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Problem with booting cloned XP from a HDD (SOLVED!)


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#1 Markec

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:59 AM

Hello everybody!

I need help. Recently I bought a netbook (Lenovo S10e) and it has 4GB SSD (soldered on PCB, I think) and 160GB HDD. Win XP SP3 was installed on SSD, while the HDD was completely empty and unformatted. I also got two recovery DVDs, so I suppose there was no recovery partition on HDD. SSD performance is poor and XP was running out of space, so I decided to clone SSD to first primary partition on HDD (10GB, NTFS). I used a program called DrvClonerXP. Cloning went fine, I made that partition active under Disk Manangement, but when I reboot and exclude SSD from boot order in BIOS, it won't boot, I just get blank screen with blinking cursor in the upper left corner. I modified boot.ini on both disks:
[boot loader]

 timeout=30

 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS

 [operating systems]

 multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="SSD" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

 multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="HD 1.partition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

 C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Recovery Console" /cmdcons
If I bring back SSD to the boot sequence in BIOS (SSD has to be before HDD), then I get to the boot menu above, and I can boot to both installations without any problems. I also installed Recovery Console, but I can't get into it because of "missing or corrupted hal.dll" error.
I also tested booting with bootable USB stick (with NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and similar BOOT.INI on it) and booted without problems.

I read about "blank screen with cursor" problem and found it was due to corrupted (some or all of):
  • MBR
  • partition table
  • boot sector code
  • NTLDR file

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314503


The netbook does not have an optical drive, so I made bootable USB stick with my old XP SP1 cd. Then I used Recovery Console from it and tried to fix HDD installation with FIXMBR and FIXBOOT command, but it didn't help.
I also tried to fix the MBR with free programs like MBRFIX, MBRWiz...
I tried fixing the boot sector of the partition with bcupdate2.exe, bootsect.exe...
No luck, it just won't boot from HDD independently... ;)

I don't think there is a problem with partition table because all partitions are accesible and visible from Disk Management. ;)

NTLDR file is in the root of the HDD partition and is the same as on SSD (I copied it again just to be sure). :)

What is the goal?
I would like to be able to format the SSD and use it as pagefile or storage, but I can't remove it from the boot order.

Is there a way to make HDD installation independent from SSD?

I heard about grub4dos, but I would like to avoid it, if possible. Reinstallation would be pain in the a** because I don't have an external optical drive (besides I think that recovery DVDs would just restore everything on SSD, like from the factory). :)

Please help!

#2 Sonny

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 12:39 PM

Just guessing, but it may be a customized install specific to the SSD card (Possibly a custom boot file)
You might try to do a clean install to the HD using your old XP SP1 cd, then upgrade to sp3.
This may or may not work, but I don't see why it wouldn't.
Caution You may have to manually install some of the drivers (since the custom install likely includes some that are not in the oem installation).

Good Luck
Sonny

Edit: Sorry, I posted the noticed:

Reinstallation would be pain in the a** because I don't have an external optical drive

Copy the entire contents of the install cd to the hard drive (into a directory of your choice - I use c:\install) Run the install from there, afterward you can delete the install files/directory.

#3 ilko

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:31 PM

Was the hard disk partitioned in advance? Using what tool?
Is there vital data on it?

I've seen similar issue when deploying image of partition with number of programs- Acronis TI, Norton Ghost etc.
I some cases another deploy of the image solved the problem.
In other cases deleting all partitions and recreating them using GParted or even Disk management console, then redeploying the image helped.

In latter case I'd assume there was wrong partition table in MBR. Fixmbr command does not touch that part of MBR.

If Jaclaz is reading this topic he might help you find out if that's the case.

I also installed Recovery Console, but I can't get into it because of "missing or corrupted hal.dll" error.

Where to, hdd or ssd?

#4 was_jaclaz

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:33 PM

I read about "blank screen with cursor" problem and found it was due to corrupted (some or all of):

  • MBR
  • partition table
  • boot sector code
  • NTLDR file

RIGHT. ;)

I heard about grub4dos, but I would like to avoid it, if possible.


WRONG. ;)

Maybe we can make a deal :):
you follow my advice to use grub4dos to find what the problem is, and once it is found and solved, you follow my advice to remove it. :)

DrvClonerXP is a rather old program, discontinued, though still available on Softpedia:
http://www.softpedia...vClonerXP.shtml
that did have some problems, but in this case I don't think it is it's fault.

You cannot have at any time two hard disks with the same MBR signature, and I mean at ANY time, on the same system.

It is possible, probably when you rebooted to the SSD card, that the signature on second hard disk which was cloned went beserk or something however connected with it.

Also it is possible that disk geometry or start sector are different, you cannot just clone the drive.

I suspect that when you have the SSD in the boot sequence you do not actually boot to the two different systems, but rather to the same one, once directly and once through ( in this case unwantingly) a rather smart mechanism, similar to the "XP Kansas City Shuffle" or "Fake Signature" method.

Try booting to the system on SSD.
Change a system setting (like the desktop background image).
Try rebooting to the "second" system on HD.

Has the background changed as well?

If yes, and much to your relief :angry:, you won't need grub4dos to solve the problem.

Be aware that fixing this won't be exactly easy/straightforward.

:cheers:

jaclaz

#5 Markec

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 08:40 AM

Thank you for quick replies! ;)

@ Ilko:

Was the hard disk partitioned in advance? Using what tool?
Is there vital data on it?


I partitioned and formatted disk using Disk Management.
I made two primary partitions (10GB and 38GB) and extended partition with two logical drives. All NTFS. No particularly vital data, 10GB is the cloned XP installation and 38GB are installed programs.

Where to, hdd or ssd?


To SSD and it didn't work, so I tried on HDD also unsuccesfully (there are \cmdcons directories in the root of SSD and HDD 1.partition). I have to emphasize that both installations use the same boot.ini file which is located in the root of SSD (I tried to change that in the registry of HDD installation, but it reverts after each reboot: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Bootdir). I suppose this is logical since booting is possible only through SSD. ;)

@ jaclaz:

WRONG. :)

Maybe we can make a deal :angry: :
you follow my advice to use grub4dos to find what the problem is, and once it is found and solved, you follow my advice to remove it.

I have nothing against grub4dos, in fact my experience with it is negligible, I read somewhere that it is a way around and I thought there should be a nice shortcut to the solution of my problem (and I just can't see it)... :cheers:
So, if it will help to solve my problem, welcome grub4dos!

Also it is possible that disk geometry or start sector are different, you cannot just clone the drive.

Are you saying that when I cloned the SSD (whole drive), everything was cloned to HDD 1. partition, including the MBR? So now partition holds the MBR of SSD instead of its own volume boot record? :cheers: Uh!

Has the background changed as well?

Unfortunately :( , wallpaper has not changed.

Be aware that fixing this won't be exactly easy/straightforward.

...and listen to me, babbling about easy shortcuts! :angry:

I'm a newbie in booting business, please be patient with me, tnx for helping... :angry: :)

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 10:44 AM

OK.

No prob though.

Let's see if we can make a few checks.

We need to check some data in the MBR of the two drives (from now on SSD and HD) and in the two OS (from now on SS_DOS and HD_OS).

I presume you are at least basically familiar with a console window or command line prompt? ;)

Get MBRFIX from here:
http://www.sysint.no...ting/mbrfix.htm
http://www.sysint.no...US/Default.aspx

Unzip it in a new folder on the SSD, say C:\MBRFIX

Open a command prompt.

Type in it:

CD C:\MBRFIX

and press [ENTER]

You should have changed current directory from whatever it was when you opened command prompt to C:\MBRFIX
now type:

MbrFix /drive 0 driveinfo

and press [ENTER]

MbrFix /drive 1 driveinfo

and press [ENTER]

MbrFix /drive 0 readsignature

and press [ENTER]

MbrFix /drive 1 readsignature

and press [ENTER]

Post output of the above commands.

Start Regedit.

Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive.
Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
Check keys \DosDevices\C: and \DosDevices\D:
Post their values.
Example:
\DosDevices\C: = 1c ae 1c ae 00 7e 00 00 00 00 00 00
\DosDevices\D: = 59 bc 59 bc 00 7e 00 00 00 00 00 00

(C:\ should be the SSD and D:\ should be the HD)

Now get this app RAWREG:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4684
http://nunobrito.eu/...oad.php?view.10
Put it in the same C:\MBRFIX folder.
Rename it from RawReg.exe_1.1 to RawReg.exe.

Navigate to the system file on your HD, most probably D:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system and open it.

Check keys $$$PROTO.HIV\MountedDevices\DosDevices\C: and $$$PROTO.HIV\MountedDevices\DosDevices\D:
Post their values.

;)

jaclaz

#7 Markec

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 12:46 PM

Command line prompt is not a problem, but tnx for cautious approach! ;)

Here we go!

MbrFix /drive 0 driveinfo

Drive 0
Cylinders = 977
Tracks (heads) per cylinder = 128
Sectors per track = 63
Bytes per sector = 512
Disk size = 4033806336 (Bytes) = 3 (GB)


MbrFix /drive 1 driveinfo

Drive 1
Cylinders = 19457
Tracks (heads) per cylinder = 255
Sectors per track = 63
Bytes per sector = 512
Disk size = 160039272960 (Bytes) = 149 (GB)


MbrFix /drive 0 readsignature

D4890DC3


MbrFix /drive 1 readsignature

9CE4F97B


I opened Regedit from SSD_OS:
\DosDevices\C: = c3 0d 89 d4 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00
\DosDevices\G: = 7b f9 e4 9c 00 7e 00 00 00 00 00 00

Here SSD is C:\ and HD is G:\

And now RawReg with G:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system:
\DosDevices\C: = 7B F9 E4 9C 00 7E 00 00 00 00 00 00 E8 FF FF FF
\DosDevices\G: = C3 0D 89 D4 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 D8 FF FF FF

The signatures are swapped because I renamed the keys in registry so that when I boot to SSD_OS:
C:\ ---> SSD
G:\ ---> HD 1. partition

and when I boot to HD_OS:
C:\ ---> HD 1. partition
G:\ ---> SSD

That way C:\ is always pointing to my current system partition. Other partitions have same letters in SSD_OS and HD_OS.

I had renamed those keys before I even found out that http://www.boot-land.net exists, so don't be mad if I did something wrong! :)

Thanks! ;)

Markec

#8 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 04:15 PM

MbrFix /drive 0 driveinfo

Tracks (heads) per cylinder = 128


MbrFix /drive 1 driveinfo

Tracks (heads) per cylinder = 255


I opened Regedit from SSD_OS:
\DosDevices\C: = c3 0d 89 d4 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00
\DosDevices\G: = 7b f9 e4 9c 00 7e 00 00 00 00 00 00


The signatures are swapped because I renamed the keys in registry so that when I boot to SSD_OS:

That way C:\ is always pointing to my current system partition. Other partitions have same letters in SSD_OS and HD_OS.

I had renamed those keys before I even found out that http://www.boot-land.net exists, so don't be mad if I did something wrong! ;)


The idea is right, the actual implementation of it may be not. ;)

Basically you cloned a system which has it's bootsector starting at 00010000 Hex (65536) to one that has a bootsector starting at 00007e00 Hex (32256).

Is the bootsector placed where the partition table and the Registry entry say?
Does the partition table on HD has the right partition data?
Do registry entries on BOTH OS have the right addresses?
Does the bootsector on HD have the right addresses?

Provided that the answer to ALL the above question is yes (which is to be verified :)), let's see if this is an accurate enough description of what happens when you boot from SSD:
if you choose first item NTLDR starts and begins loading files from "DOS" C:\ (i.e. first active partition on FIRST hard disk) drive, i.e. :

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

then the NT OS checks in the Registry on SSD the MBR signature and assigns the drive partition on SSD the letter C:\ and continues booting happily. :)

if you choose second item NTLDR starts and begins loading files from "DOS" D:\ (i.e. first active partition on SECOND hard disk) drive, i.e. :

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

then the NT OS checks in the Registry on HD the MBR signature and assigns the drive partition on HD the letter G:\ and continues booting happily, BECAUSE ALL THE OTHER LINKS IN THE REGISTRY POINTING TO C:\something ARE ACTUALLY VALID, but they are actually accessing files on the SSD, NOT those on HD as they should :angry:

When you boot from HD (with SSD disabled in BIOS), the MBR or bootsector contains invalid data and you get stuck to a blank screen.

Further check needed to answer above questions:

Get HDhacker:
http://dimio.altervi.../eng/index.html

And use it to save:
  • MBR of SSD (Physicaldrive0) - 1 sector
  • MBR of HD (Physicaldrive1) - 1 sector
  • bootsector of SSD (Logicadrive C:\) - theoretically 1 sector if FAT16, 6 sectors if FAT32, 16 sectors if NTFS - but I need just 1 sector to check data
  • bootsector of HD (Logicadrive G:\) - theoretically 1 sector if FAT16, 6 sectors if FAT32, 16 sectors if NTFS - but I need just 1 sector to check data

Compress them to a .zip and attach the archive to your next reply, I'll have a look at them.

:cheers:

jaclaz

#9 Markec

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 10:08 PM

if you choose second item NTLDR starts and begins loading files from "DOS" D:\ (i.e. first active partition on SECOND hard disk) drive, i.e. :

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

You meant multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS? ;)

then the NT OS checks in the Registry on HD the MBR signature and assigns the drive partition on HD the letter G:\ and continues booting happily, BECAUSE ALL THE OTHER LINKS IN THE REGISTRY POINTING TO C:\something ARE ACTUALLY VALID, but they are actually accessing files on the SSD, NOT those on HD as they should ;)

But, according to the Registry on HD:

And now RawReg with G:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system:
\DosDevices\C: = 7B F9 E4 9C 00 7E 00 00 00 00 00 00 E8 FF FF FF
\DosDevices\G: = C3 0D 89 D4 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 D8 FF FF FF

shouldn't C:\ be assigned to HD partition? :)
SSD signature = D4890DC3
HD signature = 9CE4F97B

However, if you don't have time to explain, you can start from here: :angry:

Compress them to a .zip and attach the archive to your next reply, I'll have a look at them.


Attached!

:)

Attached Files

  • Attached File  data.zip   2.17KB   283 downloads


#10 was_jaclaz

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 05:38 PM

You meant multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS? ;)

Yep, typo/copy/paste error. :cheers:

But, according to the Registry on HD:

shouldn't C:\ be assigned to HD partition? ;)
SSD signature = D4890DC3
HD signature = 9CE4F97B

Yes, it should :cheers:, after you have switched the letters.
I was trying to explain the "theoretical" behaviour before the drive letter switching.


However, if you don't have time to explain, you can start from here: :)
Attached!
:)


I'll check the files and let you know what I can find from them.

:angry:

jaclaz

#11 was_jaclaz

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 06:08 PM

At first sight you have some "remnants" of the SSD data on the HD NTFS bootsector.

At offset 0x18 you have 3F00=63 which is allright since both SSD and HD have 63 sectors
At offset 0x0A you have 8000=128 which may be allright on the SSD but is wrong on the HD, it should be FF00=255
At offset 0x0C you have 80000000=128 which may be allright on SSD but is wrong on the HD, it should be 3F000000

It is very possible that in other parts of the NTFS bootsector (beyond first sector) similar things happened.

If I were you I would try running TESTDISK:
http://www.cgsecurit...g/wiki/TestDisk

As detailed here:
http://www.xtralogic...disk_read_error
http://www.xtralogic...ootsector.shtml

BEFORE that, it would be advisable to backup the whole 16 sectors of the bootsector.

jaclaz

#12 Markec

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:33 PM

Thank you very much! ;)

I'll make a backup and then we'll see what TESTDISK can do! ;)

I'll post the results. :)

:)

Markec

#13 Markec

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:51 PM

jaclaz, you must be some kind of a magician, 'cause this worked like a charm! ;)

I can boot to HD with no problem! :angry: :cheers: ;)

Great help! :) :) :cheers:

Thanx again! :(

Markec

#14 was_jaclaz

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 10:22 AM

jaclaz, you must be some kind of a magician, 'cause this worked like a charm! :cheers:


I like to describe myself as someone that knows quite a lot of things on a very "narrow" field, after all if you only (or mostly ;)) know about two sets of 512 bytes of data (MBR and bootsector), it is very probable that you get to know many things on them. :angry:

I am however always open to flattery and even worship :angry::
http://www.boot-land...?...=2958&st=16

I can boot to HD with no problem! ;) :) :)

Great help! :angry: :cheers: :cheers:

Thanx again! :cheers:

Only too happy to hear a story of success. :cheers:

:(

jaclaz

#15 billonious

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 12:03 PM

I am however always open to flattery and even worship ;) :
http://www.boot-land...?...=2958&st=16


Ave Jacklaz Ceasar ;)

#16 was_jaclaz

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 12:12 PM

Ave Jacklaz Ceasar :)


Well, not the best wish (for you ;)) ;).

At least in Italian that Latin phrase usually implies the "full":

Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant

or, more properly:

Ave imperator, morituri te salutant

http://everything2.c.....te%20salutant.
http://en.wikipedia....uri_te_salutant

:)

jaclaz

#17 billonious

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 12:31 PM

Well, not the best wish (for you ;) ) :) .

At least in Italian that Latin phrase usually implies the "full":

or, more properly:

http://everything2.c.....te%20salutant.
http://en.wikipedia....uri_te_salutant

;)

jaclaz


I know... Ave Ceasar, those about to die (gladiators) salute you. But I 'd rather be a comedian than a warrior. Let the heroes get the fame, and let them die...

#18 was_jaclaz

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 02:43 PM

I know... Ave Ceasar, those about to die (gladiators) salute you. But I 'd rather be a comedian than a warrior. Let the heroes get the fame, and let them die...


Hmm, ;) I don't think that in ancient Rome you had that much possibilities of choosing careers, if someone in charge decided you were:
a. a gladiator
or
b. a life sentenced prisoner or slave

you could have been Woody Allen allright, but they wouldn't have laughed much (nor you ;)).

:)

jaclaz

#19 billonious

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 03:42 PM

Hmm, ;) I don't think that in ancient Rome you had that much possibilities of choosing careers, if someone in charge decided you were:
a. a gladiator
or
b. a life sentenced prisoner or slave

you could have been Woody Allen allright, but they wouldn't have laughed much (nor you ;) ).

:)

jaclaz


Ceasar, you don't leave me any chance :) . I could anyway have moved :cheers: to Armorica and get refuge under Asterix & Obelix :angry: . Ha ha ha :cheers:

#20 ktp

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 09:41 AM

@jaclaz

Although this interesting subject is solved, I still need some clarifications for my understanding.

Markec said:
> so I decided to clone SSD to first primary partition on HDD
> (10GB, NTFS). I used a program called DrvClonerXP.

You said:
> At first sight you have some "remnants" of the SSD data on the HD NTFS bootsector.

Well, unless it is a bug from DrvClonerXP, cloning or imaging the partition does mean for me that
the boot sectors (SSD, HDD) should be identical. Is it true? If yes, then why are the differences you pointed
out the these NTFS boot sector?

Maybe because I did not understand this:
> Also it is possible that disk geometry or start sector are different, you cannot just clone the drive.

#21 was_jaclaz

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:51 AM

ktp,
you should be experienced enough to actually download the files Markec posted:
http://www.boot-land...?...ost&id=8615
and view, compare them in a hex editor.

RE-reading this:
http://www.boot-land...?...=8233&st=10
and the previous reports on the actions Markec performed you should be able to see what happened. :lol:

(besides the unspoken truth that somehow Vista or 7 was used in part of the procedure) ;)

Basically the partition was "cloned" without taking into account that on source it had not the "usual" offset of 63 sectors, and while the MBR was changed to the "usual" 63 and partition was actually copied starting at offset 64, NO change was made to take this into account in the bootsector on the "new" drive.

The problem is what you/I/we actually use as the meaning as "clone".
In this context, it can mean two things:
  • "dd-like" imaging, like you and I usually consider it, i.e. copying it EXACTLY as it is
  • "adaptive cloning", like many people are used to, as they use "advanced", usually Commercial, programs, i.e. copying it while keeping some DATA (disk signature in the case of disk cloning, Volume ID, Label, etc.) unchanged BUT adapting it's size/geometry to the "new" disk

What Marcek attempted to do (and initially failed with) was the second one.

It's too many years since I used DriveClonerXP to actually remember it's capabilities/features/drawbacks, but AFAICR it is an application of the first type, BUT "partition oriented" rather than "disk oriented", so it needs a pre-existant MBR on the target.

What Marcek did was probably to create (possibly under Vista/7) a partition on the target hard disk (which got a "default") geometry and "cloned" to it the source partition (which had different geometry, particularly the "Offset" or "sectors before") thus making it's bootsector invalid/unbootable.

;)

jaclaz

#22 ktp

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:51 PM

@jaclaz
Thank you for your clarifications.

So it appears for me that the 2 following problems encountered using Ghost as imaging software could be similarly explained.
One problem :
http://radified.com/...?num=1246276230
could be due to differences in HDD geometry,

the other :
http://radified.com/...?num=1246616594
could be due to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices.

#23 was_jaclaz

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 01:06 PM

@jaclaz
Thank you for your clarifications.

You are welcome. :lol:

So it appears for me that the 2 following problems encountered using Ghost as imaging software could be similarly explained.
One problem :
http://radified.com/...?num=1246276230
could be due to differences in HDD geometry,

the other :
http://radified.com/...?num=1246616594
could be due to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices.


Yes, but it appears to me that:
  • for the first they do have an "adaptive cloning" software (GHOST) but they don't know how to use it (GHOST can image a whole hard disk, including MBR and hidden sectors)
  • for the second one not enough data/details have been given, EXACTLY as Nightowl lamented. When you "clone" or "image" something "offline", it REMAINS "offline": no way that the Registry inside the offline (not booted from) disk or image can be altered in ANY way, unless, AGAIN, the GHOST software has been used improperly (not being very familiar with it cannot say if it actually has such a feature of updating HKLM\SYSTEM\MountedDevices in the disk to be cloned from the currently booted system).

The moral of those stories, as far as I can tell is:
Powerful tools should only be used by "power users", people that know where their towel is. ;)

;)

jaclaz




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