PDA

View Full Version : Has Linux stuffed my ext HD?



Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 09:57 AM
The continuing Linux saga... sigh.

When I installed SuSE linux and plugged my external usb HD in the HD would show up on Linux as 5 or 6 separate usb devices.

I swear all I did was LOOK at the device/s in the Linux media window, but when I plug the HD into my shiny new XP system it shows as a single removable E drive and I get the error; 'The drive is not formatted, do you want to format the drive?'

If I click on format the drive shows as there being 8gig to format when the actual drive is 80gig.

Of course I do have stuff on the HD that I want to keep (it's called back-ups), so I would like to get my back-ups back.

What's likely to happen if I go ahead and format the 8gig... will the rest of my back-up files be lost forever?

Go Linux... you'll never look back :thumbs:

FoxyMX
05-08-2006, 10:10 AM
I'm no Linux expert by a long shot nor do I have an external USB hard drive but once when I left my USB pen drive plugged in whilst booting up Linux the darn thing somehow got wiped. I had to actually reformat it in Windows before it could be used again. :(

Hope you haven't got the same problem..... :waughh:

Can you still see the HD's contents in Linux? I wouldn't go formatting anything just yet...

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 10:16 AM
Foxy,

The drive shows up in Linux as 1x 8.0gig, plus about 5 others of more or less 2.0-5.0gigs each.

Of course I didn't have it plugged in when I originally installed SuSe, but thinking back I may have left it plugged in once when I shut down the comp and rebooted (as I would in Windows).

It's not looking good :(

PS I'm no Linux expert either :p

The_End_Of_Reality
05-08-2006, 10:18 AM
Have you tried using a partition reader to see if you can still read the files on it without using Windows?

Paragon Partition Manager (http://www.partition-manager.com/) is a good version of this, it can read all filesystems, free demo, worth a try :thumbs:

EDIT: One problem with this is that any changes you want to make, it will not allow it... PM me if you want more info ;)

TGoddard
05-08-2006, 10:45 AM
It sounds like the partition table has changed. Just plugging the drive in is unlikely to have changed this. If it was plugged in during installation this could be an issue, although by default it only uses the largest drive.

If your drive had a single partition on it before, you could try recovering the partition using parted or a simpler point and click interface such as qtparted (http://qtparted.sourceforge.net/). These can (sometimes) recover a partition given the start and end sectors (0 and the last sector on the disk).

dolby digital
05-08-2006, 11:17 AM
The problem with Windows is it only recognises "Microsoft approved" partition types. As advised a third party partition manager is the best bet. The Universal Boot cd is a great tool although its probably got too much stuff on it and therefore gets a bit confusing.

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 11:50 AM
Dunno if it makes much difference, but the drive was originally set up under Windows... ie never used in Linux.

Just had a look at it with swiss knife and it shows 'primary partition 8423mb NTFS formatted'.

I guess that's where my back-up files are, but strange that when I plug the HD in it doesn't recognise the NTFS?

The rest of the disk shows as logical/extended/free unformatted.

Graham L
05-08-2006, 01:23 PM
Linux doesn't change partition tables without being told to. Linux doesn't reformat disks without being told to, esepecially to NTFS. :groan: . It doesn't assume that you would want to do these things, even if a disk is partitioned and formatted under another OS, unlike another OS. :D

It just looks at it and, if it knows the file system, will see if it can read it. But it doesn't automatically do destructive things. It leaves that to users, who are much better at it, because they have had more practice.

A badly designed USB device might be affected by transients if it's plugged in while a system is starting up.

I suspect this is more likely to be one of those random things, which happened to occur while you were using the thing with the Linux machine.

If you format the 8GB you would be very lucky to get the files back. Don't do it.

Are any of the backup files plain text? If so, you can see if there's a reasonable chance of recovering them by using a couple of Linux utilities.

df will show you what the disk is called at the hardrawe level ... "/dev/something". Then dd if=/dev/something | strings -4 will show you any strings of readable characters (which might be "words") 4 characters or more long. Ctrl/C will stop that ... you won't want to go all through even 8 GB

Any partitioning or formatting is likely to be disastrous. There are data recovery programmes around. One is called PCInspector, I think ...

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 01:46 PM
I've heard lots of things in the last few weeks that Linux doesn't do Graham... like not stuffing a Windows install when you do a dual boot :)

I agree that users are very good at stuffing things up without any help, however in this instance I can categorically say that there was no intervention on my part... well, apart from leaving the HD plugged in between reboots.

I just tried PC Inspector and it appears that there are no files to recover.

Well, at least I had some of the stuff backed up to DVD... I assume that Linux couldn't get to that as it hasn't been near the box since Linux was installed.

Thanks for your help anyway... we live and learn :rolleyes:

PS, I would try your df suggestion... but I'm not going near Linux for a while :D

Graham L
05-08-2006, 01:55 PM
I've heard lots of things in the last few weeks that Linux doesn't do Graham... like not stuffing a Windows install when you do a dual boot That's the classic example of disastrous actions Linux leaves to the user. In order to stuff up the Windows installation, it has to be told to do that. Unfortunately there is no way to ensure that the user is really sure, and if so that the certainty is based on knowledge. :D

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 02:15 PM
No, sorry Graham- I'd have to disagree there. I'm not the only one who followed the Linux setup instructions only to find it ignored what it was supposed to be doing. Ask SurferJoe how many disks it wiped out :dogeye:

Unfortunately in Linux there is no way for a user to be REALLY sure of what they are doing... too many conflicting ways of doing things and apparently simple tasks turn very complicated quickly.

At the moment I dislike Windows, but I dislike Linux more. I'd have to say that I am in awe of those who can do anything useful with Linux... brains must be hardwired different to 'normal' people :D

Graham L
05-08-2006, 02:27 PM
I have a suspicion that I know exactly how Joe, not Linux, did in his disk partitions.

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 02:39 PM
According to what was related, he did the same as I did. When the Linux install said something along the lines of: 'Would you like to leave Windows on your machine and Linux can make a new partition...' click YES and Windows is gone, easy as that and minimal user intervention required :thumbs:

dolby digital
05-08-2006, 02:49 PM
That's the classic example of disastrous actions Linux leaves to the user. In order to stuff up the Windows installation, it has to be told to do that. Unfortunately there is no way to ensure that the user is really sure, and if so that the certainty is based on knowledge. :D
You assume, Graham, that the software doesn't have any bugs or other "features". Although in alot of cases (and I'm not suggesting SC did anything wrong), yes, the user told the software to do it but not in all cases. Windows or Linux can quite happily render itself unusable by some sequence of events :waughh:

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 02:59 PM
Windows or Linux can quite happily render itself unusable by some sequence of events :waughh:

Agreed. I'm not saying that I didn't do something wrong... apparently I'm not conversant enough with Linux to know better :(

From recent experience testing in a real world environment :p it appears that Linux is just as capable of screwing things up as Windows, OSX or whatever other OS you want to pick.

Sounds very like the standard help-desk reply to me "No sir/madam... it must be user error."

Graham L
05-08-2006, 03:00 PM
At some point it will have asked Joe which of his disks or partitions to use. If he wanted to use partition 2 of the third drive, and he told it to use "/dev/hdc" instead of "/dev/hdc2", that would tell it to use the whole disk. That is the sort of little thing which leads to tears before bedtime. The user is assumed to know what he is doing.

A Major Software manufacturer once issued a new version of its OS. That offered the "new" feature of compressed disks as part of the OS. For many people it installed and worked with not too many problems. Unfortunately, anyone who had a "D:" disk would find that they no longer had any data on that drive. In that case it was the manufacturer which assumed too much.

SurferJoe46
05-08-2006, 04:27 PM
OK guys..what really happened on the bolloxed install was that I had 8 hdds and it asked me what drive I wanted to use...I told it "K" drive (in the real LINUX lingo, anyway) and it wiped out 4 hdds, H, I, J, K.

That was three too many...right?

I still have not found my H or I drives, although Belarc says they are alive and healthy!

Shortcircuit
05-08-2006, 05:47 PM
I still have not found my H or I drives, although Belarc says they are alive and healthy!

They're probably just 'spinning in another dimenison' like my external drive :)

SurferJoe46
05-08-2006, 06:52 PM
I went nearly crazy when it happened...but you gotta remember that I have had one successful install and one screwed up. :(

In both cases, I did what the version asked...for Mepis it went well, for Kubuntu it fragged. Instructions are to be followed.....especially when one is in strange terrritory..and that's what I did.

My good fortune on them both was that I removed anything I valued from what I considered and expendable drive...on the Dell, it was the E drive; on the SOYO I set up K drive. Both installs went ok..except somewhere the wheels fell off the Kubuntu, and it erased four hdds, two of which I have recovered and two are still AWOL.

The Dell dual-boots via grub, and the SOYO is just running the live version...but it runs well...not fast, but well.

So..I am both happy and a little upset with Linux so far...... :mad:

I have resently installed Windows VM on both machines...and I will try a few other distros of Linux-things and see what happens.

I am not angry...just a little miffed at losing three extra drives that had data that I considered safe from Linux formats...it even said it would only format one...but it lied.

SurferJoe46
05-08-2006, 06:55 PM
I cannot make spelling corrections on the post I just made...after 11 tries!

The site is so slow...it seems to be running below dial-up..and I get time outs and cannot finds too.....

johnd
05-08-2006, 07:03 PM
Windows or Linux can quite happily render itself unusable by some sequence of events :waughh:

All I can say is that I have been using Linux since 1998 and have never had a partition stuffed up by the OS. I have on odd occasions had a partition made inaccessible by a boot loader fault, but I have always been able to retrieve it (so far!). I cannot say that for Windows.