Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

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ChildOfMana
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Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by ChildOfMana »

Hi,

So, I have a dual boot setup with Windows 10 and Mint 18.2 Cinnamon 64-bit. Windows 10 boots from the primary SSD, there is a 320Gb HDD formatted as NTFS used as a general data/storage drive for Windows and then there are two 3TB HDDs formatted as Ext4. One is the boot and general drive for Mint and has 3 partitions; root, home and swap space. The second just has (or I should say had) one big partition which is used (or, again, was used) for data backup. All my important and mission-critical data is mirrored via an rsync script from the main Mint drive to the backup drive. I do also have external backups but they're not run as frequently (yeah, I know - but logistics and time don't always allow for a more robust backup routine) so there is important data on the backup drive that is not yet mirrored to an external drive.

I use the Windows bootloader to chain-load (I think that's the correct term?) GRUB which then gives me the option to boot into Mint. I do it this way as I've had problems in the past with Windows spitting its dummy out if GRUB is used as the primary bootloader. I need to keep Windows 10 around for work so getting rid of it entirely is unfortunately not an option for the time being.

So that's the background done. I hope I've given enough information to adequately explain the status quo I'm hoping to maintain... now for the bad bit...

Windows 10 recently forced a big update that I'd been choosing to defer. Gotta love those malware-pushing M$ clowns, right! So anyway after the update everything seemed to be okay. I can still use the Windows bootloader to boot into Mint etc. but when I went to mount my second Ext4 drive to run a backup I noticed it was missing from the 'Devices' list. I ran fdisk -l and you can see the output on the attached screenshot.

Take a look specifically at /dev/sdc - that was my backup drive. Basically, as far as I can tell, Windows has gone and spewed a 128MB system partition on to it - without my knowledge, most certainly without my permission and in complete disregard for the existing partition table or any data that was stored on the drive!!!!! :x

I've been dual booting for a couple of years now and this has never happened before.

Please tell me there is a way to fix this and recover my data!

I've tried to give you as much info as I can but please let me know if you need any further explanation etc.

Many thanks in advance guys.
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michael louwe
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by michael louwe »

ChildOfMana wrote:.
.
Please refer to Point 2 of ... https://www.askwoody.com/2018/patch-lad ... with-1803/

Win 10's forced auto-updates often bork a multi-boot system. At the very least, the twice-per-year feature updates will bork the chained Grub bootloader = need to reinstall Grub.

To prevent this, you can have separate bootloaders for Win 10 and LM 18.x by using an Internal Hard-drive switcher, eg ... https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FREE-SH ... 38512.html

Alternatively, do the same with LM 18.x installed on an external USB hard-drive and only plug this into the USB port when you want to boot LM 18.x, ie unplug it when you want to run Win 10 from the internal hard-drive.
ChildOfMana
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by ChildOfMana »

Hi michael, thanks for the reply.
michael louwe wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:49 am
Please refer to Point 2 of ... https://www.askwoody.com/2018/patch-lad ... with-1803/
Unfortunately point 2 doesn't seem to quite cover my problem. There is no drive letter assigned to the drive that now has the M$ system reserved partition on it. In fact it doesn't seem to show up in diskpart at all as far as I can see. There is a 500MB system reserved partition, but that doesn't match the output of fdisk :? I've attached a screenshot of the diskpart output if it helps.
michael louwe wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:49 am
Win 10's forced auto-updates often bork a multi-boot system. At the very least, the twice-per-year feature updates will bork the chained Grub bootloader = need to reinstall Grub.

To prevent this, you can have separate bootloaders for Win 10 and LM 18.x by using an Internal Hard-drive switcher, eg ... https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FREE-SH ... 38512.html

Alternatively, do the same with LM 18.x installed on an external USB hard-drive and only plug this into the USB port when you want to boot LM 18.x, ie unplug it when you want to run Win 10 from the internal hard-drive.
Sterling advice! Thank you. I'll definitely look into both of those solutions for future use.

Unfortunately for now though I'm still left with the problem of a drive full of important backup data being inaccessible :(

Do you think I've lost it for good, or is there a chance I can restore things to the way they were whilst leaving the data in-tact? If only for long enough to back it up externally.

Thanks.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by michael louwe »

@ ChildOfMana, .......
ChildOfMana wrote:.
.
I think the issue is related to your problem. The Point 2 issue at askwoody.com affected those running ONE internal hard-drive, ie the Win 10 1803 Update inserted an extra System Recovery partition on the internal hard-drive and throws up an annoying "out of Disk space" error message. Removing the Drive letter only serves to remove the annoying error message.
....... In your case, the extra System Recovery partition has been inserted on the 3rd internal hard-drive and messing up the hard-drive. Likely, the UUID of the 3rd hard-drive has been altered by the Win 10 1803 Update = the 3rd hard-drive cannot be accessed by LM.

If so, try using GParted to delete the useless extra Win 10 Recovery partition and edit the UUID of the 3rd-hard-drive. Or try unplugging and replugging the 3rd hard-drive.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by fabien85 »

Before doing anything that writes on this disk, I would try testdisk/photorec using the disk as read-only. You should be able to recover many files that photorec will recognize.
If you have another drive available (eg an external one) with capacity larger or equal to that of the affected drive, I would also clone the affected drive there, and test the recovery tools on that.
In those cases it's easy to panick (at least I would) and make a mistake, so take it slowly with backups. Good news is that you are going to learn a lot and be better prepared in future.
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Pierre
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Pierre »

when dealing with the Windows Operating System,
it's always best to recognize that it only looks after itself, & that is even done rather poorly. . .

where possible, you should always disconnect any other drives,
and especially if the Windows System does one of it's forced update.. .. ..

do try using either Testdisk / PhotoRec to see if some / all of your files an be recovered,
- especially with TestDisk - to check for underlying erased partitions, which can be recovered.
note that this method is Very Time Consuming, so do run it overnight, if possible.

also2: if your files are somewhat valuable, then you may need to look at commercial file recovery software,
that will run natively under the Windows Operating System itself.
:(
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ChildOfMana
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by ChildOfMana »

Thank you all for your input and advice, it is much appreciated!

Urgh! This... this destructive, intrusive crap... this is why I despise Windows!! :x

If I didn't need it around for my job I wouldn't have anything at all to do with it. It's basically malware as far as I'm concerned... and certainly counts as specifically spyware!

Anyway, to the issue at hand; the rest of the affected drive is showing as unallocated in GParted. I guess that's that then!

This is a large drive with a LOT of data on it and I don't have an external drive the same size (only the mission-critical data is backed up externally so the drive I use for that is less than half the capacity). I've used photorec on several occasions to recover lost files for a few friends and family members and I know how long it can take to do its thing on even small drives. To be honest I'll probably just re-format that drive and run a full backup to it from the main drive to re-create it. Thankfully as the affected drive mirrored /home from the main drive I still have at least one copy of the data. Doing it that way will probably be more time-efficient than using TestDisk too I should imagine.

After that I'm going to completely re-build this thing using michael louwe's suggestion of a hard drive switcher so I can completely isolate it from Windows.

Thank you all once again for your help and suggestions. I'm still open to any other ideas whilst I'm waiting to sort this mess out so feel free to keep throwing them this way if you've got 'em :)
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lsemmens
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by lsemmens »

For the price of a 1Tb external drive these days, maybe you could just spring for another drive, and set up Windoze on that and let Linux rule the other drive. Don't worry about GRUB but change boot order in BIOS as needed. Hopefully then, your Linux stuff is protected from the only malware that does seem to affect linux, ;) (windoze)
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linuxovios
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by linuxovios »

I also dual boot linux mint and windows 10. (I use windows rarely because of a couple of essential to me apps which are windows only). However 95% I use linux. So when I booted windows last week, 1803 update was forced and after that I could't boot (grub rescue mode). I thought that windows update messed with the grub, so I started a live usb and tried to reinstall grub. I noticed that I couldn't any more mount my linux mint partition. So I launched gparted to see what was the problem:

Image

As you can see from the screenshot windows created a new partition after sda2. Instead of using some space from sda2, windows just destroyed my linux partition (now is unallocated space).!!!!!!

Windows are the BORG!!!! They will assimilate anything! Windows are the worst virus ever! (Now I understand their restrictive EULA which mentions that they own all your data)...

Fortunately I had a backup and managed to rebuild my linux partition.

The problem is that from now on dual booting is NOT a viable solution. Microsoft proved that they want to kill linux no matter how...
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Pierre »

This issue isn’t that new, as there have been incidents reported in 2015.
https://borncity.com/win/2018/05/02/win ... partition/
talks a little about this issue & some theories about it.
:)
something about the existing recovery partition being too small ?.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by srq2625 »

michael louwe wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:49 am
ChildOfMana wrote:.
.
Please refer to Point 2 of ... https://www.askwoody.com/2018/patch-lad ... with-1803/

Win 10's forced auto-updates often bork a multi-boot system. At the very least, the twice-per-year feature updates will bork the chained Grub bootloader = need to reinstall Grub.

To prevent this, you can have separate bootloaders for Win 10 and LM 18.x by using an Internal Hard-drive switcher, eg ... https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FREE-SH ... 38512.html

Alternatively, do the same with LM 18.x installed on an external USB hard-drive and only plug this into the USB port when you want to boot LM 18.x, ie unplug it when you want to run Win 10 from the internal hard-drive.
The above is a good solution and, if I had known about it before I found my solution, I might have gone with it. But, this is the solution I settled on a little more than 5 years ago (and still going strong):

The StarTech.com 5.25in Trayless Hot Swap Mobile Rack for 3.5in Hard Drive

I bought three of them (total about US $54). My problem (small one) is how to label the HDD so I know what's on them when they are not mounted in one of these racks. I'll figure that out someday - until then, sticky notes stuck on the drives seems to work pretty well.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Mattyboy »

System 'borking' by Windows 10 upgrades while running a boot with Linux can be avoided by partitioning the drive before installing 10 and using diskpart to "create partition primary" and install to that.

I've an ssd set up as follows

Code: Select all

/dev/sdf1  ntfs    Recovery (not mounted)  12AEA87EAEA85BCB
/dev/sdf2  vfat             /boot/efi      28A9-2773
/dev/sdf4  ntfs             (not mounted)  5842B80A42B7EAC0
/dev/sdf5  ext4             /              477bc24c-66eb-4a22-8815-4e6cf7118776
/swap and /home on a separate HD.

Major Windose updates have never affected my system.

As an added insurance policy, in Windows, I use a custom start up script to run the cmd-let "Disable-ComputerRestore" which prevents that partition being written to and more importantly expanded to where ever Windows bloody likes. This advice comes with a warning, you'll have no system recovery for Windows... but who cares? :lol: I install all my Windows 10 programs to and keep files on another HD anyway.

Although I've never had to do it I should imagine getting a Linux USB and just re-installing the efi not formatting / or /home will fix any boot issues ???

System borking after a major Windows update will probably be more likely if you shrank the windows 10 partition to install Linux.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by BG405 »

Mattyboy wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:42 am
System borking after a major Windows update will probably be more likely if you shrank the windows 10 partition to install Linux.
True, but there's no excuse for Microsoft assuming control over partitions you've created yourself, even worse if they take over other storage devices attached to the system which, apparently, has been the case on some occasions, destroying data on what should be considered, even by MS, as peripheral devices owned by the Windows user. These do not, once connected to a Windows PC, automatically become the property of MS (or under control of such; the effect is the same) .. or do they, according to the EULA ..?

Invasive? I've read enough to think so. Destructive? Likewise. Standard procedure for me, upon acquiring a machine to fix up, is to remove Windows 10.

There is literally no excuse for destroying user data without at least notifying the user that it is about to do so. It's absolutely unacceptable. Period.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Mattyboy »

BG405 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:51 pm
Preaching to the converted brother ;) M$ don't care. I vote with my wallet, don't buy their products anymore than I buy Apple's.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in enterprise when 7 support ends. 10 uptake has been hugely resisted in the business environment over here. More and more interest in Linux.

You simply shouldn't have to constantly fight the tool when you're trying to get the job done.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by BG405 »

Mattyboy wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:07 pm
You simply shouldn't have to constantly fight the tool when you're trying to get the job done.
Exactly. It's what one of my mates has been saying (although not in those words) :!:

Another close friend commented about learning the tool when trying to do something, but that is how I work. It's also not the same as "fighting" the tool, which I think he initially thought. But then he's seen me fix some major borkage in minutes so realized it's not so in my case. This is in reference to me using a completely different base on my D255E netbook, but he seemed to pick up the basics of Pacman & Yaourt with no real issue. (Note this was necessary as I could no longer run the old Firefox with confidence & Waterfox is 64-bit only, so had to change architecture anyway, plus there's no Mint 19 KDE which is the DE I want to stick with on my travelling companion(s)). I'd have been REALLY upset if I'd just had all this wiped out by a Windows update. I'd even be prepared to make the expensive (for me) international call to MS to complain.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Two ROMS don't make a WRITE ...
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Mattyboy »

BG405 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:19 pm
:).. you don't complain to the company.. you 'complain' to their reputation. The only real good use of social media if you ask me. If you wanna know what its like to be a customer read the comments of them.

Windows on the desktop, I think, is on its way out. The corporate world will decide its fate and attitudes are changing.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by BG405 »

Mattyboy wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:32 pm
Windows on the desktop, I think, is on its way out. The corporate world will decide its fate and attitudes are changing.
I really hope so! I certainly wouldn't trust MS with corporate data. I'm safe from such catastrophies though as I don't think there's any danger of Win98SE wiping out Puppy on the old Optiplex (don't boot Win anyway except for curiosity) & same with WinXP + Mint Xfce on the Athlon.

None of my more modern* machines have Windows on, except for messing about with in VirtualBox. :mrgreen:

*These aren't exactly new, either!
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by Mattyboy »

I have quite a few mates who work in the industry on the Windows side, we all trained together as Windows 7 sys admins ( I've never worked in the industry despite being qualified ) who are now getting requests for Windows alternatives in certain corporate environments who require the security and assurances to privacy open source provides. CentOS, ( Red Hat Enterprise ) apparently, is quite popular.

The privacy 'debate' and escalating worries about being hacked is pushing alternative solutions. You'll still see Windows everywhere of course, no getting away from it.
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Re: Windows 10 Forced Update Destroyed My Partition Table! Possible to Fix?

Post by BG405 »

That's enlightening, thanks. Although I was aware it has started happening, I didn't realize the extent. A friend of mine saw me doing stuff on my netbook & commented that it looked "a bit technical". I said I was just testing the network connection (I do that in the Terminal) but did say it was a Linux OS (and which one). She told me that her company had just changed their systems over to Linux, for various reasons. I think privacy, data integrity & security were amongst those reasons. Data integrity being the link to this thread topic :)

For the OP: TestDisk from a live USB or DVD session is probably the best bet.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Two ROMS don't make a WRITE ...
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