Hide partition from XP

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by ptr727, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. ptr727

    ptr727 Registered Member

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    How to hide a partition from XP without loosing that partition?

    1) I start with a clean drive.
    2) Install DOS on a 2GB FAT16 primary partition as drive C. This will be my utility and tools partition that will normally be hidden.
    3) Install OS Selector on C:.

    Now I want to install XP on a new NTFS partition that XP must treat as drive C:, i.e. I want to hide the DOS partition from XP but not loose the DOS partition.

    4) Boot with OS selector.
    5) Insert XP Pro SP2 install CD, OS selector sees XP CD.
    6) Change the XP CD boot partition options to hide the DOS partition.
    7) Boot CD and start XP install.

    :cool: XP CD boots but still sees the FAT16 partition as an OS2 boot manager partition and assigns it drive C:. I know that the DELL recovery partitions are marked as type 0xDE and XP does not assign drive letters to them but lists them as EISA configuration partitions. Acronis, could you use 0xDE? I cancel the XP install.

    9) Repeat 4 and 5.
    10) This time I set the force hide partition option and boot the XP install CD.

    11) XP CD boots and does not see the DOS C: partition, it does not see any partitions? This seems weird but I continue to create a new NTFS partition as C: and XP installs fine.

    12) Booting with DD CD to try and restore / re-activate / re-install the OS selector fails.
    13) Booting with DD to look at the partition information shows that the FAT16 partition is completely missing, and the first partition on the drive is the NTFS partition.

    - What does force hide do, and why is it 'use with caution'?
    - How can I install new OS'es and have them all think they are drive C: without loosing the OS selector partition?


    Regards
    Pieter
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Pieter,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Partition and Disk Managing Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    Please create Acronis Report as it is described in Acronis Help Post and submit a request for technical support. Attach the collected report file to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  3. kizsam

    kizsam Registered Member

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    hello admin.

    I have a similar problem with Windows ME detecting the linux partition. It would be helpful if you guys could answer these questions in the forum so that we fix the problem without having contact support.

    Hiding partitions does not seem to work as far as I can tell.

    thanks.
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello kizsam,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Partition and Disk Managing Software.

    You can’t hide a partition under the Windows 2000 operating system just by setting Hidden options. To perform this operation, you will need to use the Force hiding option. Please do not try to use this option in case you don't use Windows 2000 operating system.

    In case you have several Windows operating systems then you should should use the following algorithm of actions in order to perform what you have mentioned:

    - Run Acronis OS Selector;
    - Right-click on the operating system icon and choose Properties;
    - Go to Partitions section and hide all the partitions which contain other operating systems;
    - Repeat the above mentioned actiones for all operating systems.

    If you have some issues with the operation that I have described then please create Acronis Report in the way described below:

    - Download and run Acronis Report Utility;
    - Select the "Create Bootable Floppy" option;
    - Insert a blank floppy disk in the A: drive and proceed with creation of the bootable floppy;
    - Boot the computer from this diskette and wait for report creation process to finish;
    - Collect the report file from the floppy.

    After that please submit a request for technical support. Attach the collected report file to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  5. ptr727

    ptr727 Registered Member

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    How about XP, XP x64, W2K3, Vista, etc.?

    From my XP and XP x64 testing normal hiding does not work. When I used the force hide option with an XP install the XP install did not see any partitions, but it just overinstalled my hidden partitions leaving only that XP install on the system.


    This is almost exactly what I tried, the OS I selected was the XP install boot CD, but the XP install still saw the hidden partitions as OS2 boot manager partitions and assigned drive C: to the first partition.


    I would still like to know what exactly does "force hide" do?

    I am also pretty sure that by changing the hidden partition type to something other than OS2 boot loader, e.g. like the DELL utility partition using 0xDE (EISA configuration), the XP install would not assign drive letters to these hidden partitions.
    This is exactly how DELL boots their utility partition, the BIOS changes the partition type from 0xDE to 0x06, marks it active, boots into DOS and runs the diagnostic tools, and before rebooting mark the partition back to 0xDE, and the next partition active, allowing the next boot to boot the normal XP install.

    I agree with <kizsam>, I don't see how a diagnostic report is going to help solve this problem, and a solution in the forum would be helpful to more people than just myself and <kizsam>.


    Regards
    Pieter
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Pieter,

    I'm sorry, but I cannot provide you with the information about how our partition hiding technology works.

    Please be aware that for the cases when you are trying to boot form a bootable CD, and hide some partitions from this system then it will be able to see those partitions but will not be able identify what these partitions are and to perform any operations with them. If you use the force hiding then it will not find any persistence of the hidden partitions and it is possible that it will overwrite such partitions while performing partitioning operations.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  7. ptr727

    ptr727 Registered Member

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    I'm sorry but I'm not willing to expose my data to your technology for if you are not willing to disclose how it works. If you want to protect the concept, file a patent and disclose.

    I disagree, my testing has shown that the XP install sees the 'hidden' partition as an OS2 boot manager partition and assigns it drive C: making an install on drive C: impossible. Normal hiding does not work for a XP install.

    I agree, the force hide option does not work for a XP install.

    I still recommend that Acronis change OSS to use partition type OxDE for hiding since this will prevent XP from assigning drive letters to those partitions.

    I do not expect a reply, but I hope that future versions of OSS supports better mechanisms of supporting multiple C: drive installs of XP/Vista/W2K3 on the same drive.


    Regards
    Pieter
     
  8. ptr727

    ptr727 Registered Member

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    For those that are still interested in getting the same drive letter but multiple Windows installs, I did not get multiple C: drives working, but I did get multiple D: drives working.

    I tried installing with and without OSS installed, but since OSS modifies and swaps boot.ini, this confused me so I am explaining how I did it without OSS installed, you can always install OSS later and it should work.

    When OSS hides a partition it marks it as hidden (I get the same results using gdisk /hide), and XP still sees hidden partitions, and assigns drive letters to them. But, XP will assign drive letters to primary partitions before logical partitions, and XP will assign drive letters to visible logical partitions before hidden logical partitions.

    - Create a small DOS partition, and make it bootable. I created a 2GB FAT32 partition and installed MS DOS 7.1 (Win98SE).
    - Create an extended partition with any number of logical NTFS partitions. I created 3 logical partitions, one for XP, one for XP x64, and one for data.
    - Install XP on drive D:, the first logical partition.
    - Use DD or gdisk and hide the partition you just installed XP on.
    - Install XP x64, the install will assign drive D: to the next logical partition.
    - Unhide the XP partition.
    - You can now boot DOS as drive C:, XP as drive D:, or XP x64 as drive D:.

    It is not quite what I wanted, but it works.

    If you want to save time and clone one install to several partitions, you have to change the boot drive letter assignments after the clone, else the logon screen will never show since the boot drive letter will point to the wrong partition. See this M$ KB for help: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=223188


    Regards
    Pieter
     
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