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Multibooter

Cannot create a good disk image from a.gho file

42 posts in this topic

@dencorso and @jaclaz

Thanks for noting my mistaken parameter, I must have been distracted last night :blushing: . In any case, the deed is done and the .gho image just finished. The resulting compressed split .gho image files are altogether 21.6 GB, huge, possibly also because I did not zero out partition I: SWAP_FAT32 with remnants of swap files on it. In any case, using sdelete and the .gho file were an experiment on a test computer, to find out whether System Commander works with a .gho image created with the "-ir" switch. On my main computer I wouldn't make dangerous experiments.

Here the positive news: sdelete didn't cause any damage to the original System Commander HDD. When I inserted the HDD, which had been worked on by sdelete, back into the computer, the operating systems on it came up fine, sdelete didn't do any damage to the possibly atypical "multiFAT" boot partition. :thumbup

Later edit:

I was checking on Ghost while it was creating the .gho file, and for long periods of time the .gho image-in-process didn't increase in size. During that time Ghost was probably reading and compressing identical characters, so the -z switch probably hadn't caused sdelete to overwrite the empty space with random characters. The parameters used (see docu http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb897443.aspx ) is also kind of counter-intuitive, with c="zero free space" and z="cleanse free space"

Also, I'm not sure about the difference between zero and cleanse. Does c="cleanse" mean zeroing free space on a virtual drive (???), and z="zero" mean zeroing free space on a physical drive?

BTW, I did read the /? of sdelete before using sdelete, maybe I just used the switch which looked best ...

Edited by Multibooter
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The actual patent of stoopidity goes to Sdelete, (sadly to say so) it's Author and of course the DOD.

This myth about the several passes will probably never die. :(

http://www.msfn.org/board/hard-drive-secur...pe-t125900.html

Such an option should be completely removed from ANY such app, it's a personal fight I try to carry on since a bit of time with no actual results, unfortunately:

http://www.forensicfocus.com/index.php?nam...opic&t=3237

Result:

http://eraser.heidi.ie/

Welcome to the Eraser Home Page!

Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

:no:

If the developers still want to perpetuate it, they should have the decency to put the option behind a two level minimum password protected access.

jaclaz

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Such an option should be completely removed from ANY such app
Now I am completely confused. I don't believe in the usefulness of "secure overwriting" either, and maybe their docu and /? help is mixed up, it just doesn't make sense for "c" to stand for "zero", and "z" to stand for "clean"=secure delete(??).

I'll make another test with "sdelete -c", and check whether that is faster than the "sdelete -z" yesterday. The faster one should be the simple overwrite of the free space with zeroes. In any case, the "-z" parameter yesterday didn't do any harm to the System Commander HDD.

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The parameters used (see docu http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb897443.aspx ) is also kind of counter-intuitive, with c="zero free space" and z="cleanse free space"

Use the source, Luke! ...er, Multibooter. :P

[...]

//

// Global variables

//

BOOLEAN Silent = FALSE;

BOOLEAN Recurse = FALSE;

BOOLEAN ZapFreeSpace = FALSE;

BOOLEAN ZeroFreeSpace = FALSE;

[...]

} else if( !_tcsicmp( argv, _T("/z") ) || !_tcsicmp( argv, _T("-z") )) {

ZapFreeSpace = TRUE;

} else if( !_tcsicmp( argv, _T("/c") ) || !_tcsicmp( argv, _T("-c") )) {

ZapFreeSpace = TRUE;

ZeroFreeSpace = TRUE;

[...]

As jaclaz said, in that context "cleanse" means overwrite every byte with 0x00 (pass one), then 0xFF (pass two), then any random byte (pass three), according to Sdel.c, while zero means overwrite every byte with 0x00 and stop there. When ZeroFreeSpace = TRUE, the overwriting routine stops at pass one. That's what's coded.

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BTW, I was running sdelete under Win98SE in a DOS window yesterday, it had looked like a DOS program. sdelete seems to work fine on FAT16/FAT32 partitions under Win98SE, even if the text "Cleaning MFT.../" came up for a long while.

The docu page http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb897443.aspx lists as system requirements WinXP and higher. Would this mean that sdelete doesn't work properly under Win2k or with NTFS 3.00 partitions by Win2000?

Edited by Multibooter
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"cleanse" means overwrite every byte with 0x00 (pass one), then 0xFF (pass two), then any random byte (pass three)
Thanks dencorso, this shows the big plus of sdelete being open source.

I just finished re-running sdelete with the "-c" switch on the 30GB FAT32 partition with the same 700MHz laptop under Win98. sdelete took 89 mins with the "-c" switch [0.34 GB/min], compared to 133 mins with the "-z" switch [0.22 GB/min].

Edited by Multibooter
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Most of this discussion has gone beyond my experience, however I believe jaclaz is on the right track when he said most of this problem is caused by the assumptions of all the different programs involved.

I saw that you tested Clonezilla, recommended in the other thread. If I remember correctly, I think it is based on Partimage, the program that I used on the SystemRescueCd to create images of my partitions. If I get an opportunity, I will try restoring my Windows 98 (System Commander) partition to another hard drive and see if it works.

Eventually I'll try to install Vista and Win7 again, but this time into LOGICAL FAT32 partitions on the 1st HDD. There is a good chance that System Commander, R.I.P., will be able to do it.

You probably saw where I mentioned this on the other thread, but the only problem that I ever had with System Commander was that it could not hide logical partitions from one another. I had a situation where I had an extended partition with two logicals in it, one for Win2K and the other for WinXP. System Commander was unable to hide the 1st logical partition from Windows XP, so XP assigned the Win2K partition drive letter C and then failed to finish booting. I solved this by using BootIt NG, which can hide logicals. I ended up with 24 operating systems on that machine :o

There seem to be a lot of bizarre problems mentioned here involving errors/quirks with System Commander. Other than the one mentioned above, I have never had a problem with it. However, I probably should note that I only use System Commander for three things:

1. To manually create & format partitions

2. To hide each OS from one another (at least during each install process, can always unhide later if necessary)

3. As a boot loader.

I do not use any of it's "wizards" etc. Using version 8.11.

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Eventually I'll try to install Vista and Win7 again, but this time into LOGICAL FAT32 partitions on the 1st HDD. There is a good chance that System Commander, R.I.P., will be able to do it.

Four relevant pointers (to Vista and, AFAIK, to Win 7, too):

1)How to install Windows Vista on a Fat32 partition (it actually begins on post #1713, but I think it's only fair to point to the post above, from when Dietmar first found out how to do it!).

BTW, <STRG> <ALT> <DEL> means <CTRL> <ALT> <DEL>, of course.

2)Vista's New Partitioning Rules (there is much more interesting material in this site).

3)The case of the disappearing partitions

4)Partitions lost when working with more than one OS!!!

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I just put the the System Commander HDD, cloned with Ghost sector-by-sector with the "-ir"switch from a .gho file, into the original computer: it works fine :thumbup

Restoring the image to disk took 6 hrs 48 mins with my old 700MHz laptop. The bad side: the raw image/.gho file, from which I created the System Commander HDD clone, was 21.6GB. I will eventually repeat my experiment with sdelete -c on all partitions of the original HDD, to see whether the .gho image will shrink significantly in size.

Creating an image file of the original System Commander HDD is essential for me, to be able to re-create the identical System Commander HDD on multiple HDDs or on multiple nearly-identical computers, or to archive/restore an old System Commander HDD backup.

Zeroing out empty space on the original System Commander HDD is a time-consuming preparatory step before creating a raw image with Ghost -ir in another time-consuming step. I am still looking for a disk imaging tool which can create a workable image of the System Commander HDD, without copying the whole HDD/free space sector-by-sector, i.e. a disk imaging tool which satisfies the "assumptions" of System Commander. Any other suggestions?

2)Vista's New Partitioning Rules (there is much more interesting material in this site).
Excellent article, here a quote from it:
Partitions created by Vista are using new rules that are not entirely compatible with all previous versions of Windows or most current third-party tools for partitioning, imaging and cloning.

The above quote explains why I would tolerate on my computer Vista/Win7 only on a FAT32 partition. As I stated above in posting #4:

2 years ago I had installed Vista on my desktop, onto a primary partition on the 2nd HDD... I removed Vista again because PowerQuest PartitionMagic v8.01 and Partition Table Doctor v3.5 were not able to handle the Vista partition type.
I consider Partition Table Doctor http://www.ptdd.com/ to be an absolutely essential tool, incrementally more valuable to me than Vista or Win7. No Vista/Win7-compatible version of Partition Table Doctor has been released up to now, even if their EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard is Vista Compatible, so Vista/Win7 on a Vista/Win7-created partition is a no-no for me. Edited by Multibooter
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The above quote explains why I would tolerate on my computer Vista/Win7 only on a FAT32 partition. As I stated above in posting #4:
2 years ago I had installed Vista on my desktop, onto a primary partition on the 2nd HDD... I removed Vista again because PowerQuest PartitionMagic v8.01 and Partition Table Doctor v3.5 were not able to handle the Vista partition type.
I consider Partition Table Doctor http://www.ptdd.com/ to be an absolutely essential tool, incrementally more valuable to me than Vista or Win7. No Vista/Win7-compatible version of Partition Table Doctor has been released up to now, even if their EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard is Vista Compatible, so Vista/Win7 on a Vista/Win7-created partition is a no-no for me.

No. :(

I mean your reasoning is inaccurate for the first part.

The referenced articles are about partitioning problems which are perfectly INdependent from the filesystem used.

Your second problem is filesystem related and the intended solution is accurate in the sense that you won't have the same problems you have with NTFS if you use FAT32.

jaclaz

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If I get an opportunity, I will try restoring my Windows 98 (System Commander) partition to another hard drive and see if it works.
I'll be very interested to hear about your experience, especially if you restore from a disk image file..
the only problem that I ever had with System Commander was that it could not hide logical partitions from one another.
Yes, this didn't change in v9 either. The manual of v9 p.238 states that System Commander can only hide primary partitions. There is a nifty work-around to solve the problems caused by Win98 and WinXP assigning drive-letters in a different sequence:

In my partition plan (posting #1) I have partitions D: [bLANK1] and E:[bLANK2]. If I should later on use a 2nd HDD with a primary partition visible to Win98 [e.g. Vista on a FAT32 partition], Win98 would see that primary partition as drive letter D: [without the 2nd HDD, D was for Win98 the old 1st logical partition on HDD#1], assign higher drive letters to the logical partitions of HDD #1, and would not find its original partition G: [98_FAT32], which would now have the drive letter H: under Win98.

By deleting the logical partition D: [bLANK1], which has the function of a drive-letter-placeholder for Win98, Win98 will find again its original partition G: Subsequently, after having deleted partition D: [bLANK1] I will have to insert before the WinXP partition a BLANK3 NTFS partition, which would be invisible to Win98. to avoid that WinXP won't be inaccessible after using a 2nd HDD.

I had a situation where I had an extended partition with two logicals in it, one for Win2K and the other for WinXP. System Commander was unable to hide the 1st logical partition from Windows XP, so XP assigned the Win2K partition drive letter C and then failed to finish booting.
I don't know what went wrong. On my laptop I have a primary boot partition C:, and an extended partition which includes a logical partition for Win2k and another logical partition for WinXP, they are all visible and coexist nicely. I installed Win2k after WinXP and used the trick with SCIN.exe + assign unique boot serial number. Maybe WinXP was somehow using boot.ini, Ntdetect.com and Ntldr from the Win2k installation. I assume you had no primary partition, only an extended partition with C=Win2k and D=WinXP, I am always using a dedicated boot partition on which I install System Commander, preferrably under DOS.
I ended up with 24 operating systems on that machine :o
I assume System Commander has a limit of 26 different operating system selections, the "OS Selection Menu" shows only letters A-Z, but I have not found this limitation spelled out in the documentation. The operating system selections could be different operating systems, different service packs/releases/betas, different language/code page versions, or operating systems using differently patched io.sys, different autoexec.bat/config.sys etc. On my old laptop I have currently about 20 OS selections.
There seem to be a lot of bizarre problems mentioned here involving errors/quirks with System Commander. Other than the one mentioned above, I have never had a problem with it. However, I probably should note that I only use System Commander for three things:

1. To manually create & format partitions

I have never used System Commander to create or format partitions. I remember that the people at V-Communications used to consider PowerQuest as their main competitor. I guess that's why they included partitioning tools, the early versions of System Commander had no partitioning tools. I use PowerQuest PartitionMagic v8.01 Build 1312, very hard to find now. Build 1312 was their last bug fix, which avoids getting Error 1513, whatever that is: "Windows 2000 and XP use a new file record format, called I-Node, that is incompatible with the initial releases of PartitionMagic 8.x. When this format is detected, Error 1513 is generated."
2. To hide each OS from one another (at least during each install process, can always unhide later if necessary)
I have never used that feature
I do not use any of it's "wizards" etc. Using version 8.11.
The only time I used their "wizards" was for installing Vista, but supposedly only v9 can do this properly, not v8. Installing Vista in addition to WinXP and Win98 went relatively smooth.

v9.04 seems to be the last version. It's amazing how fast Avanquest walked away from System Commander after they got the product line of V-Communications. System Commander was probably not a money maker, even if it was an excellent product, so out the door it went and every word about System Commander was expunged from their website.

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The referenced articles are about partitioning problems which are perfectly INdependent from the filesystem used.
Hi jaclaz,

I didn't conceptually separate the stuff created after installing Vista on my 2nd HDD 2 years ago, whether file system related or partition related. Under Win98 PartitionMagic 8 would come up with an error message about the 2nd HDD with Vista on it and, if I remember right, Partition Table Doctor would start with an error msg suggesting to repair the Vista HDD. That was enough for me to dump Vista. That's the advantage of multibooting, as with System Commander: You can use the operating system you like best for a specific task, you are not limited to the operating system which came with your computer.

I have become interested again in Vista/Win7 to look at their handling of UDF-formatted HDDs. And a UDF-formatted HDD has no partitions, only the UDF file system, but this doesn't make matters easier...

BTW, Dietmar, who found the way to install Vista onto a FAT32 partition, was also using PartitionMagic 8:

"6.) Before you delete the partition with the original Vista on it with Partition Magic 8, notice the exact size of this partition. Ok, delete this partition and build a new Fat32 partition at the same place with the same size as before on the same harddisk. Set it aktiv.... " http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?sho...181&st=1711

Thanks again for your help and advice with the .gho imaging problem. :thumbup

Edited by Multibooter
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I just finished re-running sdelete with the "-c" switch on the 30GB FAT32 partition with the same 700MHz laptop under Win98. sdelete took 89 mins with the "-c" switch [0.34 GB/min]
I just repeated running sdelete -c on the same 30GB FAT32 partition, but this time on a 2.2GHz dual core under WinXP. sdelete finished now after 43 mins [0.70 GB/min]. So CPU speed is important for sdelete.

When I checked the cloned System Commander HDD (750GB), with PartitionMagic 8 under Win98, I saw that the 750GB had in the extended partition 50.132.5MB unallocated space, followed by 520.920.2MB unallocated space in a Primary partition following the Extended partition. In other words, the cloned HDD had 50GB of unallocated space in the extended partition, exactly as the original System Commander HDD and the extra space of the target disk (750GB-200GB) was made unallocated space outside the extended partition.

Acronis Disk Director only displayed the sum total of unallocated space, and Partition Table Doctor did not complain. In any case, I resized under Win98 with PartitionMagic the extended partition of the 750GB to eliminate unallocated space outside of the extended partition.

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I just put the the System Commander HDD, cloned with Ghost sector-by-sector with the "-ir"switch from a .gho file, into the original computer: it works fine :thumbup
Great! When in doubt, this is the way to go! This kind of image (-z9 -ir) can be called a compressed "True Image" or "Dumb Image", or "Raw Image" (hence "ir" = image-mode: raw), because it makes no assumptions whasoever and, instead, just copies sector-by-sector. You can get it somewhat smaller, by zeroing-out the unused areas. And ghost can restore it to any HDD bigger or equal to the original one the image was acquired of. It's as near fool-proof as you can get and quite a good backup, but it's time-consuming.

For saving and recovering the state of my system partitions, I usually do single partition images. Once you have the full true image backup optimized, do a partition backup of one of your system partitons, reformat that partition, sdelete -c that partition and restore that single partition image back to its place, and test to see whether everything is working OK. If so, that's the best way to create snapshots of a system being tuned or debugged. Repeat the test for your other system partitions and, all going well, start a library of backups for them. Before doing major experiments, always create a new image of the partition you're gonna mess with, so, no matter what you do, you remain less than 1h away from having it back as it was when you started (compared with full-disk operations, single partition operations are quite fast).

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I'll be very interested to hear about your experience, especially if you restore from a disk image file..

Ok, I just successfully finished restoring my Windows 98 (w/ System Commander) partition to another hard drive with Partimage on the SystemRescueCD. While successful, it was a bit tricky. Here's the process and my results/conclusions:

1. I do not recommend the SystemRescueCD / Partimage method if you do not have some basic Linux experience, because you must be familiar with using the command line to mount the partition/device where your image is stored so that Partimage can see it.

2. Partimage was unable to see the HDD I was attempting to restore the image to until I created a partition on it - Partimage apparently does not restore to unallocated space like DriveImage. However, once I created a partition for it to restore to, the process started successfully.

3. During the process, Partimage displayed several CRC errors, but when told to continue anyway, it finished the operation.

4. Upon completion by Partimage, an error symbol was displayed beside the partition in GParted (Which I had used to create the blank partition to restore to.) I used GParted to scan the partition for errors, and to expand the file system to fit the partition (which was slightly larger than the original imaged partition.) This did not eliminate the error symbol, but I exited the SystemRescueCD and restarted with my System Commander CD.

5. Using the System Commander CD, I had to manually set the partition where the image was restored as active, and while there I used the Verify Partition tool, and it returned no errors. Upon reboot, the System Commander boot menu did not appear, but Windows 98 loaded normally.

6. Windows 98 functioned normally, however I had to reinstall System Commander. I told it to transfer the settings from the previous install to the new one, and upon reboot I got a notice about updating saved boot sectors. I clicked OK, and then everything was back to normal.

So the process was successful, but as you can see it was a little tricky and required some patience.

I don't know what went wrong. On my laptop I have a primary boot partition C:, and an extended partition which includes a logical partition for Win2k and another logical partition for WinXP, they are all visible and coexist nicely. ....

I must say that I find your system of allowing all the operating systems to see one another and having all these partitions visible at once very bizarre. :blink:

I begin to wonder if allowing all of these systems to see one another and access each other's partitions is not contributing in some way to the problems you were experiencing, i.e., back to what jaclaz was talking about with different programs making different assumptions, in this case different operating systems making different assumptions and possibly modifying the boot area of another OS's partition. Different versions of Windows do not play nicely together, each newer version assumes that it is better than an older version and will sometimes try to "improve" it. :wacko:

For example, if you had a HDD with 2 primary partitions (1)C and (2)D, and you had Windows 98 installed on C, and then installed XP into D, allowing it to see Windows 98's partition as C, and to place its boot.ini, ntldr, and so forth in C, then it's possible that when you restore an image of C, the imaging program or System Commander may make the wrong assumptions about the operating system in that partition. The partition would contain the Windows 98 system, but have an XP style boot sector.

Here is a link to the best multibooting information resource I ever found on the net, and I use most of these principles in setting up my systems. Understanding Multibooting by Dan Goodell. And here is a quote from the Principles page of that site illustrating what I was saying above:

"...let's consider an example of installing Windows XP to a computer that already has Windows 98 installed. The computer already has an active boot partition (C:) that includes a Win98 partition boot sector and the Win98 system files. The XP-Setup routine copies the existing Win98 partition boot sector into a file, bootsect.dos, and replaces the partition boot sector with a XP version. The XP boot sector expects to find the XP startup files (ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini) in the root directory of the same partition, so XP-Setup puts the startup files in C:\. Note this is the partition the Win98 system is already in, but it now has a XP boot sector and XP startup files. XP-Setup then installs the rest of the XP operating system itself to the new partition and giving it some other drive letter--let's say, D:, for example. Boot.ini will be configured with two entries, one for Win98 on C: and the other for WinXP on D:.

The C: partition will now have the Win98 startup files, the WinXP startup files, a XP boot sector, and a file (bootsect.dos) containing the old Win98 boot sector. The rest of the Win98 operating system is in a directory on the C: partition (usually C:\Windows), while the rest of the XP operating system is in D:\Windows. At boot time the MBR passes control to the partition boot sector--which, remember, is now a XP boot sector. Boot code in the XP boot sector takes control and a menu is displayed from boot.ini to choose which OS to continue booting: 98 or XP. If we choose XP, the XP boot files on C: load the XP operating system from drive D:. But if we choose 98, the XP boot files recall the 98 boot record from the saved file..."

IMHO, it is far far simpler to hide each system from one another and have a shared partition for data that does not contain an OS. If you need to work on the files of one system with another, you can always manually unhide the partition you need to work on from the OS you want to work with using System Commander. Make sure 98 is in the first partition and use 98 for this as it assigns drive letters on each boot and won't get confused like XP. If you don't like this, or need to work on 98 from another system, try using a Linux Live CD like Knoppix, or maybe even loading a system from a flash drive if that's your thing.

But it's whatever works for you. :thumbup

Edited by LoneCrusader
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