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I have a problem with GParted not being able to complete an operation.

Background:

In brief:

  • I have a 2Tb M.2 SSD drive that was running Windows 11. Windows suffered a fatal registry failure and could not load. The drive is full of data and content.
  • I bought a second 1Tb M.2 and replaced the SSD drive.
  • This new SSD drive has a basic windows and a Zorin 16.3 OS duel boot installation set up successfully.
  • I have a USB enclosure for the original 2Tb drive.
  • Due to the fatal registry error for Windows I was unable to "unmount" the original SSD before removal.

Status:

In brief:

  • The data remains on the 2Tb drive. I need to remove this data or make this drive usable as a USB (ie non booting drive). I can not format the drive as that will loose the data.
  • The drive in inaccessible to Windows 11 basic install on the "new" duel boot system.
  • The drive IS accessible on Zorin OS but large file transfers are problematic, there are various secondary issues relating to causing delays and slowness when accessing the drive data via Zorin. The drive is read-only on Zorin.

Issue:

In brief:

  • I want to remove the EFI partition on the drive. I use Gparted but this fails to complete this task, instead freezing up, crashing my system overall and generally being unable to complete work either to remove that partition or to remove the BOOT / ESP flags
  • I have also tried doing similar with diskmgmt.msc on the windows 11 boot which does see the drive in certain scenarios but I am unable (as windows administrator) to change any aspect of the drive configuration.
  • Same applies to diskpart as well; it freezes until the M.2 media is physically removed.

HOW CAN I REMOVE THE EFI PART OF THIS SSD?

As I write this question out, I suspect I may need to put it back into the computer as the primary drive and then boot using the Zorin USB -- HOWEVER -- what can I do after that to remove the boot partition / flags, BUT NOT DELETE THE DRIVE DATA?

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  • 2
    could it be that the drive has suffered a catastrophic failure, and is now "read-only"? Best bet is to salvage the windows data onto some external media (I missed the part where you did say it's read-only) Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:13
  • 2
    I'd say the source drive has failed catastrophically Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:16
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    Why do you think that removing the EFI partition would solve your problem? In case there is a serious problem with your SSD, you should not try to write anything. Copy all data to a diferent drive or to an image file. GNU ddrescue is a tool for copying as much as possible from a drive even in case of read errors.
    – Bodo
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:26
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    @Martin you should honestly try to recover the data from the NTFS partition using your new Windows installation. It has much better tooling when it comes to repairing NTFS. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:59
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    The EFI thing is totally a distraction: the presence of an EFI partition doesn't stop anyone from reading anything else on that disk. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:59

2 Answers 2

1

I don't have much time before bed, so...


No one commented on watching dmesg while doing any and all operations with the drive! (Really, guys!):

As soon as your live or whatever Linux boots up, run this in one window:

\dmesg --follow-new --ctime

The meaning of the first character (\) there is to escape any possible alias.

Now, if you start seeing something like this, your original drive suffered irreversible damage, and only some reputable data recovery company can offer you (maybe) a recovery of your files (the picture is from my real stories portfolio):

disk errors

If you do see some or a lot of "red lines" in your dmesg output, go away from your operation immediately and hand it over to specialists.

That being said, you did buy a smaller replacement drive I don't know why. "An error in the matrix, huh :)

Do not try to write anything to the 2TB drive, including the removal of EFI partition, which was also a silly idea. Do not get me wrong, you are inexperienced with this kind of stuff, I get it, but you could make things even worse than they are now. Are we clear? No writes to the 2TB drive, period.


I suggest you post the dmesg output, either in text (which is always better), or if it freezes again, at least a photo, ok?

I hope this gives you at least information for the start, when I wake up, I might try to edit this answer accordingly.

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  • Thanks. Smaller secondary SSD was cheaper (money is tight) and intended for only the OS originally. Plan is to extract then format and reuse the 2Tb SSD.
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 13:33
  • re dmesg - --follow-new is not a recognised command. nor is -W; version info states: dmesg from util-linux 2.34.
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 13:33
  • @Martin then you will need to manually hit dmesg I suppose repeatedly, I need to go already, cheers Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 13:37
  • I have run nautilus (the default file program on this Zorin OS) from the terminal as that comes back with a bunch of error notices ** (org.gnome.Nautilus:435158): WARNING: 20:57:53.784: Unable to get contents of the bookmarks file: Error opening file /root/.gtk-bookmarks: No such file or directory and Nautilus-Share-Message: 20:57:53.866: Called "net usershare info" but it failed: Failed to execute child process “net” (No such file or directory)
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 20:01
  • Ok, some details you will be wanting to see; I checked the references: the device / partition is sda4; and so running dmesg | grep sda4 comes back with:
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 20:24
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You can use a clonezilla liveusb to clone your 2 tb ssd on another disk and format the original ssd.

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  • I have no other physical mechanism to host another drive or anything with enough capacity to hold that data.
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:13
  • It would be worth buying external media to do this - when you are done, it could be used for making regular data backups. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:38

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