I'm trying to recover data from a hdd for a friend from work. He was using it on an old win98 PC (so I guess it was a FAT 16 filesystem). When he installed the drive on a new PC his Windows XP can't recognize the filesystem and give an error message saying that the drive is unformatted.

I tried to mount the hdd under linux but no partitions appear to be associated with the drive (I have only /dev/sdb associated with that drive and no /dev/sdb1 or sdb2 etc).

I've found many articles on the web on how to recover partitions (with scripts like dd and ddrescue) but how do I make it when I have no partitions and the system say my drive is unpartioned?

Is it possible to create a new partition without loosing the data?

  • it could also have been a FAT32 filesystem. depending on circumstances it may have used a drive overlay (read: special driver) to get around BIOS/controller size limitations... this might make it difficult to identify old partitions on systems without this driver. – quack quixote Nov 12 '09 at 17:37
  • if possible, identify the drive (manufacturer & model) and motherboard of the old system, pls. – quack quixote Nov 12 '09 at 17:38
  • Did you ever get this problem solved? – rob Mar 21 '12 at 1:11

you might want to give photorec and testdisk a run - i've seen them recover data and entire file systems under similar circumstances

  • +1 for testdisk, it should be able to recover the whole partition table or the single files on the drive. – Bobby Mar 17 '10 at 8:21

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