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Partition Table Scramble

Posted on 2006-06-29
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
My machine boots and runs fine, but Partition Magic and Partition Table Doctor indicate I have an error they cannot repair.  Partition Magic won't start, with an "Init failed:  Error 117 partition's drive letter cannot be identified" and Partition Table Doctor reports that I have overlapping partiions.

My disk is 38 GB, partitioned into a 15 GB C: drive and a 23 GB D: drive.  An erroneous  8.7 GB "unallocated" space is also reported by Windows Disk Management, and Partition Table Doctor between my C and D drives.  There is also a 7 MB Hidden FAT partition.

The following is reported by Partition Magic's Partition Table Editor.  What's wrong with this picture??

Type 07 Boot 80 Start Cyl 0 Hd 1 Sec 1 End Cyl 1023 Hd 239 Sec 63 Secs Before 63 Secs 30723777
Type 0F Boot 00 Start Cyl 1023 Hd 0 Sec 1 End Cyl 1023 Hd 239 Sec 63 Secs Before 30723840 Secs 47416320
Type 14 Boot 00 Start Cyl 826 Hd 0 Sec 1 End Cyl 826 Hd 239 Sec 63 Secs Before 12489120 Secs 15120

PM Table Editor also reports this under the "EPBR":

Type 07 Boot 00 Start Cyl 1023 Head 1 Sec 1 End Cyl 1023 Head 239 Sec 63 Secs Before 63 Sectors 47416257

Thanks!
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Question by:porear
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 17015685
Looks like a corrupted mbr can try to fix it
www.partition-recovery.com
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/diskdirector/partition-recovery.html

Aslo can try by booting in bios with xp cd enter recvoery console and try command  fixmbr

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/bootcons_fixmbr.mspx?mfr=true


You can try deleting partition and recreating new ones

If above doesnt work download hdd regenerator to fix bad sector
http://www.dposoft.net/

Reps

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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:porear
ID: 17017905
Thanks.  I had laredy tried Recovery Console and fixmbr, but no luck.  I tihnk it creates a standard boot record but does not alter the partition table.  I also tried the fixboot command, and tried restoring track 0 of the boot ecord (which includes the partition table) from a backup.  No luck.

I finally did an image restore of the whole drive, which still had errors from an aborted Ghost Operation, but seemed closer to "operational".  I was then able to delete the erroneous partition Ghost left behind, and everything was fine.

So... issue resolved, but I am still willing to give the points as a brain teaser exercise to anyone who can explain if/how the numbers reported above as the start/end boundaries are incorrect and cause the reported "overlap".
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Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 17018147
have you tried www.partition-recovery.com

your isuue is related to corrupted mbr which mostly occurs when you resize the partition or make some changes in mbr with third party software

If your using linux in same hard disk by using partition tools then too you might get corrupted mbr.

Surely your issue is corrupted mbr as a result of which your getting error message

If possible delete partition and create new partition completely( new mbr )
to avoid problems in future

Anyways the issue is resolved
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:porear
ID: 17018917
Thanks for the suggestions.  

I'd still really like to know if anyone can answer the original question, simply to help me learn more about the construction of the partition table, and disk geometery in general.

Thanks again.
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Assisted Solution

by:ded9
ded9 earned 125 total points
ID: 17019693
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Accepted Solution

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scrathcyboy earned 125 total points
ID: 17025837
Dont use - Partition Magic and Partition Table Doctor -- they can easily make overlapping partitions.  Try to realize, you are dealing with defective software here, not partition drive problems.  The partition table is easy to understand --

www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial115.html
technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/Library/8a66928c-949c-4105-9014-e3252e4edb271033.mspx
www.cpqlinux.com/mbr.html
www.goodells.net/multiboot/

But that wont help you fix defective software.

You should use ONLY one of the following --

for FAT32, use windows 98SE latest FDSISK program, it is 100000% foolproof.
for NTFS, use windows XP disk management console, it is about 99% foolproof.

Use Partition "magic" at your own risk, it is a now obsolete defective program that never could keep up with the increasing hard disk sizes, every time a new drive came out, they struggled for years to patch their unfix able software.  Sure it will work on some drives, but it is TOTALLY UNRELIABLE for any and all hard disks on the market today.
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Author Comment

by:porear
ID: 17037322
Thanks Scrath.  Actually I've used PM for some time on disks up to 200 GB containing various mixes of FAT, NTFS, Linux swap and ext2 partitions with no prblems.  I may have just been lucky ;)  I do find it interesting tht Norton froze PM development at ver 8 after acquiring from Powerquest.

I did find my problem and how to fix, although I still find it somewhat strange.  I use Ghost 2003 because I prefer the reboot-to-DOS method that it utilizes.  This was replaced with the stay-in-Windows "live" imaging in later versions, after Norton acquired and began using Powerquest's Drive Image.

Anyway... Ghost 2003 creates a dummy 7 MB partition prior to rebooting for the imaging operation in DOS.  For some reason there is also created on my machine a 9GB space shown as unallocated.  These two spaces overlap pre-existing partitions.

I use two hard drives and switch between which one I want to boot to in BIOS.  If the wrong one is selected, the Ghost operation fails, and the dummy 7 MB partition and 9 GB unallocated space are left behind.  At this point Windows partition managers will not touch the situation, although I don't remember if I tried the XP Disk Management Console.

Fix:  Reboot to BootItNG in DOS on a USB stick.  Delete the 7 MB partitoin (this removed the 9 GB unallocated sopace as well).  Done.

I agree, XP Disk Management Console is a reliable tool.
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