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Server 2003 partition unknown (not a RAID drive)

Posted on 2011-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Today our server was acting very strange & was very slow accessing files on the network. I restarted it to see if it would resolve the issue but when we see the windows server 2003 loading at startup it restarts.

I have tried last known good & safe mode's but still this happens.

I have attempted to fix with the windows recovery console. Chkdsk would not complete but I had to force it to run with the R switch & I ran fixboot & fixmbr.

Prior to running fixboot I received a message the boot sector is corrupt.

I have run Partition Magic 8 & this gave me the error110 Partition Unknown also windows setup saw the drive as unknown. I have seen an error on Acronis Disk Director stating a certain sector was unreadable.

I have seen this error before on a windows xp machine & I had a program seek the correct start sector & then it found it & repaired the partition table but I have not got access to this program now & cannot remember what it was called.

Any suggestions on what I should do next I don't want to make the problem worse.

Thanks in advance
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Question by:Wilkinson1546
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36535646
Was it this by any chance?

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 36535674
Partition magic is ancient and also not suitable for server OS's, I would get rid of that tool.

When you ran chkdsk /r, what result did you get?

If it isn't a RAID drive, I would run the HD manufacturer's disk diagnostic utility on the HD, it'll tell you if it needs replacing or not. If the errors it finds aren't too serious or too many, it may also offer to repair them, which you can allow it to do. When there are no errors left running that tool, do another chkdsk /r so the file-system gets repaired.

You'll find the manufacturer's diag utilities on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

A further top tool which can revive bad HD's is the HDDREG, so if the diag finds errors it can't fix, it may be worth running HDDREG on the disk to regenerate it, but it isn't free:

http://www.dposoft.net/

Another tool that can help to repair HD file-Systems is Paragon's Partition or Harddisk Managers:

http://www.paragon-software.com/products/business/
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Author Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36535745
Hi just an update

Failed to read from the sector 976,760,113 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,760,115 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,760,116 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,391 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,393 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,395 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,396 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,398 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,402 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,407 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,411 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,413 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,416 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,419 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,770,422 of the hard disk.
Failed to read from the sector 976,772,481 of the hard disk.

We are not running this on any RAID & it is a single 1TB Disk. This server is roughly 1 year old only so I have almost ruled out hardware issues.

I will attempt check disk again as it failed earlier would you recommend I use the R switch or P?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36535767
"This server is roughly 1 year old only so I have almost ruled out hardware issues"

A hard disk failing in under a year is not unknown.
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Author Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36535854
True I wish I never put that comment as it is irrelevant.

I was running partition magic pro server & it said that there were partition errors & it could fix them if I press yes

I let it run & now in all my tools the hard drive seems to be recognised I.e. It was picked up before but had a question Mark or red cross on it.

Seems to have made a positive difference.

It mentioned the start sector is incorrect in CHS but is now correct.

Running check disk now
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 36535867
As I usually don't use the recovery console to run chkdsk (which uses a different syntax from the normal version) I don't know what the "P" switch does. I know the "R" switch repairs things.

Also, as this is a 1TB disk, all of the tests (disk diags and chkdsk and hddreg and testdisk) will take very long to finish (this doesn't only depend on the size of the disk, but also on the number of errors). It could take days or weeks...

So it could be a good idea to at least restore the server's backup to a new HD so it is usable while you run the tools on the disk using another PC...

This is one reason I don't recommend disks as large as that for servers, at least not for the OS part of it.

And I agree completely with the above, disks don't necessarily have to stay good for one year, even if they usually do have warranty that lasts for 3 years. Even then the data isn't covered by warranty, you just get the disk replaced...
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 36535889
Are you sure you are talking of partition magic, which was a Symantec product after Symantec bought up the powerquest company which originally made the tool, and then it was dropped by symantec? The reason I ask is because they never made a server version. Maybe you are using a product from another company that is similarly named?
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Author Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36535893
Looks like I have learnt yet another lesson.

My data is only 115G on this drive so I may restore to a 150G & make sure I keep it tidy.

Have you ever used or heard of HDD Regenerator?

Thanks
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Author Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36535920
[Part of the comment deleted by rindi, see Admin Comment below]

Neilsr:

Test disk looks similar & looks good thanks for the link. I will attempt to make a USB with it on.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 36535933
Yes, it is a great tool (I linked to it in my first comment because of that). You can get a trial version which should be able to repair the 1st error (but no others unless you start from the beginning which of course means lots more time needed) if that error is repairable. Of course it can't fix everything.
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Author Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36536053

I am running a freeware surface scanner on it at the moment check disk gets to 75% but then goes back to 50% & hangs but it is the Recovery Console Check Disk.

My start sector should be 63 I'm sure but I caught a glimpse earlier that it was 0 would you recommend I change it?

Also I can't see me messing it up any more & I do have a full backup but really want to avoid it as I am contracted to be here until 5 today & not be back for 2 week. Need a mini miracle I think.

Cheers
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Author Closing Comment

by:Wilkinson1546
ID: 36587067
HDD REGENERATOR ran (taking 2 days as it was 1TB Disk) & then i rebooted the server & it worked.

I have upgraded to the Complete Disaster recovery Agent for Symantec Backup for Windows Servers as this will recover us quicker in future but i dont think it would fix the HDD Errors we had.

Many Thanks

James
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