help for a wounded disk drive...

Derek Ragona derek at
Fri Mar 21 13:14:56 PDT 2008

At 12:39 PM 3/21/2008, William Bulley wrote:
>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.

If the mechanics and other workings are good, try testdisk at:


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