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My HD contains two partition: sda (sorry about the linux designation) with Windows XP and sdb with Windows 7 and a grub bootloader. I resized them (made the Windows 7 partition bigger) but afterwards, the Windows 7 partition would not load. I used the Windows 7 installation disk to repair the partition, but as a bonus it mangled my Windows XP partition.
Now, I can't boot Windows XP or read this partition from my Windows 7 installation. GParted can read the (updated) partition table but it gives an error message regarding the Windows XP partition (something about ntfsresize tool), and I think that the NTFS filesystem on the windows XP partition still contains the old size or other corrupted data.
Can someone give me an idea how to start the recovery process of the windows XP partition? I'm sure all the data is there, I just have to fix the pointer to it.

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1 Answer 1

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I would say first step is backup what you have before it gets any worse. If you can, dd the whole drive to an image file on another drive.

    dd if=/dev/sda  of=/mnt/another-drive-with-space.img bs=1M

if you don't have room, you can compress the image:

    dd if=/dev/sda bs=1M | gzip -9 > /mnt/another-drive-with-space.img.gz

Next, Windows really hates booting from anywhere but the primary partition on the primary drive. I would try removing your win7 disk and and then inserting the XP install disk and select "install" then "repair" This should fix the windows boot loader and re-install the system files assuming the partition is recognizable by XP. If the disk isn't recognizable, checkout the recovery tools on the Ultimate Boot CD.

Next, Assuming that you can boot into XP now, place your win7 disk in the computer as the primary hardrive. Boot off of the Win7 install disk and do "custom", "install" "repair" (I think, I haven't tried this with Win7 yet). Assuming this isn't too different from Vista/XP, it should find your XP installation and make a boot loader entry for it. Once you are booted into Win7 you can add your linux installation to the boot loader, and/or tweak your boot loader settings with EasyBCD.

It is also possible to convert your backup image into a VirtualBox image, and run your XP installation in a VM instead of dual Booting, unless you need XP for games.

Another option is the Smart Boot Manager. I have used the CD version of this in the past for booting OS's when the MBR is borked

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Thank you for your detailed answer, I will try your solution soon. Just wondering, can clonezilla be used instead of "dd"? And about Smart boot manager - Its page says that the project is dead for a long time, do you know any other good boot loader which is still alive? –  Mosh Nov 11 '09 at 17:23
    
clonezilla should work fine, I'm just used to dd. the last time I went searching for multi-OS boot managers, Smart Boot Manager worked the best, but checkout the others on the Ultimate Boot CD. –  Mark Porter Nov 11 '09 at 19:47

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