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And what does it mean - exactly?

And - although I strongly suspect it's not the drive's fault and also that there isn't one - anyone know how to return drives to their original geometric state after they've been silently corrupted?

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I have no idea. The capacity is shown as a negative value. Perhaps that has something to do with it. But I suspect this question will attract a few viewers, so hopefully someone will have a good answer. +1 :) – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Aug 20 '11 at 14:34
Thanks - I was hoping for that as well ;( but then I have about 200 corrupted hard drives, SSDs, SD cards and USB flash drives pending receipt of that good answer! – jonny Mar 11 '12 at 8:04

It looks like the partition table might be corrupted somehow. You can try to create a new one, but that will remove all the data from the disk. I don't know how or if you do that in Palimpsest (the application you're using), but in gparted, it's easy. Just select the drive and choose "Device > Create new partition table". I'm using a Norwegian translation, so it might not say exactly that, but you'll find it.

From your screenshot, I think that should do it, but it is an assumption. And in any case, make sure you have backups before you try anything.

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In Palimpsest (called Disk Utility in the default Ubuntu install), you can create a new partition table by selecting the "Format Drive" option. In the dialog box that comes up, select advanced options and select the type of partition table you want to use. – Kris Harper Aug 20 '11 at 18:30
Formatting my devices doesn't seem to return the corrupted CHS values to their original geometry. Neither do hdparm ATA Secure/Enhanced Erase commands or zero-filling, for that matter. – jonny Mar 11 '12 at 7:43

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