OSS is confused

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by davcbr, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I have been using Disk Director v10.2160 for over a year now, and it has been behaving for me quite well. I was one of the first to get Vista working on a logical partition with the help of Mudcrab, and I have been using OSS since then to maintain this one version of Vista, and four versions of XP on my Gateway M1670.

    Now I have got myself into a problem. I have forgot what it is I wanted to do at the time, but I decided I wanted to use Disk Director for something, and I had only installed it on Vista. My boot disk, which I normally use was elsewhere. When I went to commit what I had set up, everything was greyed out - it seems that the copy of Vista that I loaded into the logical partition had the demo version of Disk Director on it. It was made before I installed the full version. So, I went about installing my purchased version [I did uninstall the demo version], and everything seemed to be going smoothly until I was confronted with a dialog that said I could Repair/Update Acronis OS Selector; four other options were greyed out [uninstall, activate, deactivate, and restore defaults]. Going back undid the install. Choosing "Next" lead to a dialog that stated "You are about to install the demo version over the Deluxe version". Saying "No" undid the install. I could not figure out how the demo version would be installed here, but I did not want to disrupt my multiboot system. I got rash and I terminated the process, which did leave me with a working disk director suite.

    Now, I am going to describe everything, so as to be as clear about what is going on as I can. It is possible that I have overlapping problems, but I do think everything is related to this single event.

    First of all, OSS is not operating normally; nothing has changed in my bootups, I can select any of the systems normally. However, I cannot enter OSS from my boot disk and change the settings. I have two commands available. 1. "Activate OSS" which appears to run, but it does not ask for the serial number, and running it to completion changes nothing. 2. OSS Setup opens to an error dialog that gives me a series of options, one of which I have tried repair. I do not want to go near uninstalling, as I really like having this system working as it has been over the past year. This has not been a problem until now.

    Recently, I wanted to restore one of my partitions to a previous state. Using TI Home, I had a backup with one update for this purpose. It appears [though I am NOT SURE] that this may have been corrupted. When I booted this [XP] it spent a long time with a small dialog saying it was updating OutlookExpress. I interupted this and tried the earlier version of this partition, and the same thing happened. I left the computer to go where it wanted, and after about 5-6min it did come up, but the wireless network did not work. I ended up uninstalling the driver and then reinstalling. I did find after going thru this several times that I did not need to reboot between the uninstall and the install. Once it was reinstalled, I was able to set it up and enter the WEP key. Upon reboot, the network connected and the reboot was much quicker. I reall don't know if the boot up time is normal after going thru so many of the screwed up boots.

    So this was fine, until I went to boot into one of my other XP systems, and the same behavior occured, except that there was no "setting up Outllook Express" dialog. It just took a long time, and the network could not connect. Scrub - Rinse -Repeat. Now this partition worked. But going back to the original problem partition again shows the same behavior [but no Outlook Express dialog - probably means nothing]. Right now, I am reasoning that the long boot time has to do with not finding the parameters for the network card. Incidently, Gateway will not provide the XP version driver for this card, so I have been using a driver from another brand that uses the same chipset. I doubt this is significant.

    So, it appears that after doing this partition restore, I am now needing to reinstall my wireless network each time I switch operating systems. And OSS does not let me set up the hidden partitions or passwords. It's been over a year since I have really worked with this, and I am a little nervous. My first thought is that the boot.ini files need to be looked at, and maybe the oss files need to be openned again. But all this is just not making sense to me. I guess I'm looking for a good diagnostic path.

    Thanx
    dc
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    When you boot to OSS, what build of OSS is it?

    What version and build of TI did you use to restore the XP partition?

    Was the restored XP partition a Primary or Logical partition?

    What partition contains the OSS installation files?

    Can you post a screenshot of your drive layout (the DD screen in Manual Mode would be good)?

    You said you have four XP installations. Is the problem with the WiFi driver only when switching between the restored XP and one other XP or does it happen when you switch between the restored XP and any other XP? Once the WiFi problem is fixed with the non-Restored XP installation, can you boot okay into the other two non-Restored XP installations?
     
  3. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    When you boot to OSS, what build of OSS is it?
    Help - About shows Version 10 [build 2160]

    What version and build of TI did you use to restore the XP partition?
    Help - About shows Version 11 [build 8027]

    Was the restored XP partition a Primary or Logical partition?
    This was a logical partition; in the listings below, it is "XPSafe"
    The other XP that this went back and forth with was "TestArea"

    What partition contains the OSS installation files?
    This is on a small seperate partition called "bootstuff" which is kept hidden from all the systems.

    Can you post a screenshot of your drive layout (the DD screen in Manual Mode would be good)?
    First time I've tried this:
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p2-1pOlVPxnxZgtmFoomSA2WqPvNZrxOT4t8zFnktxlC1YVQFUuax9k6YAPUs3nRvdQBwviUyRpg/DDSuite%20Disc%20Layout.jpg

    You said you have four XP installations. Is the problem with the WiFi driver only when switching between the restored XP and one other XP or does it happen when you switch between the restored XP and any other XP? Once the WiFi problem is fixed with the non-Restored XP installation, can you boot okay into the other two non-Restored XP installations?

    This is a good question. As I said, the problem started with the one partition [XPSafe], and when I observed it going on with another [TestArea], I did confine it to only booting those two. I have since found that another of the XP partitons that I needed to work on did boot normally [Finance], and Vista [which I have not configure the wireless network] boots normally. I found this out after posting my note. I have also made a fresh image of the first problem partition after a reinstall of the wireless, and then immediately restored it. It booted normally. I then went to the other XP [which I had reinstalled the wireless] and it again had the slow boot & lost the wireless.

    The various sectors:
    1. "TestArea" Primary Able to see Data1, Data2, Data3, Backups, Swap
    2. "Swap" Logical This is a 1.5G sector available to all Windows systems that carries a single swap file used by all of them
    3. "XPMain" Logical As its name implies It sees Data 1 thru Data3, Swap
    4. "Vista" Primary Able to see Data1, Data2, Data3, Backups, Swap
    5 "Finance" Logical It sees only Data 1 and Data 2, Swap
    6. "XPSafe" Logical Kept small, sees only Swap. Use it for a place to try something out for safety, then restore when done
    7. "Temp" Logical Nobody sees this yet; have not determined usage yet.
    8 "Bootstuff" Primary This is where OSS is installed; nobody sees this
    9, 10 "WinMe" & "Win98" logical Nothing in them yet; nobody sees them
    11 - 14 Various logical partitions for data assigned in varying ways to systems

    Thanx again for your help
    dc
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Was the "TestArea" partition the Active partition when you restored the "XPSafe" Logical partition?

    Was the "TestArea" partition Hidden when you restored the "XPSafe" partition?

    Boot into "XPSafe" and start Disk Management. Create a screenshot and post it.

    Boot into "TestArea" and start Disk Management. Create a screenshot and post it.

    I want to see if anything looks odd with how Windows is using the partitions.

    ---

    You may want to consider updating TI 11 to the latest build (8,101). The first build was very buggy.
     
  5. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Was the "TestArea" partition the Active partition when you restored the "XPSafe" Logical partition?
    Was the "TestArea" partition Hidden when you restored the "XPSafe" partition?

    I'm not certain, but I think I did the first "XPSafe" restore from my bootable CD [If it matters, I use the "noapic" insertion to get TI to work on the CD]. I may have done it from Vista. I cannot be absolutely sure, but it waould have to be one of those two. As to whether "TestArea" was the last one booted before I did the first restore, I don't really know. If this makes a difference when using the CD, then I just don't know. Using Vista, it looks like all the other partitions are not accessable.


    My starting point as I respond to your post:
    "TestArea" had the WiFi reinstalled, and I had not returned to "XPSafe" since. I decided to do your requests in a slightly different order:

    1. Boot "XPSafe" - long boot time, no WiFi. The Windows Disk Management window:
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pF5oNMEalpPhvdjpU0iK8r2YMPYDUFT8Gr2pX9sRWefGCJ3sU_Jj6M5zF56KuAb2NSVun80flUZbJUHwLaX0Zbw/DiskManagment%20-%20XPSafe.JPG
    It seems you know the right questions; I can see that there are a couple of unallocated areas thrown in, and what really bothers me is a 30G and 1.5G area marked "Free". Also, the table listing does not match the chart at the bottom. Significant?

    2. Boot "TestArea" - Normal boot time, WiFi works [remember I did NOT correct "XPSafe"]. Management:
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pi7tV_JuX7BDVMkIfgAK-aS058iBELASWakSaITDAs9xSd-L2BWx8_FGkaj1-UyT1MrA39lv0C-TtfqfRF1zqpQ/Disk%20Management%20TestArea.JPG

    This looks the same as the "XPSafe".


    3. Boot "Finance" - Management shows this to be similar to the above two. I have no idea what this means.
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pBDKJR3pl0vYEh5VP8ok0pnKQEQy5W4MFnH3fAT9Qpi4Or3iSSzVjRjBcuBjmBLoiWWebiJKIK0oDkJHtimiFQw/Disk%20Management%20Finance.JPG

    4. Boot "Vista" Vista at least sees what Disk Director sees, except that it has "primary" and "logical" all screwed up.
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pxuwNqOEj0z_pKtTBkYBQRJNqXtReFzQG_bl4uJkloFPlEA65s-bTNYmsMR6Na6qxw1FMdZP_ubdufVFTrAAeNw/DiskManagment%20-%20Vista.JPG



    5. Finally, "MainXP".
    http://ise3ya.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p3MfuBqmAOrlTcYizj7v4IN5VmcZKG6yLo0Wwk_zRcNw3N3gLRbC4vxsm1iT2n3Lz_DgM0XeP0SgCQe6pcMCXmQ/Disk%20Management%20MainXP.JPG



    I notice that "Vista" is listed as 'active' in a couple XP systems but the Explorer in every case shows what I had set up each system to be. I have never looked at this under Windows, so these partions may have looked like this all along, and it is only the screw up in the DD reinstall that brought this to attention. BTW, DD is only on Vista. I thought it would avoid stuff like this to be only on one system.

    Thanx again
    dc
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Nothing is jumping out at me as really out of place.

    However, as you noted, the Vista partition is Active when "XPSafe" boots. It is not assigned a drive letter, though.

    The Vista partition is not Active (I assume it's hidden) when you boot into "TestArea" and "Finance".

    On the other hand, "Vista" is Active when you boot "XPMain" and that still works okay, right?

    Does it make a difference if you hide the Vista partition from "XPSafe" and then make the WiFi fixes?

    ---

    The fact that Disk Management doesn't show the partitions correctly in the graphic is because you have mixed Primary and Logical partitions. DD will show it correctly. Just don't use Disk Management to make any partitioning changes to the drive.
     
  7. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Well, I hadn't looked at the OSS setup in a while, and I can see the same layout that is presented in DiskDirector, except that after the "Data3" is a 983MB FAT16. Then afetr the last partition, "Backups" are two 244MB, one 984MB and four 126MB partitions. None of these FAT16s are active or hidden.
    According to OSS, Vista IS hidden, so the experiment you suggest is how it is setup already.

    I remember carefully choosing my "primary" drives: Vista started on primary, and I wanted to minimize chances [since this was experimental at the time] of things going wrong. I wanted a seperate primary for OSS to reside on. And finally, I wanted the first partition on the disk to be primary to make future installations easier. Note the DD layout shows this. But Vista says Vista is on a logical partition [?].

    As far as the visible / hiidden question goes, I was very careful setting up OSS such that none of the operating systems were visible to each other. Thus, Vista should not be visible, and indeed it at least does not show up in the Windows 'Explorer'.
    It does bother me that the XP systems are seeing 400+ GBytes, when the true number is actually something like 234.

    It also looks to me as if the "unallocated" and spurious "free" areas seen on the XP layouts MAY follow the pattern from when I set up the partitions. The first 30G "free" occurs where I think I moved Vista; I can't be sure, but it is the same size. Then there is an "Unallocated" 26.60GB which is equal to the sum of those at each of its sides. Next is a 1.5GB "Free" which is before the 1.5GB "Bootstuff". Then finally, there is an "Unallocated" 145.78GB which is equal to the sum of the 2GB "WinMe" on one side, and the rest of the disk on the other side.
    So, although this is a problem, beyond being a contirbuting factor, it is probably not THE problem

    I not much of an electrronics person. Is the 'key' used by the WiFi flashed into the unit, or is it purely the operating system that handles this? It seems that either case would present its own problem. I can see one system corrupting a the key but that would spoil it for all systems I would think. But if the config is purely software, then thatwould imply some kind of communication amongst systems that are supposed to be blind to each other.

    Also, the following table I extracted form the Disk Management tables:

    Partition.................C:\......................Active..................Notes

    Finance................."boot"..................."TestArea"
    XPSafe.................."boot"..................."Vista"
    MainXP.................."boot"..................."Vista"
    TestArea................"System"...............Nobody.............Seems to be as it should
    Vista.....................normal..................implies self.........Nobody active

    I've not used this tool before, but it seems to me that the XP versions should look somewhat like the Vista version, ie Finance shoul see its C: as 'boot and active'. Microsoft terminology can at times be obscure, so 'boot' in XP may imply 'active, etc, and they decided to spell it out in Vista.

    Thanx for listening to me chatter.
    dc
     
  8. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I've decided to try and collect some information on this problem and see if I can figure out what went wrong. I've been using this computer except for the "XPSafe" system, and all the others seem to operated OK.

    My first question to anybody that can answer is "where does Windows XP get it's information about all the disk partitions?" This does not seem as straight forward as I would think. DD sees the system the way I set it up, as does Vista: a 233GB disk with 14 partitions. However, if you look at the listings from say "Finanace", disk management shows a hard drive = 437GB with 18 partitions. There are a couple of "Free Space" where none exists, as well as a couple of "unallocated" areas. These total up to the disk size discrepancy.

    My second question is about wireless networking. Is there a flash memory on the network card that retains some kind of information that may be causing this tennis match between two op systems? Certainly my router retains info on the net password and computer locations; do the net cards?
     
  9. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I already answered that question in Post #6. Windows does not have a problem using "mixed" Primary and Logical partitions, but it won't display them correctly in Disk Management. Windows expects all Logical partitions to be inside a contiguous Extended Partition Container. Do not use Disk Management to make any partitioning changes on a drive with "mixed" Primary and Logical partitions -- it will corrupt the drive.

    I don't think the cards retain any connection data. The router will usually retain the DHCP assignments for each MAC address so it can (in most cases) reassign the same IP address when the NIC connects again.

    Are you using Windows to manage the WiFi or are you using software installed by the card's manufacturer? Whichever one you're using, have you tried the other one?

    Are the WiFi card's settings/programs/etc. (if used) being installed into each operating system's partition or into a partition being shared between them?

    Are all the WiFi connection settings on "automatic" (DHCP, etc) or are they static/manual? This might make a difference if the device/network is detected differently between the operating systems.
     
  10. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I started all of this by setting up an XP install that had all drivers installed, some utilities, MS Office, and Acrobat. I then did partition copies of this system to the partitions they would reside in. I then changed the boot.ini for each, set up OSS and hid everybody from everybody else. It has been incredibly smooth until this hapened.
    This computer is a Gateway that came with Vista installed, and drivers for everything has been - well--- difficult. I still have not got the audio set up; I got myself a USB device that does ine for this.
    Now, the network card. I could not find an XP driver for the Realtek wireless card that comes with the computer. Through some diligent Googling I found that the chip on this card is a NetGear, and I found a driver that has worked without any problems by forcing windows to install the NetGear driver. I have never tried controlling the card with Netgear's applet. I simply copied the *.sys to system32 and did the install there.
    This was all done on the initial setup and cloned to all the XPs. So it seems bizarre to me how reinstalling the Netgear driver on XPSafe can cause the othe system to lose it's install. If I do not use XPSafe, I can freely move between all the other systems. restoring XPSafe does nothing to change the situation.
    What I haven't tried yet is to do another partition copy of the original clone master to recreate XPSafe. Probably try that this weekend.

    Thanx
     
  11. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    OK. It turns out that I didn't get the chance to use the original XP version to replace my "XPSafe" to see what happens.

    My "Finance XP" obtained some kind of problem with MS Office that called for some unknown install every time one of the components was started. I'd put in the disk, and it wouldn't know what to do. So I decided to bite the bullet, and do a restore on this. I had a fairly up-to-date image of this, which I restored. When I booted up, it had the same original issues that the XPSafe had when I first restored it and these problems arose. There was a small dialog box saying "Outlook Express" was setting m "personal preferences"; the boot lasted about 5 minutes. [subsequent reboots have taken 2.5min, which is still twice the time as normal]. When it finally came up, I had the wireless not working again. I also saw that the letter designations in explorer were not the same; they had been shuffled.

    But, Today I noticed something; the popup box when the cursor is over the wireless icon titled it "wireless network connection 9" the same exact title that I left off with on the XPSafe - TestXP tennis match. So now I had three out of four with this issue. I got curious and started looking at the driver installation which looked normal and should have been operating. I then did a search of the registry for the driver's name, and one of the stops was on the ‘windows-currentversion-run’ key. There I noticed the list of programs looked peculiar. Not only did the driver name [actually a program of the same name] and a couple of other programs not belong there, but there was a program listed that just yesterday I installed [and removed] on the XP Safe system. This was AFTER I did the restore. Booting to XPSafe, Test Area, I found that with Finance, they all had the same run list. With the same programs that did not belong there. The remaining clean system [XP Main] had a shorter and logical run list.
    Each registry also has a list of nine wireless connections, all looking the same [although I didn't do a copy like I did for the run key.

    So. The "True Image" [notice I start using quotes] restore is shuffling the deck somehow. The fact that this program I installed on XPSafe [and then UNINSTALLED] is still showing up as a program in the run key in all three systems tells me the boot is getting info from the wrong source [and, I guess sending it to wrong places]. It also shows that the problem is probably not the integrity of the images I am using. All three are booting up with a lot of cross talk in the registry, but, they are each LOOKING as intended, distinct from each other, and the wireless, slow booting, and the partition letter shuffle, as far as I know, are the only problems.
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I doubt this problem has anything to do (directly) with OSS. Have you seen this thread? It's the same type of problem and OSS isn't involved. I'm beginning to wonder if Windows is doing something odd even though the partitions are hidden. It really seems that parts of Windows are referencing the other partition, but still seem to be pointing to the correct partition in all the normal places you can look.
     
  13. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    The thought crossed my mind that program installation / de-installs may have something to do with this. Messages left for the re-boot to add stuff to the registry and/or delete keys, run once, etc. Sometimes thye message says "re-boot later" and I do. Then I forget and boot up another opsystem the next day. Is this a path? I wouldn't think so, but things look like a haunted house just now.
    The thing that bothers me is that this came to my attention right after I had that trouble with the DD install on the Vista system, and soon after that I restored the XPSafe partition. And now With the restore of the Finance system, the problem expands. Something is being set in motion by the TI restore.
    Question: I am thinking of running TI under Vista and mounting one of the images. Then copy this directly to DVD. Format the partition and copy the files from the DVD back to the fresh format. Is this feasible? It would at least eliminate or point the finger at TI.
    I have gone thru the OSS files and I don't see anything out of place; I do agree that this is probaly not directly causing this.
    Thanx
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    A while back, I updated the NVidia drivers on my OSS computer. I have three Windows on it (Vista, XP, XP). If I remember correctly, each one of them installed the drivers okay, but the next time I booted back into the OS, the drivers weren't installed and I had to install them again. This happened on each OS and it's the only time (so far) that it's happened. I have not noticed any "cross-linking" as a result, but I haven't dug around and looked.

    I use TI 10 (4,942) on that computer and have done restores in the past without any problems.

    Are you still using build 8,027 of TI 11? If so, I would again recommend you update to build 8,101 as build 8,027 was very buggy.

    This won't result in a bootable Windows partition. A better test would be to reinstall Windows to the partition (let Windows reformat it), install your WiFi drivers and whatever else you want, boot between the different partitions and see if it's okay and then create a backup image of the new installation and restore it. If everything works okay after the restore, it's probably not linked directly to TI.

    ---

    Another option might be to active the Force hiding option in OSS for each OS (in the Advanced options section). When you turn on this option, OSS sets the partition entry as "Unused" (partition type 0x00) and Windows sees the space as Unallocated. In this mode, it's very important not to use Windows Disk Management to make any partitioning changes (DD and TI will see the partitions correctly). However, it should force Windows to not even be aware of the other OS partitions and should stop the cross-linking problem. Boot into each and make some changes and give it a try. It may be the simplest solution.
     
  15. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    "Another option might be to active the Force hiding option in OSS for each OS..."
    I remember reading about this once when I first started using DD, and the person talking about it made it a little confusing, so I have just ignored it.

    Just to be clear, does this make ANY partition marked as hidden be seen as 'unallocated? I think this would be my next step, now that I do understand it.

    Probably do this this weekend.

    Thanx
    dc
     
  16. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I my test, it did. Since it actually changes the partition table to show that the slot isn't being used, Windows shouldn't think there's a partition. I only tested it on two Primary partitions, but I assume OSS does something similar with Logical partitions.

    Note that the data for the partition is still in the partition table, it's just the partition type that's changed (from NTFS to Unused, for example).
     
  17. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    OK, this is a step back, but it does give perspective.
    Entered OSS setup, and as you suggested, I forced hiding on all operating systems. Applyed the settings and selected XPSafe [the original problem child] to boot. It collapsed. The computer did a reboot to bios and OSS came up again. Repeated, and the same thing. Selected Test Area, and it booted as it should.
    So, my next test, this weekend will be to proceed to a restore of XPSafe and see if that does truly restore.
    In the mean time, ever more questions. As I was going thru the options, I noticed two things. Each of the XP systems, under the boot configuration, has "write boot sector" checked. Vista does not. What exactly does this do? The manual simply says the same thing with more words.

    And then, All the systems have nothing listed under folders or files. Except "test area". Test area is also the first partition on the disc [ie, where I create the systems]. Under the options, it lists Windows, Prog Files, and Docs&sets for folders, and ntldr, ntdetect.com, bootfont.bin, ntbootdd.sys, and boot.ini for files. I was thinking this might also be a source of irritation for my computer - might I deleted these safely [from OSS] and still be able to get back if need be?

    Then one final question. It's not entirely clear to me, if I deactivate OSS, how do I go about reactivating it?

    You've been really patient, and I appreciate.
    dc
     
  18. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Did any part of the XP booting process begin or show on the screen or did the computer just reboot?

    This is good. The Test Area partition is also a Primary partition (the others are Logical partitions).

    Were the hidden partitions shown as Unallocated space in Disk Management?

    Before you do that, can you check the following? Boot to the DD CD and start DD (select Manual Mode). Check the Hidden sectors value in the XPSafe partition's boot sector (instructions here). I'm curious if it's still pointing to the XPSafe partition's offset or if the restore changed it. If it's been changed, set it back (per the instructions) and then boot back to OSS. Turn off the option for XPSafe to write the boot sector. Then boot XPSafe and see if it starts.

    As far as I know, whenever OSS sets up an OS entry, it saves the boot sector of the partition. This option causes OSS to write the saved boot sector back to the partition every time it boots. This is usually not necessary unless it becomes corrupted. I would turn off this option for all of the Logical OS partitions.

    I would not delete these from the Test Area OSS entry since it's working okay. OSS uses these to keep track of the system files/folders used by the installed OS. If you're not using multiple Windows in one partition (you're not), then I wouldn't think the lack of the files/folders would cause any problems. Even when the files are listed, OSS doesn't always detect changes to them correctly and still uses the old files (which can cause problems).

    When you deactivate OSS, you'll need to select which OS you want as the default. In your case, select one that works (Test Area, for example).

    To reactivate OSS, boot to the DD/OSS CD and select the option from the menu or start OSS in Windows and reactivate it.

    Not a problem. I hope this can be figured out.

    ---

    I would proceed as follows:
    • Check the Hidden sectors offset for XPSafe (as above).
    • Uncheck the Write boot sector option for XPSafe.
    • Keep the Force hiding option checked for XPSafe.
    • Try booting XPSafe and see if it works.

    If it doesn't, then check these:

    What values are in the boot.ini file on the XPSafe partition? What partition is being referenced? Is it the correct partition? If you're not sure and you have an old backup of XPSafe when it was booting, you could Explore or Mount it and check the contents.

    Are the XP booting files on the XPSafe partition (ntldr, ntdetect.com boot.ini, etc.)?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  19. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I did a little exploration with DD. First, your questions.
    When I tried to boot XPSafe, the crash was immediate; there was not visit from Windows.
    After forcing the hiding, I looked in disc management under TestArea. I've posted this here:

    http://fg7uqa.bay.livefilestore.com/y1ptT-bPO7SQFjLK8Gn6uoiR3AW9NcRG1NepnkxRxgrI1rm0yqdj93n3sap9KdQGXQQtMUD1ryuDs-TPffajaaWXg/TestArea%20Forced%20Hiding.JPG

    As you can see the hidden spaces all show up as "free", not unallocated. Under Vista, the testArea is "unallocated, and the others are "free"
    Since it was simple, I didreset the hidden sectors; I remember now doing that when this was set up. And it was set at 63 on XPSafe. When I booted this, I got this:

    "Windows could not start because of a computer disc hardware configuration problem.
    Could not read from the selected boot disc. Check boot path and disc hardware.
    Please check documentation etc."

    This sent me back to DD, where I found that the boot.ini files are screwed up. I have an original copy of bootwiz.oss, and it looks the same as what I have now [except for assorted flash drives, which I have since learned to not leave in the slots]. The partition numbers do not match those in the bootwiz.oss, except for TestArea and Vista. Finance also had 63 for its hidden sectors, which I fixed. But it also had the same partition number as XPMain. XPMain has been working properly. I have found that only TestArea and Vista can now boot; they all give the "Windows could not start..." message.

    It seems to me that perhaps the numbers that Windows sees for the partitions may have changed with forcing the hiding? BTW, is there any easy way to acertain what partiton number goes to what starting sector?
    Also, I remember last week looking over the OSS files, and noticed that where I would guess OSS saves the boot.ini, etc, the boot.ini file in the OSS folders were empty. Is this normal?
    At this point, I think that all that remains might be the partition identification. If I remember the last time, it was trial and error, editing the boot.ini and the bootwiz.oss each time. Is there an easier way?

    Thanx
    dc
     
  20. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I'm pretty sure the partition ID numbers the OSS uses are random and not based off of the partition's position, etc.

    OSS probably "reset" some of the partition ID values. Since the Logical OS entries were manually added, I don't know if OSS would update them or not. Everything needs to be checked again to make sure it's correct before looking further.

    Can you please post the current BOOTWIZ.OSS file?

    Can you verify that Test Area and Vista still boot properly?
     
  21. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I am working in this just now.
    Vista (where I'm working now) has DD, which I am using to get an overview of any differences. I will attach also an excel sheet. TestArea also boots, although a little slow. None of the others are accessable.

    Other than the partition numbers in the boot.ini vs OSS, I can't find much. I have the hidden sectors squared away, and as soon as I post this, I am going to boot to CD and set the partition numbers where they should be.

    The only thing I noticed from the Bootwiz.oss file is that the partition sizes did not match what I saw in DD [under Vista]. Generally, OSS said there were 3 - 6 more sectors in the various partitons. What DD sees is in the excell chart.
    I also label the partition names in the bootwiz file.

    The excel file is named .txt to get it attached.



    Later that afternoon....
    Well, I have the partition numbers all lined up, and I edited the boot.ini files to eliminate some options that seem to have been inserted since the original set up; I have only one option = /fastdetect.
    Now I am still faced with 'Windows could not start...'
     

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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  22. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Just messin around, I decided to once again do a restore of XPSafe. Nothing happened. But it did get me interested in looking at the process. Mounting the image in Vista, I looked at boot.ini and found that it listed partition(5) when it should be 8. The hidden sectors went to 63. I corrected these and got back to Windows could not load...

    I went to CD of DD and here I noticed that in the partition list XPSafe carried the label "D:", and Swap = "C:" [Swap is my pagefile partition]. I had read once that when cloning systems this can become a problem because all the registry values are looking for C:.

    Curious, I booted to Finance, then booted the CD to DD, and the list showed Finance = "D:" and Swap = "C:". Same happened with XPMain. When I tried this with TestArea [the working one] the DD list showed TestArea = "C:" and Swap = "D:". This tends to support my idea.
    But who is causing this misidentification? Or is this just a symptom of something else?

    dc
     
  23. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I haven't had time yet to really look over the files you posted.

    The drive letter assignments are different because Test Area is on a Primary partition and is set Active. This lets it get C: by default. Logical partitions can't be Active (even though they are set as such in the BOOTWIZ.OSS file). You might try XPSafe with your BootStuff partition Active and not hidden and see if anything different happens when you try to boot XPSafe (booting to the DD CD would most likely show the BootStuff partition as C:). I usually like to keep one Primary partition visible when booting Logical Windows partitions.

    I noticed in the other thread that you are sharing the Swap and Temp partitions. Is the Temp partition just for you to use or do you have any part of Windows directed to it?
     
  24. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    Well, I have made progress. I did try setting BootStuff visible, but this changed nothing. My ideas on the swap file and Temp are explained pretty well at http://www.aumha.org/a/parts.htm. I haven't got the temp folder set up; seems there's other more important things going on in my life. As far as a separate partition for programs, my view is that there is still the windows registry containing stuff that's critical to the programs, so all backups must be coordinated. But I think the swap file is a good simple improvement.

    After your bootwiz suggestion, I tried hiding everything but XPSafe. Nothing.

    So, I deactivated OSS and started marching through booting the DD CD, modify the boot.ini partition number, try a boot to XPSafe. I was about 3/4 of the way through, starting at partition(:cool: up to (15) and then down from (:cool: when I had an inspiration.
    [I have no idea why (eight) shows up as (:cool:]
    I reasoned that if from the beginning the partitions were only semi-hidden, and they were totally hidden now, then XPSafe in the current setup would be number (2). And it booted.
    A look at disk manager's view of the system seems to confirm my thoughts. I have attached a picture. [sorry it's taken this long to figure out how to push that button below the 'submit reply' button.]
    As you can see, the disc is now read as its real size, and the layout is logical. It is interesting to compare this with the layout seen in one of my posts above that has the partitions "Hidden" but not forced.

    The only thing that bothers me now is that the boot time is very long; normally XP boots in 1-1.5 min; it is more like 3.5 min for XPSafe. It starts with the bios blinking the screen, then the XP logo comes on for about 5-10 seconds. Then it goes black again, blinks to a dark grey, and the blue "Windows is loading your..." screen comes on for a while. Then the desktop color comes on and the long haul starts. I can see the disc indicator lite go on about every 5-10 seconds very briefly. At about the 3 minute point, the disk activity picks up dramatically, and it is like it has returned from a coffee break and resumed a normal boot. Any ideas on this?

    I activated OSS, thinking to see how it would handle booting XPSafe, and when the screen came up, I could see that it had detected a new system. So, I guess that one at a time, I need to get each of the other boot.ini files straight with OSS deactivated, reactivate and delete the old OSS menu item.

    All I can think of at this point is that the willy-nilly order I have used in setting up my partitions [no two primary partitions adjacent to each other], and the creation order not in order probably led to the cross-talk. Forcing the hiding in this circumstance [and maybe more generally] might be a requirement. And when forced hiding is implemented, it will change the order in which Windows boot sees the partitions. I say this because unless DD is used to edit the table such as to mimic the forced hiding, the normal hiding will prevail when you are setting up the systems, before you install OSS. OSS will set up a working system that will only show symptoms once some installations of software / devices are run. Enabling forced hiding at this point changes everything. It would be better to start with it enabled.
    BTW, I saw somewhere on these forums how to do that edit in the partition editor, but have lost track of where. Could you please repeat it here?

    I also need to verify that reinstalling the wireless has no external effects. I'm going to spend the day on and off reconfiguring this thing and testing device installs. If I discover more, I may edit this post.

    Thanx for your help
    dc
     

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  25. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Was it also set as the Active partition when you ran this test? Don't bother to try it again since you're making progress, but if you remember, I'd like to know.

    I haven't read the link, but doing a system this way is not something I would recommend. I know that some space can be saved, but I feel that the hassle and problems for saving a few GB's of space is not worth it. I previously setup a separate swap partition and it didn't work out well. Windows would use it for a while and then move the paging file back into the Windows partition. I got tired of moving it back. I think the Temp files on another partition is even a worse idea. I prefer to have each OS contained on its own partition and not connected in any way (via OS files) to another partition.

    Also, keep in mind that if you place the swap partition at the start of the drive and then place your OS partitions, the further you get from the swap partition, the longer the seek time will be to read/write the paging file. If you have the swap file at the start of the drive and the OS partition at the end of the drive (for example), the drive will be seeking from the start to the end all the time and performance may be worse than keeping it in the OS partition at the end of the drive (the slowest part).

    Placing the swap partition on a separate physical drive is more optimal, but, as I said above, it didn't work out well for me.

    I thought about this too, but there was no way of knowing what the numbers would end up being. You are correct that the detection number is different depending on which method of hiding is used. This is because Windows can "see" the normally hidden partitions and they get assigned even though it won't give them a drive letter.

    This option is on the Advanced page at the bottom in the Additional Options >> Miscellaneous Options section. Check the Disable smilies in text option.

    Does it take that long on every boot-up or just the first one or two?

    Where is the current swap file located for XPSafe? If it's not on the XPSafe partition, place it there and see if it makes a difference. If you have any other User files/folders "moved" onto other partitions, place them back onto XPSafe and see if it makes a difference.

    It may be the time is because the swap file is being created or files can't be found and it's waiting for a time-out to continue.

    It probably shouldn't cause problems, but it may. How Windows detects and doesn't detect partitions is very strict and there may be something going on that we're not understanding.

    You can use the Disk Editor in DD to view/edit the partition table. Right-click on the "Disk #" of the drive, select Advanced >> Edit from the pop-up menu and then View >> As partition table.

    ---

    If you have time, I'd be interested in seeing a screenshot of the BOOTWIZ folder (make sure the picture includes the subfolder names). I'm curious which (if any) of the manually added entries got their folders.

    Keep in mind too that when editing the boot.ini file on an OS partition, if OSS doesn't update it correctly with the one it has saved for that OS, the old one will still be used. It those cases, you'll need to edit the file from OSS or from the "OSID" folder in the BOOTWIZ folder.
     
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