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Help! Chkdsk hosed my files! Now they only open in Linux??

by glenn73--2008 / September 16, 2008 4:52 PM PDT

Ok, quick Summary:
After a complete system reinstall of WinXP Pro SP3, chkdsk ran on 2 of my drives and hosed a ton of files.
It said something about fixing an index in a some files and then said it was recovering orphaned files.
"Recovering orphaned file DSC00152.jpg into directory file 32507"
"Recovering orphaned file DSC00153.jpg into directory file 32507"
it worked for a few hours "recovering" orphaned files.

When I was finally able to get back into the drive, all the files were still in thier original places, same extention, same size, nothing had changed. However, they would not open, when I try to open them up these are the errors I get:

For JPG's:
Windows picture and fax viewer reports "no preview available"
Irfanview reports "can't read file header"

For .MP3's:
WMP11 reports "Windows Media Player cannot play the file. The Player might not support the file type or might not support the codec that was used to compress the file."

For .EXE's:
a dos window opens for a split second then closes with no further results

I believe that something has become corrupted at the very beginning of the file.(the header maybe?)

After trying all kind of things and getting desperate I tried to access the files through Ubuntu(Linux). ALL of the files were able to be seen and used!(can't test .exe of course)

So then I tried to copy the file into the Ubuntu system and then back to windows, reboot into windows and it worked! The file was again usable by windows. Whatever was wrong with the file was corrected when copied into Ubuntu. The only thing changed is the creation date, everything else seems to be the same.

Ok, so in a strange round about way I have a solution to my problem and I am extremely happy to be able to recover those files. However, I am not looking forward to copying 90,000+ files back and forth. Surly there must be an easier way to repair these files?

Any suggestions?

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For Such Files, Use Your Backup Disc
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 17, 2008 12:57 AM PDT replace the damaged versions..

Hope this helps.


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backups are not up to date
by glenn73--2008 / September 17, 2008 1:37 AM PDT

Thanks for the response, However, If it were as simple as using my backups I wouldn't be asking for help.
Not all of my backups are up to date, so there are many files that I still need to recover.

I figure that if Ubuntu can somehow fix the issue with the files there must be a program out there that can do the same. I just haven't found it yet.

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File Association
by helljack6 / September 17, 2008 2:28 AM PDT

Sounds like you have alot of files to transfer and re-associate with the correct program.

Wondering why you did a complete SOFT Install of windows with SP3 to begin with and then ran CHKDSK after the fact (unless I misread your initial posting).

When you install windows it creates an instance of that installation and everything done, created, moved, deleted or otherwise is somehow tied or tagged with that instance of the installation. When you do a soft install or a repair install of the operating system, only the system core files are re-written, files that were associated with specific programs are orphaned due to the connection between the parent program and the new instance of the windows operating system sometimes not re-syncing after the soft install/repair install. For future reference, if you're going to reload, get everything off the computer ahead of time and reload right, low level format either using PC Certify or one of the free tools, D-ban or BCWipePD.

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RE: File Association
by glenn73--2008 / September 17, 2008 3:51 AM PDT
In reply to: File Association

To clarify, I did not do a "Soft" install, I had completely wiped the drive and then installed windows. There were no issues with the files on this drive
The 2 drives in question are 250GB(NTFS) on an add-in Ultra ATA controller. For some reason after a Fresh(hard?) install of WINXP Pro, chkdsk forces me to run it on both drives(I didn't choose to run it and it wouldn't let me abort it by "pressing any key"). I have reinstalled the system twice in the last few weeks, the first time, chkdsk found issues but didn't mess up the files, the second time caused the issue described in the beginning of this thread.

As for re-associating with the correct program, pictures for example are associated with the picture viewer, it just can't seem to open them, .mp3's are associated with WMP11, but it can't read them.

The problem isn't with the association, there has to be something in the beginning of the file that got messed up and is confusing windows. I have a hard time believing that the only answer is to copy the files to a different operating system(that seems to fix the issue automatically) and then copy them back into Windows.

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More information
by helljack6 / September 17, 2008 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: File Association

Was there a specific driver for the ATA Controller that hasn't been set up yet? Also, is it feasible for you to install the OS with just 1 hard drive attached to the system and then reattach the additional drives after the install is completed?

I'd go that route first as that might clear up the second issue in the process. Just my two cents tho.

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more info
by glenn73--2008 / September 17, 2008 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: More information

Technically yes, there is a driver that comes with the ATA controller, however, WINXP recognizes the controller and installs the drivers for it automatically and will not allow me to change the driver to the one supplied by the MFR.

It is possible to have the other drives disconnected when I do the next install, however, if it is a driver problem, I am concerned that the problem will just happen again if I can't force windows to use the MFR supplied driver.

But that's all for the next time I reinstall the OS. What I really need to find is a program that will go through and fix the headers or whatever is wrong with the files that are currently incapacitated. So far I have found programs that will fix the .chk files created by chkdsk, but that doesn't pertain to this issue Sad

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by helljack6 / September 17, 2008 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: more info

I'm guessing that the driver for the ATA controller is either on CD or a floppy, and if that's the case, during the initial windows setup process, it's one of those F6 drivers you have to install ahead of time.

Far from anything else I can think of right off the top of my head, IF the drive uses a specific controller card and that controller card driver isn't installed during setup but is replaced with an internal XP driver, and the information you're trying to resurect is on a secondary drive controlled by said controller card with wrong driver, yeah, I could potentially see a problem there.

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No one knows?
by glenn73--2008 / September 18, 2008 10:00 AM PDT

I guess no one knows of any good programs to help repair files/file headers?
If i'm posting in the wrong location please guide me to the right area.

In the meantime I went and bought a 750GB external, loaded Ubuntu and am in the process of transferring all the files to it. Somehow Ubuntu is fixing the files as it goes.
I would however be interested in finding another solution to this problem if anyone has any suggestions.


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Good find.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 18, 2008 10:08 AM PDT
In reply to: No one knows?

What we all know is Linux is rather a smart cookie at this. But titles I've used are:


And look at TESTDISK just in case.

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Those look promising
by glenn73--2008 / September 18, 2008 11:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Good find.

Thanks for the suggestions!

I will give them a try.

I wish I knew how to figure out what exactly is wrong with the files. Oh well, the main thing is that they are able to be fixed. I'm just curious.

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Ubuntu Help...
by gitarman1 / November 25, 2008 12:26 AM PST
In reply to: No one knows?


I had the same problem. I had a Windows 2003 Storage Server running a 4-drive RAID5 array with 72GB of jpg files at a photography studio. One drive went bad, so it was replaced with a larger one (a 500GB SATA vs. the original 400GB SATA). The RAID rebuilt with no problem - of course it only used up to the amount of space of the other 4 drives (400GB). Normally, this causes no problems at all, but when it finally finished and I rebooted, CHKDSK ran for about 2hrs, saying 'recovering orphaned files' and such, as your thread (and others I've seen) stated. Now only about 15% of the JPG files are accessible.

I can get a large drive the way you did and copy/recopy the files with Ubuntu, but I have never used this program. How do I go about installing it on an external drive? Is it then accessible thru WinXP or 2003? Can you or someone give me some info on how to do this the same way as explained in the thread? This client will lose almost everything that he runs his business with! ANY help is greatly appreciated!!

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Ubuntu fixes windows issues
by glenn73--2008 / November 25, 2008 4:08 AM PST
In reply to: Ubuntu Help...

Hey Gitarman1,

You actually don't have to install Ubuntu on the drive if you don't want to. The easiest way would be to download Ubuntu, copy the iso file to a cd, and run it straight out of DOS. You would be missing some features, but if you will be able to achieve the file recovery without any issues.

1. Download Ubuntu Live CD from here , use version 8.04LTS. You can probably use 8.10 but all of my testing/recovery was done with 8.04LTS so I know that works.

2. Burn the CD to a Disk. If you don't already have a program to burn .ISO files, this link has the information you need.

3. Reboot the computer from the CD(you may have to change your BIOS settings, more info here: )

4. From the boot menu select "Start or Install Ubuntu", this will allow you to boot into Ubuntu without actually installing it. If you decide you really like it, further detailed instructions are here

Now to recover your files:

1. To open the hard drive with the corrupted files and the new hard drive(preferably already formatted to NTFS) goto menu on the top of the screen, click "Places", open the hard drive with the corrupted files, Click "places" again, open up the hard drive you are going to copy the files to.

2. Check a few of the known corrupt files to make sure they open in Linux. (if they don't you have a different problem that most likely will not be fixed through this method)

3. Copy the files by doing a select all(in the edit menu i think) and then click and drag the files to the new drive. It depends on how fast your drive is, but the copy operation can take awhile. I think it took me about 14 hours for 400+GB.

Sorry if some of the info isn't quite complete, I am at work on a windows system and am going by memory

Let me know if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to help if I can.

On a side note, ever since I installed Ubuntu on my home computer, I have only booted into windows 3 times. Ubuntu is now my full time OS. Although I wouldn't recommend it yet for the someone who isn't technically savvy, it is a great alternative once you work out the kinks.

Good luck!


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