We have a Unix OS which was installed in 1985. This system is installed on a SCSI hard disk. I can probe the specification of the hard disk, but I cannot read the partition table. It's not damaged, because it can boot from its machine. Now I can not access this machine. Even my friend says its machine doesn't show any console for command. Following specification:

# fdisk  -l /dev/sdc

Disk /dev/sdc: 577 MB, 577241088 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 550 cylinders, total 1127424 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/sdc doesn't contain a valid partition table

# cat /proc/scsi/scsi
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 02 Lun: 00
  Vendor: HITACHI  Model: DK515C           Rev: SCIF
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI  SCSI revision: 02

Note: SCSI is version 2.0.

Question is, How can I read the partition table and mount this disk?

  • 7
    As long as you don't explain what kind of UNIX you have on the disk, there is no way to help you. BSD e.g. at that time used a partitioning that is computed on the disk driver based on the size of the disk.
    – schily
    Sep 9, 2015 at 11:35
  • 2
    Seems to be some kind of partition table, your system is not aware of. Try 'dd if=/dev/sdc bs=512 count=2 of=data.bin', and then do a 'file data.bin'. Maybe it tells you about the type of bootsectors, so you have a clue which utils to use...
    – gerhard d.
    Sep 9, 2015 at 11:42
  • 6
    @gerhardd. file -szL /dev/sdc does the same with a single command, too.
    – peterh
    Sep 9, 2015 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


Image the drive, and work from there; as other noted, the partition table on UNIX systems has not always been as simple as the DOS model.

There are LOTS of partition table types, and many of them are disabled in Ubuntu/Debian/RedHat kernels. There are also cases where the partition table was kept off the storage device, or at a non-zero offset into the device.

Really need more info, or you can start probing at the data. If you have an image of the disk, the binwalk tools might be very helpful.

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