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Thread: Deleted Win Partition w/ Knoppix, Having Problems Booting Up

  1. #1
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    Deleted Win Partition w/ Knoppix, Having Problems Booting Up

    Okay. So, I have a PC with two partitions. One with Server2003 and the other with XP. I didn't need the Server2003 partition anymore, but for some reason I couldn't delete it or reformat it with Windows Disk Management. I attempted to use a Win XP disc, but it kept crashing (STOP error) at a certain point. So, I used Knoppix (QTParted) to delete the Server partition. All of the other partitions including the Win XP partition exist and are mounted.

    I reboot my system and I get the error "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER." Well, I'm getting a STOP error at a certain point when using my XP disk. So, I went into Knoppix, checked it out, and the other partitions are still there and mounted.

    How can I make the XP Partition bootable with Knoppix? Did I somehow delete my MBR when deleting the Server partition? Any help/advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    This is a tough situation. If the Server2003 was in the first partition, then you have probably deleted the active boot partition and the Windows bootloader although I think the MBR is still there. At boot time the MBR is trying to pass control to a bootloader but can't find one now, and so you get the error message about "DISK BOOT FAILURE".

    What to do next......it depends. After deleting the Server2003 partition, what were you planning to do with the free space?

  3. #3
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    Hi Jacky. Thanks for the quick response. You're correct, the Server 2003 partition ( C: ) was the first on the drive. I was planning on installing another copy of Win XP as the first one is not "valid/legal" according to Windows Genuine Advantage Tool so I can't install SP2 on it. However, I now have a valid Win XP w/SP2 disc and SN. Then I was going to create another partition with all of the free space for file storage.

    All I really want right now is to be able to boot to the current Win XP partition. I've been searching around the forum and found a few threads on using gpart and installing a MBR with Knoppix, but they were all slightly different situations. What would you suggest I do? Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    My guess is that the reason why windows wouldn't let you delete / reformat the drive is because it knew its boot loader and config file (boot.ini) were on that very unit.

    Provided you have not reformatted, here's what I'd try (no guarantee):
    - boot knoppix to console mode "knoppix 2"
    - run cfdsik and re-create your primary C: partition (presumably hda1), with whatever disk space is free at the start of the disk
    - mark it as boot/active
    - give it the NTFS type (don't know by heart, check cfdisk help)
    - commit those changes (and be careful no to alter the other partition at all!)
    - reboot

    With a bit of luck, your old system will be restored. At least knoppix should now be able to see the ex-C: drive and you could salvage boot.ini
    If this works, reboot to your working (D: ?) XP install, run a chkdsk on C:, delete everything on C except hidden files in the root directory (NTLDR, boot.ini...).
    Then install your new XP to the C: drive without formatting.

    Hope this makes sense and helps.

  5. #5
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    God, I'm a noob

    Quote Originally Posted by kirol
    Provided you have not reformatted, here's what I'd try (no guarantee):
    - boot knoppix to console mode "knoppix 2"
    - run cfdsik and re-create your primary C: partition (presumably hda1), with whatever disk space is free at the start of the disk
    - mark it as boot/active
    - give it the NTFS type (don't know by heart, check cfdisk help)
    - commit those changes (and be careful no to alter the other partition at all!)
    - reboot
    Kirol, thanks for the reply. I have to confess I'm a Knoppix noob and I'm currently at work away from the system. Would you be able to give me specific commands to run with cfdisk? Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    Ah yes, I had forgotten about gpart and testdisk. They will suit your scenario.

    What kirol suggested would work, but alternatively you may want to try testdisk. Testdisk is on Knoppix and is used for recovering deleted partitions. It automates what you would otherwise need to do with cfdisk. Testdisk is easier because it has an interactive interface with step by step prompts and menus.

    Simply go to the root shell and type testdisk. When the menu starts up, select the drive you want testdisk to work on (hda) and the partition type (Intel). Then select analyse.

    Testdisk will analyse your disk for deleted partitions and then report what he has found to you. If you think testdisk has correctly scanned and guessed the size of the deleted partition, you may then choose to ask testdisk to proceed and write out the new partition table.

    When testdisk is done, hopefully your partition has been recreated. You can then reboot and mount the partition.

  7. #7
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    Hi Jacky. I ran testdisk, but the only "media" that's available to select is /dev/hdd. However, I know the data exists because when I go into qtparted /dev/hda1 is still there.

    Any suggestions? I typed cfdisk at the command prompt after that. I thought it didn't do anything, but I checked QTParted again and it seems to have made a 5 gig partition /dev/hda1 (file type unknown) out of the /dev/hda-1 (free, hidden). Could either of you give me specific commands to run? I'm a complete noob to any and all flavors of Linux.

    This is frustrating because I can see all of my data on the other partitions, but I can't get it to boot up. Any further help you can give me is greatly appreciated.

    EDIT: I just ran gpart and it guessed all of my partitions pretty closely. I didn't use the write parameter to make it actually write the the partition table. If I use gpart, could it possibly damage the other partitions? Also, when using the write parameter how do I ensure it's writing the partition table to the beginning of the first partition and not writing over any data in the other partitions?

  8. #8
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    Provided you don't do anything else (like formating the disk) Gpart alone will only write out the partitions or "fencelines" around the disk. This data is stored in the partition table which is in the first sector of the disk. It does not write anything to the areas of the disk where data is stored, so it should not damage the data on the disk. The most that can go wrong is that it has guessed the "fencelines" wrongly, in which case, the data of one partition ends up in another. On the other hand, formating the partition will with something like Qtparted may well destroy the data.

    The way I see it, you don't have much to lose, since you are going to reinstall XP on hda1 anyway, so you don't mind losing the Server2003 data on hda1, and the XP data on hda2 is going to be replaced by a fresh install on hda1.

    But before you do it, read more about gpart. Here's a good link: http://www.stud.uni-hannover.de/user/76201/gpart/

  9. #9
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    Status Update - Things look worse than before

    Okay. Since my last post, I ran gpart and the guessed partitions seemed about right. I then used the -W option to write the partition table to the disk. So, it was gpart -W /dev/hda /dev/hda. It then asked which partition I want to mark as boot/active and I selected 1. Then it said to reboot, but before I did that it said it found a new harddisk. I didn't take any action and just rebooted as gpart told me to.

    My computer started up, but where it normally said the "BOOT DISK FAILURE" error I got a whole bunch of nothing. Basically, the line before it "Verying DMI Pool Data..." or something similar to that ran, but then I never got the boot error. So, I figured I'd boot up into Knoppix.....wrong. It does the normal colorful boot screen and then stops right after "Scanning for Harddisk partitions and creating /etc/fstab... Done." Then it hangs.

    So, using gpart I've managed to some how make things even worse than before. I can't even check to ensure that the data on the other partitions is still there. Please give me some advice.

  10. #10
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    My computer started up, but where it normally said the "BOOT DISK FAILURE" error I got a whole bunch of nothing. Basically, the line before it "Verying DMI Pool Data..." or something similar to that ran, but then I never got the boot error.
    This suggest the MBR is hosed. You can try booting up with a Windows Recovery CD or the Windows Install CD and go into the Recovery Console and do a "fixmbr".

    For your info, I followed all your steps with a test system of my own - deleted a XP partition, guessed the partition with gpart, wrote it out, set hda1 active, rebooted, got the big black screen........but then Knoppix did not hang - it could detect the partition. Then I quit Knoppix, used Windows CD to fixmbr, and it could boot Windows again.

    Knoppix.....wrong. It does the normal colorful boot screen and then stops right after "Scanning for Harddisk partitions and creating /etc/fstab... Done." Then it hangs.
    Searching this forum or Googling about Knoppix hanging while scanning for hardidisks or creating fstab may give you some ideas. Some posts suggest this indicates a hardware error. But there's no need to give up hope yet. Try these boot cheatcodes at the Knoppix boot prompt:

    knoppix nodma
    knoppix nofstab
    or both, i.e. knoppix nodma nofstab

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