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Re: Debian installation made D: unreadable.

On Sat, 1 Nov 1997, Pierre Sarrazin wrote:

> I have a 2-gigabyte hard disk that has more than 1024 cylinders.
> Since it was originally installed with a 486 motherboard with
> a BIOS that couldn't handle more than 1024 cylinders, I installed
> a patch from the disk's manufacturer. Today, this hard disk is
> installed with a Pentium motherboard with a modern BIOS, but the
> patch is still there.

Been through the same thing.  I wouldn't try to remove the patch (e.g.
don't use lilo).  If it's onTrack, I've used that successfully with linux
until my harddrive crashed, and then I got rid of it.

> The end of Debian's quarter is the /usr filesystem.
> I had to format it manually with mke2fs by specifying
> explicitly the number of blocks. I used the number of
> blocks that Linux's fdisk displayed for /usr.

This doesn't sound good to me.  mke2fs is supposed to autodetect that and
do everything if you just say mke2fs /dev/hda2.  I'm a little concerned
that you may have run off the end of your partition and into the dos
partition by doing this.

> The installation of Debian went well, but when I
> rebooted, DOS/Windows 95 could not read D: anymore
> (General failure reading drive D:).
> I went into DOS FDISK. This is the partition table that it
> displayed:
>     Partition  Status   Type    Volume Label  Mbytes   System   Usage
>      C: 1         A    PRI DOS   DISK1_VOL1     478   FAT16       25%
>         2              Non-DOS                  478               25%
>         3              EXT DOS                  937               49%
> This is the Logical DOS Drive Information that FDISK displayed:
>     Drv Volume Label  Mbytes  System  Usage
>     D:                  478  UNKNOWN    51%
> The UNKNOWN used to be FAT16. The volume label used to be
> DISK1_VOL1. I haven't lost much in that drive, but it would be
> less trouble if I could recover the contents.
> Is it possible that if I could change that UNKNOWN back to
> FAT16, D: would become readable again and its filesystem could
> be intact? If yes, then how can I force this change?

My best guess is that you probably have a super block written somewhere
early in the drive, maybe in the partition info, or worse, in the fat.  I
don't know what dos will do if you change the type, it may mess with the
fat to give you a clean partition.  I'd try linux fdisk first, and just
change the type.

> If I reformat D: under DOS, could this corrupt Debian and/or
> its /usr filesystem?

I'd call the linux install a failed one since it's messing with dos, and
start over from scratch after you get dos working again.  In fact, run
fdisk from the rescue disk if you can, so you aren't messing with a
running filesystem.

> Can I use BIOS calls to try to read the tracks that correspond
> to drive D: to try to recover a few files (if the filesystem
> happens to be intact)? I suppose that would be Interrupt 13h,
> service 02h.

Woo, over my head here.

Good luck,

Brandon Mitchell <bhmit1@mail.wm.edu>   "We all know linux is great... it
PGP: finger -l bhmit1@cs.wm.edu          does infinite loops in 5 seconds"
Phone: (757) 221-4847                      --Linus Trovalds

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