NTOSKRNL missing or corrupt

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by ergolargo, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Hi folks

    Can anyone advise? I'm trying to test a backup I made using Drive Backup. I made a backup of a single Windows XP partition from my laptop onto a USB drive, and then restored it to a second partition on another computer using the Paragon Recovery disk. The plan was to test if I could make the destination computer dual boot from two different XP partitions, with one of the partitions being an existing XP partition, and the other being the restored partition. Also I used the Hardware conversion wizard to automatically copy drivers from the existing OS to the new restored installation on the second partition. But the restored partition cannot boot to XP, I get the infamous error:

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    <Windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
    Please reinstall a copy of the above file.

    The thing is I'm pretty sure it's not because of the standard problem with ARC paths in boot.ini, I've spent a lot of time trying different partition(x) combinations, but NTLDR on the system partition just cannot find NTOSKRNL on the other partition, probably because it cannot see the partition at all. I've done all the things you might expect, like ensuring I have only one active partition, and recreating the MBR in the XP recovery console etc, but nothing makes a difference.

    I have a feeling it is something to do with the way the MBR, or the Windows boot partition, or even the registry, gets tattooed with a disk signature, but I'm not sure about this, I would have thought the restore process would have been able to account for this sort of issue.

    Has anybody ever tried FDISK /MBR from the Win98 boot disk successfully to rewrite the MBR for NTFS partitions, I've read about this, but it seems a bit of a dubious idea where NTFS is concerned?!

    Does anybody have an idea where I could be going wrong, surely this sort of thing shouldn't be beyond the restore process.

    Thanks very much for any suggestions.

    Regards
     
  2. SIW2

    SIW2 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Don't think it's connected to the disk sig - Vista/7 use that for the boot process, but not legacy versions, as far as I know.

    Did you use the p2p adjust Wizard? I assume that's what you meant by Hardware conversion Wizard.

    It's unlikely - but have you tried replacing ntoskernl on the ailing installation?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  3. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Hi there

    Yes that's right it was the conversion wizard. Also I have tried all the normal OS file replacement approaches, but I have a feeling it is not getting that far, as though thge boot process cannot see the restored partition. Is there any difference between the file based and sector based backups, is this likely to make a difference?

    Regards
     
  4. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Should I be able to do this, i.e., restore the image of a boot partition from one computer onto a partition of another computer, in order to test the backup. I would have expected the OS on the restored partition to boot, even if I do have to run the Adjust OS wizard and Boot corrector utilities in order to do so. But I've tried both and I still get the error. Is there something else I should also have to do, in order for the MBR to find the OS on the restored partition?

    Thanks
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Have you run chkdsk /r on the restored partition to check for any file system errors or bad sectors?

    Is the image you restored sector-based or file-based (your question above makes me wonder)?

    Did you try the restore and then booting without using the P2P Adjust Wizard?

    Can you post the contents of the BOOT.INI file?
     
  6. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Hi there

    Thanks for having a go at helping.

    In answer to the issues you raise, it is consistent across different disks, and different partitions, and so I'm pretty sure its not a physical disk problem etc that chkdsk would be looking at.

    It does the same whether or not it is a sector or file based backup, and whether or not I run the Adjust OS wizard before or after a reboot.

    Also the boot.ini file seems fine to me, I should just be able to point it to a particular partition, and ntldr should do the rest, is that right?

    My hunch is that with this problem, it is something to do with the fact that I am backing up individual partitions from different machines, each as a separate image backup from the C: drive on the first partition of the respective hard drives of each machine, and then trying to perform test restores of each partition back onto a different test machine, each time into a primary partition that is NOT the first partition on that machine. If I restore to the original machine and replace the original partition (which I have had to do in non-test situations), then the restore is successful.

    Should I be able to do this, i.e., restore to a test system and a different partition, and if so, are there any additional steps that I need to carry out on the restored partition so that the Win installation on it can be located, assuming that the boot.ini entry for dual booting is correct?

    Thanks very much
     
  7. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Re: Possible partition table issue?

    Hi again

    Some further information which I have a feeling is relevant. I used the JustBoot BootCorrector boot CD to see if that could show any possible glitches. Interestingly, though JBBC can see the restored partitions, it reports an invalid NTFS file system each time, on any partition I restore to a different location with Paragon.

    Given that I CAN actually read and write to the partitions from within the existing and working Windows installation on the first partition, which suggests the file system is OK, does this suggest a possible problem with the partition table? If so, what is the best way of doing this - which is the most reliable tool for carrying this out?

    Thanks
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Re: Possible partition table issue?

    Which version of Drive Backup are you using?

    Did you do the restores with the Linux-based CD or the WinPE-based CD?

    Was the restore into an existing partition or into unallocated space?

    Do you know if the laptop uses non-standard drive geometry (Compaq, Lenovo, etc.)? I'm not sure if that would make a difference here, but it might.

    Is the computer being restored to a laptop or a desktop? What brand?

    The "second" partition being used as the restoration destination is really a separate partition on the same physical drive as the installed XP, correct? (It's not on a different physical drive.)

    Can you create a screenshot of what the partition table shows after the restore? To compare the values, what happens if you use Disk Management (or Drive Backup) to delete the restored partition and then create a new partition in the same place?
     
  9. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Hello again

    Currently I'm running the restore into unallocated space from an installation of Paragon 10 Backup Server edition running on Windows 2003 Server installed on the first partition on the hard disk of a desktop computer, which I'm trying to set up as a 'backup verification' machine for our network. There is only one hard disk in the machine at the moment. The backup currently in question is indeed off a laptop, but only an Acer, nothing fancy, and the problem is the same for restores from desktops or servers aswell, and it doesn't seem to make any difference which version the backups were made with - e.g., the laptop was backed up using Paragon 10 Backup and Recovery Suite. I gathered from my original research that the backup file format was backwardly compatible across different Paragon versions? Also it doesn't seem to make any difference whether it is a sector or file based backup, though I am sticking to sector based at the moment to remove at least one variable.

    boot.ini and the partition table look OK to me (see attached jpgs), but I'm not an expert on partition tables - the figure shows three partitions, the first is the Win2003 Server install and the second is a WinXP Pro install. These are there for the Adjust OS wizard to use. The third partition is the restored partition, in this case a WinXP Pro installation. If nobody can see anything obviously wrong with the partition table as it is, I can go on to delete the partition so that I can give a comparison with a new partition created in compmgmt.msc

    A repair install on the restored partition is no good either - although the installation CD can find the partition to initiate the repair, the install fails with the same error after the reboot to finish the installation, i.e., the boot loader can't find the partition when it has to use the MBR and the partition table.

    Has anybody else successfully performed this sort of scenario, or is it beginning to sound like a glitchy limitation of the Paragon restore process - is Paragon not updating the DBR for each partition it restores during the OS adjustment, for example? To be honest, I'm disappointed, I thought Paragon should be flexible enough to allow this sort of restoration to take place in a dual boot environment, but it really doesn't seem to matter what I try, the error is always the same: the boot loader can never find the restored partition, even though other software can see the restored partitions, e.g., it is visible from within Explorer running from one of the native Windows installations.

    Does anybody have any relevant suggestions? Thanks very much.

    Regards
     

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  10. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    Hi again

    I am wondering if I am misunderstanding how the Adjust OS wizard is supposed to work, and therefore not using it correctly. Does anybody know if there is any more detailed technical documentation about what the process does, and which driver files I ought to be pointing the wizard to, if any. What is supposed to happen by default, if I don't include any additional drivers.

    I am suspicious that the wizard could be replacing ntoskrnl.exe with a version from the incorrect SP version of XP. The standard user guide documentation is quite vague about what the wizard is actually doing, so I'm thinking I will need more detailed info in order to troubleshoot this problem any further, otherwise I shall probably have to give Paragon up and try a different product instead.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  11. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    After further additional investigation, using JBBC Boot Corrector, it is very very suspicious that JBBC can NOT see the restored partition, even though partition table tools can see the partition (as evidenced in the screen grab previously). This to me means it is less surprising that the boot loader cannot find NTOSKRNL.EXE on that partition. Should I be right to suspect that Paragon is not carrying out all of the necessary updates of the MBR or partition table? Is there anything else that Paragon could be omitting that would mean the restored partition was invisible at boot time, but not invisible once another Windows installation on the same disk had booted successfully?

    Thanks

    PS I would still be keen to know what the Adjust OS wizard is doing in detail!
     
  12. ergolargo

    ergolargo Registered Member

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    PS Even though JBBC can't see the restored partition at boot time, it seems that the Paragon Recovery Boot CD can see the restored partition - some odd consistency issue?
     
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