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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > "Lost" ("Unrecognizable") partition?

"Lost" ("Unrecognizable") partition?
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Jun 19, 2001, 08:01 PM
 
Hi!
[iMac 500 indigo, OS 9.1]

Yesterday, after 6+ years of Mac life, I had an unprecedented Bad Thing happen.

In the midst of surfing, IE 5 froze, just after I'd opened a succession of 4 or so windows (each of which began loading a different pageó but nothing excessive). I couldn't force quit Explorer, figured the freeze was my "cue" to stop for a while, so I shut down the computer using the front button [rather than using the restart button on the side].

The next time I started up, one of my four partitions was "unrecognizable". My desktop displayed three of my partition icons, and a dialog box that said something along the lines of the OS being unable to recognize the 8.3Gig partition, and would I like to initialize it?!

Noooo!

The partition in question wasn't my start-up volume, nor was it the one on which IE resides. [But goodness, it had some good stuff on it (including my e-mail files).]

?????

Fortunately, TechTool Pro saved my duffy, and I was able to recover all the files from that partition. Only 3 volume icons showed among the selections, but clicking "scan for missing volumes" found the errant partition (I always wondered what that button was for...). I saved the recovered files to another partition, restarted, then went ahead and initialized the "lost" partition when prompted at start up. After that, I copied all the files back to their newly-restored partition.

It seems the only thing I lost was my icon collection; all the icons that were attached to folders only (as opposed to being ResEdit files) were lost. Rebuilding the desktop restored various generic icons (.pdf files, hand-and-paper "application" icons, etc.) to their original form, but my icon *collections* turned into sets of regular folders. Go figure.

Anyway, this experience was most unsettling! Have any of you ever experienced this, and/or do you have an explanation as to what might have gone wrong? There was a lot of important information on this partition (note to self: BACK UP!). I am so grateful we invested in Tech Tool.... But if possible, I'd like to understand what happened, for prevention's sake and, well, out of just plain curiosity!

thanks!
-Sarah S.
     
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Jun 19, 2001, 09:06 PM
 
The most likely cause was unrepaired damage from the past, which just kept snowballing until the latest freeze pushed the partition over the edge. I suggest that you run Disk First Aid once a month, just to check for such cumulative damage. Among other things, DFA does a much faster check than TechTool Pro does. If damage is found that DFA cannot fix, pull out TTP and take care of it.

It is possible for a single crash to damage the file structure enough to make a partition unmountable, but it is very unusual. Macs in general take crashes much better than PCs, usually with no disk damage.

For a future note, you probably could have recovered that partition intact. The "Volume Structure" module in TTP3 also has the "Scan for Missing Volumes" option.
     
thor7  (op)
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Jun 19, 2001, 09:48 PM
 
Originally posted by reader50:
<STRONG>The most likely cause was unrepaired damage from the past, which just kept snowballing until the latest freeze pushed the partition over the edge. I suggest that you run Disk First Aid once a month, just to check for such cumulative damage.

- I have DFA set to run at start up in the event of freezes... Does it then check just the start-up volume?

For a future note, you probably could have recovered that partition intact. The "Volume Structure" module in TTP3 also has the "Scan for Missing Volumes" option.</STRONG>
Thanks! After the smoke and cleared (and I had my files back), I figured there were probably other, better options than the one[s] I had chosen (some one else suggested checking in my Apple System Profiler for the missing partition, etc.). At the time, I was in semi-panic mode. I'll try to remember to take things slower (and read the TechTool docs) "next time." :-)

Thanks again,
Sarah S.
     
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Jun 20, 2001, 12:43 AM
 
Originally posted by thor7:
<STRONG>- I have DFA set to run at start up in the event of freezes... Does it then check just the start-up volume?</STRONG>
Yes, only the boot partition is checked automatically after an improper shutdown.

Apple System Profiler might be able to "see" the damaged partition, but would not be able to repair or mount it.

Glad to help.

[ 06-19-2001: Message edited by: reader50 ]
     
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Jun 20, 2001, 02:05 AM
 
Thor, make aliases of your partitions. If you trash a partition, you can access it immediately with a double click on the alias, which hauls it up from the nether regions of the hard drive. That might have worked even when the machine didn't recognize it.
     
   
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