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I've installed Ubuntu 10.04 on an USB drive a few days ago, and have been mostly using linux since them (but I`ve been able to start windows properly after using the pen drive linux).

Now, I guess I've got two problems. I'm not sure both would fit this forum, but as I suspect the first might have caused the later, here they go:

  • Today, when I tried to restart my computer and boot Windows from internal HDD NTFS partition, I got a blue screen with error code 0x0024 (a lot more 0's there), saying a problem was detected and Windows has been shutdown to prevent damage, etc... no useful information. I couldn't even boot in the safe mode. My first thought was I might still be able to access the windows file system from linux, what took me to the next problem:
  • After booting ubuntu from the USB drive, I tried to access the windows filesystem from GUI menu "Places -> 54GB Filesystem", but it says "according to mtab /dev/sda2 is already mounted on /media/227C59C27C599181". Trying to mount from the command line also doesn't work, it says sda2 is already mounted on wherever I try to mount it. Trying to open /etc/mtab says "Input/Output error". I noticed the following error message on dmesg: "EXT2-fs error (device loop1): ext2_lookup: deleted inode referenced: 98399."

Is it possible that a disk partition failure may have caused the /etc/mtab damage?
Can I recover/repair the /etc/mtab file? How?

Additionally, I also tried booting with a Windows XP install disk (not the same I've on my disk, as that is still factory installed), hoping I could use the system repair option. The windows installation system recognized my hard drive, all partitions are shown correctly, except that for the C partition the filesystem type is displayed as "unknown".

Thanks in advance, to anyone who can provide some advice on what I could do to solve either of these problems.

UPDATE: I managed to fix my NTFS partition by running CHKDSK from HBCD, and now I can boot on windows again. However, I've not yet get back to linux to see if that would eventually solve to mtab issue too.

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No, mtab wouldn't have contributed to the fault. Though writing to your NTFS volume from Linux might, that support isn't full proof and can cause corruption. If you did that then I don't know what else I could recommend to you except to get Windows to run chkdsk and cross your fingers. It's either that or the drive itself is failing.

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