"Invalid Partition Table" w/ 2 Active Partitions

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by cortez, Aug 15, 2007.

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  1. cortez

    cortez Registered Member

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    I restored my C:\ IMAGE to replace another OS in a primary partition (XP Pro replacing an XP home edition [I have DVD images of both]) for testing purposes. The result was a single hard drive with dual active partitions! This disk is set as a visible multi-boot.

    The new partition was lettered differently after adding the partition but resulted with the error "Invalid Partition Table" and no boot up at all-- just hanging on a blackened screen with an error message.

    Using the DD10 Stand Alone Version (rescue full version) I could 'see' the two primary partitions marked "ACTIVE". I know of another disk manager utility that has a "MARK INACTIVE" function but DD10 does not have this capability (as far as I know).

    With nothing to lose, I chose to mark a data partition as "active", then I marked the real "C:\" partition "active" again. After this change the second "active" partition was no longer marked "active"; finally only one active partition. Talk about good luck! There was another "safe mode like page" that allowed me to boot into the added partition and after rebooting this page no longer appeared.

    This 'repair' was short lived since it started to malfunction (slowness, inability to shut down programs easily, inability to connect to the internet and plain old 'strange' behavior). I had to delete this partition as a restore would be much quicker than figuring out a workaround.

    The image of "C:\" was of XP pro sp2 and only 1 Windows entry in the boot.ini file so I thought I could use it to restore to different partitions as I did with the XP home image partition ( originally an image of the "E" partition w/ only one Windows entry in the boot.ini file [a non system partition]).

    I guess restoring a system image can only be to the same partition. My non system XP allows me to make multiple instances of itself ( I don't think I could use it to replace the C:\ partition but I have not tried this yet). This is how it behaves on my setup anyways.

    Other posts lead me to believe that an image restore of a 'system partition' does work on other non original partitions on other setups. Not sure about this.

    This 'trick' may work correctly when TI10 mistakenly marks two partitions 'active' (probably with DD10 mistakes as well) on the same hard disk.
     
  2. cortez

    cortez Registered Member

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    At

    http://www.microsoft.com/germany/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/reskit/c29621675.mspx

    It states "Note Windows NT 4.0,Windows 2000, Windows Server, and Windows XP Professional define the "system" and "boot" partitions differently from other operating systems." This seems to complicates things concerning multi-booting.

    Reading this article It seems to me that having two system partitions on the same disk allow the "opened" system partition to cross over to and to access the "core" (kernel) of the other system partition and cause lethal corruption.

    This seems to be the same problem I had with adding a "loaded" 2nd hard drive using OS SELECTOR (a DD10 boot-loader), the same problem of having 2 System disks (with C in the registry of both). OS SELECTOR automatically protects (hides ?) the boot items but it seemed to fail when a preloaded disk with a C:\ partition on it was added to it's boot list. Perhaps this is a quirk of my machine and set-up. (search "ADDED 2nd HARD DRIVE AND IT CRASHED" in the DD forum for this older post).

    In DD10 the "Copy Partition" procedure "knows" that it is copying a system disk and alters it so as not to cause trouble. I have copied the C:\ drive many times with no trouble. I don't think TI10 does this (again I'm not certain).

    EDIT: I tried to make this only an edit with 2 links (one outside and one an older post but could not get it to work-- so sorry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Having identical drives/system disks in the computer does not cause a problem if the OS's are isolated. OSS does not "automatically" hide the other OS partitions. You have to set it up that way. Also, if the OS's are on different drives that boot independently, you have to set the Disk Order for the OS entry so that the booting drive is first in the list.
     
  4. cortez

    cortez Registered Member

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    I was uncertain about this, thanks for clearing it up, it is an important piece of info. I thought this was to hide the OS's from prying eyes.

    I have had a 3 XP's hidden system (all clean installs) using DD10 proper without using OSS and it worked very well. I am sure that it takes more steps than using OSS as one has to un hide and mark active the to-be-booted partition and also hide the previously unhidden partition. One also has to be careful to not have 2 system partitions unhidden at the same time.

    Perhaps I should reevaluate OSS as it was much simpler than using the DD10 'proper' method.

    Regarding OS's on separate drives, you said "... you have to set the Disk Order for the OS entry so the booting drive is first in the list."

    On this point, I take it that you are referring to the boot.ini file and that all but one partition is un hidden (?).
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The Disk Order only has an effect if you are booting from multiple drives.

    For example: You have two hard drives in your computer. Drive A has XP on it. Drive B has Vista. When you setup OSS you have to edit the Disk Order so that Drive A is FIRST for the XP menu entry and Drive B is FIRST for the Vista menu entry. That way the drive being booted is considered the FIRST drive. You would still need to hide the other OS partitions.

    Doing it this way creates "isolated" installs (each is dependent on its own drive only) and each thinks it is installed and booting from the FIRST hard drive in the computer.
     
  6. cortez

    cortez Registered Member

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    A very clear and insightful explanation!

    Many thanks --cortez
     
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