Solved Partition MBR restoration after FDISK removal

May 29, 2012 at 00:35:26
Specs: Windows XP
This is somewhat strange question - I would like to learn how to manually restore the MBR record (FAT table? - read below) for the partitions when I somehow manage to remove them using FDISK or by some other "magic" damage to MBR.

It happened to me a few times (if I remember those were still Win98 times), especially when I experimented with multi-boot and Linux, suddenly the HDD wont' run, then I stressed-out, went to my colleague who asked me for the size of my partitions, and after two days he called me and showed me a (probably DOS) hexeditor (I do not know whether it was for editing the MBR or FAT table), he also showed me a paper with his calculations and my disk contained miraculously renewed partition. My colleague took some money from me and everything was Ok.
(it was probably a FAT32 system back then, but quite possibly it has NTFS... I don't remember whether I had Windows XP or something older that day)

But it just bothers me that after so many years working with PC, I still don't know what to do when something similar happens to me. Is this problem familiar to someone here? What kind of repair was what? What the program my colleague used and where can I learn to do that myself? I would really like to know and understand ...

The important thing, I would like to learn to do it "manually" by direct (hex?)editing and calculations. I'm not searching for beautiful graphical program that will do it for me.

Thank you!

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May 29, 2012 at 02:47:38
✔ Best Answer
Oh I found out that wiki has wonderful info about MBR... I guess I'll be learning from that.

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May 31, 2012 at 14:10:48
riider the OP is looking and rebuilding the MBR via hex editor.
I knew how to do this 15yrs ago but have never needed to do it.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:
Sorry no tech support via PM's

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May 31, 2012 at 16:43:55
Manually editing the MBR with a Hex Editor is not easy. You have to really understand what the MBR is doing and what all the numbers represent. !5 years ago it was relatively easy because the numbers were small. These days the numbers are huge and it is very easy to make a mistake, You need to read up on the boot sequence and what happens with the BIOS when the computer boots.

Just for your information, the MBR is the same regardless of what files system is us, FAT32, NTSF or Linux even. The MBR is the first thing to be read from the hard disk by the BIOS and the BIOS know nothing of file systems. Files systems only come into it after the Volume Boot Record is loaded. The FAT table is loaded after the Volume Boot Record if the FAT file system is being used.

The only difference is the actual boot record with is Operating System dependent. Dont even think about editing that manually, you will almost certainly screw it up.


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June 1, 2012 at 13:30:29
"riider the OP is looking and rebuilding the MBR via hex editor."

Yep, you're right. I've editted my previous response.

edit: funny edit at that. I remove the post. Wanderer

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