APM partition nightmare

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dravenloft, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. dravenloft, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    dravenloft macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Long story short I used Drive Genius 2.2 to delete a partition I'd made in Linux and expand an HFS+ partition on that drive to fill the drive. I got an error message during the expand and discovered that the partition I wanted to expand had vanished.

    I wasn't worried and just grabbed testdisk to find my old partition boundaries and restore them. It could do the first step perfectly. The second step caused an error telling me to use pdisk.

    No problem, so I've for some stupid reason got to rebuild the boundaries by hand.

    This didn't work for some reason. I just had split my unallocated space into two pieces.

    Looking around on google I found one set of instructions over and over and nothing else that wasn't to spend over $100 on software. Not having $100 and knowing the feat can be accomplished with pdisk if I just knew the right commands to give it I opted to follow the only instructions for mixing pdisk and testdisk that seemes to exist anywhere.

    They steadfastly refused to work. Things kept mentioing I should initialize the disk as the first step. I really didn't want to, because that sounded like A Bad Thing. Finally out of ideas, out of instructions, and lacking $100 I told pdisk to initialise the disk. This appeared to do nothing whatsoever, and didn't affect my effort to restore my partition boundaries.

    3am, frustrated, having spent like 6hrs or so working on the issue, and lacking any other bright ideas I notice Drive Genius has an Initializr feature. This turned out to be them using rather outdated terminology for Format, and it did't give me an opportunity to say OOPS don't do that before it was asking me what I wanted to name my shiny, new, empty, full disk partition.

    Nothing has been written to the disk since. If i can recover the files, that's something at least, but it'd be infinitely better and easier if something could pull the old partition map out from under this new one Drive Genius so ... helpfully ... created.

    Notes about available machines
    1) 1.5ghz g4 powerbook with leopard
    2) 933mhz p3 dell with debian and nothing better than usb1 ports (disk is an external usb/firewire drive)

    I have access to use a copy of partition magic 7 and some utilities from a hiren bootcd, which a friend thought he'd recovered the old map from, but when he told it al to execute nothing happened. Disk was still a blank full disk partition created by drive genius.

    Please help!!
  2. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    do it once, get if right, or it all goes 'Poof'.


    bad news: nothing i've used in the free/shareware space will recover that, and i've tried most of them over the years. there are apps/commands, but if you knew those, you wouldn't be here, and if you get if wrong, you kill any chance of recovery. bad idea.

    good news: not free, but i'd bet you a dollar that R-Studio for whatever platform you wish would recover that for you. the less you try and use or recover the drive the better, as most attempts will decrease your chances of success. i don't work for them, have no connection to the software or company other than being a satisfied customer for a really long time.

    anything else i have or could recommend is not available to the public or average mortals -- if i told you, i've have to kill you and all that. best of luck, hope you get your stuff back.
  3. dravenloft, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    dravenloft thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    First off... I might know the tools you refer to, but not this use for them or recall their existance. I don't exactly have to do this much.

    Secondly, this drive can't get any more nuked than it is, unless we're talking about a program that can demagnatise the heads or something. This was just an external drive I was using to store my itunes library and a few other things that were overwhelming my laptop's system disk and i had enough freespace i decided to experiment with ppc linux (it's my os of choice on my x86 machines... I prefer osx to anything else, but linux makes a good toy at the worst of times) apparently, in so far as i can tell, the debian installer overlapped some partition boundaries so when i deleted the little ext4 partition the hfs one went with it.

    Really suggest away. I'm here because the way i knew to solve this didn't work and i'm looking for any solution. If worst comes to it i can write the data off as a loss, but I'd rather spend the hours it'd take to recover things to the weeks and months it'd take to replace them.

    And thanks for suggesting r-studio. Looks good. Saddly I don't gave $80 either.
  4. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    yeah, i get that. $80 is better than $1500 for commercial recovery, and was the only reason for the suggestion. i don't know of anything else that would be a 'click and recover' for you.

    more then;

    what you are asking is more art than science. i can't give you a list of (1-100) steps to get it back. every one i do is different, and every time i think it will be a simple 1-2-3, it ends up being 30, 40, or more steps to recovery. really hesitate to list commands/ideas and i don't want to do more harm than good without having the disk/screen in front of me to review.

    if you are up with DD since you mentioned linux, then make a clone on a spare drive before attempting anything else, as a bit-for-bit backup would at least give you a little insurance. would look something like;

    dd if=/dev/sda(?) of=/dev/hda(?) bs=16384 conv=notrunc,noerror

    make sure you 'sudo fdisk -l' to identify the correct disk for input and output, or you will really write over your missing data. VERY bad and not likely to be recovered. the '(x)da' will change based on how you mount the drives of course, so triple check before you issue any command.

    if you are not up on DD, then i'd really recommend not trying with this damaged disk. 'man DD' and pipe the output to a text file that you can read over and over and over, and then experiment on something that won't matter first!

    best of luck.
  5. zen.state, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011

    zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    My rule of thumb for creating a partitioned drive is that I carefully plan out the sizes and area on the drive each partition will be before doing it. The boot partition should always be the first part of the drive for best performance for example. Do this with future needs in mind and leave room for growth also.

    The idea with this method is you never have to change or delete any of the partitions because they are future-proofed for future needs.
  6. dravenloft thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Yeah, i'm familiar with dd. I've got a friend with a program that claims the be a mac compatible equivocal to the old DOS unformat. I'll certainly remind him to a dd backup, though.


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