gparted & messed up partitions / merging part

Own / Own
January 14, 2010 at 15:03:50
Specs: Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 / Mandriva, intel core 2 6420, 2gb
Please forgive how long this is but i am trying to explain everything as this is not my area of expertise, and if i use the wrong term to shorten the explanation i worry i will lead off into the wrong direction.

booted gparted to join what is now an empty partition onto its neighbour on my second hdd.
when gparted was loaded i noticed it identified a 50/60gb partition as unused on my first hdd (earlier that day id had a nightmare with gparted crashing mid way through a resizing operation - but luckly managed to recover everything (or maybe most) via chkdsk /f. during this there was a task to shrink the partition by roughly that same amount, which was graphically in the same place.)

so i assumed (yes i know i can hear the groans) that this was performed before the crash and was in fact free unused space.
i then selected to join this (identified as an empty partition(VISTA - refer to layout below) onto its neighbour partition (STORAGE), about halfway through its 'read of data before moving' section i realised that it should have been my vista partition (which worked perfectly fine an hour before and gparted for some reason identified it incorrectly). i checked 3 times that gparted was still in the 'reading data before moving' (im unable to recall the exact name but thats how i understood it) phase before actually moving the data, then hit cancel due to thinking that when it crashed during this stage before that i will be able to at least recover this partitions data as nothing had been moved yet. and maybe the other data on vista partition if im lucky.

when i booted up after cancelling n rebooting, into my win7 OS - it identifys one partition as the exact size of the data that had to be moved and thus joined to the falsely empty partition (169.26gb - shown below in 'current messed up state' diagram) and shows the other original to be moved and joined containing data partition as empty ( the 68.29 unallocated partition below [will get exact wording when i can get back onto the pc]).

so i booted into gparted to see what state my primary hdd (hdd1) was in - diagramatically things have shifted to the left as though the partition starting point had been changed ( see diagrams below [as instructed however mistakenly by myself]) - so it looks as though partition 3 had been (at some level - maybe not completely) merged with partition 2.

now im hoping that seeing as nothing has not actually been written on top of anything - i.e. no datas been moved / rewritten that there is hope. (this is how i understand it) its just a case of moving partitions to back to where they were and running something like checkdsk /f as i did after gparted crashed on me - as to me they seem that they are essentially the same problem.

i am less hopeful with recovering the vista partition, as partition 3 (storage) has been marked as being moved over it however it may be just the same 'rescue' process i described hopefully as above.

please tell me that i have not gotten this wrong and i have some hope! im desperate. To me it (recovering my v stupid mistake) seems easier then recovering data from a dead / dying hdd / a formatted hdd or one which has a OS installed on top of it.
i cant help but wonder if its like recover partition table or use something like spindisk or something along those lines.


HDD1 (500gb): XP 28.15 | VISTA 60ish | STORAGE | Win7 200.03

HDD1 (500gb): XP 28.15 | 169.26gb | unallocated 68.29 | Win 7200.03


See More: gparted & messed up partitions / merging part

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January 14, 2010 at 15:23:01
First off, can't Vista do that without using third party software?

Try using testdisk to repair the partitions. Read the tutorials before using. Get it below.

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January 14, 2010 at 15:30:11
ive always had issues with vista and partitioning so use 3rd party s/w.

is it best to use teskdisk on an image of the drive or the original drive as i would like to not ruin anything, or more accurately my chances of recovering data. finally is it ok to use it when i would like to keep my xp and win7 partitions on the same disk untouched?
really dumb question would repairing partitions allow the access of my data? or was my assumption incorrect?


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January 14, 2010 at 15:39:49
You can probably access the data now if you want. Use a live version of Linux to access the files and copy somewhere. Or slave the drive in question to another computer and copy your personal files.

To answer your original question it is always better to have a backup plan in place but only you can say how important your data is and how much work it will be to recover it using the tools I described above. BTW, if slaving the drive you will still need to use recovery software. I can post a few if requested.

If you are worried about it and have the extra drive to clone to then by all means go for it and then try testdisk.

As far as not wanting to ruin anything I think it is too late for that.

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Related Solutions

January 15, 2010 at 15:57:24
Thankyou so much for the helpful and swift replies - it (they) are really appreciated.

I think what i meant by ruin anything was using tools (first) which may hinder my attempts at recovery.

I was wanting to get another hdd (and larger - ive always wanted to own 1tb on one drive :)) so wondered if now would be a good time n thus avoid any tools / programs that during recovery attemps may mess up the original and thus prevent chances via another route.

The incredibly ironic thing was i was in the process of moving all my important must back up now files onto the storage partition to back up externally (onto the secondary drive, which i was restoring into the original single partition for that purpose, BEFORE i got side tracked by the mistakenly empty partition). Some of it is backed up but thers always those few important files that you go i really must back these up and then get sidetracked by a funny email. i consider this the ultimate kick upwards in using automated back up solutions and not to slack with them!

Ok let me see if i understand everything correctly - use teskdisk to attempt to restore the previous partition arrangement. (still unsure if this will help or hinder my attempts due to my stupidity).

I may be able to access the data on one or both of the messed up partitions via linux (live cd will do nicely) - ill assume your thinking just see what the distro auto mounts and have a go?

finally if i manage to revert to my previous partition arrangement (via teskdisk) i should be able to use recovery software to located and hopefully recover my files?

i assume that if my partitions are correct (i.e. the previous unaltered state) that this makes the recovery softwares job a little easier and mine due to selecting only the altered/ messed up partitions and not everything between xp and win7 partitions?


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January 15, 2010 at 17:02:24
If testdisk works as hoped the partitions will be back like before the merge. If you want to buy another drive and clone the existing stuff to it the would be an insurance policy. Most of the time if files were not actually corrupted but simply lost due to the MBR being removed then file recovery is very often successful. If I understand what you did the files should be on the drive. The computer just can't find them because the file system is no longer in place.

Read all the tutorials for testdisk and then decide for yourself which way to go.

You could also use file recovery software if you slave the drive to another computer. Below are some.

PC Inspector (freeware)
Zero assumption Recovery
The demo is limited
It will only recover 'up to' four folders per run
But you can make multiple runs
IMO the best, but not free

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January 17, 2010 at 14:41:14
New HDD has been ordered tonight,hopefully itll arrive soon. Also sorry for the delays in replying i work over weekends so its a bit difficult with the long shifts.

ive had a poke around with teskdisk basically seeing what it can recover / find. using deeper search,it appears to locate my STORAGE partition and ive managed to copy all files to my secondary hdd. i used 'find and mount' to do so via explorer - graphically i figure i cant mess up as badly (then again look at the mess im in lol). i believe everything shown is everything on that partition. i am just about to back these up to dvds ASAP. So obviously ive not re-written my partition yet - and dont really want to until im using an image - i couldn't figure out if this can be done on the image and thus preserve the original?

The same cant be said for the VISTA partition - teskdisk appears to identify a partition that i believe is my vista partiion (actually twice - from memory i think one is from backup boot record but when i use p to list the files on the partition i receive "cant open filesystem. filesystem seems damaged." im guessing that maybe something has somehow been written or altered? via gparted? (to be fair i noticed avg dumped a hidden file on the 'new partition' - which i believe is the one 'ontop' of the VISTA partition.

Does this mean that my hope now lies with recovery software? and also how is it best to limit the recovery scope- idealy i do not want to include the XP and Win7 partitions and thus include everything in-between regardless of partition state?

also may you clarify if you were referring to Zero assumption Recovery was in your opinion the best? or were you refering to GetDataBack?

Am i right in assuming anything recovered (via any recovery software) isnt named via the name given to the file? but its extension is preserved? so a txt file named "txtfile.txt" (original i know!) would be named something else "1fds.txt"?

I apologise for the million questions. Many thanks


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January 17, 2010 at 16:32:46
Actually those comments were made by another member here who doesn't want to be credited each time his finds are used.

I have used Knoppix to recover files and the file name was correct. I think it depends on what happened to the partition to start with.

Another member here has suggested Linux puppy instead of Knoppix because it is much smaller. 96MB vs. 696MB. Both are live versions of Linux that are run from the boot CD thus they can recover without the need of removing the drive if you have another media to copy the files to. Should be able to configure optical drives, USB external drives, network connections, etc.

Most of the time the structure of a Windows partition is corrupted the files stay intact.

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January 18, 2010 at 06:53:04
awh - i was only trying to figure out which one was recommended lol.

I had a poke around with puppy linux (ive used linux on and off for about 3 years) and it only mounts the partitions as windows mounts them.
i wonder if im jumping ahead and you are suggesting that i use a live cd after ive attempted re-writing the partitions teskdisk found?

ill also be honest and admit that im booting the os on one of the (unaffected) partitions on the drive in question - this i am keeping to a minimum - thus i am not using the affected partitions however as ive already said avg's dumped a hidden folder - my bad i should have disconnected the drive after the first boot to see the damage.


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January 18, 2010 at 09:31:58
I was just suggesting that a live version of Linux may be an alternative to using recovery software. The free ones are limited.

Testdisk may need to know the original partition sizes. Have you gotten into trying testdisk yet?

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January 18, 2010 at 10:05:42
Awh that was what i had wondered, thanks for clarifying!

I have used tesk disk (sorry i thought id written a paragraph about my results - obviously i didnt). i had to use the deeper scan element to located my media partition, and using teskdisks 'p' option to view files on the located partitions.

This was how i was able to identify that the storage partition was fairly intact and it was at that point that i messed about with 'find and mount' software to see if it could mount the partition so i could rescue the files via explorer.

I believe one of the other 'recovered partitions' teskdisk lists is one (hopefully) the correct Vista one. The size seems a little larger then i thought, and is listed twice - ones a backup of the boot sector.

Going through all the partitions listed i use the 'p' option to list the files, on doing so with the suspected Vista partition(s) i receive the error that it "cant open filesystem. File system seems damaged."

I stopped at this point as i didnt want to mess up the drive further - until my new drive arrives so i can image it! And also am only a little into backing up onto DVD so far.

is there a way i can back up the current partition state so i can try using teskdisk to put these recovered partitions back into place? then revert to my current half working state if it doesnt work?

Ive noticed teskdisk also produce photorec i believe this is their version of recovery software have you had any experience with this?


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January 18, 2010 at 10:17:04
All manufacturers have a utility to clone a disk from one to another. As long as one of the disks is the brand for the utility you can clone the drive.

Download from the drive manufacturer's site.

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January 18, 2010 at 13:53:33
Awh so the only way to play with partitions is via using an image, thanks will wait till the drive arrives. in the mean time i may try and play with a recovery app or two - just scaning the drive obviously - ill start with ZAR.
i just know i wont last a few more days till the drive arrives - would this be safe to do so?
many thanks and will let you know once ive got an image.


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January 24, 2010 at 13:20:03
New HDD arrived yesterday, ive been looking at WD's supplied imaging s/w and the problem is i cant seem to find any that would allow me to be able to do the sector /block by sector / block clone / image, which i believe is what i need to be able to attempt to use teskdisk in the way that i need to.
also teskdisk uses .img files.

i guess im trying to go about this two fold:
one. clone the drive exactly to the new hdd; so that i have a working bootable copy with all 'empty' (read full of my messed up data) sectors.

two. create an image of the drive (or if possible only the affected partitions) that is also stored on the new hdd. that tesk disk may allow me to attempt to work on by playing with its partitions. If not worst case the 'empty' (read full of messed up data) data can be recovered via ZAR (for example) from that image. or heck even restored onto the original drive in its original location for me to play with other partitioning optins.

i guess im a little unsure which route to go via - but both overlap however both when i look into it are let down by the image OR cloan apps i look at. in fact WD's seems to delete all data no matter what options you find after cloaning.


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January 24, 2010 at 13:41:45
If the data is really important then try recovering it first. If you don't have another computer that you can slave the disk to then try booting to a Live version of Linux as mentioned above. If you can see the files you should be able to configure any hardware available on the computer to either burn the files, copy them to a second drive or to a USB drive or even a networked drive.

Then just clone the drive and work with the original, if you feel that is what is necessary.

It all comes down to how important the files are.

"cloan apps i look at. in fact WD's seems to delete all data no matter what options you find after cloaning."

Not sure whare you are getting the idea that the data is cut and pasted. The data is copied and if cloning with the intent that the newer drive will be the boot drive then the OS partition will be marked as active so it will be bootable. I don't think WD tools will erase anything on the host drive.

Why don't you install Windows on the new drive and then use that installation and various tools to recover the data you want to? The recovery programs run in in the Windows mode for the most part so the partition you are trying to recover data from can't be the same one Window is booting from.

You could also buy Acronis or get a freeware imaging program. Install that to a new Windows install on the new drive and go from there. Be sure to plan your partitions out so you don't need to use a partitioning program after the fact.

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January 24, 2010 at 16:02:45
thanks agian for your swift reply.
Reading the manual and playing around with WesternDigitals Acronis version it mentions that when using clone the last step it will do is wipe the drive that was copied.
thinking this was just for the "automatic" selection, i chose manual and walked through the steps untill i was presented with a summery of the steps to perform, this listed erase of the (copy) drive.
maybe im missing something or misinterpreted something.

"you will also (in manual mode) be able to select options to perform on the old disk:
-leave partitions (and data!) on the old disk"

i planned to not install an OS onto the new hdd, as i was going to use the 'clone' on that hdd to play around with.

(the last hour or so) ive had a look at the dd command. (played around with it in uni) but my test of dd'ing a flashdrive as an image to the new hdd failed. I was looking into apps that did a direct sector by sector copy in a format that testdisk could use - acronis only uses .tib and i believe testdisk only uses .img?


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January 24, 2010 at 19:48:17
I would leave the old drive alone until you sort out your problems. You didn't indicate which way you were going to go. I recommend verifying the cloned drive works by booting to it and if so, install recovery software and/or testdisk to the new hard drive.

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January 25, 2010 at 05:32:08
I guess that is because im unsure and looking for direction without actually realising it; youve helped me decide.

I plan to clone the drive (i read the manual in full last night and think its safe to use acronis to clone rather then the dd command - however if you have any preference im open to it).

then boot from the cloned drive have a go with recovery s/w and then play with partitions (or maybe play with the partitions then recovery s/w).

Thankyou for all the help i really do appreciate it. i have a few things to do today before i get time to work on this (my weekend starts today) will update, hopefully without any problems.


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January 25, 2010 at 19:21:56
small update:
drive has been cloned, im using the new cloned os at the moment.

managed to be able to boot either drive via changing the drives boot priority.

i am in the process of creating the image of the 'damaged' drive. i was forced to do this via a linux live cd and the dd command as any other application i looked at using would not produce a image in a format (.img etc) that teskdisk could use.


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