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Booting w/ access to NTFS using DOS, PE, etc, from HDD...?


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#1 snowbear

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 12:51 AM

Hi Folks.
OK, my quest HAS yielded some good results, but it has been a
very long road and I see others here seem to have done similar
things, but frankly I cannot understand some of the instructions.

(And before anyone asks me what I have been asked so many
times already...why I would want to have DOS access anymore
at all:
DOS boots FAST, I can do what I need in a matter of seconds, and
sometimes I've had to reboot 3-4 times when something broke
before I had it fixed enough to get windows to even start.
Maybe newer is better for some folks, but I like to do what works
fast and easy with good results and for me DOS utils work fastest.)

Here's the original basis of my quest:
I have become very fond of win2kpro and quite used to it too.
Whenever there's any real problem I just boot to DOS - fix it, and I'm
back in shape in a VERY few minutes.
C: is 2GB/FAT16 and I have DOS right in the boot menu. Nice & easy.

But...I got some newer h/w that really wants eXPee - what with the
SATA and other stuff - it seems unavoidable.
(And of course there's no floppy drive in that system...)

But....but....eXPee no longer easily inhabits only 1.2GB like a full
win2k OS does - so my easy DOS access of the FAT16 partition is
the first (and likely worst) casualty.

So I am trying to get over my reluctance of using NTFS for my
system partition - and NO - FAT32 is not even an option I'll
consider for even a single second.

All I've been trying to get was a way to very quickly boot into an
environment with quick access to a file manager - like DOS/Xtree
have always been for me when using FAT16.

Anyhow, here's some of what I've done:
I've tried many suggestions and even relented and set up GRUB4DOS,
which I must say is a real pleasure to use; but little has proven to work.
(BTW - getting/adding/learning GRUB4DOS is so easy and fun as to
almost seem sinful !)

But GRUB4DOS refuses to boot any disk image but CIA Commander
for me.

I found a utility that makes a bootable floppy with NTFS4DOS Pro, and it
works well.
On a system with a floppy, that is.

I searched around for ways to get that onto the boot drive either as a boot
option of it's own, or as part of another DOS, and found a thing called
Vfloppy, which (when/if it works...) makes a PC boot from a floppy image.

Couple of problems though -> Vfloppy is written in Chinese, and after getting
it to set up the image, it does boot into NTFS4DOS from the hard disk - but
then it hangs before getting to the command prompt.

1st question:
Does anyone have a better way to get real DOS for an NTFS centered PC ?

The biggest problem seems to be that NTFS4DOS is having a fit from
new-ish hardware and it has problems with some drives - this is known,
but no fixes seem to be likely.
It now fails from GRUB4DOS and CD booting equally.
Either it gives an error message - or just sits there and does nothing
after it mounts and scrolls - even the customized version shared by
bootdisk.com mounts the drives and then just says 'invalid drive'
when I even try to get a DIR to work on anything.

I tried the SysrescueCD (Linux) and it can be started from HDD,
but it takes a long time to boot and only has the pukey midnight
commander for a file manager....>BARF<.

GRUB4DOS will mount and boot from an ISO of some CDs, but
it is fussy and that function is still too experimental.
It does a very good job of mounting and booting from floppy
images but I have only found ONE image that will work AND
that has good NTFS access, NTFS4DOS Pro barfs on SATA...

Like I said - I have been spoiled by the ease I've had.
(I'm still considering if I could get a W98 that boots from CD
and I'll add the free Paragon NTFS to it for the access I want,
and get that ISO to boot from the HDD...if it'd work.)

I've already run the gamut of being told I should use (and trust..)
system restore - but I already use RescueXP and a few others.

Trusting a windows OS to do it's own repairs seems to me alot like
trusting the hens to protect the henhouse - and all's well UNTIL a
fox. 'coon, or a large rodent comes along - then it's all over with.
(And saving huge snapshots made by it, for it's use seems about
like storing files I've deleted in the 'recycle bin' - just plain stupid.)

Finally, after much searching I was able to find a post by Bart and
that eventually lead me to the exact place I needed to be to get
BartPE running as an add-on OS from my boot partition;
Viola ! Fast, AND easy.
(But still NOT as fast as a quick DOS boot and using XtreeGold...)

So I now have a windows boot menu that has several entries -
normal boot, boot with an alternate kernel in case the black screen
error happens again, boot from BartPE on HDD, and boot from
GRUB4DOS, which has the normal entries as well as booting from
a floppy image on HDD of CIA Commander for DOS access to C:
or other partitions that just happen to be NTFS.

Of all the boot options I tried for easy/quick NTFS access on this
newer hardware - those are all that will work.

So finally I have enough boot options so I can fix it WHEN it fails,
BUT, here is question 2:

I see there is mention on this board of AeroStudio, AVLGO, GRUB4DOS,
ISOEmu and other stuff - but so much looks dated and I cannot find
where any of these would do exactly what I am looking for, for real;
What DOES work to make either a real-DOS or fast, HDD-based GUI
environment for file management on an NTFS-based system which
will not boot into windows and needs repairs ?

Thanks for any help !

snowbear

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 10:25 AM

I'll give you an even more outdated :cheers: (but still valid B)) advice:
There is NO NEED whatsoever to have a NT based system installed on First Active Primary partition.
No matter if this is the way most OEM install it, no matter if this is the way that apparently NT/2K/XP/2003 setup tries you to do the install, it is simply, plainly, less advisable than installing it on a logical volume inside extended.

Read these:
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=26185
http://www.msfn.org/...d-H-t85729.html
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=84411
http://www.msfn.org/...cal-t33964.html
http://www.boot-land...?...=5274&st=31

:cheers:

jaclaz

#3 snowbear

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 09:26 AM

Hi Jaclaz, and thanks.
After dilligently reading through the posts you suggested, I remember setting up
win2k in an extended partition before, and also that I once joined the XOSL yahoo
group - and wondered when I stopped getting updates...and now I know. It died !
Given that it stopped in 2001 I wonder how/if it recognizes XP ?

So, yes:

2) If you want a REAL recovery partition, i.e. that is normally HIDDEN, you need to find a way to HIDE/UNHIDE it at will, which means that you need a 3rd party bootmanager.
I do recommend you XOSL,


Here is where I stand - I have XP basically all set up as I want it, and that took a
good bit of time, so since I don't want to do that all again and cannot narrow any
search well enough to see if there's a way to do it...

Is there a way to simply 'move' an already done installation of XP from primary/active
C: to an extended/logical partition ?


I have many partitioning tools which will do the actual changes, but what concerns me
is the method to get a bootmanager onto the 'new', smaller, FAT16 primary, hide it,
and getting the 'moved' XP to boot and not see the primary while running ?


If this strategy will require a total re-installation of XP then I will just wait for another
time and stick with the recovery options I have right now rather than starting all
over again !

Best Regards.

snowbear

#4 was_jaclaz

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 10:04 AM

Is there a way to simply 'move' an already done installation of XP from primary/active
C: to an extended/logical partition ?


NO.

It is possible, but NOT simple, and VERY prone to errors.

But I got that you were planning about new hardware, meaning a new PC, you were talking about adding hardware to your current one then? :cheers:

However the point I was trying to make was a bit different:
1) keep first smallish primary FAT16 partition with DOS
2) have on it DOS and Win2k in dual boot
3) add a new XP install in a NTFS logical volume inside extended in triple booting
4) your new install of XP will "import" drive lettering you currently have in Win2K, UNLESS you "hide" the win2k install on the FAT16 partition while installing, in which case it will get C:\

Now it's a choice:
I prefer to have all drives having the same lettering whatever OS i'm booted into, so I would (as I normally do) leave the FAT16 as C: and have XP on D:, E., F: or whatever (I personally use G:\)
You may want to have FAT16 seen as C: by DOS and win2k and NTFS seen as, say, G: and have NTFS seen as C: and FAT16 seen as, say G: by XP.

There is no need whatsoever to hide anything.

If you want to go the "recovery partition way", I suggest you the Terabyte newish MBR:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=6830

But I cannot stress enough that DOS was NOT designed for a HD with more than one primary partition visible, though problems that may arise are not known, I find it risky.

AFAIK the good ol' XOSL, of which there is a newish version:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=1106
is however still working allright, but you will need to install it in a "dedicated" partition, which subtracts one of the four main partition entries in the MBR.

jaclaz

#5 mr_

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 05:50 PM

Here are two links about NTFS and SATA under DOS.
http://www.unet.univ...php?n=Main.NTFS
http://www.unet.univ...=Main.HardDisks

Like already said, there is NO problem to multi boot DOS and Windows (any). DOS just needs some primary partition with an compatible filesystem, I am using FreeDOS and had no problems with non-frist partitions and FAT32 (filesystem created by Windows).

More over NT-based Windows has no problems to boot from a non-first partition, if you are installing it just hide all other partitions and mark the one you want to install to as visible and active.

grub4dos floppy image and cdrom iso emulation may be declared as experimental, but I never had problems when booting DOS-based images.

You can also look at booting DOS from USB and using IDE Emulation for SATA and look if this can work for you.
http://www.unet.univ....php?n=Main.USB

There are so many options. :cheers:

#6 smallhagrid

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 03:37 AM

Great thread and ideas, and very interesting to me.
Seems to me there may be some language-based or word-based misunderstanding here.

Could it be the idea that if a system had a hidden/primary fat16 partition for booting
and recovery, and windows in a logical/extended partition which would still be seen as
C:, that such a move would work fine ?
As long as the system partition could be converted to a logical partition (easy with a
good utility like Paragon, for instance), and the boot info put into the new primary but
pointing to the logical - then it would seem the only problem would be to boot from,
and then hide the fat16 partition.

I don't see any big deal with having just one primary/active as boot/DOS/recovery
and all the rest of whatever in extended.
(BTW - I re-read this post a couple of times trying to figure it out, and it looks like
the OP is describing just a dual-boot system with XP and DOS to replace his old
system of win2k and DOS...but I may have read it wrong too ?)

One of the replies above also leads to a page which mentions booting a RAM-disk
based image of DOS with NTFS drivers, and that sounds very interesting to me.

Has anyone done or tried any of this stuff ?
I'd love to give it a whack if anyone has any info about it to share ?

#7 was_jaclaz

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:49 AM

As long as the system partition could be converted to a logical partition (easy with a
good utility like Paragon, for instance), and the boot info put into the new primary but
pointing to the logical - then it would seem the only problem would be to boot from,
and then hide the fat16 partition.

Hmmm. :cheers:
Why NOT converting it at all?
http://www.boot-land...?...c=2777&st=3
http://www.boot-land...opic=3287&st=50
B)


Has anyone done or tried any of this stuff ?

YES.
http://homepages.tes...no-answers.html
:cheers:

I'd love to give it a whack if anyone has any info about it to share ?

Start a new thread with your questions/requirements and we'll talk about it.....:cheers:

jaclaz

#8 snowbear

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 06:41 AM

Hi again Folks and thanks for the replies and info.
Sadly my internet time is always very limited and right now I'm have a demanding
time with my work, so this experiment has become less of a priority until I have a
bit of free time again and can get on the internet some more...but until then here's
what I think I'll try next when I have the time:
I've got an old hard drive and can easily make images of all my pertitions, so I'll
make them, and then create the structures I want on that test drive along with the
different suggestions, allowing me to keep my existing and good running setup in
it's current shape until I discover the final answer to my query through all the info
here and posted elsewhere.
My greatest worry was that I might mess what I have up badly trying this, but now
that I remembered I have that drive I can use, it's no biggie to beat up on this idea
until it is hammered into a shape I am comfortable with.
I'll post more once I have time to continue.

Thanks, and Best Regards.

snowbear

#9 was_jaclaz

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:35 AM

My greatest worry was that I might mess what I have up badly trying this, but now
that I remembered I have that drive I can use, it's no biggie to beat up on this idea
until it is hammered into a shape I am comfortable with.


Right attitude! :cheers:

Let us know how it goes with your experiments.

B)

jaclaz

#10 snowbear

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:36 AM

Hi and thanks again Jaclaz.
Just had a minute to peek at my email and here and I'm off again for a while.
So far all I've had time to do is to get the data onto the old HDD and boot it
a few times.
I am slightly disappointed because things that worked from the SATA drive
(being used as PATA...) do not work from the older IDE drive, so for instance
it does not boot into BartPE where the other drive does, almost instantly.
Other stuff works differently too, but I am still happy because I have the best
solution partially in-hand and even changed the kernel so I have a boot image
that isn't an advertisement !
I'll post more as soon as I can.

Thanks, and Best Regards.

snowbear

#11 snowbear

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 01:08 AM

Well, thanks to the great info I've gotten here I have a working thing like I wanted.
The other poster who asked about this was really key in my success, so my thanks
must go to many people here at Boot Land now I think. Thank You All !

The post that tipped the scales for me is here:
http&#58;//www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=6893&hl=

I am most grateful for the time saved in trying to find a bootmanager that will do
this thing, my biggest problem has been a lack of time and that suggestion saved
me LOTS of time and tinkering which was going to take me forever to do in just
my spare time only.

And I had to do it a bit differently because I just couldn't get FreeDOS to keep
working - seems like a real POS, actually, and I had to buy System Commander
but was able to find a great deal on a new, boxed copy of V9 online.

As mentioned in that other post - I ended up with 2 primary partitions - a FAT16
with System Commander, DrDOS 7.03, MicroXP (which is very easy to find on
the wide open 'net), NTFSPro (also easy to find), BartPE, and the 2nd primary
with NTFS and XP Pro SP2.

The trick I found is to do the OS installs through System Commander and with it's
help and guidance - it is a very smart program I think.
DrDos installed very easily and when it boots I now use a batch file to load NTFSPro
and it all gets along beautifully.
I think it is great to be able to have all these helpful options to multiboot from
and still have them fit into a fully accessible 2GB FAT16 space with plenty of room
to spare - and good old DOS is still the fastest thing in the world for fixing stuff !

Thanks, and Best Regards.

snowbear

#12 mr_

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:49 AM

A bit late now... I haven't remembered this thread before you posted again.

Anyway, the following may interest you, it's about DOS booting from NTFS, nothing new but... http://grub4dos.sour...i/index.php/DOS

Did you read http://www.unet.univ...php?n=Main.NTFS ? There are 3 different "full" NTFS drivers and one NTFS reader application.

#13 snowbear

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:56 AM

Wow. This:
http&#58;//grub4dos.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/DOS_on_NTFS

Is just (holy krap !) confusing. Here's part of it....

The clue is that you install DOS which is not able to boot from NTFS directly to a NTFS partition without the need to change partitions, it will result in a fully appropriable DOS with permanent and full read and write access.

First you need to create raw image what this is and how to do so is described in the article raw image format. (dd if=/dev/zero of=c:\FreeDOS.img count=2000000) To prevent into the error "Error 60: File for drive emulation must be in one contiguous disk area" read http://diddy.boot-la...s/files/map.htm and use contig or wincontig before you use the image the first time. The raw image will be called FreeDOS.img in this tutorial and placed at C:\FreeDOS.img.

You can either install DOS to this image using a virtual machine supporting the raw image format (such as Qemu or Bochs) or you can install directly to this image on bare metal using grub4dos's device emulation features.


Totally lost me - just makes my head hurt trying to get that idea into it.
I found freedos to be excessively troublesome and their community to be,
well - impossible to find - it broke and I had no way to ask how to fix it.
DrDOS 7.03 on the other hand works like DOS always did, and has been
no trouble.
Given that all the tools in that tute are free - I might try adding that if
someone has made the fancy image and shares it - but installing freedos
AGAIN ? I did that too many times already and it just broke each time.

And just FYI, If you look carefully at these:

Filesystem drivers for DOS

1. 2.1 Paragon Mount Everything (also known as IFSDRV)
2. 2.2 Avira NTFS4DOS Personal
3. 2.3 SysInternals NTFS4DOS
4. 2.4 Active@ NTFS Reader DOS


They are all either read only/not free/no longer sold or available.
BUT - a clever person can easily find NTFS4DOS pro on the internet, and I have !

Thanks for the added info and for your time sharing it !

snowbear

#14 was_jaclaz

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:47 AM

And just FYI, If you look carefully at these:

1. 2.1 Paragon Mount Everything (also known as IFSDRV)
2. 2.2 Avira NTFS4DOS Personal
3. 2.3 SysInternals NTFS4DOS
4. 2.4 Active@ NTFS Reader DOS



They are all either read only/not free/no longer sold or available.
BUT - a clever person can easily find NTFS4DOS pro on the internet, and I have !

Thanks for the added info and for your time sharing it !

snowbear

Well, NO. :good:

You have a strange concept of the words "carefully" and "clever".

If you look carefully here:
http://www.free-av.c...s_personal.html
you find this allright:
Avira NTFS4DOS Personal

You are NOT clever by finding an unlicensed copy of a more carefully named Winternals/Sysinternals NTFSDOS PRO (There NEVER existed a "NTFS4DOS pro"), the file is reported as being Freeware on Softpedia:
http://www.softpedia...fessional.shtml

Paragon Mount Everything, as well as Active@ NTFS Reader DOS are commercial programs, they've always been like that.

Form where did you copy the snippet? ^_^

jaclaz

#15 mr_

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 11:38 AM

Totally lost me - just makes my head hurt trying to get that idea into it.
I found freedos to be excessively troublesome and their community to be,
well - impossible to find - it broke and I had no way to ask how to fix it.
DrDOS 7.03 on the other hand works like DOS always did, and has been
no trouble.
Given that all the tools in that tute are free - I might try adding that if
someone has made the fancy image and shares it - but installing freedos
AGAIN ? I did that too many times already and it just broke each time.

Like I state there, these instructions can be ported to any version of Windows (FAT, FAT32, NTFS) and any version Linux (ext2/3/4) and it will probable work for any DOS Version (MS-DOS, DR-DOS, etc.). FreeDOS is my favourite choice but grub4dos is in no way limited to it.

If it's confusing or you have questions you can ask.

Form where did you copy the snippet? :good:

http://www.unet.univ...php?n=Main.NTFS

#16 was_jaclaz

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 05:55 PM

http://www.unet.univ...php?n=Main.NTFS


Seriously outdated/incorrect information in it, then. :good:

I too have to correct however my statement ^_^:

Paragon Mount Everything, as well as Active@ NTFS Reader DOS are commercial programs, they've always been like that.


Active@ NTFS Reader for DOS is/was freeware as it can be found through The Wayback Machine:
http://web.archive.o...om/products.htm
http://web.archive.o...om/products.htm

The NTFS Reader has been "inglobated" in the DOS version of the utilities and it is still Free:
http://www.ntfs.com/boot-disk-dos.htm


jaclaz

#17 mr_

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:03 PM

Seriously outdated/incorrect information in it, then. :good:

What is outdated/incorrect?

#18 was_jaclaz

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:28 PM

What is outdated/incorrect?


What I already stated.

WRONG name of the App it is/was NTFSDOS NOT NTFS4DOS.

WRONG name of the firms: Winternals/Sysinternals.

WRONG representation of the history of the firms:

SysInternals has been bought and renamed to WinInternals by Microsoft


The "read only" version was from Sysinternals, and it's available on half the Internet, here is a mirror of the old pages before MS bought it:
http://doc.sch130.ns...e/NTFSDOS.shtml
http://doc.sch130.ns...tfsdospro.shtml

The PRO version was by the "pro" division of Sysinternals, Winternals, that was ALSO bought by MS:
http://www.microsoft...winternals.mspx

Here is a snapshot of the old page:
http://web.archive.o.../ntfsdospro.asp

( I hope they knew how to spell the name of their firm :good:)

http://redmondmag.co...itorialsid=7621

Whether a download from Softpedia is "official" or not is of course highly debatable.....^_^

jaclaz

#19 mr_

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 07:09 PM

Just minor details where wrong.

What's outdated?

And this is what I understand under official download:

Official download = for proprietary software, the holder of the intellectual property, this means if it could be still found at Winternals I would say that's official.

Official download = for Free Software, the people who originally developed the application and provided a download. Everything else is just a mirror (legal), except for a fork then it's the official download for the fork.

#20 was_jaclaz

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 07:46 PM

OK, everything is perfect and accurate, then, exception made for a few trifling details, i.e. the name of the app, the name of the holder of it's intellectual property, and the history of that company.

:good:

jaclaz

#21 was_jaclaz

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 05:22 PM

Seemingly (but not much :good:) unrelated:
NTFS support in Win 9x/Me, Freeware for personal use:
http://www.paragon-s...ome/ntfs-win98/

jaclaz




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