help for a wounded disk drive...

William Bulley web at
Fri Mar 21 10:40:16 PDT 2008

I damaged a Seagate 80 GB EIDE drive that was attached to a FreeBSD 5.4
system (as ufs) some time ago, and I would like to recover the data on
this drive - if that is possible.  All positive suggestions are welcome.

The drive is mechanically and electrically good.  I just can't mount it
and use it under FreeBSD.  It was a dual boot drive with a DOS partition
on the first partition and FreeBSD 5.4 on partition two.  I did the normal
sysinstall for FreeBSD 5.5 as I had done many times before.  Unfortunately,
I had the older, FreeBSD 5.4 drive cabled up (and powered up) on the second
IDE channel (using cable select) of an i386 motherboard while I did the 5.5
install on a new, blank drive on the first IDE channel.

I told sysinstall to add the standard FreeBSD bootloader on the new drive.
I don't recall if I allowed for a DOS partition or just used the entire disk.
The FreeBSD 5.4 disk on the second IDE channel also had the standard FreeBSD
bootloader from my earlier sysinstall of 5.4 on that disk.

When I completed the install, I figured I could just mount the second (older)
drive manually.  When I tried to do this, things went from bad to worse, and
the new system could never recognize the drive.  I believe the installation
process attempted to (or succeeded in) putting (an unnecessary) bootloader on
the older drive.  Had it not been connected, it would probably be okay today.
I learned an important lesson at that time...

I don't know what steps to take to recover this drive so I can mount it in a
read-only mode.  I just want to recover the files on this drive.  It is very
small by today's standards, so I will likely not use the drive in production.

I am comfortable running any required shell commands (as root), but I don't
want to damage the disk drive any further.  I hope I don't have to resort to
using dd(1) on the raw device!  Thanks in advance for any pointers.



William Bulley                     Email: web at

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