Beyond the primary barrier

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by davcbr, Dec 2, 2007.

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  1. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I now have two versions of Vista working on my computer. [https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=192196]

    My main reason for doing this is really security. I want a small, tidy version that is able to see the internet, and one small data partition. The other version has access to all my data, but no internet access. Anything that happens while on the net can be immediately erased and the image restored quickly.

    But now my second problem is program comaptibility. I also need a set of WinXP versions set up like the Vista versions, as well as a Win98 system for a couple of programs I still use from a company that has since gone out of busines.

    My reading of the Acronis Disk Suite manual is that the Acronis OSS will work only with operating systems on primary partitions. When you have more than three [or possibly four] operating systems, a file 'hiding' method comes into use where the operating systems are really on the same partition, but there are accounting methods that keep track of which files belong to who in order to keep the systems unaware of each other. It seems to me that this is a little complex, and may cause a performance hit on your computer.

    Is this how it works? Or am I missing something? The ideal for functionality for what I want to achieve would be one op sys per partiton, to make restorations quicker, and to keep my obsessive side happy.
    I have read about OSL2000 OS loader, which on their website they state that it will operate systems from logical partitions, at least up to XP. But I cannot find much on other people's experiences with it, at least compared to this forum.

    I want to move on to loading these three more operating systems, but I am obviously at a point where the choices I make will affect what happens down the road.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanx
    dc
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    dc:

    Windows is perfectly happy running from a logical partition. The only thing that will not work with logical partitions is the Microsoft bootloader, so you need a way to boot Windows when it is installed to a logical partition. Most bootloaders, including OSS, can do this.

    This thread contains some discussion of this exact issue.

    Briefly, when logical partitions are created the parameter "Hidden Sectors" is set to the value "63". This needs to be changed manually in order to make a logical partition able to boot. You can use Disk Director's sector editor to do this. After creating the logical partition, view it in DD by right-clicking on the partition and choosing "Edit". When the editor window opens, change the view to "As NTFS Boot Sector". Change the entry "Hidden Sectors" from "63" to the absolute sector number at the start of the logical partition. This number is displayed in the upper-left corner of the edit window, so just copy it into the cell for "Hidden Sectors".

    After you have made this modification then the logical partition will be bootable. The thread mentioned above has some info on how to set up OSS to boot into the partition but I will have to plead ignorance about the inner workings of OSS.
     
  3. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Finally have some time to come back to this, and have not had much luck with OSS. I was able to set up an XP system on a primary partition and through the disk director was able to select the proper hidden/unhidden to boot from any of the three systems. I then copied the XP onto two other partitions using disk director to copy onto unallocated space. I then set the hidden sectors to to partition start sector for each. I also editted the boot.ini's to what I thought were the partition numbers. Then things started spinning.
    I installed OSS to a small FAT32 Primary after removing the 'hide' from all partitions. However, I then hid the the partitions except for one system before OSS started again. I gues it is here that the systems are detected. I have read about the bug, and realized the systems were frozen out. But also, I read the bootwiz.oss file and saw that my partitions were numbered differently from what was presented as the order in DD. The third partition in DD was partition 6 in the bootwiz.oss file.
    Now, I have uninstalled and re-installed OSS a few times, and it will not detect any systems other than the first one, and if I put in the Acronis CD it will detect that. It will not detect the Vista system even when all partitions are unhidden before the OSS install and its first startup. Was it a mistake to reset the 'hidden sector' value because OSS tries to do that for you? I have tried editting the boot.ini to read the partition number in the bootwiz file, and that did not help.
    Would it be possible to make this a continuation of tombuur's thread where we progress methodically into booting from logical partitions? I would really like this to work.

    dc
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    It's been a while since I've messed with this, but I suspect that you may need to add the Logical Windows entries into OSS manually (by adding them to the BOOTWIZ.OSS file) and "tricking" it by telling it that it's Linux and not XP (Windows) so it won't mess with any Windows files.

    I think OSS defaults to detecting XP as booting from a Primary partition (as is the case if you install XP this way). Windows won't normally boot from a Logical partition so the booting files are on a Primary partition. You are "skipping" this and jumping right to the Logical partition and OSS is not detecting it correctly.

    The numbering of the partitions is meaningless. OSS does what it does and it makes no difference to Windows.

    If you want to attach your BOOTWIZ.OSS file to a post, I'll take a look at it. Copy it and rename it to BOOTWIZ.TXT and attach that.

    A screenshot of your disk layout from DD in Manual Mode would also be helpful.
     
  5. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I don't have DD installed on this version of XP. I have listed from the CD boot of DD the order & size of the partitions at the end of this note. The first partition 'TestArea' is where I install the op systems. It currently contains my base XP system which I have copied to other partitions using DD, [and is currently the system I am using]. I make an image for later use, and then copy the partition to the partitions I want. This way, I can restore the image to where it was made, minimizing any inconsistencies. The second partition is 'Swap', a small partition that will hold pagefile.sys. This will be used by all the operating systems, probabaly saving about 10 GBytes of space. After this is XPMain, Vista, Finance[XP], and XPSafe. Vista is a primary partition, as I think there may be problems getting this to boot from a Logical partition. I removed my second Vista basicly because I wanted to have 'bootstuff' be a primary to hold OSS. I also discovered what a pig Vista is, and one will probably be enough.

    A couple of things still are not clear to me. With the current setup, I can hide everything but Vista and [making it active] it will boot. Same with 'Test'. I tried making 'bootstuff' active and hiding everything but XPMain, and when I try to boot this I get 'no system disk'. When I install OSS onto 'bootstuff' [with everything unhidden, it sees only 'test' after is initial run. I cannot make it see anything else. It surprises me that it cannot see Vista.

    Your note about the partition number not mattering confused me a little. I thought that boot.ini needed to have the correct partition number in order to boot. I do not know why the numbers are different from what DD presents; this is the sort of thing I was trying to prevent by using the method I described above. This only begs the question as to either why DD doesn't present the correct order, or why does OSS see it incorrectly?

    Thank you for your offer to help!
    dc

    The disk layout:

    1. 'TestArea' 10 GB
    2. 'swap' 4.006 GB
    3. 'XPMain' 15 GB Hid
    4. 'Vista' 30 GB Hid
    5. 'Finance' 15 GB Hid
    6. 'XPSafe' 9.598 GB Hid
    7. 'Temp' 1.999 GB
    8. 'BootStuff' 1.501 GB
    9. 'WinMe' 1.999 GB
    10. 'Win98' 1.003 GB
    11. 'Data1' 30 GB
    12. 'Data2' 25 GB
    13 'Data3' 30 GB
    unallocated 57.77 GB


    The Bootwiz.oss file:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <bootwiz>
    <disks>
    <id2098888044 bios_num="128" crc="438255406" real_bios_num="128" serial="1233" size="488397167" />
    </disks>
    <cds />
    <partitions>
    <id2550932762 begin="63" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="1" serial="7f818842d2d346a0" size="20980827" type="7" />
    <id1682200594 begin="20980953" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="5" serial="695a348124bfd299" size="8401932" type="7" />
    <id3733793428 begin="29382948" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="6" serial="b23513b004656f78" size="31455207" type="7" />
    <id2583472545 begin="60838155" crc="36865" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="2" serial="c7a032cccf32cc1e" size="62910540" type="7" />
    <id1410147743 begin="123748758" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="7" serial="fe420f1f50d832d1" size="31455207" type="7" />
    <id2898679816 begin="155204028" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="8" serial="4f1c72edeb861d8c" size="20129382" type="7" />
    <id3007204502 begin="175333473" crc="54011" disk="2098888044" fs="ntfs" number="9" serial="7153b6ac7bb2d87c" size="4192902" type="7" />
    <id1424743999 begin="179526375" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="3" serial="1fa57e6d" size="3148740" type="12" />
    <id1796916078 begin="182675178" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="10" serial="fadf408d" size="4192902" type="11" />
    <id1726276557 begin="186868143" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="11" serial="a0797677" size="2104452" type="11" />
    <id1477639172 begin="188972658" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="12" serial="7cadf2e5" size="62910477" type="11" />
    <id1447385302 begin="251883198" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="13" serial="294b1ae2" size="52436097" type="11" />
    <id62689001 begin="304319358" crc="33906" disk="2098888044" fs="fat32" number="14" serial="55b663b9" size="62910477" type="11" />
    </partitions>
    <oses>
    <id791418283 boot_as_ms71="0" boot_as_os2="0" boot_cd_entry="0" boot_partition="2550932762" bootname="bootsect.sys" icon="icon_sys_win" language="english" lba="1" multi="multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS" name_template="%n Professional%l %l(%ll%l)" nthide="0" os_type="ntxp" uninstall_info="1" use_manual_disks_order="0" write_boot="1">
    <partitions>
    <id2550932762 active="1" />
    <id3733793428 hidden="1" />
    <id2583472545 hidden="1" />
    <id1410147743 hidden="1" />
    <id2898679816 hidden="1" />
    </partitions>
    </id791418283>
    </oses>
    <checkfiles>
    <checkfile crc="0" name="io.sys" partition="2550932762" size="0" />
    <checkfile crc="40039" name="ntldr" partition="2550932762" size="250048" />
    <checkfile crc="49148" name="boot.ini" partition="2550932762" size="245" />
    <checkfile crc="0" name="io.sys" partition="3733793428" size="0" />
    <checkfile crc="40039" name="ntldr" partition="3733793428" size="250048" />
    <checkfile crc="47169" name="boot.ini" partition="3733793428" size="244" />
    <checkfile crc="0" name="io.sys" partition="1410147743" size="0" />
    <checkfile crc="40039" name="ntldr" partition="1410147743" size="250048" />
    <checkfile crc="12453" name="boot.ini" partition="1410147743" size="244" />
    <checkfile crc="0" name="io.sys" partition="2898679816" size="0" />
    <checkfile crc="40039" name="ntldr" partition="2898679816" size="250048" />
    <checkfile crc="12453" name="boot.ini" partition="2898679816" size="244" />
    </checkfiles>
    <bootmgr default_os="791418283" disks_order_feature="1" />
    <uninstall_info>
    <active_lba_state>
    <p1-1 />
    <p1-4 lba="1" />
    <p1-5 />
    <p1-6 />
    <p1-2 active="1" />
    <p1-7 />
    <p1-8 />
    <p1-9 />
    <p1-3 lba="1" />
    <p1-10 />
    <p1-11 />
    <p1-12 />
    <p1-13 />
    <p1-14 />
    </active_lba_state>
    </uninstall_info>
    </bootwiz>
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Regarding the partition numbers, I just meant that you don't need to "match" what DD says with what Windows wants. The boot.ini file partition(#) does need to be correct. That is the important one. Sometimes people get hung-up on DD displaying a different value for the partition. Depending on whether you are in Windows, booted into the Full (Linux) mode or the Safe (Dos) mode, you will get different drive value readings. It just has to do with how the drives and partitions are detected in each mode.

    For the rest, I still need to run some tests. Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten you.
     
  7. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I've been looking at the bootwiz.oss file, trying to understand how it works, relating it to other posts. Two things stand out to me:
    1. Each operating system has an ID number that is distinct from the partition that contains it. Wheere does this number come from? Is it just made up by OSS as it goes along?
    2. It looks like under <check files> that all the boot information was found. Why is it not being us3ed?

    dc
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think these are randomly generated numbers. You can use any number you want when you manually create the entry as long as it's not already being used.

    ----

    I have successfully managed to get OSS to boot Vista in a Logical partition. However, the BCD file is not connected. It still boots, but some more tweaking may be in order if it causes problems later.

    See my post here on manually adding the Vista entry to the OSS BOOTWIZ.OSS file. The procedure is the same for this. Just use the Logical partition's ID. You also need to use DD to edit the Logical partition's boot sector to change the Hidden Sectors value (instructions can be found here).

    I restored the TI 11 Vista image to the Logical partition.
    Set the Hidden Sectors value to the correct number.
    Added the entry to the BOOTWIZ.OSS file.
    For the new entry, make sure that the Vista Logical partition is on the first hard drive and that ALL other partitions are hidden when you boot for the first time. Also, make sure that a non-Vista partition is the Active partition. After that you can unhide any non-Primary Vista partitions located before the Logical partition. If any Primary Vista partition(s) are unhidden, you'll have a BCD file "cross-link" problem.

    When you first boot to the Logical partition, you may get the "Windows did not shutdown correctly" message. Just select to start Vista normally.

    I have a feeling that Vista will not attach to a BCD file on a Logical partition. I haven't researched it much, but I think it may only allow a Primary partition connection and that's why it will "grab" the first one it finds, even if it's on a hidden partition. As a result, the partition that's Active can't have Vista on it. Use the OSS partition or an XP partition or any non-Windows Primary partition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2007
  9. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Thanks Mudcrab, this was a real help.

    I couldn't get past the notion that I could make up those ID numbers. I thought they would be derived from the disk/partition system. I was quickly able to get the Vista partition and two XP partitions booting. But then something really wierd... The final XP [XPSafe] does not boot. As far as I can tell, it was created in the exact same manner as 'Finance,' the 15G partition preceding it. I created blank space and did a copy partiton using DD from the 'testarea' to both of those partitions, as well as XPMain. Did them all in one sitting. And none of these were booted into until set up in OSS and booted from there.
    I get a message as the boot starts saying that it cannot find hal.dll, so this means that the boot.ini was at least read. For some reason, this one partition is not finding the op sys. I put the partition number OSS had for it ["#8"] into the boot.ini, and I think I have all the OSS entries correct. I'm going to start putting other numbers into the boot.ini to see if windows just sees different numbers from what OSS sees.

    One other odd thing... in the bootwiz.oss file I copy/pasted each partition and changed the ID's, being real careful to make sure I was consistent throughout. But I made one mistake and left the partition number = "1" for every partition. Everything booted [except for the problem partition]. Eventually I noticed and set the values to what they should be, but this didn't seem to have an effect one way or another.

    If you have any ideas on this one bad partition, I'd appreciate it. Meanwhile I'll keep plugging at it and post if I find out what happened.

    Thanx again
    dc
     
  10. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Hmmm

    Boot.ini wants to call the partition #5; OSS calls it #8. Note that in the physical order of the partitions it comes at #6.

    All the other systems correlate with each other.

    Well... it works.

    dc
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007
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