Recovery Guides: step-by-step DiskPatch operations:
A list of terms used in this page and
their explanation can be found here.
|Why do we need this?
The Disk Editor allows you to edit the disk and its partitions on a
sector level. Needless to say, this is only useful if you know what
you're doing: you need to know a little something about disks and
partitions before you'll be able to use the disk editor. The editor that
is included in DiskPatch is relatively simple; most of its functions
are connected to DiskPatch's recovery functions. As such you can look at
the disk editor as an extension of some of the automated functions,
allowing you to go a little beyond the automated repairs if needed.
Some of the more interesting functions of the disk editor are:
- exporting and importing sectors
(saving a part of the disk to file: could be handy for backup
purposes, or when you need to send a 'part of the disk' to someone
through email for remote support)
- editors for several types of
sectors: partition tables, boot sectors and raw sectors
- browse helpers: after the disk
has been scanned you can use certain keys to move around the disk,
allowing you to find 'significant sectors' with ease
As the disk editor can be used
for many things, we'll hi-lite some of the functions in the following
|Things you need to know before we
- In the world of disks and data
recovery we start counting disks at 0 (zero). So the first disk is 'disk
0', the second disk is 'disk 1', etc.
- If you use the bootable CD/DVD
you will need to find a target location for the files that DiskPatch
creates when it's running; they can't be saved to the CD/DVD. You
will either need a FAT formatted partition somewhere that can hold
the files, or you can use a FAT formatted USB stick/key or USB disk
to receive the files (read more here
on how to prepare a USB key). DiskPatch will ask you where to save the files
if the files can not be saved to the current location.
- Use the cursor keys to navigate
the menus, use the <Enter> key to select an option, use the
key to abort or leave a menu.
- If you
analyze the disk before starting the disk editor, it will be much
easier to find sectors of interest: you can use navigation keys to
jump to these sectors immediately. For instance, you can jump to the
boot sector for each partition that is found on the disk by using
the <ctrl up / ctrl down> keys. We call this 'recovery
Analyze the disk by running the 'create support analysis log'
function from the 'Support' menu.
Here we go:
|Start DiskPatch and select the disk.
example: your screen will differ. Find more
information on how to select a disk here.
|After selecting the disk, the menu
will expand, showing actions that can be performed for the selected
The selected disk will be marked in high intensity blue in the disk list (disk
0 in our
Note: the disk editor will offer additional
browsing functions if the disk is analyzed before starting the disk
editor. Analyze the disk now (by selecting 'create support analysis log'
from the support menu) and start the disk editor after the analysis has
completed. The following examples assume you have analyzed the disk.
|Now select 'Utilities', then 'Disk
DiskPatch will ask you if you wish to create an undo file (recommended),
if this option is enabled.
Enter a description or leave the default suggested text. Press
at this point to skip creating the undo file (not recommended).
|If the disk was not analyzed
before starting the disk editor, the following message will be
displayed. Read more here (you can still use all
the disk editor functions, but 'recovery assisted
browsing' is not available).
|The disk editor will now start. The
main display looks like this:
|When the disk editor is started the
first sector on the disk (the MBR) is displayed. This is always the
starting point when the disk editor is started. From here you can go just
about anywhere, by using the disk editor's navigation keys and other
We will now show some examples of disk editor functions and
editor examples: browsing/navigating using the disk editor's navigation keys
|From the disk editor's main screen
you can press <F1> to display a help screen, which will list the
|Press any key to close the help
Use <down> and <up> (the cursor keys) to browse through all
sectors that were found during the analysis (these are sectors that
contain information that can be used to reconstruct the partition tables
and/or damaged boot sectors). You can use this to quickly find an
important sector, and glance over them to get an idea of their state.
Let's go to the first sector that DiskPatch has found during the
analysis and see why DiskPatch thinks it's of interest: press <down>
once. The display will change and display the sector. Please note that
in our example the first 'sector of interest' is probably a different
sector than the one that will be displayed in your case. In our example
it's a FAT32 boot sector:
|The information bar above the
displayed sector contains information on what it is we're looking at
'Current sector' tells us that we're looking at sector 63 on the
'Item: 1/15 BS/FAT32' tells us that we're looking at the 1st item
of 15, and that it's a BS (boot sector) for a FAT32 type partition. For
a detailed explanation of this display read the corresponding
part of the manual.
You can continue browsing through the list of interesting sectors by
pressing <down> or <up>; it's basically a guided tour
through everything the analysis has found.
|Another way to look at some
interesting sectors is to use the 'partition start location' navigation
keys. This will take you to the first sector of all partitions that were
found. It's a convenient way to hop from boot sector to boot sector for
all partitions (damaged or intact) that are on the disk.
Use the <ctrl up> and <ctrl down> keys to go through the
partition list and display the boot sector.
Let's try this: press <ctrl down> to move to the first partition. The display will change and display the sector.
Our example shows the following:
|We are, again, at sector 63.
There's a bit of additional information available now:
the information bar at the top says 'BS for PL entry 1', which
means we're looking at the BS (boot sector) for PL (partition list)
entry 1 (the first partition that is in the list that DiskPatch builds
based on what's found on the disk). This text will be displayed in red
if the location is not a valid boot sector location; this usually means
you're looking at an illegal partition (maybe remnants of old
partitions, or other 'false positives').
In the status bar we see additional information (displayed in yellow)
about this partition, such as its type and size. This will help you
recognize the partition and determine if this is a partition of
|This concludes the browsing/navigating using the disk editor's navigation keys
example. Click here to return to the example
editor examples: browsing/navigating using the disk editor's functions
|There's another way to navigate the
disk, this time by using the data that's in the currently displayed
sector. If, for instance, we're looking at a sector that contains a
partition table, we can order the disk editor to display that sector as
a partition table and use it as navigation tool. Let's try this:
If you just started the disk editor you'll be at sector 0 (the MBR). If
not, press <ctrl home> to get to the start of the disk:
|Press <F5> to let the disk
editor display the current sector as a partition table:
|As you can see, our example shows 2
entries (2 partitions) in the partition table. You can now press 1 - 4 to move to
the start location for that entry. Let's try: press <1> to move to the
start location for the first entry:
|We've arrived at the boot sector
location for the first partition on the disk.
|Now we'll go to the start location
for that second partition that was in the MBR's partition table. First,
move back to the start of the disk by pressing <ctrl home>. Now
press <F5> again to display the partition table:
|This time, press <2> to move
to the start location for the second entry. Since the second entry
describes an extended partition, we're moved to the location that
holds an EPBR record (think of this as a mini partition table that
defines the logical partitions). In our example it looks like this:
|Since this is basically also a
partition table, we can press <F5> again to display it:
|Now press <1> to move to the
start location for the first entry in this table:
|We've arrived at the boot sector
location for the second partition on the disk.
Note that in this case we had to make 2 jumps to get here: the first
jump from the MBR to the EPBR record, the second jump from the EPBR
record to the boot sector location.
|This concludes the browsing/navigating using the disk editor's
functions example. Click here to return to the example
editor examples: finding and editing a boot sector
|Use one of the described methods to
arrive at the boot sector location. We'll describe (in short) how to use
the editor's navigation tools to get to the boot sector we wish to edit:
- go to the start of the disk (press <ctrl home>)
- press <F5> to display the MBR as a partition table
- press <1 - 4> to select the partition whose start location (boot
sector location) you wish to see
Remember: if the partition is an extended you'll need to press
- you should now be at a boot sector location
Press <F10> to display the disk editor menu:
|Now select 'Edit as boot sector'.
As you can see, you can also press <F3> from the disk editor's
Our example is a FAT32 boot sector so we'll select 'Edit as FAT32 boot
sector'. You need to select the correct boot sector type yourself, so
make sure you have that information beforehand (that's why using
'recovery assisted browsing' is so convenient, it will tell you what
type of information you're looking at).
|The boot sector editor will start,
using the FAT32 boot sector template:
|As you may or may not be able to
see, this is a perfectly healthy boot sector. If you wish to make
changes you can do so by pressing <F10> and selecting 'Edit'.
|You can now edit the values. Press
<enter> to move to the next line, press <escape> to abort
|The editing function will end when
the last value has been entered. You can then press <F10> again to
select another option, like 'Exit and save'.
|This concludes the finding and editing a boot sector
example. Click here to return to the example