I got a local Ubuntu development server running Ubuntu Server 9.04. (Yes I know it's old!) Anyway, it froze the other day and on reboot it wanted to check the disk, errors were found. Afraid of losing the data I immediately mirrored the drive using Norton Ghost to an image file (.gho) on a backup disk. And surely enough, the drive failed almost immediately after the backup.

Now I've got a working image file that has all the data, nothing seems to be missing. After copying the image to a new drive I wanted to boot, but somehow GRUB didn't get to booting and said "/dev/mapper/hostname-root" (the bootup root) was missing. So I went into the GRUB menu and changed the boot commands so the root was set to "/dev/sda6/" (my root partition) directly.

To my delight, it booted! With just one problem... Whenever I reboot (sometimes it takes two reboots), the root partition seems to be gone! Neither GRUB nor a Ubuntu livecd will detect the partition any longer and it won't boot. If I don't boot the disk after the copying, the livecd WILL detect it and I can even mount it and access my data.

Norton Ghost will see the root partition merged with the swap partition (which is suddenly about 500GB in size) and the livecd won't detect it at all.

I've replicated this about 5 times with 2 different (brand new) drives by writing the .gho image to a new drive.

From running Ubuntu, after boot:

admin@WEB-UBUNTU:~$ sudo blkid
/dev/sda5: UUID="cc95c47b-fc1c-4918-9f79-706db2af98fd" TYPE="ext2"
/dev/sda6: UUID="ba898223-7a86-40d3-bb11-267562af4902" TYPE="ext3"
/dev/sda7: TYPE="swap"

admin@WEB-UBUNTU:~$ mount
/dev/sda6 on / type ext3 (rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro,usrquota,grpquota)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
varrun on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
varlock on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,mode=1777)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
lrm on /lib/modules/2.6.28-19-server/volatile type tmpfs (rw,mode=755)
/dev/sda5 on /boot type ext2 (rw,relatime)

admin@WEB-UBUNTU:~$ sudo fdisk -l
[sudo] password for admin:
lege partitie (6) wordt weggelaten [EN: Empty partition (6) is omitted]

Schijf /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes [EN: schijf = disk]
255 koppen, 63 sectoren/spoor, 60801 cilinders [EN: koppen = heads, sectoren = sectors, spoor = track, cilinders = cylinders]
Eenheid = cilinders van 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes [EN: Unit = Cylinders of]
Schijf-ID: 0x0001a71a [EN: Disk-ID]

 Apparaat Opstart   Begin       Einde     Blokken   ID  Systeem
/dev/sda1               2       60801   488376000    f  W95 Uitgeb. (LBA)
/dev/sda5           60770       60801      257008+  83  Linux
  • Try rebuilding your MBR. – Steve Buzonas Dec 29 '11 at 21:26

It seems that the partitioning was not correctly copied or your setup has changed since backing up. Which partition has your GRUB data? Read: was there a separate boot partition on the original drive?

Keeping the backup in a safe place(!), you might try to rewrite the partition tables using a tool like GParted, then afterwards reviewing your GRUB config.

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