, I had a external HD formatted to NTFS. I plugged it into a 98 machine to pull some files off, then as a browsed the drive, I saw everything showing up in jumbled ascii figures. Since windows 98 uses FAT32 I realized the problem so I shut down and replugged the drive into and XP machine. Then I saw that 98 changed the format from NTFS to FAT32. The drive is a 180gb and since FAT 32 has a limit of 137GB that’s all it shows now, and in a unreadable format(ASCII looking characters)

    How can I changed the file allocation tables back to NTFS?

    Hope you can help, or maybe know someone who can.

    Thanks in advance



    S&C

  2. #2
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    What a vexing situation! If you're still monitoring this forum, post another message and we'll talk about a couple of things you could try.

    -- Ed

  3. #3
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    Hey ed,

    i appreciate the reply, ideas are what i need. i am about to try to recreate the scenario on a secondary hard drive so i can toy around with it and test so that i wont degrade the information on the original drive. what is the best way to communicate...email, messenger,or here?

    thanks in advance

    anxious steve

  4. #4
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    Hiya!

    Well, the problems are strictly Windows, but the things I can think of at the moment use Knoppix, so it might help other people to see the discussion in the forum.

    A "live CD," an operating system that runs entirely from an optical drive, is really useful for doing repairs for a couple of reasons. One is that it'll run even if the main hard drive won't boot. And with compression like Knoppix uses, there are plenty of tools on that CD.

    By default Knoppix won't write to any other drive (with one tiny exception), so you can use it to look over the installed system without causing any further damage. The exception is that Knoppix will look for a Linux swap partition and write to that unless you tell it not to at boot time.

    Even if you do have a Linux swap, though, it's just a scratch pad and usually there's no problem with writing to it. The main reason to avoid this is if you're looking for secrets on someone else's system.

    Another bonus to Unix-like systems is that it's very easy to read and write raw data. Usually the worst case is that you can dump all those bytes onto a workbench drive and then use automated tools that sort through it, looking for the kinds of patterns that say, "I'm a Word file! I'm an Excel file! I'm a program!"

    But I'm concerned that you've already been told that the data can't be recovered. Did these people say why?

    Disclaimer: I haven't used Linux with anything attached to USB ports. Knoppix does great hardware detection, so in the startup messages I see that the hubs and devices (printer, SD card) are found. But so far I haven't had occasion to use them outside Windows. But I think you'll be able to see from what Knoppix tells you just what it calls your USB drive.

    So, first - your main hard drive is okay? It boots and all? RAM is okay? How much is installed? Do you have another drive with at least as much free space as the hosed one so you can perform surgery on the data?

    Next - do you have a good Knoppix CD? The current version is 3.7 - 3.8 is available but hasn't been officially released, and the main website says 3.8.1 will be coming in a few days. And it doesn't help to have a bad copy - do you have a way to run an MD5SUM check on the downloaded iso file? I've had bad luck with three or four little programs to cacluclate these sums in XP, maybe it's just me. But if you usually get good downloads, you'll probably be okay.

    Next, how familiar are you with Linux or other Unix-like operating systems? Do you have one of them installed already? (Maybe I should have asked that first - if you have Slackware Linux on the computer already, you don't need Knoppix! )

    This will give us a starting point. I think the first task is to find out what Knoppix thinks it sees, so we'll look at the table of file systems it builds as it starts up and also at the drive's partition table. Okay?

    -- Ed

  5. #5
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    hey ed,

    just noticed you are from colorado...i lived out there for a year in 2002, where abouts are you? i was in a small
    town called elizabeth.

    yes, i concur, its strictly a windows problem, in how it sees the tables. i was even to the point of calling microsoft
    and paying the 35 bucks or something to hear them say they cant do anything. i was thinking that i should be simple to solve,
    just change the way it sees the drive. but how, is the question.

    alright lets answer some of your questions, fill you in persay.

    i have a knoppix boot CD, v3.7. just never used it before.

    what the data recovery companies said was that they never had come across this problem before. they even spread it thru the
    veteran(20 yr) recovery specialist. they said that they could do it manually(physically) take the data off and reconfigure it.
    the way they do it for physically damaged drives. it may be a marketing ploy, but they sounded honest. cheapest cost is 1000 bucks
    its mainly for business people. i was asking for some software or for some patch, and they new of none.

    yeah...my main drive for my laptop and desktop are fine. the desktop is a 2.4celeron with 256m. it has a 120gb drive...not quite 180.
    also a laptop with an 80gb AMD2200 512MB. both have XP installed. in the process of getting a network external. my girlfriend
    wanted me to tell you, that the problem came from colorado, i lived out there with her. shes from there. it was her old pentiumII 400
    computer that we were trying to pull data off of. a little haha from her. But it no longer has 98 on it...it had XP now.

    when knoppix scans this is what it says in relevance to USB:
    scanning for usb/firewire devices

    usb found, managed by hotplug: (re-)scanning usb devices... sync:[oo1 oo2 oo3 oo4 oo1 oo2 ] done.

    i didnt notice anything about another hard disc...and in the knoppix platform, i didnt find a secondary hard disc.

    im not sure how to do the MD5SUM check, what do i do.

    Im not familiar with linux/unix, and i dont have one installed.

    thanks again

  6. #6
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    what does the comands below say (typed in a console)
    fdisk -l
    dmesg|grep sd
    dmesg|grep ub
    they might help us help you.

    DANGER
    DANGER
    DANGER

    NOT tested
    NOT recomended
    a POSSIBLE "quick fix" that i have thought of, never tried or heard of, might be using fdisk and resetting the partition type to ntfs, this might be what is required BUT it may also DAMAGE things for you. just a thought,
    NOT tested
    NOT recomended (by me atleast)

    DANGER
    DANGER
    DANGER

  7. #7
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    hey oerjan,

    what console do you mean? command prompt?
    i couldn't get windows to understand those commands. how do i go about doing it?

    i also heard about resetting the partition type thru fdisk and it is dangerous..i was thinking of trying to create a dummy drive with the same scenario. where do i get fdisk that has this function. i only have fdisk thru win 98, is there a newer version? if not...then it is not possible.

    thanks for your input.
    the more the merrier

    steev

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobilesoul
    .... i only have fdisk thru win 98, is there a newer version?
    The Win98 fdisk does not know about NTFS partition types. Xp uses a different program name. I wondered about his comment when I first read it too, them realized he was talking about a Linux program. It's included with Knoppix.

  9. #9
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    alright harry,

    so what is the program XP uses?

    i also have a copy of knoppix but am not fluent with it. what is the program there?

    steve

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobilesoul
    so what is the program XP uses?
    Sorry, I'm not an xp heavy and don't know the name of it. Have only used it from the GUI and from inside XP, and from inside XP may be the way that it needs to be done. So if the partition is messed up so bad that xp will not run that is not likely to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by mobilesoul
    i also have a copy of knoppix but am not fluent with it. what is the program there?
    The name of the fdisk program in Knoppix is fdisk. I thought I made that clear with my last post.

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