|I used GParted under Linux to fix my HD that had its master boot records trashed by a Trojan and kept my computet from booting.|
After using every technique and program under the sun to try and rescue the MBR on the physical disk without resorting to anything that could mess up the data in the partitions, I eventually discovered a genuine, and legitimately valid CD tool called Rescue Live CD (Linux-based).
It will boot your computer from the CD/DVD drive and load the Linux OS into memory. It will then start a Windows-like GUI with shortcuts to its utility programs.
As with most CD-based Linux software, I downloaded it as a compressed image file (ISO format) and burned it to a CDRW using Ashampoo Burning Suite 6 or ImgBurn, depending on which computer I could use.
The Rescue Live CD that gets created has a typical Windows-type menu along the top of the window and also icon shortcuts to disk utilities - of which some have Windows versions like DriveImageXML.
I have a Dell Dimension E521 w/ an 80 GB HD that is partitioned into four parts. The #1 partition is the Dell Utility partition that comes with all Dell desktop system.
I left it alone, and in the begining, I used a commercial utility called Partition Commander to create two additional partitions from my single 80GB drive.
The E521 came stock with a 40GB WD EISA drive that I upgraded to an SATA 80GB Seagate Barracuda.
The 80 GB partition was first split into a 40GB partition (at #4 - the last partition). Partition #3 was a clone of #4 and was 39GB in size/ It contained copies of all my SIMS collections, all my Adobe suites, along with other graphics and desktop publishing programs, Microsoft Office and all products having to do with Microsoft Office.
Since the original 40GB drive was cloned to partition #4 which was the boot partition, I decided to create a dual-boot system keeping XP Home on Partition #4 and upgrading to XP Pro on Partition #3.
Which brings me to the current crash that occurred on May 15 and took three weeks to resolve.
I know that there are, no doubt, other solutions than the one I used as part of my overall strategy, but since I've had my MBR wiped once before and had fixed it before using the same workaround, I did it again
I made an image of Partition #4 (containing 26.7 GB of data) and copied to a 30GB USB HD after doing a quick format. Eventually, I will need to copy it back onto the desktop HD.
I then deleted Partition #4 and recreated it. In it, I placed a fresh original installation of WIN XP PRO w/ SP3.
Well, I got a working desktop back with some changes to the physical and logical drive names.
The boot drive was now D:\
The system drive was now E:\
The CD-ROM was now F:\
The Dell Utility was still at #1.
Everything was working fine for three days until this morning when Partition #4 was converted into an Extended Partition and labeled as #5 (dev5) BUT...it resided inside the Extended Partition (dev5) as a subfolder labeled and assigned to Partition #4 (dev4).
This morning, it booted up as usual, but WinDows Explorer never loaded. All I got was the background with no toolbars, status bars, or windows bars.
Taking a look at the physical layout of the drive - like using Windows Disk Management that can be found by right-clicking on My Computer.
As of today, June 7, Partition #4, the Boot Partition, has two, small unallocated areas of disk acting like bookends, except that the first "bookend" is labeled Partition #4 with no physical disk information listed with it, and inside of it is the real Partition #4 sitting in a subfolder labeled Partition #5.
OK, what to do?
I'm afraid of deleting the small partition in that it might also delete the subfolder containing the real Partition #4.
I've never seen a disk partition listed as a subfolder of a physical drive.
I could try changing my BOOT.INI so that it lists partition(5) as the boot partition, but I don't have a good feeling about that.
Is it only a logical tree structure? If so, then I should be able to delete it and have the subpartition rise to the level of the other partitions.
Until I hear a response to my question, I'm going to experiment with a jump drive (which are also read by Gparted as separate mountable drives), and first see how a subfolder gets created to house a partition - followed by aplying the various fixes mentioned above to see what works and what doesn't.
Sorry for the long story, but forearmed is forewarned.
There must also be a way to combine the subfolder partition with the area of unallocatd space in front of it.