Lately I've been having trouble restoring my PC after uninstalling GRUB, and an Ubuntu install from it. Usually I don't encounter any problems when doing this, but this time is different. My Windows XP (NTFS) partition is listed as "Other" in Partition Magic, and "Unknown" in GParted rather than "NTFS".

How can I gain access to Windows partition once again? I am more than willing to provide any information, and run any tests necessary to produce said information in order to find out what's going on here. My apologies if this is the wrong place to ask such a question. I have heard nothing but good about Superuser, and decided to give it a shot. Thanks!

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    You can try using TestDisk to recover the partition. – Joe Internet Aug 28 '11 at 2:01
  • People are going to give you better quality answers if you tell them exactly what's on your disc, rather than a reinterpretation of it. Give them the output of (say) the detailed partition listing from gdisk. – JdeBP Aug 28 '11 at 2:18
  • @Joe Internet: I just tried TestDisk. It found my "STORAGE" partition, along with an old Linux partition of mine, but it wasn't able to find, or repair the NTFS partition. – Alan Aug 28 '11 at 12:48
  • JdeBP: I just looked at the link you provided. It looks a little command-line-ish and quite advanced. There is a walk-through provided but I don't have access to a printer. – Alan Aug 28 '11 at 12:53
  • I updated my original post with another screenshot. – Alan Aug 28 '11 at 12:57

sfdisk should be able to "fix" this problem easily; something like this should "work":

sfdisk /dev/sda -i -c 1 07

However, it's possible that in addition to the partition type being changed, the partition positions (start, end) were also corrupted. TestDisk should detect these issues and write a new, somewhat proper partition table.

The thing is that considering the partition table was corrupted, it's possible, no, likely that the data is too.

  • Thanks for the reply! Running that command produces the following output: No such partition. – Alan Aug 28 '11 at 15:11
  • Thanks for advising to use TestDisk. I successfully recovered a broken partition table in a few minutes. – jnns Dec 21 '16 at 14:45

From what I understand, it seems as if your MBR (master boot record) was either overwritten or corrupted. Have you tried restoring it from within Linux? You can do so with the ms-sys tool by running this command:

ms-sys -m /dev/sda

The -m switch is for Windows 2000/XP/2003 so make sure you use that switch if you have Windows XP.

  • Thanks for your reply! I tried running the command, but the output tells me that the command was not found. – Alan Aug 27 '11 at 21:33
  • You're welcome. You need to install it first; it doesn't come with the distro. sudo apt-get install ms-sys should do it :) – Aaron Aug 27 '11 at 22:43
  • Very weird. It says "E: Unable to locate package ms-sys". – Alan Aug 27 '11 at 22:54
  • I'm sorry, I forgot that you'll need to enable the Universe repository. After doing that, make sure to run sudo apt-get update first thing. Hope that helps :) – Aaron Aug 27 '11 at 23:01
  • Thanks, I was finally able to install it after doing just that. It doesn't seem to have resolved my main issue though. This one is a tough little bug. – Alan Aug 27 '11 at 23:47

To repair your BOOTMBR (building off last answer because I can't comment yet):

  1. Put the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.
  2. Press a key when you are prompted.
  3. Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.
  5. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
  6. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
  7. Type "Bootrec.exe /FixMbr", and then press ENTER.

I've done this several times after having problems with Grub and linux installation.

  • works with any Windows installation CD XP and up. – A. Hayes Aug 27 '11 at 21:55
  • Hmm. I don't seem to have the repair option. If it's of any help though, I was able to repair my MBR by using Partition Magic, sadly it didn't resolve the issue though. – Alan Aug 27 '11 at 22:02
  • In addition to what was said above, if you have a Windows XP CD and can get to the recovery console, you may want to try executing these commands (I'm separating them with a pipe): FIXBOOT C: | FIXMBR | BOOTCFG /rebuild – Aaron Aug 27 '11 at 22:55
  • That's what I originally wanted to do. I couldn't figure out why my Windows XP CD didn't have the Recovery Console though. It's OEM :( – Alan Aug 27 '11 at 23:48

You can also recover your disk with the "chkdsk" command.

  1. Boot computer with a Windows XP disc.

  2. Go to recovery console

  3. Type the command like

    C:\> chkdsk /r 
  4. Wait until process is complete. Restart and see.

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