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Error #1520: External attribute header mismatch

Filed Under Geek on 2006-11-30, 13:54

Yay for Partition Magic 8.0. :(
PM is such a fickle utility. In some cases it works beautifully, in other cases it’s like a plane crashing into a train when someone left a semi on the tracks. This time I was lucky though, and it was a quick fix.

I decided late one night that I should merge the two partitions I had on one of my 200gb drives. In the past I had it setup with two partitions, one for an operating system, and one for storage. Now this drive is just pure storage, so there was no point in the two partitions. So I loaded up Partition Magic 8.0 and told it to merge the partitions, putting the files from one partition into a folder on the primary partition. I then rebooted so the changes could be applied when Windows started up. Watching the percentage slowly creep I decided to get some sleep while it worked.

I woke up the next morning to see that the operation had completed 100%, but I had an error. Error #1520: External attribute header mismatch. While I have a background in computer science and know basically how file systems work, I didn’t want to have to sit down and learn the ins and outs of NTFS just to get my 40gigs of music back so I just started poking around.

At first the drive wouldn’t show in Windows. A reboot or two and it reappeared for some reason. The drive was browseable and I could see the directory that the files from the secondary partition should be in. Unfortunately when I tried to open that directory I received an “Access Denied” error message. My first step was to run “chkdsk e: /f” on the drive. Sure enough it found and fixed several errors. But still, access denied. I had assumed there was something up with the allocation table, or maybe an actual hardware issue. However, thinking it was a slim chance, I checked the permissions of the directory, and changed the ownership to myself. Boom, files are back. Rejoice.

For anyone else that runs into this, right click on the folder that Partition Magic created, select Properties, select the Permissions tab, does it say SYSTEM here? Click on the Advanced button, click on the Owner tab, select your user name and check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects. Click Apply and OK to the warnings and then wait as the new owner is applied to the files. Once it’s done, things should be fixed.

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