Help Delete Hidden Partition From Image

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by DriveBy, Apr 29, 2007.

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  1. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    1) I have a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop running XP Pro and TI9 v3677.
    2) My drive has two partitions - C and a Hidden Fat Dell Diagnostic partition.
    3) I created Acronis Secure Zone and saved an Entire Disk image including the MBR, C & Hidden partitions to the SZ.
    4) I also created the same Entire Disk image and saved it to my external USB drive.
    5) I restored the Entire Disk image from the SZ but got a blue scrren on restart because TI's SZ Restore could not handle the Hidden partition correctly.

    I want to restore the Entire Disk image to my laptop and then delete the Hidden Dell partition.

    However, when I delete that partition, the computer fails to boot giving the error message that Windows can't access the disk. I booted into the Windows Repair Console, did a fixmbr but got the same error message.

    Are there any experts who can suggest how I can successfully delete that Hidden partition, modify the mbr and/or boot.ini file, etc. and have a bootable disk withonly the C partition?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    DriveBy,

    Are you referring to the 39 MB Dell partition that is the first partition in Disk Management? I used to delete that partition without any problems but now I leave it in place. You don't really need it as you can run diagnostics from the CD but I now avoid having to look for the CD by leaving it in place.

    If you delete the Dell partition then WinXP becomes the first partition but it remains as partition (2) in boot.ini as it continues to occupy slot 2 in the Master Partition table.

    What error message do you see?

    I've never used the Acronis SZ so I don't know if that's part of the problem.
     
  3. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    Yes, that's the first partition, the Dell Diagnostic partition. Mine is 63MB.

    If I leave it in place and restore form TI SZ I get a blue screen. I just want to delete it and be able to reboot to Windows, which I cannot do.

    I get the Windows error message that I have a damaged disk/partition after I try to reboot with that partition deleted. If I do a fixmbr, same story.

    After I restore the Entire DIsk Image, everything works. But, if I restore only the C partition and the mbr, or the C partition with no mbr, I get the Windows error message and no bootup.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    What I used to do was delete that partition with Partition Magic and then resize the C: drive to absorb the unallocated space.

    Does this make sense? Get rid of the Acronis SZ. Do what I suggested above.
     
  5. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Provided that the Acronis start up recovery manager has not been activated it is not part of the problem.

    An edit of the boot INI to get it to boot from partition 1 instead of partition 2 should resolve the boot problem.

    Xpilot
     
  6. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Where can I find the boot INI and how can I edit it? The system hangs at the black screen with the error message that the boot paths are incorrect, etc.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Xpilot, a good thought and it should be tried. Even though the OS will occupy the first partition after the Dell utility partition deletion and resizing of the OS partition, it still occupies MPT slot 2 and needs partition(2) in the boot ini. Only after moving that partition to another HD will you need partition(1) in the boot.ini.


    Bobdat, do you have a BartPE CD? EditBINI from Terabyte is easy to use also. The path is C:\boot.ini. In a functioning WinXP system you need to "show" protected OS files to view it from Windows Explorer.
     
  8. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    Thank you Brian and Xpilot for your suggestions. My system hangs at that black screen and it says the boot paths are bad and I have non-standard partitions, I think. I should have written the error message down.

    I have the Ultimate Boot CD and also BartPE with Acronis TrueImage 9 v3677 for my laptop. I don't think I saw any programs that would edit the boot.ini file on either one, but I'm a novice at this kind of stuff, especially DOS.

    I realize that after I delete the Dell partition #1 then my C partition is #2, even though it's the only partition and should be #1. I don't resize it at this point. My system just won't boot.

    If I start up with Ultimate CD or add Edit.Bini to BartPE and reburn it, can I edit the master partition table and tell my system that C is #1 and to boot it?

    Any specifics you can provide will be really appreciated.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    OK. At this point boot to BartPE and start the A43 app. Double click boot.ini (it will be visible in your C: drive) and edit both (2) entries to (1). Restart. If it works, thank you Xpilot. From your latest information I think it will work.

    I did this twice in the past and my XP partition still needed (2) in the boot.in. I was surprised at the time because I had edited the boot.ini to (1) before the first boot (being too clever) and then saw the hal.dll error. I know you are seeing a different error.

    This isn't needed. If the boot.ini edit works nothing more is needed.
     
  10. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    Well, I got it to work fine. Here's what I did:

    1) Burned an iso CD from a small freeware program I found called "Delete Partition".
    2) Booted up, deleted the Dell Hidden partition #1 and repartitioned that 63MB space to a visible NTSF partition. (It was lettered 'E' after I rebooted.) Finally, I saved the new partition changes and then restarted.
    3) My laptop actually rebooted without the Windows Boot Path Error - I was pleasantly surprised!
    4) Upon restart (which took a longer time than usual) I ran Disk Management to delete the E partition and force the deletion. I restarted.
    5) I booted BartPE/TI9 v3677 and activated TI Secure Zone. After it was successful, I deleted it and allocated all unused space to the C partition. Now my entire drive was the sole C partition, which is what I wanted.
    6) Upon restart I got the Windows installed new hardware message requiring another restart - which I did. After the restart I verified that there was no more second hidden or E partition.
    7) I booted BartPE and launched A43 and opened the Boot.ini file on C partition. It already was edited to Windows C partition as number 1. Must have been the freeware program Delete Partition that did it?
    8. I restarted again, still taking longer time to boot than usual (about twice) and ran checkdisk/fdisk. It cured about 700 unused index entries and corrected space allocation errors in the MFT.
    9) Upon a final restart, my laptop booted in the normal amount of time and works perfectly! Thanks to Brian K and Xpilot!

    Now I have a question: Is there any reason to do a 'fixmbr' or is everything all set? If it's okay as is, I'm going to save an image of my new Entire Disk results to my external USB drive and then set up an Acronis SZ, create an image there and use the recovery feature for on the road.

    Any other suggestions? Your help has been invaluable to me! :)
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    DriveBy,

    Good work. I'm not sure I can explain how the boot.ini got fixed, but it did. Often imaging software will auto correct boot.ini but you haven't run TI lately. It seems your boot.ini behaved differently to mine after you deleted the Dell partition.

    No, you don't need fixmbr. Your computer is booting normally and writing a generic MBR would make no difference either way. The computer would still boot normally.

    Carry on.
     
  12. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    Success!

    I created the SZ, created a new Entire Disk image in it and tested the restore. Works fine.

    Thanks again Brian.
     
  13. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I don't under stand what your problem is. You can restore the entire image and get a bootable disk.

    The diagnostic partition is only 63MB, that's probably less than 1% of your hard disk usage, so why bother trying to get rid of it?
     
  14. DriveBy

    DriveBy Registered Member

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    The original issue was that TI's SZ could not handle the Dell hidden diagnostic partition.

    With the original partition layout, hidden + C partitions, I created an Acronis SZ taking space from C. Then I created an Entire Disk image and saved it to the SZ. When I tested the SZ restore, I got a blue screen after restore/restart.

    Once I removed the hidden partition, SZ restores work as documented.

    Any ideas why the hidden partition prevented the SZ restore?
     
  15. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    A probable reason is that you did not "tick all the boxes" so that the imaged MBR was included in the restoration.

    TI when preparing for the restore will delete all the disk contents including the MBR. I understand that the later versions of TI will attempt to make up for a missing MBR by inserting a standarised one.
    This would explain why the PC would boot after removal of the hidden diagnostic partition. Because your new disk layout would fit the standard disk pattern ie. the OS now occupies partition 1 instead of partition 2 where it was originally.

    I have never seen this problem in practise as I always restore the imaged MBR whether it needs it or not !

    The problems you have had cannot be blamed on the poor old much maligned Secure Zone. It is just another partition where one can store images. It does not get confused by hidden diagnostic partitions in the same way as other image locations it will behave as it should.


    Xpilot
     
  16. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    OK, now I understand.

    The SZ image should have worked exactly as an image stored on another drive if you created it the same way (checked the box for the drive and not just an individual partition) and the way it is working now without the hidden partition.

    Oh well, it probably isn't worth fighting with this now that you have removed the hidden partition.

    With external hard drives so cheap, I never use the SecureZone any more. However, it can be convenient for storing an image to use in case of something corrupting the boot partition.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    John,

    I've never used the Secure Zone. Is it similar to writing your image to another partition on the same HD?
     
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