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Cannot create a good disk image from a.gho file

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#26
Multibooter

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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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#27
Multibooter

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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...o...181&st=1711

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

Edited by Multibooter, 11 January 2010 - 08:18 PM.


#28
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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.

#29
dencorso

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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).

#30
LoneCrusader

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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, 12 January 2010 - 04:37 PM.


#31
dencorso

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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 do it too. I first setup my 4 HDD machine with the slave IDE as the boot device and true DOS 7.10 boots from its 1st (primary) partition, and lauches Win 98SE or GRUB4DOS. If GRUB4DOS is launched then it'll let me boot XP SP3, from the 1st (primary) partition of the master IDE or TinHat Linux or RIP Linux from images or go to the GRUB4DOS prompt. All four HDDs have extended partitions further subdivided in several logical partitions, althou the SATA HDDs lack any primary partitions on purpose. I let the DOS/Win 98SE assign the letters to all disks, and jotted them down together with their labels. Then, in XP SP3 I've used the "Disk Management Console" to assign all letters just as it is on 98SE, except for the boot disk, so that my boot partition is always C:, the inactive other OS partition is always D:, and all other partitions always get the selfsame letters. I also turned off System Restore in all partitions in XP SP3, but I've kept the Recycle Bin active on both OSes. This presents no problem when I boot XP after 98SE, but I have to delete (with deltree) all the Recycled folders during AUTOEXEC.BAT, before booting to 98SE after XP. I take the oportunity to delltree and recreate the Temp folders also, at the same place. And all partitions are FAT-32 and all OSses see every one of them. And no file from one OS is in the partiton belonging to the other, so even if I remove one of the bootable HDDs, the other continues able to boot as it is. In my eyes, its also quite straightforward...
But, in any case, as always, YMMV, of course!

#32
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I do it too. I first setup my 4 HDD machine with the slave IDE as the boot device and true DOS 7.10 boots from its 1st (primary) partition, and lauches Win 98SE or GRUB4DOS. If GRUB4DOS is launched then it'll let me boot XP SP3, from the 1st (primary) partition of the master IDE ..... all partitions are FAT-32 and all OSses see every one of them. And no file from one OS is in the partiton belonging to the other, so even if I remove one of the bootable HDDs, the other continues able to boot as it is. In my eyes, its also quite straightforward...
But, in any case, as always, YMMV, of course!

Although arranged differently, your setup still retains (IMO) the most important things. No files from one OS in the partition of another, and each OS is independent and does not require another OS or the partition/boot sector thereof to run.

I prefer putting the systems in partitions in chronological order (except I would install ME before 2K), and I don't like giving in to 2K/XP demanding to take over the first primary partition, whether installed there or putting their boot files there. I guess I have a touch of OCD :w00t: haha

#33
jaclaz

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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:


Well, I have been called names before, but it's the first time I've been tagged (indirectly) as "bizarre". :w00t:

I find OBVIOUS that each system has to be visible AND run on a different drive, i.e. Windos 9x is ALWAYS on D:, NT is ALWAYS on E:, 2K is ALWAYS on F:, XP is ALWAYS on G:, ME is ALWAYS in the trashbin :whistle: ;).

jaclaz

#34
dencorso

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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.micro...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?

It depends of where you look, it seems. In all cases we're talking about v.1.51 and look what was claimed about in the SDelete v1.51 Info Page (as it was in Jan 02 2008): "SDelete works on Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0 and Win2K". So I think you've just stumbled in a case of previously-documented undocumented behaviour! :D

Changing subjects somewhat, seriously, there are various builds of the sdelete v. 1.51, which are best diferenciated by their PE Timestamp (which one can easily read with the MiTeC EXE Explorer):

Notable builds of sdelete.exe version 1.51
==========================================================================
PE Timestamp: 07/09/2005 08:00:48 PM Size: 49,152 bytes Pre-MS (-c does nothing, non digitally signed).
PE Timestamp: 11/17/2005 03:31:42 PM Size: 49,152 bytes Pre-MS (-c works OK, non digitally signed).
PE Timestamp: 08/16/2006 05:33:17 PM Size: 166,712 bytes Available now from MS (-c works OK, digitally signed).

So, except for the earliest build I've just mentioned (which is buggy and used to be distributed alongside the source, way back when), all other pre-MS takeover (Jul 18 2006) versions are, in truth, documented to work with Win 9x/ME... and since the code probably didn't change significantly, because the version is still exactly the same, all later builds still ought to.

#35
Multibooter

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I find OBVIOUS that each system has to be visible AND run on a different drive

That's my personal preference too, but there are several different issues which got intermingled in the last few postings, but I can only speak from my experience with System Commander:

1) Multiple operating systems sharing a single partition:
I had no problems with various DOSes co-existing on the same partition, provided they used the same code page. If I remember right, I even had various different Windows 3x installed on the same partition.

Starting with Win95 it became problematic to have multiple instances of Windows on the same partition because they used the same folder "Program Files" and "My Documents', and one Windows would then use the others' "Program Files" or "My Documents".

I actually had US Win95 and a localized Win95 running on the same partition. This was possible because localized versions of Windows would use different folder names, such as "Programme" under German Windows, instead of "Program Files" under US Windows. The 2 instances of Windows should therefore not have interfered with each other. But then the code page problems started. Folder and file names created under a localized Windows might contain special characters from their own code page. ScanDisk under US Win95 would detect the "bad" files names and clean them up/delete them. Various localized Win95 which I have seen, had come out of the box with some files having filenames containing characters specific to a non-US code page.

2) Visible partitions
In 1997 I was using System Commander, but was checking out several other boot managers. I installed one which was based on hiding partitions, I think it was the PTS/Paragon Boot Manager v2.5 , and I didn't like it, I wanted to have everything on my computer accessible to me, not just one partition.

Hiding partitions and selecting among various sets of boot codes are two different approaches. System Commander originally used the selection approach. If I remember right, the early versions of System Commander didn't have the ability to hide partitions. I assume V-Communications added this feature because competing products had it, and many people buy features.

3) Hidden partitions
The problems caused by using different code pages, for example a US and a Farsi windows, on the same computer can be nasty. One approach to solve this problem is to run the non-US operating system on an otherwise invisible partition.

My approach was to leave all partitions visible and to install the Windows with the non-US code page onto a removable Jaz disk. I had the Jaz disk only inserted when I would actually use that non-US operating system.

4) Always visible boot partition
With System Commander whatever non-boot code is on the boot partition C: is (probably) always shared between all operating systems, even if they are on partitions hidden from each other. This shared boot drive might lead to some minor interference, but never posed a serious problem to me.

Example: One Windows (e.g. on E:) crashed or hung. Windows or an application in it then wrote some stuff on the boot drive C: or C:\Temp\ If I would then immediately boot into another similar Windows (e.g. on F:), that Windows or the same application in it would process the crash logs etc on boot drive C:

But this would happen also if Windows 1 and Windows 2 were installed on partitions hidden from each another.

5) Intentional sharing between different operating system on different partitions
I had 2 instances of Win98 share the same fixed-size swap file on a special partition. I have several applications which were installed once under Win98, and which run fine under WinXP without re-installation, just by creating a desktop shortcut and by adjusting the path in the registry (e.g. a special version of Ghost), or by re-entering user settings.

Edited by Multibooter, 13 January 2010 - 08:13 PM.


#36
LoneCrusader

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Well, I have been called names before, but it's the first time I've been tagged (indirectly) as "bizarre". :w00t:
...
ME is ALWAYS in the trashbin :whistle: ;).

:lol:
BTW I agree on the ME thing, was just using it as an example.

4) Always visible boot partition
With System Commander whatever non-boot code is on the boot partition C: is (probably) always shared between all operating systems, even if they are on partitions hidden from each other. This shared boot drive might lead to some minor interference, but never posed a serious problem to me.

Example: One Windows (e.g. on E:) crashed or hung. Windows or an application in it then wrote some stuff on the boot drive C: or C:\Temp\ If I would then immediately boot into another similar Windows (e.g. on F:), that Windows or the same application in it would process the crash logs etc on boot drive C:

But this would happen also if Windows 1 and Windows 2 were installed on partitions hidden from each another.

If one created a special always visible boot partition for System Commander, (as you said^) this is completely true.

For the record though, you could have System Commander hide it's own partition whenever you choose one of your OS'es from the menu, thereby allowing each Windows to see its system partition as C: on boot. This would eliminate having to install System Commander to one of the Windows partitions (I know you mentioned you preferred installing from/to DOS) and also possibly eliminate some of the quirky errors/problems that have been mentioned about System Commander (especially when making backup images and/or cloning drives/partitions, because each Windows install would be "standard" so to speak). The only thing you would be giving up is one primary partition, which isn't a big issue if you're using several logicals.

#37
Multibooter

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you could have System Commander hide it's own partition whenever you choose one of your OS'es from the menu, thereby allowing each Windows to see its system partition as C: on boot.

Hi LoneCrusader,
System Commander installs stuff on track 0 and on its install-to partition. I sometimes edit/replace those boot files which I want System Commander to load from the next boot onwards (e.g. autoexec.bat, config.sys or boot.ini. even io.sys) directly in the folders where they are saved/loaded by System Commander, e.g. in C:\SC\WINDOWSX\ for Windows XP. I also make a manual backup of C:\SC\ in case I want to reverse the changes in boot files made by the installation of new software. So I would not want to hide the partition where System Commander is installed.

[have System Commander hide it's own partition] would... possibly eliminate some of the quirky errors/problems that have been mentioned about System Commander (especially when making backup images and/or cloning drives/partitions, because each Windows install would be "standard" so to speak).

I doubt it. The error condition on which System Commander choked was caused by Ghost, plus the parameters I used with Ghost. Ghost created something bad on the cloned HDD. In my opening post #1 I stated:

Regardless of what I select, Save or Bypass, System Commander eventually stops loading any operating system at all and displays a cryptic err msg "Error Boot 2>" or similar.

The System Commander user manual of v9 (.pdf) on p.263 explains: "The codes given help identify the source of the problem. Generally, you're given the option to boot into one of the four primary partitions on the first drive. Several combinations we've seen are: ... The second "X" [here: the ">" in the error code "2>"] indicates the error code returned from the hard disk BIOS. It can indicate the hard disk or controller has some type of problem, or might indicate bad partition information on the disk... Boot 2> or Boot3>. This error indicates that the file SYSCMNDR.SYS could not be found in any primary partitions on the first drive. To fix this, boot from a DOS or Windows 95/98/Me startup diskette and at the prompt, type FDISK /MBR. This will have no effect on partitions, but installs the generic MBR boot loader. After your operating system is running, you will need to perform a full installation of System Commander."

This is the official work-around for the current problem, a poorly cloned HDD. You used the same work-around and re-installed System Commander on top of the existing installation after you created a bad disk image with SystemRescueCD / Partimage. BTW, System Commander is a dead product, but well documented. :thumbup

The re-installation workaround suggested in the manual leaves the original question:

Why can Ghost not create a useful image? Did I miss any parameters? ... I did not use the sector-by-sector forensic -id option because creating and restoring an image in this "forensic" way may take 24 hours... Is there other software which actually can clone from a file a HDD containing tricky boot code by System Commander, and which doesn't alter important partition characteristics?

What else might not work on a poorly cloned HDD? Is the System Commander cloning problem just the tip of the iceberg?

Edited by Multibooter, 14 January 2010 - 01:28 PM.


#38
dencorso

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The re-installation workaround suggested in the manual leaves the original question:

Why can Ghost not create a useful image? Did I miss any parameters? ... I did not use the sector-by-sector forensic -id option because creating and restoring an image in this "forensic" way may take 24 hours... Is there other software which actually can clone from a file a HDD containing tricky boot code by System Commander, and which doesn't alter important partition characteristics?

What else might not work on a poorly cloned HDD? Is the System Commander cloning problem just the tip of the iceberg?

Of course it's just the tip of the iceberg, but you might have to wait a long time before uncovering more of it. My rule of thumb is this: ONE single flaw detected means: image rejected, no exceptions. It helps avoid a bucketfull of grief later. Ghost is powerful, and can do lots of interesting things, but can only be mastered through long and careful experimentation, on a case by case basis. That's why a full True Image (blind sector-by-sector) is the one you do first, in the general case, when you simply cannot afford to make any assuptions. BTW, a true forensic image is a True Image (that ghost calls "raw", "-ir"), and the fact they call "forensic" the "-id" is most unfortunate, because "-id" normalizes the disk structure, on the basis of suppositions that may (and as we saw, more often than not, actually do) render the clone it generates unbootable... in fact, it's faster and preserves (hopefully) all the data (most of the time), but introduces bias, that, IMO, taints the proof-value of such images, so they are not truly forensic, at all.

#39
Multibooter

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I have successfully created and restored with Ghost v11.0.2 an image of the System Commander HDD using the "-ir" switch for sector-by-sector cloning.

System Commander booted fine from the HDD created with the "-ir" switch from the .gho image file. Neither PartitionMagic 8 nor Partition Table Doctor signaled any errors with the cloned System Commander HDD. The compressed .gho image file, created from a HDD previously cleaned with "sdelete -c", was about 1GB, using compression switch "-z9".

I have created with Partition Table Doctor 3.5 a "partition table backup file" of both the original System Commader HDD and of the HDD restored from the .gho image file. Both "partition table backup files" (about 10k in size) were identical when making a binary compare with Beyond Compare. I have also created with MBRWizard image files of track 0 of the original and cloned HDDs. Both image files of track 0 were identical.

Conclusion: Ghost v11.0.2 CAN create a good image file of a System Commander HDD if you use the "-ir" switch. No other disk imaging software I have tried could produce from an image file a good System Commander HDD.

The "dumb" sector-by-sector cloning approach worked, while software using a "smart" approach and fast shortcuts could not create a good copy of a System Commander HDD from an image file.

#40
jaclaz

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Conclusion: Ghost v11.0.2 CAN create a good image file of a System Commander HDD if you use the "-ir" switch. No other disk imaging software I have tried could produce from an image file a good System Commander HDD.

Which actually translates to:
ANY cloning application capable of a "forensic mode" will work, if used in "forensic mode". ;)

The "dumb" sector-by-sector cloning approach worked, while software using a "smart" approach and fast shortcuts could not create a good copy of a System Commander HDD from an image file.

Because it is not "smart" enough. :whistle:

In these cases you could take a mixed approach and supply yourself the missing smartness of the program, like:
  • backup the needed sectors that NEED to remain as they are (forensic quality clone of a limited number of sectors)
  • image the drive (in a " smart" way)
  • restore the image (in a " smart" way)
  • restore the backed up bunch of sectors

:hello:

jaclaz

#41
dencorso

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@Multibooter: I think now is the proper moment to suggest that you reread my post #29, above, in this thread, and also do reread from post # 166, to the end, of Dave-H's recent thread, where we last discussed imaging at lenght, to form a good picture of it all (BTW, I've sent you a PM, too). With the added experience you've just amassed, I'm sure it'll be worth it. Of course, I'm also writing this here to leave a pointer to help any future reader to be able to easily find that other thread, where those posts are somewhat hidden at the end of a long discussion on not obviously related matters.

#42
Multibooter

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I have successfully created and restored with Ghost v11.0.2 an image of the System Commander HDD using the "-ir" switch for sector-by-sector cloning.

I am updating this older posting.

During the most recent deployment I had a 750GB source PATA HDD with System Commander plus several operating systems on it. As target HDD I had only a 200GB PATA HDD, the 750GB PATA HDDs are getting hard to find and are quite expensive. Because the target HDD was smaller than the source HDD, the -ir (image raw) switch wouldn't work. The 750GB source HDD had less than 200GB allocated to partitions, the remainder was unallocated space.

I have now successfully created and restored with Ghost v11.0.2 an image of the 750GB HDD with System Commander on it, using the "-ia -ib" switches for sector-by-sector cloning (instead of -ir), but additional work was required:

1) immediately after creating the HDD image with the -ia -ib switches I booted into Win98 to fix up the target HDD

2) under Win98 Norton Disk Doctor and Partition Table Doctor did not report any errors on the cloned HDD. When I ran PowerQuest PartitionMagic v8.01 build 1312 under Win98, however, the following err msg was displayed:
"PowerQuest PartitionMagic has detected an error 114 on the partition starting at sector 8385992 on disk 2. The EPBR is not positioned at the beginning of a cyclinder. If this is not corrected the operating system could cause data loss. PowerQuest PartitionMagic can easily be fix this problem by moving the EPBR to sector 8385930. Would you like PowerQuest PartitionMagic to fix this error?"-> Yes, then msg: "Success. The partition table error was successfully fixed!" This was repeated for most partitions on the cloned HDD.

PartitionMagic under Win98 did fix the cloned HDD fine, afterwards System Commander and all operating systems on the (smaller) cloned HDD worked fine.

Addendum: Error 114 is not mentioned in the PartitionMagic User Guide. In http://www.win.tue.n...s-2.html#ss2.13 it is described as follows: "114 - Logical partition does not start one head away from EPBR [Extended Partition Boot Record]. If the EPBR is found at sector N, and there are 63 sectors per track, then Partition Magic expects the logical partition to start at sector N+63."

Edited by Multibooter, 04 December 2010 - 04:44 PM.





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