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GRUB4DOS + WinVBlock


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#1 Sha0

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:16 PM

...I read with a lot of interest your post about WinVBlock. However there is a tremendous amount of very technical information, which makes it quite difficult...to extract the useful bits. May I ask a few simple questions:

1/ In order to install WinVBlock on a running XP, do I only need to copy wvblk32.sys and aoe32.sys in c:\windows\system32\drivers\ and execute the commands found in the ReadMe file ?

In fact, if you don't care about AoE, you needn't copy AoE32.sys. WVBlk32.sys handles all non-AoE logic, and is the "core" of WinVBlock. You can use just the sc command found in the ReadMe.txt file for this driver to install it, yes.

2/ Is an .IMG file (as created by IMG_XP_Create) bootable with GRUB4DOS, not from RAM but as a HDD image file ?

If I've read wimb's thread well enough, I do believe that you wind up with an HDD image file. These are indeed currently bootable with the currently released WinVBlock (0.0.1.8 as of this writing). You could boot such an image either as a RAM disk, or directly from the disk on which it resides.

3/ If the answer in 2/ is yes, which commands do I need in GRUB4DOS menu.lst in order to do so ? The example in the WinVBlock thread only deal with the "boot from RAM" case.

Assuming your HDD image file is called foo.img and is in the root directory of the first partition of your USB disk, you'd do:
title foo

  map (hd0,0)/foo.img (hd0)

  map --hook

  root (hd0,0)

  chainloader /ntldr

Sorry to keep you busy, and many thanks for your any information you can provide !

Hope it helps. Just be sure that if you are indeed booting from a USB disk, be sure that the USB drivers are all set to boot-start in your HDD image. By the way, .ISOs are so-named because of the ISO9660 filesystem, also called CDFS in Windows, I believe.

#2 Doodoo

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:32 PM

Thanks a million, Shao, I'll give it a try and will let you know.

Just be sure that if you are indeed booting from a USB disk, be sure that the USB drivers are all set to boot-start in your HDD image.

Is that the default behaviour in an image of a freshly installed XP ? If not, what needs to be changed and how ? Or does IMG_XP_Create actually take care of this automatically ?

#3 Sha0

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:49 PM

Thanks a million, Shao, I'll give it a try and will let you know.


Is that the default behaviour in an image of a freshly installed XP ? If not, what needs to be changed and how ? Or does IMG_XP_Create actually takes care of this automatically ?

I don't recall if IMG_XP_Create sets the needed USB drivers to boot start. Essentially, you can accomplish it by setting the following drivers' Start value to 0 (meaning boot-time):
  • usbccgp
  • usbehci
  • usbhub
  • usbstor
  • usbuhci
Where each of these is at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services inside the HDD image. It just occurred to me that it might not be obvious that the WinVBlock installation must be performed inside the HDD image, rather than the hosting OS where you are running IMG_XP_Create. Same with these Registry changes. That means you'd have to open up the image file and use RegEdit to File -> Load Hive... the Windows\System32\Config\SYSTEM Registry hive inside the image. In such a case, you could not use sc to install WinVBlock, because you are not booted to the OS contained within the disk image. In such a case, you'd have to add WinVBlock to that OS' Registry by loading that Registry hive and creating the service manually:
  • Key: LoadedHiveName\ControlSet001\Services\WVBlk32\
  • Entry: Start
  • Type: REG_DWORD
  • Value: 0x00000000


#4 Doodoo

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:50 PM

These are indeed currently bootable with the currently released WinVBlock (0.0.1.8 as of this writing). You could boot such an image either as a RAM disk, or directly from the disk on which it resides.

Ah well yet another side question... Is it a requirement for the image file to NOT BE fragmented, to be bootable directly from the disk it resides on ? Anyway it can't hurt to use "contig", even if not stricly speaking required.

#5 Doodoo

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:56 PM

It just occurred to me that it might not be obvious that the WinVBlock installation must be performed inside the HDD image, rather than the hosting OS where you are running IMG_XP_Create. Same with these Registry changes.

This is something I was not confused about, but things can never be too clear :)
Even if there might be ways to "tweak" the guest OS from within the host, my plan is to keep it safe for now, i.e. boot the guest OS and install whatever needs to be, and finally run IMG_XP_Create from the host.

#6 Sha0

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:57 PM

A contiguous image file is a requirement for GRUB4DOS sector-mapped disks, yes. It is not a requirement for memory-mapped disks.

#7 Doodoo

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:38 AM

If I've read wimb's thread well enough, I do believe that you wind up with an HDD image file. These are indeed currently bootable with the currently released WinVBlock (0.0.1.8 as of this writing). You could boot such an image either as a RAM disk, or directly from the disk on which it resides.

Assuming your HDD image file is called foo.img and is in the root directory of the first partition of your USB disk, you'd do:

title foo

  map (hd0,0)/foo.img (hd0)

  map --hook

  root (hd0,0)

  chainloader /ntldr


It works like a charm ! Well at least I've been able to boot (not from RAM) an IMG produced by IMG_XP_Create, when it resides on my hard disk.
When it resides on my USB stick it didn't BSOD, but it seemed to stay on the XP logo (not frozen) for ever... I didn't have time to give it a few mintues, but I'll try !

Yet another question (I'm not being lazy to figure it out myself... just lacking time to try):
When WinVBlock is used to boot from a file-backed disk, is this file transparently changed as the system writes to the disk ? I mean, when booting from a RAM loaded image, changes are written to RAM and are therefore lost on reboot, hence the need for IMG_XP_Update to commit any changes into the IMG. Is the same needed when WinVBlock is used to boot from a file-backed disk ?

#8 Sha0

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:26 PM

Filed-backed disks are write-through. Changes persist.

I have an idea for why your USB scenario might be hanging and will keep this in mind for version 0.0.1.9.

#9 Doodoo

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 01:02 PM

Filed-backed disks are write-through. Changes persist.

That's what I wanted to hear :)
So the EWF filter is needed to not kill my USB stick, but it can still be disabled temporarily to write changes and update the IMG file when I want.

I have an idea for why your USB scenario might be hanging and will keep this in mind for version 0.0.1.9.

Which brilliant idea have you just got ? :)

#10 Doodoo

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:03 PM

I've been able to boot (not from RAM) an IMG produced by IMG_XP_Create, when it resides on my hard disk. When it resides on my USB stick it didn't BSOD, but it seemed to stay on the XP logo (not frozen) for ever... I didn't have time to give it a few mintues, but I'll try !

Shao,
This is as far as I can get for now when the image resides on USB. It does not freeze, just waits there forever and never gets to the actual login. Any ideas what might cause this ? Any log file to look at ?

#11 Sha0

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:09 PM

I'm sorry that I didn't share the idea sooner. Basically, when WinVBlock probes disks to see if they are the backing disk for the booted image file, there is no protection against probing the very disk we are trying to establish. I have to address this. I'm afraid that I cannot offer a work-around for now. The order that disks are probed is not determinable at this point, so if your USB disk would be probed after the WinVBlock-provided disk, then you get hung while probing the WinVBlock-provided disk and never reach the USB probe, which would succeed. Sorry.

#12 Doodoo

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:20 PM

Even if this is bad news in a way, I'm more than happy with this explanation, as long as the problem is understood :)
Any chance this problem can be dealt with in future versions ? Please don't get me wrong, no pressure really... I'm naively asking the question, since I have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to fix it ! I'd be prepared to spend the time to do it myself if only I knew how !

#13 Sha0

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:30 PM

I have an idea for why your USB scenario might be hanging and will keep this in mind for version 0.0.1.9.

We are currently at 0.0.1.8. Development occurs in spurts, when my evenings are free from the day-job's overflow, which has been frequent lately. Code can be tracked here[1].

[1] http://git.etherboot...k.git;a=summary

#14 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:26 AM

Hi everybody,

I've done the following steps:

1) I've created an XP VDI image installing it in Oracle VM VirtualBox
2) Installed WinVBlock driver there
3) Mounted the above image using Winmount as drive Z:
4) Created a blank Imdisk virtual drive(K:) and formatted it using NTFS file system woth compression enabled
5) Copied all the files except the pagefile from Z: to K: using Teracopy.
6) Unmounted both the images. Imdisk image, Microxp.ima, turned out to be 250 MB approx.
7) Installed Grub4DOS on a pen drive
8) Transferred the Microxp.ima to the pen drive
9) The menu.lst is as follows:
title WinVBlockmap (hd0,0)/Microxp.ima (hd0)map --hookroot (hd0,0)chainloader /ntldr
What I get as the result is as follows:
Posted Image


But if I replace the
map (hd0,0)/Microxp.ima (hd0)

with
map --mem (hd0,0)/Microxp.ima (hd0)

I get
Posted Image

then it starts booting with Windows logo & then a BSOD(0x7E)
Posted Image

I've retried making the Microxp.ima image once again from the scratch. But no success. Can anybody explain me where am I making the mistake?

#15 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:22 AM

Can anybody explain me where am I making the mistake?


YES. :) (probably :))
http://homepages.tes...no-answers.html

You have to understand that IMDISK is a driver for partition/drive/volume/filesystem/LogicalDrive AND NOT for DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK.

The image you produced has NO partitions, nor a MBR.

Use an appropriate tool/driver/method to create an image representing a whole hard disk. (i.e. something that you can map ad (hd0) and that actually has something like (hd0,0))

A few ways/things to read:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=3191
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9033
http://www.boot-land...showtopic=11857

Repetita juvant:
http://en.wikipedia....atin_phrases:_R
  • a partition/drive/volume/filesystem/LogicalDrive has a bootsector as first sector
  • a DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK has a MBR as first sector
  • (hd0) represents a DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK AND it needs to have a MBR as first sector
  • (hd0,0) represents FIRST partition/drive/volume/filesystem/LogicalDrive INSIDE the DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK


:)
Wonko

#16 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

YES. :) (probably :))
http://homepages.tes...no-answers.html

You have to understand that IMDISK is a driver for partition/drive/volume/filesystem/LogicalDrive AND NOT for DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK.

The image you produced has NO partitions, nor a MBR.


1) Then what about the diddy's guide regarding disk imaging:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9154

2) According to Grub4DOS wiki, if a partition image lacks in MBR information, the bootloader is smart enough to supply one of its own. So, it, shouldn't be a problem.

#17 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 12:25 PM

1) Then what about the diddy's guide regarding disk imaging:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9154

2) According to Grub4DOS wiki, if a partition image lacks in MBR information, the bootloader is smart enough to supply one of its own. So, it, shouldn't be a problem.


Good :), continue failing to boot because of your assumptions :), derived from taking bits and pieces out of context. :)

But when reading, try READING, and possibly ask yourself some questions AND answer them.

#1:
The link you posted is to the whole thread, I presume you are referring to this:
http://www.boot-land...?...c=9154&st=7

.....

* A disk image - download a selection of disk images (1 to 2GB in size) from http://diddy.boot-la...disk_images.zip

* Imdisk installed on your PE environment (or the Windows install used to copy your Windows XP files)

....


A question that you may ask yourself:
WHY would diddy provide some pre-fabricated disk images when IMDISK can create them from scratch? :)

Now, WHY the readme.txt inside the provided images would read :):

Disk images created using DD for Windows. Command syntax "dd bs=512 count=TOTAL_SECTORS if=/dev/zero of=IMAGE" used.
e.g. "dd bs=512 count=2104515 if=/dev/zero of=D:\1.0.ima"

MBR created and added to the image file using Jaclaz's mbrbatch.cmd


IMAGE C/H/S Values TOTAL_SECTORS MBRBATCH PARAMETERS
===== ============ ============= ===================
1.0.ima 131x255x63 2104515 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 2104452
1.1.ima 144x255x63 2313360 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 2313297
1.2.ima 157x255x63 2522205 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 2522142
1.3.ima 170x255x63 2731050 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 2730987
1.4.ima 183x255x63 2939895 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 2939872
1.5.ima 196x255x63 3148740 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 3148677
1.6.ima 209x255x63 3357585 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 3357522
1.7.ima 222x255x63 3566430 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 3566367
1.8.ima 235x255x63 3775275 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 3775212
1.9.ima 248x255x63 3984120 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 3984057
2.0.ima 261x255x63 4192965 mbrbatch.cmd edit mbr.bin 255/63 LBA 1 07 80 63 4192902

All sizes are in GB (e.g. 1.1.ima = 1.1GB)

Disks do not contain a disk signature

All have been formatted using (compressed) NTFS

Mount using IMDISK and copy XP source files (with firadisk driver installed) to the mounted image (e.g. use xcopy or
robocopy.exe)

.....


#2:

Auto MBR creation

To create virtual hard disk, you need an image file that resemble a real hard disk, which consist of MBR and partition data. If the image file only contains partition data, you need to patch it with MBR to create disk image. GRUB for DOS has taken this into consideration. When mapping disk image file, it will test the presence of MBR, if not found, it will create MBR automatically using the partition data. For example:
title Boot from hard disk image
map --mem (hd0,0)/aa.dsk (hd0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map --hook
chainloader (hd0,0)+1
rootnoverify (hd0,0)

aa.dsk can be either disk image or partition image, in the later case, GRUB for DOS will create the MBR in the air.


The MBR is created (out of and in ) thin air.
HOW is the NTLDR supposed to find it in second part of booting? :)

Read this only seemingly UNrelated thread:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21242

:)
Wonko

#18 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 03:44 PM

You have to understand that IMDISK is a driver for partition/drive/volume/filesystem/LogicalDrive AND NOT for DISK/HARD DISK/PHYSICALDRIVE/WHOLE DISK.

The image you produced has NO partitions, nor a MBR.

Use an appropriate tool/driver/method to create an image representing a whole hard disk. (i.e. something that you can map ad (hd0) and that actually has something like (hd0,0))

A few ways/things to read:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=3191
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9033
http://www.boot-land...showtopic=11857


According to ur guide, I made a RAW HDD image using CretaeRawImg(http://www.boot-land...?...=11857&st=0) & got rid off the initial error msg by Grub4DOS. referred to my original post :)

But still BSOD is there. (Referred to my original post. Any more ideas? :) I've ensured that the image is contiguous by running Contig. Can it happen for not deleting MOUNTEDDEVICE key in the original image? I haven't done that yet.

#19 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:04 PM

Can it happen for not deleting MOUNTEDDEVICE key in the original image? I haven't done that yet.


Why not? ;)

Try answering these questions:
  • WHERE have you read that you need to delete MOUNTEDDEVICE key? *
  • WHO wrote that?
  • WHY would someone put such a step in a tutorial if it was NOT needed?

* Actually:
it is NOT "MOUNTEDDEVICE" key, but rather CONTENTS (or VALUES inside) of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices key.

Try again the ALREADY given seemingly unrelated thread:

Read this only seemingly UNrelated thread:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21242

This time together with this one (ALSO seemingly unrelated :)):
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=19663

Do a few more pieces of the puzzle find their rightful place? :)

:)
Wonko

#20 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 06:10 PM

Why not? ;)

Try answering these questions:

  • WHERE have you read that you need to delete MOUNTEDDEVICE key? *
  • WHO wrote that?
  • WHY would someone put such a step in a tutorial if it was NOT needed?


I've renamed the above key of the image by loading it in the registry of the host OS. But still no luck. Any more suggestion?

#21 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 07:05 PM

I've renamed the above key of the image by loading it in the registry of the host OS.

Is this an answer to ANY of the three questions? ;)

WHERE have you read that you need to delete MOUNTEDDEVICE key? *
WHO wrote that?
WHY would someone put such a step in a tutorial if it was NOT needed?


But still no luck. Any more suggestion?

NO.
The fact that I managed to guess right the first time doesn't mean that I can do it always.... :)


The general plot (in this case):
  • Someone has a problem and asks for help
  • Someone else willing to help asks for details
  • OP (Original Poster) answers another thing, unrelated to the details asked
  • The willing helping member cannot further help

However I will try another guess, have you checked that the (now HD-like image) has a Disk Signature?

Remember that
"What is a Disk Signature?"
and
"How to check for a Disk Signature?"
are questions which answer is ALREADY provided in the given links (and the answers are not covered by the free spoon-.feeding vouchers :))

:)
Wonko

#22 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 12:18 AM

The fact that I managed to guess right the first time doesn't mean that I can do it always.... ;)


Actually, there are a couple of another awkward behaviour are shown by this modified image (CreateRawImg):

1) Though I got rid off the Grub4DOS error screen, it's displaying an error message for a fraction of second & then starts booting. I couldn't read the message even for once.

2) The simulation in VMware shows a boot screen with normal Windows logo, but the same on the real hardware shows a |||||| screen as BartPE does!!! :)

Any explanations?

#23 pscEx

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:45 AM

4) Created a blank Imdisk virtual drive(K:) and formatted it using NTFS file system woth compression enabled

Try to create the imdisk disk with 63 blocks offset
-b 63b

Peter

BTW: It is not necessary to have the driver installed in the (later) *.ima.
For the "boot by grub4dos" method you only need the ???.sys and one line in txtsetup.sif.
Have a look at PEFactory
[CreateRAMImage_WinVBlock]

Run,%ScriptFile%,CheckDriver,%pFileBox3%,WinVBlock_0.0.1.8.zip,bin\,wvblk32.sys

IniWriteTextLine,%VirtualWin%\TXTSETUP.SIF,SCSI.Load,wvblk32=wvblk32.sys#$c4


#24 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

Try to create the imdisk disk with 63 blocks offset

-b 63b

Will IMDISK create automagically a MBR? :)



BTW: It is not necessary to have the driver installed in the (later) *.ima.
For the "boot by grub4dos" method you only need the ???.sys and one line in txtsetup.sif.

I didn't know that TXTSETUP.SIF was read when booting a "Full" XP. :)

Hi everybody,

I've done the following steps:

1) I've created an XP VDI image installing it in Oracle VM VirtualBox
....


@Homes.Sherlock
#1
NEVER, and when I say NEVER, I do mean NEVER use a pre-fabricated menu.lst entry when experimenting.
Go to command line and enter commands one by one:
http://diddy.boot-la...iles/basics.htm
http://diddy.boot-la...s/files/cli.htm

#2
We are exiting the "normal" "please help me with this" approach and entering the "I know you are clairvoyant, I am doing a number of different things which I am reporting casually and partially and you can guess allright what I am doing". :)
Last time you were using VirtualBox, now you are using VMware and "real hardware".
HOW the heck are we supposed to read your mind and know what you are up to? :)

LAST :) attempt:
I have asked you three questions, would you be so kind to answer them? :)
Here they are numbered, so that you can reply to them with a reference.
  • WHERE have you read that you need to delete MOUNTEDDEVICE key? *
  • WHO wrote that?
  • WHY would someone put such a step in a tutorial if it was NOT needed?

As I see it there are two possibilities:
  • you are trying to replicate an existing tutorial/guide/whatever :)
  • you are inventing your own way to make a WinVblock based booting :)

If #1 please give me a link to the whatever you are following (in order to hopefully let me understand WHERE you are introducing the variation that prevents it to work)
if #2 please give me a COMPLETE list of references to where you took the bits and pieces to devise your own way AND a new, complete list of the steps you took (in order to hopefully let me understand WHERE the procedure is failing)

:)
Wonko

#25 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 01:38 PM

Try to create the imdisk disk with 63 blocks offset

-b 63b


What u r suggesting is d mistake I made first time. Read the entire thread & u'll understand.

BTW: It is not necessary to have the driver installed in the (later) *.ima.
For the "boot by grub4dos" method you only need the ???.sys and one line in txtsetup.sif.


Probably, u didn't get my intention. I want to boot a pre-installed XP from its image where txtsetup.sif is irrelevant.




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