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Partition Tables, MBR, Boot sector messed up? I'm stumped...

Hello everyone. Let me explain the situation. I had my laptop in the window near
my bed and the rain hit the ac power supply. Fortunately the power supply didn't
kill the laptop or itself. I simply blow dried it and it was back to normal functionality.
Before I had brought the power supply back to normal functionality, I took the laptop's
60gb 2.5" Samsung drive out of the bay. Maybe now would be a good time to list system

Hp Pavilion ze4805us
2.12ghz AMD 2800+ XP-M
1024MB PC2700 DDR
128MB ATI (shared)
60GB Samsung 4200RPM 2.5" HDD
DVD Rom & CD-R/w Drive combo

Anyhow... I removed this drive. I have this USB to 2.5" IDE Converter. I plugged
it in the front of my dell 4550. It detected my two partitions fine. I went to
copy over GTA San Andreas figuring "well my power is shot on the laptop, maybe I
will move the game to my dell so I can play it". Well the game wouldn't work. "Program
too big to fit in memory" or something to that effect. So I rebooted and like an
idiot I left the drive plugged in. Not realizing when the windows boot screen came
up that it was booting from my laptop's drive I then saw a blue screen. I do not
recall the error but it said it was shutting down to prevent damage to system hardware.
So I then removed the drive and booted to my Windows that is on the dell. I plugged
the USB / IDE converter in along with the 2.5" drive and nothing is detected. After
spending all day figuring out what is wrong I came across some software. I ran GetDataBack
for NTFS and I saw everything and both my partitions. Everything is still in tact!
This program was no good for repairing anything, it was only for recovering. I
tried spin rite on my laptop. It overheated at 1%. I put the drive back into the
converter and plugged into my dell. I then tried Partition magic. It saw all unallocated
space. No partitions... huh. Then I tried another piece of software called Partition
Table Doctor 3.0. I rebuilt the partition table. Everything looked good. Replugged
the converter into the dell and it was detected. Mission success... Wait not yet.
I plugged it into my laptop And the blinking cursor was back!!! I tried the XP
install cd and its seeing the partition table as one partition with 7 something gb
of an unknown partition. Weird. I even tried resizing the partition in partition
magic thinking it would correct itself. No good either. I booted into Gentoo Linux
and it said it couldn't open cfdisk. It said the partition tables were basically
messed up. I tried fdisk in linux. I got into it but it basically said the partitions
were going past the end of the drive. To me it sounds like the partition sizes got
messed up somehow. But they appear to be fine in partition magic now. But It still
won't boot. I tried fixmbr and that worked. Fixboot or even dir C:\ says the drive
isn't found and chkdsk says the drive suffers from one or more unrecoverable errors.
I'm stumped!!! I've been at this all day and this is my last hope. I know the data
is there. It has to be something messed up with the boot sector, mbr, or partition
table. I really don't want to wipe out everything again. Though it would be a good
excuse to pop the 80GB hdd in there, I would really like to get this back to booting

Sorry for such a long post. Please, Please, Please any help or comments are appreciated.


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So if Getdataback worked, what is the issue?

In reply to: Partition Tables, MBR, Boot sector messed up? I'm stumped...

Maybe I missed it that you feel your files are not worth paying for the recovery? As to it being no good, it's exactly for saving your files then the next step is to wipe and restore the OS, then put your files back on.

But I am aware that new to PC owners may not know that this is how it's done today. Some are looking for a repair tool that will fix it without backup and restore.

It's one of the two items above so you can tell me if I guessed your feelings on this and hopefully this is enough to help you move forward.

-> Let be be blunt here. If you proceed to repair the drive without backup you do risk losing what you didn't backup no matter which tool you use.


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I just want to correct the partition table

In reply to: So if Getdataback worked, what is the issue?

Well See. I dont want to pay for having the data restored. Its nothing important. It was just something that was time consuming; Getting all situated with xp and the programs I installed. GetDataBack works, I could just take all the data from the partitions, save it to another drive, rewrite the partition table and put the data back. Only thing is I dont know if the OS would still work? Also I just wanted a way to fix the partition table. I plug the drive into my dell externally and I can see everything on the partitions in my computer. everythin works fine. Its just not booting! Any ideas?

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Something that we all learn about.

In reply to: I just want to correct the partition table

Not all errors are correctable. Even less if we don't want to pay for the tools or "backup."

I think I see the issue much more clearly now. Hope you don't lose it all in your repairs.


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In reply to: Something that we all learn about.

Just a follow up. I tried the disk on my dell in the recovery console. WORKED ABSOLUTLY
PERFECT!!! diskpart is accurate. chkdsk shows absolutely no errors. I figured,
hey maybe I should reinstall XP while im here, just run over all the windows files
with the setup wizard. It wouldn't work. My dell is a pentium and the laptop is
an AMD. I beleive that is the problem. So I don't know what to do. I put it back
in the laptop and it still appears as one unknown 8gb partition. Any ideas? What
could be wrong with my laptop. i had this happen once before but the only way i
fixed it was by wiping the hdd. I dont thikn i need to do that if the data is legible
via my dell.

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Here's a trap some fell into.

In reply to: hmmm

They had some disk error but can't use the XP CD because they installed some XP SP2 CD and the old XP CD can't handle the new install. It's a trap I've seen when CDs are mixed up.

At least you still have your files. The question I see is that you may loss them in your haste to fix it without a backup plan.


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In reply to: Here's a trap some fell into.

Well I got an 80gb external 3.5 inch drive connected to usb. I can back up my data now if that would help. What do I need though to get the XP setup cd to see the partitions correctly and not 1 8gb unknown partition. thanks

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To fix that I...

In reply to: hello

Use the XP setup program to remove the partitions and then create a new fresh one. Again this is too common if the owner used 3rd party partition tools or some Linux's. Remember that the data will vanish in this instance so have the backup done and verified good. And whatever files you can never lose must be on media that has write protection. Even CD/DVDWR media qualifies.

There is a distinct possibility the machine's IDE interface or cable has failed. That would explain the whole fiasco but we won't know that until we start fresh.

If this was some ancient desktop I'd make note of that old LBA setting in the BIOS but since its not I'll just note it and drop it.


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In reply to: To fix that I...

So you're basically saying backup the data onto somewhere safe (would my external 3.5" 80gb hard drive qualify by putting each partition's content in a folder?) and then clearing the partition table, making new partitions and reloading the data to their partitions? If this is the case, will I be able to back up a whole OS and no have to reinstall the OS using the setup cd? Could you just move a whole OS and have it still function? THANKS!

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Well no on both questions.

In reply to: ok

A hard disk is not a valid backup since it has no write protection.

It appears you have yet to lose it all so I will tell you from now on I will no longer repeat backup or be safe with your files from now on.

-> Here's an idea. Do what you want. It's beginning to appear you are going to lose it all in spite of any advice.


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In reply to: Well no on both questions.

I don't have anything that burns DVDRW and I can't fit everything on a CDRW. Do CDRs work? What would happen if you backed up to another hard drive?

"-> Here's an idea. Do what you want. It's beginning to appear you are going to lose it all in spite of any advice."

I'm not trying to go against your advice. I just want some help. Please if you could just make a list of what to do so we both have a better understanding of what is going on. I don't have any dvds available to burn. I have an external hard drive. I have software to get the data. thanks

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You've received the advice. Use or ignore.

In reply to: please

I know you wish there was some magic software to just fix it.

Sorry, this is Windows.


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Sorry. I was trying to help you save...

In reply to: You've received the advice. Use or ignore.

Your files. But at each turn you seemed to not quite get it.

We've covered the usual issues and the possibility that something is amiss with the laptop.

It's a shame you feel that I'm holding back some cure or not. I'm offering my best advice in hopes you don't suffer like others.


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In reply to: Partition Tables, MBR, Boot sector messed up? I'm stumped...

Ok. Well i see you have been stressin to me the importance of data back up. I clearly understand that. But I do feel that you haven't pointed out the solution. What do I do after my data is backed up onto a write protected piece of media.

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The solution is...

In reply to: yes

Just as you suspect, but you are having a hard time accepting it.

Until we step over the line and attempt the new partition and format we can't know if the issue is inside the laptop and not the hard disk. It's very possible the hard disk is OK and the fault is elsewhere.

(answer in a question)

Tell me how one could test for that?


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In reply to: The solution is...

Answering your question, well I've tried chkdsk, various windows based partition repair / data recovery programs, tried cfdisk in linux, tried fdisk in linux, tried the windows xp setup disk, tried diskpart, tried just about everything.

The tests show that the hard drive is OK according to my dell. When I plug it in my laptop it basically says something is wrong.

The only thing left to do is to backup and rewrite the partitions? Yes or no?


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In reply to: The solution is...

Well I tried chkdsk on my dell, tried various windows based recovery / partition repair programs, tried diskpart, tried cfdisk and fdisk in linux, tried just about everything on the dell.

The dell is basically telling me "there's nothin wrong with this drive"

However, when I plug it in the laptop it says "somethings wrong"

Ive tried just about every test. The answer is to backup everything and rewrite the partitions yea?


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In reply to: alright

woops sorry for the duplicate post. I didn't think the first one went through since it was on a second page and I lost the context i entered in the form.

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In reply to: OOPS


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In reply to: The solution is...

I have read that Partioning a System Drive is not suggested for DVD-video EDITING and Authoring..I use External HDD for Archiveing..
and I use not one thing on my PC that does not have an CD holding the FILES..
My PC runs from a CD-DVD Library..there are mis-haps but TIME heals all..
I would suggest such a Library for any PC Operator..
I do have multiple FILES(duplicates)because of failures that happen because I do so much work on my PC..
Also I have added a Second BACK-Up HDD..
It sits on a shelf w/OS-->>Updates-->>Security Software..
In five minutes I can be back on the InterNet..
I have NOT done this for my PC that runs DVD-video EDITING and Authoring Software..
I always run that PC from a Fresh Install after some multitude of Projects..
If 2-3 Days of maintainance bothers you on a PC..??
I don't think there is a way around it..
My OS is re-installed in about the 64-Updates from Microsoft take up a whole day..
..I have gotten use to this procedure..every three months I set aside 3-days to FORMAT and re-Install the OS and Software and drivers.

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