Corrupt FAT32 disk-recoverable?



I already posted this question on Usenet, but haven't yet gotten much in the way of a useful response, so I figured I'd try here, where I hope there are a bunch of experts:

I recently attached a Win 98 EIDE FAT32 disk to my Win2K system in order to copy a few large files, since copying over the network would have taken way too long. Unfortunately, the last of those files turned out to be corrupt. I ran Win2K chkdsk against the disk. It complained about some page linking problems; after that, the disk was no longer accessible. If I boot the Win98 startup disk, fdisk says that the disk has a NON-DOS partition. Win2K sees the disk as unformatted. Norton Disk Doctor wasn't able to do anything with it. If I boot Win2K, it sees problems with the disk, but when chkdsk tries to run again, it says that it's not a Win2K disk, and asks for confirmation before running. I've been reluctant to tell it to proceed regardless, although I may after making a Ghost backup (assuming I can). I thought FAT32 was FAT32, and the OS wouldn't care whether the disk was formatted under Win98 or Win2K.

I don't particularly care about the one corrupted file, since I can recreate that one; I'm more concerned about the other data on the disk which I, as a typical computer user, failed to back up (even though I'm constantly exhorting others to do so). And I don't even have a good excuse, except laziness, since I have a decent tape drive and enough tapes.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated. I believe the data is still somewhere on the disk...


Dear Steve

As long as HDD have no physical damage, it can always be saved.

In order to save a Win2K kind of system, you will need to take the HDD out and put it into another Win2K system with the neccesary software utilities to repair it. It can't be saved from a Win9x type system, as far as I know.

If all else failed, see more help on the "Win2K & A7V Installation Guide" post

By right after you tried the Win2k repair feature, everything should still be intact, apart from files that are corrupt.

It just saves your Win2k and whatever that was not corrupt.

Best regards
Fa Cheng CHIN


Your correct in thinking the disk should have been fine under win2k, and so should have win2k chkdisk.

I think if you want that data back you'll have to manually restore the partition records and possibly the boot record as well. I can help with this, but you'll need some patience. I spent 8 hours fixing 3 partitions along with the extended partition chain, and 2 boot records on a 20GB FAT32 disk about 6 months ago. If your drive only has 1 partition on it, things should be a lot simpler.

I used Diskedit - a dos utility that's part of the Norton Utilities package. Check if it came with Disk Doctor.

I'd put the disk back in your win98 system and press F8 at startup and select 'command prompt only'. If you use the win2k machine you'll need a msdos startup disk.

*make sure you have a mouse driver loaded*
Open diskedit and select Physical Disks. Select the problem drive (probably the second one) and hit ok.
From the Object menu select physical sectors and choose
Cylinder: 0
Side: 0
Sector: 1
Number of sectors: 70

Now from Tools, select "Write object to" - select "to a file" and enter a filename.

This should create a 35kb (exactly) file. If you send this to I'll have a look at it and see if I can help you.
please also tell me how the drive was partitioned(I'm assuming just 1 fat32 partition) How big the drive is, as well as the manufacturor and model no - should be printed on the drive.
Also (if it's listed on the drive) tell me the no of Cylinders/heads/sectors. Often labled as C/H/S and written as 3 numbers. eg 4994/16/63.

Also in Diskedit select the Info menu, and Drive info. - send all the stuff under Physical Characteristics.


Thanks to those of you who responded to this post. I finally managed to recover the data I needed using Powerquest's Lost & Found software. It would have been nice to have been able to restore the drive to its original condition, but that would have required a lot more work and was not a capability of the software. so I just copied off the stuff I needed, then reformatted and reinstalled.