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Author Topic: HELP ... Any ideas - Bad Partition table (sometimes) ????  (Read 3536 times)
Carol Haynes
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« on: November 11, 2005, 11:55:46 AM »

I have had an extremely frustrating day!!

Got up this morning with various errors on my computer screen. I had left Perfect Disk running over night to defrag my whole system. PD wouldn't work on any of my partitions this morning!

I recently installed Acronis Disk Director and had resized a partition, so I loaded it up to look, and there were no obvious problems. I also installed Acronis' boot manager.

I had a copy of Partition Magic 8 (I moved to Acronis because it is obvious Norton aren't doing anything with PM) so I loaded that up and the whol of IDE0 was reported simply as 'BAD'

Suspecting that it was the Acronis Software causing the problem I decided to remove the boot manager and see if PM could then see the partitions. First problem - removing the Acronis boot manager didn't restore my orginal settings - it left me with a single boot system (whereas I have a multiboot system). Windows Boot.ini was untouched so I presume acronis have left something in the Master Boot record.

No probs, me thinks, I will load up the Recovery Console and FIXBOOT, that should sort it out.

That's when things went seriously pear shaped!! The system wouldn't boot at all ... three words on screen only Bad Partition Table.

A lot of cursing and swearing ... but hey good old Acronis TrueImage keeps regular backups so it shouldn't be a problem to restore my system.

Pop in the Acronis TrueImage Rescue CD and hey presto I am restoring my C drive ... OK its 24 hours old but I never keep useful info on that drive anyway. Ten minutes later 'Corrupt Backup' .... lots of expletives .... this despite always running a verify backup check after every backup.

Talk about mad!!!

Anyway to cut a long story short I installed a quick version of windows on a spare drive and managed to restore the corrupt backup with no errors! So much for rescue disks.

I still haven't cured the problem though - Partition Magic still reports IDE0 is BAD, althought the system boots, Acronis Disk Director finds no problems, Perfect Disc sees all my partitions and I ran the Windows utility DiskPart which finds all my partitions and declares them healthy.

Do I believe Partition Magic? Am I heading for trouble? PM has never reported errors like this before so I am rather nervous just to carry on as though nothing has happened.

I tried running Windows 98 FDISK (just to see what it said was on the disk). It reports an Active NTFS Primary Partition and an Extended Partition, but it can't see the logical partions inside. Having said that it can't see logical partitions on any of my disks??

Anyone got any suggestions how to check the real integrity of a partition map? (Preferably without spending megabucks).
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Innuendo
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2005, 12:47:15 PM »

Carol,
Simplistic question, but have you didn't say what version of Windows you were using? If you are using NTFS then don't use anything Win98-based. Windows 9x does not recognize NTFS so things will either be unrecognized/ignored or trash things beyond repair.

If you are running Win2K or WinXP have you tried using the built-in error checking built into Windows? Just right-click on the drive in My Computer, select Properties and it's on the Tools tab. Windows XP's built-in error-checking is very robust.

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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2005, 03:33:19 PM »

i can only imagine the frustration - i can almost feel it and i've been there enough to know how furious and frustrated it can make one.  Hang in there!  It does sound like partition magic is the odd one out here - just reporting the partition as "bad" doesn't sound very useful..  i wouldn't trust it if it doesn't say what the problem is.  but i would be doubly careful about making sure to back up any important information on that drive.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2005, 06:29:01 PM »

Hi Innuendo - yes I am using NTFS.

The only reason I used Win98 FDisk was to see if it could read the partition table (not the data). FDISK recognises NTFS partitions.

Mouser - yes you are right - it is amazing how frustrtaing things like this can be! My problem is that I have used Partition Magic for years and it's error reporting is somewhat limited (usually an unlisted code on their website). Having said that I have never had an error reported when there was no problem.

It's all very strange.

Does any one know of reliable partition recovery utilities that don't cost an arm and a leg. I found one today that scans the entire dis and finds all the FATs, partition details, boot sectors etc. The demo seems to work - but it costs $375 ... which is simply ridiculous.

What i need is a program that can be booted from CDROM and can check the validity of my partition table, and correct any errors.

I have found Partition Table Doctor  which has a 5/5 rating. Is suppose I could try the demo and see if it detects anything unusual (the demo doesn't write repairs so shouldn't so any further damage). Does anyone know about this software? (Home page is here)
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2005, 06:35:22 PM »

i know this sounds kind of crazy..
but my strategy for this stuff is usually like this: with the price of hard drives, when i find one that starts giving some strange behavior, i try to replace it and use the existing one for non-critical backup, and just not take chances.  it seems wasteful and luckily i haven't had to do it very often, and you may not have to go to such an extreme, but treat it like scarlet letter and keep a very close backup of anything you ever put on that drive again.  having said all that, it does kind of sound like partition magic is giving a false alarm doesnt it?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2005, 08:03:52 PM »

Fixed ...

Actually PM was giving a correct alarm.

I decided that if Partition Table Doctor could do what it claimed it was worth it (just in the time and frustration saved).

The demo reported a couple of incorrect partition data entries (block pointed a couple of blocks off). So I splashed out and bought the thing.

I corrected the two errors and though what the heck I'll try doing a complete Partition Table Repair. The tool scans through the whole disc showing partition markers present (including old ones I thought were gone forever). That with the layout map for the current settings meant I could find all of the partitions (they were also shown by name, but there were duplicates because of the partition resizings I had done). I selected the correct version, and then discovered that one of the small partitions didn't have any possible correct entries, so I simply left it unchecked. A quick click and my partition table was rewritten with a hole where the extra partition should be. I had an upto the minute backup of that partitions (and it was only 8Gb), so 15 minutes later it was restored.

After a reboot I ran Partition Magic again, and lo and behold everything looks good.

I suspect the problem actually arose using Acronis Disk Director to resize partitions.

I have to say so far I am not at all impressed with Acronis' products. I bought TrueImage 8 and they gave me a free update to TrueImage 9 when it was released a couple of weeks later. That was absolutely full of bugs, and judging by this experience the recovery disc still has some. what use is a backup utility that incorrectly tells you your backup files are corrupt and refuses to restore them?

DiskDirector 9 hasn't exactly got off with a good start either. Over the years I have used Partition Magic numerous times to shif free space around my drives, expanding and contracting partitions on the fly. It has been very rare to have any problem at all with that product. It's just a shame Norton now have it and don't seem to be devloping it any longer. Acronis DiskDirector gets used once and my partition tables are completely naused up. It may be just a coincidence and I am jumping to conclusions - but it seems strange that this unusal problem occured on the day I used it to shuffle free space ???

Anyway for what it is worth Partition Table Doctor worked really nicely (although it isn't exactly pretty to look at) and is provided in two forms: a windows desktop app, and an ISO image to burn to make a bootable CDROM. You can also purchase it on disc.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2005, 12:48:20 PM »

Carol,
You say "It's just a shame Norton now have it and don't seem to be devloping it any longer.", but what you probably mean is now Symantec has it. Symantec is the disease of the application software world. They buy products and companies continuously. Those good ones they don't discontinue right away, they load up with bloat and turn the programs into caricatures of what they once were. Norton was an excellent company before Symantec bought them out. Same with Central Point, Quarterdeck, the Partition Magic people, AtGuard, etc. The list goes on & on of wonderful products turned to poo by Symantec.

Their counterpart in the game software world, in case anyone doesn't know, is Electronic Arts.
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2005, 04:59:01 PM »

It's really a shame how Symantec has ruined PartitionMagic and and Ghost Sad

Anyway Carol, I remember using a linux fdisk tool once to set up my partitions... it all worked and stuff, but the structures it generated were a bit "interesting", and caused trouble later on with PartitionMagic. Acronis TrueImage seems to be based on linux code (the boottime manager certainly is)... in general, avoid partition sizers. Most of the time they work fine, which causes many people to start trusting them and not do backups before an operation - and then lightning strikes.

Btw, for situations where things really mess up, try GetDataBack for NTFS - worked like a charm for me.
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- carpe noctem
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2005, 06:59:24 PM »

You say "It's just a shame Norton now have it and don't seem to be devloping it any longer.", but what you probably mean is now Symantec has it.

You are quite correct of course - just my typing speed got the better of my thinking ...

Quote
Symantec is the disease of the application software world. They buy products and companies continuously. Those good ones they don't discontinue right away, they load up with bloat and turn the programs into caricatures of what they once were. Norton was an excellent company before Symantec bought them out. Same with Central Point, Quarterdeck, the Partition Magic people, AtGuard, etc. The list goes on & on of wonderful products turned to poo by Symantec.

Agree wholeheartedly ...
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