can Linux repair (or restore from backup) a corrupted disk partition table?

Joe(theWordy)Philbrook jtwdyp at
Wed Oct 7 07:38:03 BST 2009

I'm currently down to doing all my computing on my laptop. (ever since the
venerable old desktop died) This puts a crimp in the available drive space.
So I put one of the larger IDE drives from the dead PC into an ide/usb
enclosure and use it for archive, back-up, and music storage purposes.

The other day a tree fell on the power line while I was listening to music.
Of course, the laptop kept running, but the power supply for the drive
enclosure failed... "No big deal", I thought, "I'll just run fsck on the music
partition after the power company restores power..."

However, when I went to do that, neither fsck, nor fdisk could access the
partition table of /dev/sdb. I wish I'd recorded the exact error messages
they generated, because it's too late now.

In any event, the idea of a corrupted partition table in the mbr of that
drive bothered me more than just the loss of my music files. I had other
partitions on that drive with assorted back-up files on them.

I remember more as an expression of frustration than because I thought it
could help I used the command line history function to recall and reenter
the "fdisk /dev/sdb" command several times in rapid succession when all of
a sudden it succeeded. And I was in... A quick look confirmed that the
actual table was still there, with all the right info for the 13 partitions
on that disk. I wasn't sure why it had taken so many tries to access it,
so I did a "w" to write the table and exit. I got it all back, Nothings
missing etc...

But it disturbs me that I might have lost it all. So I'm wondering if
there is a way to repair such a partition table if you have the data
previously supplied by an "fdisk -l"???

And/or is there a good way to back-up and then, if the need arises
restore, partition table data???

And is there a good how-to somewhere???


|  ~^~	 ~^~
|  <?>	 <?>		 Joe (theWordy) Philbrook
|      ^		      J(tWdy)P
|    \___/		   <<jtwdyp at>>

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