My laptop came to a grinding halt. On reboot, I got grub, which failed to load linus. I managed to get an initramfs prompt once but no further that way. Using LinuxLive USB Creator and a ubuntu-12.04.2-desktop-i386.iso on a USB stick, I managed to boot, but the original partition doesn't seem to be there any more.
sudo fdisk -l lists /dev/sdc1, which is the USB drive, but nothing else though
sudo fdisk -s /dev/sda returns
312571224. (I'd expect there to be a sda1 (Linux), sda2 (Extended), and sda5 (Linux swap)
I installed testdisk and
sudo testdisk /list shows
Disk /dev/sda - 320 GB / 298 GiB - CHS 38913 255 63 Partition Start End Size in sectors Partition: Read error
and running testdisk's search returns no partitions but also says read error for everything while doing analysis.
sudo dumpe2fs /dev/sda returns
dumpe2fs: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while trying to open /dev/sda Couldn't find valid filesystem superblock
sudo sfdisk -l /dev/sda says
Disk /dev/sda: 38913 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track read: Input/output error sfdisk: read error on /dev/sda - cannot read sector 0 /dev/sda: unrecogonized partition table type No partitions found
sudo gparted says
Input/output error during read on /dev/sda ** (gpartedbin:18653): WARNING **: Could not connect: Connection refused
and only the USB stick shows up in the GUI.
sudo mke2fs -n /dev/sda1 then
sudo e2fsck -f -b 32768 /dev/sda1
e2fsck: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while trying to open /dev/sda1 Could this be a zero-length partition?
I presume there are bad sectors somehow ate the partition record in some way, but I don't know what else to try. Is there anything I can do to get the disk back? (It would be nice to get the data back too but everything important is already backed up elsewhere so, while it would be convenient, it's not actually necessary.)