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lost windows95 c drive when using mkdosfs for linux

Posted on 1998-08-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
I was trying to create a mechanism for copying files
on my windows95 hard disk to a separate linux hard disk, and I invoked
"mkdosfs" (from RedHat Linux) running from linux on my windows95 disk.
Much to my dismay, my windows95 disk is no longer bootable or usable.
I've tried to include as much information as possible below;

Before my windows95 disk became unusable,
had run SYSCHK version 2.45 a week before, and
it said I have a QUANTUM Bigfoot Tx8.0at Disk holding 7183.48MB.
It has 973 tracks, 240 heads, and 63 sectors.
The logical Drive showed
 2047.94MB  total, 0 MB used, and 2047.94 MB free
(Im not sure why it said these numbers, but thats what
my printout said) The total Capacity was listed at 7665 MB
and the Serial Number was 318803223008.

I had a 5 gigabtye western digital disk installed after that
and I installed linux on it. After that,  I screwed up my 8 gig disk.

I tried using fdisk (from linux -version as of Nov 3, 1997)
running from linux to fix it (perhaps a 2nd big mistake),
I changed the paritition table's ID to
win95 FAT32 (there were options such as Empty, Dos 16-bit < 32M, Dos 16-bit >=32M,
etc, but I thought win95 FAT32 was most appropriate):
Fdisk showed that my hard disk had the following characteristics
   device=/tmp/hda1     <-- this was the mount point I speicified in mkdosfs
   boot=true
   begin=1
   start=1
   end=1038
   blocks=7847248+
   Id=b
   system=win95 FAT32
240 heads, 63 sectors, 973 cylanders
and also said
Partition 1 had different physcial/logical endings:
   phys(973,240,63) logical=(1037,239,63)
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary:
    phys(973,240,63) logical=(1037,239,63)

(when I used a previous version of fdisk (version of 8-24-96) to view
the disk, it said:
Particition C:1
Status=a
type = PRI DOS
Volume Label=
MBytes=7663
System=FAT16
usage=100%
, but this was a year older).

I managed a boot from a dos floppy, and my c: drive (window95) now
gives
   dir c:
   Volume in drive C has no label
    Volume Serial Number is 35D2-92B6
    Directory of C:|
      File not found
         2,147,287,040 bytes free
My windows 95 hard disk is an 8 gig disk,
of which, I assume about 4-6 gig was used and
it did not have label before this happened.

I was able to run chkdsk (but not scandisk), and
it gave
chkdsk c:
 Volume Serial Number is 35D2-92B6

   0 bytes total disk space
4,294,574,080 bytes available on disk

 65,536 bytes in each allocatin unit
32,765 total allocation units on disk
32,765 available allocation units on disk

655,360 total bytes memory
561,328 bys free

Im not sure if its referring to my western digital (linux)
disk or my original BIGfoot (widows95) disk.


Its been a few days since my last incremental
backup, and if I restore everything, I will probably
lose some files. Is there any way of restoring
my windows 95 C Disk from its current state,
without losing much or any files/information?
Perhaps a utility or something?
Any help would be appreciated.
Including pointer to other sources of info.
Please reply to my UCLA account
    rosen@cs.ucla.edu.

    Thanks
     Bruce
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Question by:rosenrosen
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Expert Comment

by:joopv
ID: 1720237
I'm afraid your Win95 disk is lost beyond repair.  mkdosfs means "make dos file system" and is the Linux equivalent of a DOS format.  It initializes the FAT and root directory parts of your DOS partition.

Fiddling with fdisk after that (fdisk has the same function as fdisk in dos) does not make things better also.

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Author Comment

by:rosenrosen
ID: 1720238
thats pretty much what I figured. I have a compaq CD rom,
which can reinitialize everything, but I was hopping that I could
overwrite the master boot record with a fresh one?
and/or scan the disk, picking up files on the way since
It didnt seem to format the entire disk (I figured 8 gig would
take a while). Are there any other alternatives.
I backed up my system using my syquest 2 gig removable
media drive, and I wondered if it backed up the master boot record, FAT, and root directory
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Accepted Solution

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joopv earned 100 total points
ID: 1720239
Normally your boot record, FAT etc is not backed up by backup programs, these programs access the disk on a file-by-file basis.
If you used copy (or drag&drop) to backup your system to the removable, this is also what happened.  No FAT will be copied.

Only the dos format saves the FAT and root dir ("saving unformat information") somewhere at the end of the disk.

The compaq cd restore option will also completely reinitialize the system, everything you made (directory's, files) after the first install will be gone.

The mkdosfs initializes only the system area where FAT and root dir resides, so that does not take much time.  It does not scan the complete disk.

If you have enough time, the right tools and a lot of knowledge of the fat file system, and if very recently the disk was defragmented, data can be recovered.  You do this by scanning the disk for subdirectory entry's, read the file entry's and read the file, hoping it is written to the disk in consecutive clusters.  If this is not the case, you will be lost forever since the FAT is gone and there is no way to find out what the next cluster will be.

Maybe there are tools which can do this for you - i guess the professional data recovery firms can help you (very $$$)

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