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Mounting Disk Images in Windows


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#1 sambul61

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 04:13 PM

Can someone suggest disk image drivers & utilities that can mount various disk image types in Windows such a way so they are visible as drives & partitions in Windows Disk Management and hence also in various drive backup software packages, and can be normally manipulated similar to physical drives & partitions using that Windows applet.

#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 04:28 PM

Can someone suggest disk image drivers & utilities that can mount various disk image types in Windows such a way so they are visible as drives & partitions in Windows Disk Management and also in various drive backup software packages, and can be normally manipulated similar to physical drives & partitions using that Windows applet.


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

MS's own VSS:
http://reboot.pro/6492/


Find yourself if other listed drivers do behave as you would like:
http://reboot.pro/1507/

A likely candidate is the driver that comes with Total Mounter.

Of course "various disk image types" and "various drive backup software packages" is a bit vague.... :hi:

:hyper:
Wonko

#3 sambul61

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:05 PM

Thanks. None of the above links seems to provide a workable solution. Other relevant suggestions?

Btw, can you suggest any thread that clarifies differences btw various popular HD Image formats frequently discussed on this forum?

#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:22 PM

Thanks.

You are welcome.

None of the above links seems to provide a workable solution. Other relevant suggestions?

Not from me, sorry. ;)
(if we are talking of Windows 7 64 bit as it seems from your other post)

Btw, can you suggest any thread that clarifies differences btw various popular HD Image formats frequently discussed on this forum?

Can you clarify "various" and "popular" in this context (and also "frequently")?

There are two main HD image "formats" both RAW, a "full disk" one and a "Volume" or "partition" one.
Then there are the various formats used by different VM's, .vmdk and the like for VMware, .vhd for Virtual PC, .vdi for VirtualBox.
Then there is the "Embedded" .sdi format.

Maybe you mean a thread like this one :hi::
http://reboot.pro/2220/

Some specific info on VMware formats is here:
http://sanbarrow.com/vmdk.html
http://www.sanbarrow.../disktypes.html

It is a pretty "wide" kind of request, maybe, if you can narrow it a bit you will get more useful replies.


;)
Wonko

#5 sambul61

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:31 PM

As an example, would be nice to have some clarity what's the difference btw .raw and .img Hard Drive image formats, and when one is preferable to another. Similar comparison would be interesting to see for other HD image formats, including a Cross-Feature Table of Image Mount Utilities and Drivers discussed on this forum.

#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 08:26 PM

As an example, would be nice to have some clarity what's the difference btw .raw and .img Hard Drive image formats, and when one is preferable to another. Similar comparison would be interesting to see for other HD image formats, including a Cross-Feature Table of Image Mount Utilities and Drivers discussed on this forum.

.img is just an extension.
.raw and img and .ima files are usually RAW ones.

As always you are welcome to try a few drivers and provide a cross-comparison. :smiling9:

A lot of things would be nice, I mean a man can dream :ph34r:, but you asked about existing threads ...

Sorry if what you want is not readily available. :thumbup:

:cheers:
Wonko

#7 sambul61

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 11:16 PM

Why did the need arise to have several extensions pointing to the same HD/FD RAW image format? In what cases some of the above extensions are preferred to others?

If a HD image file doesn't have an extension or presumably has the wrong extension, is there a simple way to determine its actual format?

#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 12:08 PM

Why did the need arise to have several extensions pointing to the same HD/FD RAW image format? In what cases some of the above extensions are preferred to others?

Actually the *need* is NOT a *need*, it is simply and actually a lack of *standard* or worldwide accepted convention:
  • .ima was used first AFAICR/AFAIK by Gilles Vollant and by his Winimage
  • .img was probably then used to differentiate from the above
this is the "convention" I personally use, but a lot of people use different ones, as an example Qemu Manager uses .img instead of .ima and .RAW instead of .img.

If a HD image file doesn't have an extension or presumably has the wrong extension, is there a simple way to determine its actual format?

Sure, by looking at it's contents.
Had you actually read the given thread:
http://reboot.pro/2220/
you might have also read this:
http://reboot.pro/2220/page__st__3

Basically, it is very easy to determine where the "real" RAW image starts, with the help of gsar or similar search utility, as long as the image has been formatted.

Both MBR and bootsectors have the "magic signature" 55AA as LAST two bytes.

Microsoft DOS 6.22 MBR starts with FA33C0
Microsoft's Win9.x/ME/Win2k/XP/2003 MBR starts with 33C08E

FAT 12/16 bootrecord starts with EB3C90
FAT 32 bootrecord starts with EB5890
NTFS bootrecord starts with EB5290

which gives a good hint to a method for most common MBR's and filesystems.

If talking of RAW images, check first sector of the file, if it is a MBR, it is a partitioned image (HD-like) if it is a bootsector it is a single partition/volume image (floppy or superfloppy).

Of course different filesystems and different MBR's do have different codes, but the "magic bytes" 55AA are an actual standard, and then looking at the data in the partition table area it is quite easy to see if it's actual partition data or some "random" bytes.

You may want to try using Tiny Hexer with my Structure viewers:
http://reboot.pro/8734/
(and yes, before you say anything about them, they are NOT "polished", nor "refined" and not even "finished" :thumbsup: )

GPT drives are of course different, but they are not yet very common.

:smiling9:
Wonko

#9 agni

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:09 PM

Read Firadisk
http://reboot.pro/8804/
http://reboot.pro/88...709#entry101709
http://reboot.pro/88...349#entry102349
http://reboot.pro/88...765#entry102765

How to create/mount raw disk image with FiraDisk 0.0.1.12 (updated 2009-09-30)
Not very convenient though.

* Create/Mount image with firadisk 0.0.1.12
1.1 Set FiraDisk StartOptions
In registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FiraDisk,
create value StartOptions type REG_SZ
data "disk,vmem=image-file-path,size=size-in-bytes" for creating new image file, or openning existing image file
or "disk,vmem=image-file-path" for openning existing image file

reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FiraDisk /v StartOptions /t REG_SZ /d "disk,vmem=H:\image1.img,size=1052835840"

1.2 Disable and re-enable FiraDisk Virtual Disk Enumerator device in Device Manager or devcon.

devcon disable root\firadisk
devcon enable root\firadisk

1.3 Delete value StartOptions from key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FiraDisk
to prevent FiraDisk from auto-mount image file after restart.

reg delete HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FiraDisk /v StartOptions


* For new disk image
Open Disk Management, Initialize disk, Create partition, format, mark as active.
* Do whatever you want with the image.
Clone Windows to image, add or repalce files, modify registry hive.
* When you finished your work in image, disable FiraDisk Virtual Disk Enumerator in Device Manager or devcon.

devcon disable root\firadisk


Read the above links.You can also mount raw img files from boot.ini.

#10 sambul61

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:35 PM

If .ima, .img, .raw extensions can be used interchangeable at will with the same HD image file, does Grub4DOS pay any attention to an image extension at booting the image? Or it selects the right boot routing based on other criteria - which ones?

What about other image drivers like ImDisk, FiraDisk, etc. - do they apply a different mount approach depending on image file extension, or they in fact try to verify at mounting the file if the extension corresponds the file content?

#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:49 PM

If .ima, .img, .raw extensions can be used interchangeable at will with the same HD image file, does Grub4DOS pay any attention to an image extension at booting the image? Or it selects the right boot routing based on other criteria - which ones?

grub4dos does NOT care about extension.
When you map the image it analyzes it (basing also at what it is mapped to) i.e. a floppy, HD or CD device.
AND it can recognize gzipped images.

What about other image drivers like ImDisk, FiraDisk, etc. - do they apply a different mount approach depending on image file extension, or they in fact try to verify at mounting the file if the extension corresponds the file content?

It depends, each driver may have a different approach.

Really, why don't you search, read and study (and experiment) a bit before asking questions that already have answers? :thumbsup:

Particularly, for IMDISK, this feature was NOT available originally and was added later, thus it is documented explicitly:
http://reboot.pro/forum/59/
http://reboot.pro/2072/
http://reboot.pro/2072/page__st__8
http://reboot.pro/2072/page__st__20
and:
http://reboot.pro/2148/
http://reboot.pro/2148/page__st__20

:smiling9:
Wonko

#12 sambul61

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 05:26 PM

Thanks for the info, and especially for the search hint. :thumbsup:

#13 sambul61

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:53 AM

MS said that Volume Shadow Copy Service tools are now part of Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7. Anyone tried to install it? Is there Virtual Storage Driver 64-bit included with it similar to this one? Hope it allows to see mounted virtual drives in Disk Management Applet and work with them using Drive Format & Backup Utilities.

P.S. Yes, its included. Interesting what image types it can mount? But Help says they are visible in Disk Manager, since it acts as "hardware provider" (including a virtual controller) rather than merely a driver.




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