Well, I used to have a PC with three Windows drives (10GB, 17GB, 32GB),
the first holding the Win98 boot partition and also an ancient SuSE
Linux installation. I decided it was time to stop patching up that
installation and install a 2.2 kernel Linux version from scratch, so I
picked up a Cheapbytes RH6.1 CD and assumed it could just install over
the old Linux installation; no such luck, the custom install hung
part-way through. So I backed up the Linux partitions onto a CD and used
the 'Workstation install', which claimed to delete and recreate Linux
partitions and not to touch anything else.
Bad move. Worked fine for Linux, but screwed up the Windows installation
so bad that the machine won't even boot from a Windows boot floppy with
that drive attached; as far as I can tell it's done something hideous to
the partition table so that Linux can still understand it and read the
Windows files, but DOS crashes and burns while trying to work out what
DOS/Windows partitions are on the drive.
In the short term I've been able to backup everything from the 17GB
drive to the 32GB and copy over Windows and Linux to the 17GB drive, and
seem to have a basically working PC now, except that it doesn't boot
with the original C: drive attached. I also had some exciting partition
table adventures while doing the copy, where, for example, I ended up
with Linux thinking the Win98 partition was actually on top of some of
the Linux partitions, so copying the Windows files over trashed the
copied Linux install!
However, I would like to recover the old C: drive for Windows use: how
can I do that if I can't boot Windows with it attached? The only thing I
can think of is to write zeros over the beginning of the drive and hope
I get any partition table data that Windows will look at so I can
repartition and reformat it, but I'm concerned that I'll just end up
screwing up the disk even more... at the moment the only way I can
access it is to install it again as the C: drive and boot Linux from it,
though I guess I can make a Linux boot floppy.
Any better suggestions? In a few months I'll dump it and get another
32GB drive, but that 10GB will come in useful in the meantime.
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