need advice on fixing hd partitions
October 2, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Had a motherboard failure and it affected the hard drive. Big partition is missing and the drive is displayed as much smaller than it actually is. I don't care about the data, but I'd like to use the hard drive again at its normal capacity.

I was running Kubuntu 64, left the computer on and found it dead the next morning, wouldn't post, smell of ozone near the computer. Swapped around known working components, I'm certain it was the moboard.

So I replaced the board and I was all set to reinstall. Except that the drive showed only the NTFS windows partition and root Linux partition (combined 40 gigs). There's approximately 120 gigs on there of the former swap and /home that I can't see. I tried zero-filling the drive, hoping it would just magically hit everything, but it's left me with a drive that's reported in the Kubuntu install dialogue (and an old version of Partition Magic and a host of other partition tools) as 38 gigs unformatted.

How can I get the full drive back? I tried a bunch of partition programs off an old copy of Hiram's Boot Disk that I have, nothing sees the missing partition.

Doing this from a linux bootdisk would be preferable. I could install XP on the visible space and use a windows app if that's going to be best but obviously I'm a bit sick of tinkering a the moment. Recovery of the data is not necessary.

If you give me command line instructions please talk to me like I'm dim. Because I AM! Also if you think the drive is not coming back, feel free to tell me.
posted by Mayor Curley to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
1. D/L and burn a copy of a Linux live cd. My absolute favorite for this stuff is Knoppix - good for partition work, especially where there are NTFS partitions, as Knoppix can mount, read, and write NTFS partitions.

2. Boot the computer with the Linux live cd in the drive.

3. Open a terminal and enter the command fdisk and press enter.

4. Press 'p' and then press enter.

Now you'll have a list of the partitions in front of you. You'll see which one is your NTFS partition; if you don't want to touch that one, but want to delete and re-create the others, you can do so. Within the fdisk program, press 'h' for help (a list of commands); I think 'd' is 'delete a partition' and 'n' is 'create a partition.'

To create a swap partition, first create that partition ('n' and then make it a primary partition) and then change the type ('t') of that partition to '82.' To create a standard linux partition, first create the partition (same as above) and then change the type to '83.'

Once this partitioning is done, you should be able to install via a standard Linux install cd onto those partitions. In fact, an install cd should have been able to do this for you; however, this helps it along. Maybe there are more troubles; I don't know.
posted by koeselitz at 8:36 AM on October 2, 2008

... and if fdisk doesn't see that 120 gigs, then we might have a deeper problem.
posted by koeselitz at 8:38 AM on October 2, 2008

If I zero'd a drive and it wouldnt partition to factory size I'd just throw it away and spend 40 dollars on a new one. I would imagine that even if this was fixable it would be unreliable.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:15 AM on October 2, 2008

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