If it looks bad, then it is probably worse

I was not planning on spending hours to fix this, but now I had no choice. I loaded a live version of Sabayon; it seemed that I could not see the Sabayon partitions. I loaded a live version of Mint and I could see the partition but could not do anything with it.

I downloaded System Rescue CD. I could see the partition but I could not mount it. This is where I really screwed things up. I tried to use fsck and some other utilities; I was getting nowhere. I discovered that some of these changes are only seen after a reboot.
The next time I rebooted I got a message that looked like it was a blank hard drive. Now Windows was not recognized!

I did some research and as a last ditch attempt I tried Testdisk. I ran the utility and it too was announcing that some super blocks did not match. I did a scan; it did not find all my drives. I chose the option to do a deep scan and left it running overnight. The next day I could see dozens of drives listed I went through and found the ones that had my data on them and lo and behold I was able to make back ups of my Sabayon data and Windows data and extract them into a backup.

I followed the screen prompts, which were not very descriptive, but now I had my data so I was not too concerned. When I rebooted, Testdisk had fixed my Windows boot partition. I still could not boot Sabayon but at this point I was going to reinstall Sabayon.

If you have a similar issue to what I have described I highly recommend this utility. I was really sceptical that testdisk would work, but it really did and allowed me to recover my data. Testdisk is available for Linux and Windows If I have an issue or asked to fix an issue with a hard drive, I will reach for testdisk.

Backup you must, before new distro you install…important lessons you will learn

So after using Sabayon for a while I found most of the programs I wanted, but also found that some were quite old versions. I thought ‘no big deal’, I will update Linux Mint on my other partition to Mint 15. The fact that Mint 15 is only supported for 9 months instead of 12 is not a big deal because I thought I will use Sabayon 70-80% of the time and that will cover me until I install the next Mint version. If anything is an issue in Sabayon I will just boot into Mint.

This is where I made a big stupid mistake. I underestimated the install required for Linux Mint 15. In the past, installing Mint was great but they have changed things slightly and it seems more convoluted.

The install of Mint would not let me rewrite over the old Mint version on my hard drive. I was stuck, I chose to delete the Linux Mint partitions. As I did that, I noticed the labels for my other partitions Sda9 and Sda10 changing and I thought they belonged to Sabayon. I thought ‘this is not good’ but everything is backed up. I have only been using this for a week, so no big deal I will just reinstall the whole thing. Easy.

But then I was thinking about what I had done over the past week of Sabayon use and then remembered all those passwords that I had been changing through my password manager, (this is the downside of password managers – complex passwords and I have no idea what they are). I did not back them up as I had not finished changing them all). A cold shiver came over me when I realized that it is probably not going to be able to boot because it will be looking in the wrong location on the hard drive.

Long story short, I restarted and tried to boot into Sabayon. Nope, it did not boot. I tried grub rescue, typed in some text, got to the next screen, and then an error message complained about super blocks and other things.

At this point I thought I would just work to recover my passwords it is still not the end of the world.

However I gave it just one more try (which was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back) and I put in System Rescue disk, pressed some buttons and then then when I tried to boot – nothing. An error message that my hard drive was not installed or something like that.
OOPS! I had just borked my computer!