Can GPT Formatted External HDD Store Virtual MBR Formatted Partitions for Possible Future Recovery?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Cfguy, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Cfguy

    Cfguy Registered Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I just purchased a new internal 6 TB HDD, that I am using with a USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station (to convert to an "external drive").

    Problem is until yesterday I didn't know that there were two different ways to format larger HDDs (GPT, which would allow me to utilize the entire 6 TB of the drive, but I am concerned might give me compatibility problems with backing up and potentially restoring MBR formatted-partitions on the internal HDD of my Windows 7 Pro PC) and the older MBR format, which I know will give me no compatibility issues with my PC internal HDD, but will apparently limit me to only using 2 TB of the external HDD, leaving the other 4 TVB (as I understand) "unusable".

    My question is this. I am using use Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional to currently back up the MBR partitions of my PC internal HDD (running Windows 7 Professional x64) to "virtual drives" (containers).

    If I do format my new external 6 TB HDD in GPT format, can I then use Paragon to backup the MBR partitions of my internal MBR HDD into "virtual drives" that are merely stored on the external GPT formatted HDD, and if I am able to do this, should I ever need to restore one of these stored virtual MBR HDDs back to the original PC internal HDD (or perhaps a brand new MBR formatted internal HDD of the same size as the previous internal MBR HDD that I would be replacing it with), will the restored MBR partitions work on the (new or current) MBR internal PC HDD without any problems (not limited to, but including being able to boot up into Windows 7 Professional x64?

    Any help or advice on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Cfguy
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Cfguy,

    If your HD has 4K native sectors you can use it as a MBR disk and the full 6 TB size will be available. If it has 4K logical sectors with 512e then it needs to be a GPT disk.

    I don't understand your Paragon "virtual drives". Are they files?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  3. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Yes. You can save the images to the external GPT disk. Use the pvhd format. Each image has several files (3, I think).
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  4. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    If the images mentioned are FILES, it does not matter what the format of the disk is. Files are structured for the NTFS (or reFS) FileSystem and, as such, may be stored on any Windows known formatted disk. The main purpose for GPT formatting is as you found out... to reach beyond the limit of managing a 2tB storage element... it's the only way to utilize the larger storage devices.

    ...and, yes, you can use GPT formatted DATA disks with a Legacy-MBR formatted operating System... they have nothing, specific, to do with each other. How else would you add a BIG DISK to a current Legacy-MBR BOOTed OS?
     
  5. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I´m not so sure about what happens if the external disk is 4K native and the internal is not. Sure the images can be saved to the 4K disk, but what happens in a restore, especially if for some reason the partition was imaged in a sector-by-sector mode? As I remember, Paragon claims compatibility with 4K disks, but...
     
  6. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    These does not matter to an OS/PE/RE etc; only thing matters is the file system which is visible to the OS/PE/RE. So it does not matter (IMO)
     
  7. MPSAN

    MPSAN Registered Member

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    Sorry to perhaps bring this a little OT but I am thinking about getting a 4TB SATA III drive and a USB 3 Docking Station. My current Backups go to an internal SATA III drive and I do a full image and verify in about 12 minutes. Were you ever able to get this USB 3 backup working and do you know what the transfer rate was? I just wonder how much longer going thru USB 3.0 will take? When I try my USB3 Flash Divve it goes from 12 minutes to 25 minutes! I would hope an HDD in a USB Docking Station would be almost as good as the Internal HDD.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  8. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Using Vantec USB 3.0 enclosures, I´ve got a wide range of transfer rates, from 20-25 MB/s to 120-130 MB/s (the size of the image divided by the time required to create it, as reported by the image software). The highest correspond to Image for Linux-based UFDs, the lowest to WinPE UFDs with Macrium, but there are other factors involved.
     
  9. MPSAN

    MPSAN Registered Member

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    OK, I was looking at the Sabrent EC-DFFN
    Are you using this Vantec?
    NexStar® TX USB 3.0
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  10. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Yes, I have two enclosures, not the recent models. One bought in 2010, the other in 2013. The USB-SATA chips are different, and this is one of the factors that affect the transfer rates (the newer one is generally faster, the older one is sometimes fast and sometimes slow).

    You may consider buying an enclosure compatible with the new, faster USB standard, USB 3.1 Gen. 2. Note that USB 3.1 Gen. 1 is equivalent to the "old" USB 3.0.
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Cfguy,

    I've noticed you have started four threads but haven't provided feedback to any. Will this thread be an exception?
     
  12. MPSAN

    MPSAN Registered Member

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    Well, my wifes system that I built is based on an ASUS Z170-A. It does have USB 3.1. I should at least get her one that supports Gen 2. Not sure who makes one yet.

    Well, here is what I found..
    ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at back panel, , USB Type-CTM)
    ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at back panel, teal blue, Type-A)
     
  13. Cfguy

    Cfguy Registered Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your responses to my post - and MPSAN, no apologies necessary for posting a question of your own. We are all here to help and share info. with one another. I am glad that you had an opportunity to have some of your issues addressed, as well.

    Brian- how can I tell if my HD has 4K native sectors? Once I know, I will certainly check it out.

    Also- please don't interpret my not further posting after an initial post as a form of apathy or any type of ungratefulness for the help and information that I receive on this or any other site that I might post on. It's possible that other posters did a very good job at providing the answers or information that I was looking for, and therefore no follow-up posts by me were necessary. While it might be true that it that case I could have expressed more gratitude and appreciation for the the other forum members who did reply to my initial posting and provided me with helpful information, please don't make the misinterpret my lack of having done this as unappreciation.

    Thanks,
    Cfguy
     
  14. Cfguy

    Cfguy Registered Member

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    Brian - forgot the give you the information on "virtual drives" that I was able to find from the Paragon software website. Please understand that I am far from a "computer whiz", so I can't admit to fully understanding this info., but I did want to pass it along to you;
     
  15. Cfguy

    Cfguy Registered Member

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    "Instead of the old PBF-based backup images, you can now use virtual containers (pVHD, VHD, VHDX, VMDK). It's the ideal solution to do P2V out of backup image scenarios. The use of virtual containers significantly improves the performance and usability for P2V migration operations."

    Hope this helps in explaining the "virtual drive" setup/philosophy.

    Thanks,
    Cfguy
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Cfguy,

    Good to hear from you.

    Download Speccy Portable...

    https://www.piriform.com/speccy/builds

    Run Speccy, wait for Analyzing to complete, click Storage on the left, make sure you are looking at the correct HD, what are the number of Sectors?
     
  17. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    If the purpose is to know how many sectors Windows sees, Speccy is not needed. Just System Information > Components > Storage > Disks...

    In my opinion, Speccy has never been particularly reliable, and has had compatibility issues with Windows 10. What will happen now with Piriform as part of Avast, time will tell.
     
  18. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Robin,

    Thanks. That's preferable to Speccy as it shows Bytes per Sector. That's what I was going to calculate from the number of sectors.
     
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