Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

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kysioo
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Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby kysioo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:05 pm

Hi guys,

It's my first post here, i'm completely new to SGI, i'm having trouble with Octane2, irix 6.5.1 workstation built in some old medical imaginary equipment that i'm salvaging.

I got this machine and i could't login - no passwords, i've read some posts here, staging that passwords can be relatively easy found somewhere on hdd, so i took aout the 9gb ibm ultra160 hdd out, and connected it to some old server - in ultra320 hot swap bay and started windows mini xp based recovery enviroment, i must have done something - i think by allowing shitty windows to iniate partition, and since then it was listed as unallocated - i know my bad - i tried it on linux leter but the same, and now machine doesnt boot - see screenshot

the disk wasnt formatted or anything... something small happend, please help

Grtz
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby uunix » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:31 pm

ouch! I bet you regret that now.
I suspect you are going to need IRIX install media or another IRIX disk to copy the headers from if you are lucky. After all, who knows what windows did to it.
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:44 pm

You're going to need to get another SGI or install IRIX to another drive and try xfsdump on it.
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby devv » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:45 pm

If I recall correctly, you can go to the PROM Command Monitor (press Esc to get boot menu, then 5 for Command Monitor) and run "ls" in it.

This should list your disks and partitions on them.

Based on that, you'll quickly figure out whether you still have any partitions or not, and if you do, where are they. From there, you can also run "ls" on individual partitions to check out the files contained on them.
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby uunix » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:07 pm

I suppose it what you have available. As devv says check the partions, and if still in tack have a look at Ian Maplesons guide on cloning disks, part of it is cloning the header partion, you would need another IRIX disk though.
If you have installs CDs then you may have better luck. If you don't create a new file system, a lot of what is on there will remain, but a lot wont.

You have some options without purchasing anything.. Download IRIX 6.5.x and setup a network install, you can do this without another IRIX system.
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby robespierre » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:14 pm

The volhdr is the first (zeroth?) sector of the disk, where the partition table is stored. If it is not valid, you can assume that the partition information is lost, so the computer has no way of knowing where the filesystems are located, and you cannot use xfs_db or list (ls) the partitions. [xfsdump is a backup tool, and not really apropos.]
Windows PCs use the same disk sector as a different, incompatible table called a MBR (master boot record). If Windows tools do not see a MBR on the disk, they blindly assume it is empty. So what probably happened is that the Windows recovery program overwrote sector 0 with its own MBR, trashing the IRIX volhdr.
There is no need to copy a volhdr from another disk, since it wouldn't have the correct partition information. What you would have to do is first: (A) find the location of the first XFS partition (the first sector on the disk that begins with "XFSB"); this could be the hard part if you lack access to unix tools! This sector also has the partition size, albeit encoded.
(B) netboot fx from a TFTP server
(C) use the repartition/rootdrive and repartition/resize fx commands to change the partition map so that the start and size of the root partition matches the XFS partition on the disk.
(D) after checking that the partition map is correct, save it to disk with label/sync
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby kysioo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:05 pm

robespierre wrote:The volhdr is the first (zeroth?) sector of the disk, where the partition table is stored. If it is not valid, you can assume that the partition information is lost, so the computer has no way of knowing where the filesystems are located, and you cannot use xfs_db or list (ls) the partitions. [xfsdump is a backup tool, and not really apropos.]
Windows PCs use the same disk sector as a different, incompatible table called a MBR (master boot record). If Windows tools do not see a MBR on the disk, they blindly assume it is empty. So what probably happened is that the Windows recovery program overwrote sector 0 with its own MBR, trashing the IRIX volhdr.
There is no need to copy a volhdr from another disk, since it wouldn't have the correct partition information. What you would have to do is first: (A) find the location of the first XFS partition (the first sector on the disk that begins with "XFSB"); this could be the hard part if you lack access to unix tools! This sector also has the partition size, albeit encoded.
(B) netboot fx from a TFTP server
(C) use the repartition/rootdrive and repartition/resize fx commands to change the partition map so that the start and size of the root partition matches the XFS partition on the disk.
(D) after checking that the partition map is correct, save it to disk with label/sync


Data on that drive is essential, since it holds software to control the whole machine, wchich dates 2002 - no chance of getting that anywhere.... i have to restore this OS with data otherwise i can beggin scrapping whole machine rigth now....

So from my understanding what u guys tell me i should :

1. find another ultra160 hdd, and put it in my sgi
2. get from somewhere (probably from repository somowhere here) a iso of irix setup package...
3. burn that on cd, boot from this cd - through that menu - (pardon my ignorance, looks like modern day uefi on a PC - wow almost 2 decaes ago)
4. install clean iris
5. proceed with the tools u mentioned - that is gonna be hardpart for me since this is my first encounter with sgi and i got minimal unix/linux expierence :o

or should i skip this cd part and do the netboot (but then how?)

and when/if i menage to succed with that recovery i will ask u guys how to recover passwords - root, and user - one that starts control software :D

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby josehill » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:06 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:You're going to need to get another SGI or install IRIX to another drive and try xfsdump on it.

Not necessarily. Linux supports XFS filesystems, including the various xfs command line utilities, like xfsdump, so you could do the manipulations from there, too.

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:18 pm

But, not all distros have xfs support or will have the necessary tools installed out of the box, and AFAIK it's uncommon to find PC hardware with a UW-compatible SCSI bus. I mean does it exist? Sure, but inevitably it's probably going to be easier to do it from IRIX when all's said and done.
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kysioo
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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby kysioo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:36 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:But, not all distros have xfs support or will have the necessary tools installed out of the box, and AFAIK it's uncommon to find PC hardware with a UW-compatible SCSI bus. I mean does it exist? Sure, but inevitably it's probably going to be easier to do it from IRIX when all's said and done.



frankly im not sure, wheter initiating partition under windows (stupid i know) or putting that hdd in ultra320 lvd hot swap bay of an old xeon based fujitsu server did mine the favor.... but as you say maybe it would be better idea to retrieve this xfs in its native enviroment....

another irix computer i can forget... so should i get another hdd, install irix, proceed, or maybe is there a workaround like for example something to boot from cd with sufficient tools to retrieve my partitions???

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby foetz » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:45 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:But, not all distros have xfs support or will have the necessary tools installed out of the box

who cares about out of the box as long as they have it. installing one additional package is a matter of seconds.

it's uncommon to find PC hardware with a UW-compatible SCSI bus. I mean does it exist?

scsi has always been provided by an additional pci card. onboard scsi was very rare. anyhow such a card does still fit into an x86 of your choice and costs pretty much nothing.

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby kysioo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:15 pm

foetz wrote:
Raion-Fox wrote:But, not all distros have xfs support or will have the necessary tools installed out of the box

who cares about out of the box as long as they have it. installing one additional package is a matter of seconds.

I've just received a tip from a friend of mine, experienced technician, gave me an idea for a workaround, he often does data recovery and he uses ReclaiMe software on windows, even though he says he never even saw sgi workstation, he did recover xfs partitions from hdds used in some NAS, he has retail version of it (costs quite a lot) and he says i'm welcome to try....

the question is wheter i not gonna make things worse with that? does anybody know this ReclaiMe?

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby josehill » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:21 pm

kysioo wrote:Data on that drive is essential, since it holds software to control the whole machine, wchich dates 2002 - no chance of getting that anywhere.... i have to restore this OS with data otherwise i can beggin scrapping whole machine rigth now...


I presume that you are in Europe. Before you get into things too deeply, you might wish to contact Ian Mapleson in the UK, who also is a member here at Nekochan. Ian resells IRIX systems and has a lot of experience with SGI systems used in medical and industrial settings, so it's possible that he may be able to point you to a practical solution more quickly than we might be able to exchange a bunch of posts here on the forum.

I'll try to review some of the main issues, because a lot can go wrong if we make a mistake here:

  • You do not have installation media for IRIX or for the medical imaging software.
  • You do not have a backup of the drive.
  • When you placed the drive in the Windows computer, you appear to have repartitioned the drive, which means that you replaced the IRIX volume header with a Windows volume header. (As a reminder, the volume header contains information about where the partition boundaries are.)
  • If you are lucky, you did not also reformat the drive by writing a Windows filesystem (probably NTFS) over the old IRIX XFS.
  • If you reformatted the drive for Windows, then you have lost the contents of the drive. Without either a good backup of the drive or the installation media for IRIX and and the medical imaging software, there isn't much that you can do besides trying to get the software elsewhere.
  • If you repartitioned without reformatting, then most or perhaps even all of the original data is still on the drive, but you can't access it from Windows because Windows doesn't know anything about IRIX XFS filesystems, and you can't access it (yet!) from your Octane because IRIX doesn't know how to boot from a disk with a Windows volume header.
  • If you are lucky and have not reformatted or otherwise overwritten the drive's XFS filesystems, you may be able to restore the drive to normal operation by replacing the Windows volume header with an IRIX volume header.
The safe thing to do is to try to make a block-level backup of the whole drive now. People usually do this by running the "dd" command, which is available on pretty much all Unix/Linux/BSD machines. You can even use the dd command to backup an entire hard drive to a single dd "image" file on another drive. Once you have this, you can try to repair the drive without worrying.

You will need to find a way to put an IRIX-style volume header on the disk. This almost always is done using the IRIX "fx" command. The safest bet is to find either IRIX installation media or another working IRIX system. If you boot from IRIX installation media, you can run fx from the installation software, or you can run it from the PROM monitor (similar to UEFI). It's also possible that some Linux partitioning tools can work, but I haven't ever tried that. If you have access to another IRIX system, you also can try plugging the drive into the other IRIX system and running fx from a shell window. (DON'T FORGET: IRIX SCSI HARD DRIVES ARE NOT HOT SWAPPABLE!!)

I assume that you do not know the original layout of the partitions on your drive. If you are lucky, your drive used one of the default standard IRIX partition layouts. That would be either the "rootdrive" scheme, where the whole drive is allocated to a "root" partition and a "swap" partition, or a "usrrootdrive" scheme, which allocates partitions to the two partitions I just mentioned plus a "usr" partition. You can try using fx to create a volume header laying out either of those two schemes. You can try both schemes, since you are only editing the volume header at this point, not the rest of the disk. If either scheme matches your drive's original scheme, then your files should become visible when you apply the appropriate change.

Unfortunately, if your drive used a custom partitioning scheme, using one of the default schemes probably will cause you to lose data, and it can be very tricky and time consuming to try to figure out where to create the partition boundaries.

Which leads me to my next point: especially for a medical imaging device, if there is any uncertainty about the system setup, your best bet may be to try to find either the original installation media for the medical imaging controller software or to find another system that uses the same software and duplicate the drive from that system. Alternately, many older instrument manufacturers that originally shipped their instruments with IRIX controller later replaced the IRIX systems with Linux or Windows controllers. At this point, it may be easier for you to find a copy of the Linux or Windows version of the controller software than it is to find the IRIX version.

PS. Technical info about IRIX volume headers and partitions can be found in the first two chapters of the IRIX Admin: Disks and Filesystems manual.

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby kysioo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:52 pm

josehill wrote:
kysioo wrote:Data on that drive is essential, since it holds software to control the whole machine, wchich dates 2002 - no chance of getting that anywhere.... i have to restore this OS with data otherwise i can beggin scrapping whole machine rigth now...


I'll try to review some of the main issues, because a lot can go wrong if we make a mistake here:

  • You do not have installation media for IRIX or for the medical imaging software.
  • You do not have a backup of the drive.
  • When you placed the drive in the Windows computer, you appear to have repartitioned the drive, which means that you replaced the IRIX volume header with a Windows volume header. (As a reminder, the volume header contains information about where the partition boundaries are.)
  • If you are lucky, you did not also reformat the drive by writing a Windows filesystem (probably NTFS) over the old IRIX XFS.
  • If you reformatted the drive for Windows, then you have lost the contents of the drive. Without either a good backup of the drive or the installation media for IRIX and and the medical imaging software, there isn't much that you can do besides trying to get the software elsewhere.
  • If you repartitioned without reformatting, then most or perhaps even all of the original data is still on the drive, but you can't access it from Windows because Windows doesn't know anything about IRIX XFS filesystems, and you can't access it (yet!) from your Octane because IRIX doesn't know how to boot from a disk with a Windows volume header.
  • If you are lucky and have not reformatted or otherwise overwritten the drive's XFS filesystems, you may be able to restore the drive to normal operation by replacing the Windows volume header with an IRIX volume header.
The safe thing to do is to try to make a block-level backup of the whole drive now. People usually do this by running the "dd" command, which is available on pretty much all Unix/Linux/BSD machines. You can even use the dd command to backup an entire hard drive to a single dd "image" file on another drive. Once you have this, you can try to repair the drive without worrying.

You will need to find a way to put an IRIX-style volume header on the disk. This almost always is done using the IRIX "fx" command. The safest bet is to find either IRIX installation media or another working IRIX system. If you boot from IRIX installation media, you can run fx from the installation software, or you can run it from the PROM monitor (similar to UEFI). It's also possible that some Linux partitioning tools can work, but I haven't ever tried that. If you have access to another IRIX system, you also can try plugging the drive into the other IRIX system and running fx from a shell window. (DON'T FORGET: IRIX SCSI HARD DRIVES ARE NOT HOT SWAPPABLE!!)

I assume that you do not know the original layout of the partitions on your drive. If you are lucky, your drive used one of the default standard IRIX partition layouts. That would be either the "rootdrive" scheme, where the whole drive is allocated to a "root" partition and a "swap" partition, or a "usrrootdrive" scheme, which allocates partitions to the two partitions I just mentioned plus a "usr" partition. You can try using fx to create a volume header laying out either of those two schemes. You can try both schemes, since you are only editing the volume header at this point, not the rest of the disk. If either scheme matches your drive's original scheme, then your files should become visible when you apply the appropriate change.

Unfortunately, if your drive used a custom partitioning scheme, using one of the default schemes probably will cause you to lose data, and it can be very tricky and time consuming to try to figure out where to create the partition boundaries.

Which leads me to my next point: especially for a medical imaging device, if there is any uncertainty about the system setup, your best bet may be to try to find either the original installation media for the medical imaging controller software or to find another system that uses the same software and duplicate the drive from that system. Alternately, many older instrument manufacturers that originally shipped their instruments with IRIX controller later replaced the IRIX systems with Linux or Windows controllers. At this point, it may be easier for you to find a copy of the Linux or Windows version of the controller software than it is to find the IRIX version.

I presume that you are in Europe. You might wish to contact Ian Mapleson in the UK, who also is a member here at Nekochan. Ian has a lot of experience with SGI systems used in medical and industrial settings, so he may be able to point you to a practical solution rather quickly.

PS. Technical info about IRIX volume headers and partitions can be found in the first two chapters of the IRIX Admin: Disks and Filesystems manual.


To start i wish to thank u all guys for such a river of information regarding the subject, its nice to discuss with the pros

let me clarify :

I did activate that drive in windows, which it saw as unallocated space... that surely removed the xfs headers

i did not format it or anything - i realised i've done wrong so i rebooted x86 computer, where i plugged that irix drive, to linux enviroment with xfs support, where i also saw that drive as unlocated space, that sounded alarm in my head, so i did nothing but put the disk back in sgi, which refused to boot - see screen on top of the thread

the disk at hand is ultra160 lvd , 9gb ibm drive with irix version xx sticker, and i did but it into hot swap bay (hot swapping unfortunetely) an a fujitsu xeon based server, with onboard ultra320 lvd controlers that i know to be backward compatible....

i'm situated in Poland, my task originally was only to recover passwords for the system, which i thought to be easy after reading on some nekochan threads that they are stored somewhere on drive, relatively easy to find and unencrypred,
due to mine lack of expertise the task grew a little bit :(

from my knowledge getting original "setup package" is impossible due to the fact that manufaturer doesnt exist anymore and/or it would cost way to much money to obtain it - so says the guy that put me on this quest

so if i'll be able to recover this mess it will determine this machines fate - wheter will be scrapped for parts or refurbished and sold as a whole

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Re: Irix 6.5 partition recovery, please help

Unread postby devv » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:05 am

kysioo wrote:I did activate that drive in windows, which it saw as unallocated space... that surely removed the xfs headers
i did not format it or anything


You still seem to be unclear what really happened to the disk. It appears like you should put it back into a Linux box and run "fdisk -l" (or gdisk, or cfdisk, or similar) on it, to find out which volume header is now on the disk, and what partitions it has. (I suggest Linux since in Linux you can read all types of disklabels and partitions.)

Then, while still in Linux, run "dd if=/dev/SGI_DISK of=disk-image.img" to make a raw copy of the complete disk onto your Linux machine (replace SGI_DISK with the appropriate sdX name by which Linux recognizes that disk, of course).

Then, you can make additional copies of that image and play around with it (you can run fdisk and all other commands on it etc.) to figure out if anything is salvageable. E.g. you can even run a very crude, but workable, command such as: strings disk-image.img | grep ':0:0:Super-User:/:' . If this gives a positive result it would indicate that the disk contents were not overwritten (this Super-User string is an excerpt from a default SGI /etc/passwd file, and if it is found anywhere in the disk image it would mean that the data wasn't overwritten with zeros or something).
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