Resized clusters. Can't boot Vista

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by cdysthe, Sep 1, 2007.

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  1. cdysthe

    cdysthe Registered Member

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    Hi

    I resized the cluster size from 4 to 16 using Acronis Disk Director Suite 10. No errors or anything abnormal happened, but when I wanted to reboot I get "A Disk Read Error Occured". This comes before anything OS related runs, right after the Bios stuff. When I load the Windows Vista install CD I can see all the files, so there's nothing wrong with the files.

    What could be wrong? Could it be that the Bios can't see a partition with this cluster size, or? Since this machine, a HP laptop, has one of those limited Bios'es where you can hardly do anything, I do not know what to do.

    I have also tried to run Acronis from the rescue CD I have created, but I get an error telling me no disk is found and that it can't run. I then tried to install the OS selector and run the find OS wizard, but it says it can't find any. However, the Windows install DVD tells me it has found Windows on C:, and I can, as I mentioned before, get to all the files from a command prompt.

    Would it for instance be possible to set the cluster size back for the partition from a command prompt? Anyone here have any ideas what I can do?

    I do have a full back-up, so I won't loose anything, but would like to save the wasted time of having to reinstall everything if I do not have to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Christian:

    I recently did the exact same operation on my Vista machine's data partition; resizing the cluster size from 4k to 16k, but had a luckier outcome -- it worked perfectly. I am considering making the same change to the C: partition.

    The "Disk Read Error" usually indicates a problem with the disk; either no communication or else bad sectors. Obviously you can communicate with it, so perhaps there is a bad spot in the first sector, which is read during the boot sequence. This would prevent the machine from loading the master boot record code and starting the boot process. Have you tried doing a repair with the Vista DVD? Since you can see the files on the disk then the partition table is probably still intact but the master boot record may be missing or defective, so I would first try the equivalent of "fixmbr" (not sure what it's called in Vista) to replace the MBR. If you're lucky, that may be all that was wrong.

    I don't think the cluster size has anything to do with the problem. The first track on the disk with the MBR and partition table would not have been affected by the cluster size change; that would only have operated on the partition that you chose (Vista's partition).

    If you are having trouble getting the Rescue CD to see your hard disk in "full" mode, then try "safe" mode. If you can get DiskDirector running then you can examine the first sector with the Disk Editor to see what's there, and that might confirm (or disprove) my hypothesis.

    If you do restore your disk from a TrueImage backup, make sure that you restore the entire disk including the MBR and track 0. Be aware, though, that the restore will put Vista back with the cluster size that was in place when the image was created.
     
  3. cdysthe

    cdysthe Registered Member

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    Thank you for your advice. I did try the Windows Vista install CD which has an option to fix boot problems. I do not know what it actually does, but it didn't solve the problem. I then realized that time would be better spent restoring the image which was made right before I did cluster resizing (I'm proud of myself for doing that!). The restore went fine and the laptop is back to where it was.

    I still wonder what went wrong, especially if it's something about this laptop that makes this operation disasterous. I guess I will never know. The only thing I did notice was that the disk didn't look like it was detected in the Bios. Or could it be Vista not liking this operation?

    //C
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Christian:

    Did you do the cluster resize operation while running Vista, or from the rescue CD?
     
  5. cdysthe

    cdysthe Registered Member

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    The process started from Vista. Then the machine rebooted and most of the job was done then. When it was done it rebooted and the disk couldn't be accessed.
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Christian:

    That's what I suspected. You said in a previous post that the Rescue CD had trouble "seeing" your hard disk. When you start an operation from Windows that involves the partition that Windows is running from, it is necessary for Disk Director to reboot into the Linux recovery environment to finish the operation. Most partition operations on the Windows system partition can't be done while Windows is running. If the recovery environment does not have the correct drivers for your hardware then the operation will not complete.

    Have you tried booting from the Rescue CD yet and running the "safe" version of DD? If this works and you can see your hard disk, then you should be able to change the cluster size on your Vista partition from the recovery environment without Vista getting in the way.

    I suspect that resizing clusters may move some files around, so you might see the "winload.exe cannot be found" error when you first try rebooting into Vista. Running a repair from the Vista DVD should fix up the boot configuration database files and then you should be set.

    I haven't done this yet; my cluster resizing was on the data (D:) partition and was done from the recovery environment. It finished without error and Vista booted up right away. I did have to manually defragment because a lot of files got moved around during the cluster resizing. I'll be trying this on the system (C:) partition soon. I like the 16k cluster size; the disk does not fragment nearly as much and I get many more weeks of shadow copy files in less space than when I was using 4k clusters.
     
  7. cdysthe

    cdysthe Registered Member

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    The Windows Install DVD, and HP recovery DVD both saw the disk and all the files. I even hooked up a USB drive and could copy files from the "invisible" drive to the USB one getting the last few files off that wasn't on my image back-up. However, the Rescue CD didn't see the drive and told me there weren't any drives. And when I tried to install the Acronis OS boot selector it saw the dirver but told me there wasn't any OS's installed. I tried to add one, but the boot selector kept telling that there weren't any new OS's available. The Windows Install DVD saw the Windows Vista install. I did not even try the safe mode from the CD. That must have been about the only thing I didn't try, and probably what could have saved me.

    I gave up and put the back-up image on on the disk and it worked flawlessly. So what I got out of this is proof my back-ups work! :)

    I wish the Acronis software warned you when you try to change cluster size from withing Vista, especially if you can do it successfully from the CD. There were no warning or error messages a all unitil I rebooted after the whole process was over. I also wish Acronis didn't call the other recovery CD option "safe" since that really do not encourage you to try it in a situation like mine. I actually assumed that if normal mode didn't see the disk, safe mode for sure wouldn't.

    I really do not want to test if using the CD work, because if it doesn't I have to the recovery again, and it would typical if the second time I recover something went back and I lost my stuff.

    Finally, I purchased a new laptop this weekend. It's another HP and it has this recovery partition which also contains software for bootless mediaplayback. I wonder if I should just delete that partition since I have Acronis? And also, if Acronis would be able to back it up correctly?
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Christian:

    To use the Acronis products successfully you have to make a recovery CD and test it to verify that your hardware is fully supported in the Linux recovery environment. Acronis needs to emphasize that point clearly in their documentation, maybe even to the point of adding a little utility that runs the first time that you start up one of their programs and leads you step by step into doing that.

    That's a terminology problem that doesn't translate well from Russian to English. Better names are needed. "Full" mode = running Linux and "safe" mode = running DOS and supporting all hardware that is seen by the PC's BIOS, but often this means no USB support. I'm not sure what to rename the two modes to, but maybe Acronis should have a contest to come up with more descriptive names.

    I don't blame you for being gun-shy, but you should at least try booting the rescue CD into "safe" mode to see if you can see your disk. You don't have to make any changes, just observe the screen to see if your hard disk is there. With your new PC you should definitely test the recovery CD before doing any partition modifications to it. In fact, doing anything that affects the main Windows partition should always be done from the rescue CD when Windows is not running.

    You can also file a trouble report on the Acronis web site and ask for help getting your PC to work in "full" mode. Long-term, this is what you want to be able to do. Perhaps Acronis can supply updated Linux drivers that work with your PC.
     
  9. cdysthe

    cdysthe Registered Member

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    I really like all of the Acronis software I am, and have been, using. And I had a recovery CD made in addition to a full back-up image. The problem was that I didn't know that resizing clusters run from Windows Vista itself could cause a problem, and that it's a better idea to do it from the recovery CD. Maybe there's some documentation I haven't read, but I thought the recovery CD was created to recover what potentially could go wrong when using the program from within Windows itself. I did not know that it in some instances is better to perform the whole process, in this case resizing of cluster on Vista, from the recovery CD itself.

    I do not really understand how testing the recovery CD could have helped me in this situation: The resizing of clusters made the recovery CD, and Bios, not see the disk. How could I have tested for that without actually do what I did?

    I do not blame anyone but myself for what happened. It could even be HP who creates these custom boot configurations which sometimes even chkdsk has a problem with. I should have thought of that, but I didn't. And since I had a full back-up image it was not the end of the world, but rather an experience which pointed out how good the Arconis solutions are when something goes wrong.

    I am already testing Acronis on my new laptop, and everything works fine. What I worry about is to use the Recovery CD to resize clusters. If it fails, then the Recovery CD may not be able to help me. There's no way to test for that without performing the resize, right? If that is what you mean with testing, I am with you, but I have to admit it could end up being quite a time consuming test :)

    I did point out that a warning would have been nice *if* it turns out that resizing clusters from within Windows Vista is likely to fail. You say that all actions on the boot partition should be done from the recovery CD. The software tells you to always keep a backup, but not that doing what I did is risky in itself. And I do wish I was smart enough to have understood that the recovery CD is much more than that! Now I know, lesson learnt! :)
     
  10. LOOX

    LOOX Registered Member

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    Re: Resized clusters. Can't boot Vista; ME TOO

    YOU'RE NOT ALONE!!!! The same thing happened to me. DONT use the recovery CD to resize a vista partition until you've read on.

    I have spent the last two days playing with recovery CD's, Vista x64 start up repair, BIOS settings, to the point where I am getting behind in my work.

    I would describe my problem, but it is word for word the same as that written by the original poster.. with one addition.

    First, everything that he said went wrong to him, happened to me. Successfully (I think) resized my Vista 64 C drive from 4k to 16k clusters (my MFT was full and this would (and still could) help alot). I did this using DD10 in Vista, which, of course, rebooted, completed the operation, and rebooted again. And THAT's when the original poster and I were about to have a lot in common:

    I got the same "Disk read error occurred" message on reboot as the original poster. Naturally, I ran to the recovery CD, which no longer worked. Same as the original poster. This, perhaps, is the most bizarre part -- why would my recovery CD (which is a stand-alone device) no longer work when it used to? Bizarre. So, then, refusing to give up, I ran to my Vista DVD, just like the original poster. And, not surprisingly, I faced the same paradox that he did: The Vista DVD saw my OS partition on C:, and could not correct it because it said that all was fine. By now, things were far from fine. You see, the Vista DVD was my last hope, and it was telling me I could Boot. So, again, like the original poster, I used the Vista recovery enviorment (C prompt) to explore the partition. Every single file was where it should have been.
    I tried messing with the MBR, but that did nothing.
    OS Selector, same problems as the original poster.

    Where we differ is that I have a desktop with no hidden partitions. No bootloaders to get in the way. Just a regular setup including a Disk 1 with my only OS (vista 64) and a data partition.

    I also differ in that I was stupid enough to try again. I used True Image to revert back to my last Image (with 4k clusters). I read tons of posts (but not this one) and searched for help. Found nothing. On my own, I came up with the same solution as mentioned here: Namely, i used the Recovery CD to do the resize (which, if you've been paying attention, would have been working fine again). I thought that if I could resize the OS partition with the CD, I could avoid the reboot process and it would work.

    Nope. The resize went very well (slower, but well). After that, I had the same exact problems. and I ended up reverting back using True Image and found this thread.

    Now, because I did not read this post before, I could not tell you if I tried to resize in full mode or safe mode. I would have paid attention and reported back.

    What I can report back is that using at least one of Safe Mode or Full Mode to resize clusters on a Vista OS does not work either. I can also report that this is no longer an isolated incident. It happened to me twice on a machine much different than that of the original poster.

    So, lets assume I used full mode to do the resize. Do I try it again in Safe Mode, as suggested here? Is there any rationale that Safe Mode cluster resize of a Vista OS would lead to a different result than the same operation done in Full Mode? And how on Earth could this be preventing my recovery CD's from working?

    As I have now become obsessed with making this work, any comments would be appreciated.

    I may try the resize again just to ensure that safe mode does not work, but not until either 1. I have a good reason or 2. I become really bored.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Re: Resized clusters. Can't boot Vista; ME TOO

    LOOX,

    Could you please post what size hard disk you used as well as the sizes of the Vista and Data partitions (along with their type [Primary, Logical, etc.])?

    Also, before you tried to do the cluster resize, do you know if the Vista partition was created by Vista (had the 2,048 offset) or if it had the pre-Vista 63 offset?

    Finally, what build of DD are you using?

    I'm curious and may do a test on this. I only have Vista 32bit, though.
     
  12. LOOX

    LOOX Registered Member

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    Hey Mudcrab,

    Big fan of your work on here.

    My Disk 1 is a 750G WD SATA. I have a 96G OS at the very front of the drive; an empty 96G that is unpartitioned for potential future dual boot, followed by a 100G logical drive for data, another 100G drive for Media, and the rest of the drive is unpartitioned.

    So to sum up, an active C partition (96g); unpartitioned 96g; logical partition (100g); logical partition (100g); unpartitioned remainder.

    I am using the lastest Disk Director 10 build 2160.

    Interestingly, I've read your other posts about the Vista format and the offset difference with that of Disk Director. My suspicions lay there as well.

    It is beside the point, but what drives me nuts is that I haven't used Windows to format or partition a drive in over 5 years... I have always used Disk Director (and before that PartitionMagic), even when installing an OS. Of course, the ONE time I stray from this pattern, I had trouble, including with my first restore, a problem that was solved by reading on of your posts.

    Thanks!
     
  13. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    LOOX/MudCrab:

    I still haven't tried resizing Vista's partition from 4k to 16k clusters but was just thinking about it this morning since I have an opportunity to start on this next week. It's a good thing that you posted; it will remind me to be very careful when attempting this.

    One thought that occurred to me while pondering this is the effect on the BCD file if the clusters are moved around during the resize. I suspect that if your BCD is the default one from when Vista was installed and you have not made any changes to it, that it references the boot information by absolute sector number. If the BCD location changes during the cluster resize then afterwards Vista will not boot. I don't, however, understand why the Vista repair did not fix this.

    What I was considering doing was to change the BCD before doing the cluster resize as described in this post as follows:
    Code:
    bcdedit /set {default} device boot <ENTER>
    bcdedit /set {default} osdevice boot <ENTER>
    bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device boot <ENTER>
    The idea here is to remove the dependence of the boot configuration database on absolute sector location before doing the cluster resize.

    If I get brave and try this next week I'll post back. Like I said before, the cluster resize of a Vista data partition went flawlessly but I have not yet tried a cluster resize on the OS partition.
     
  14. LOOX

    LOOX Registered Member

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    Thanks k0lo, you just reminded me of one more fact...
    The OS partition I attempted to resize included a BCD that was not original.

    As I mentioned, I had imaged it earlier and made incrementals as I installed my software. When the inevitable mistake was made, I restored the image and found myself up against the Winload.exe not found error.

    I fixed this with the Vista DVD and, for extra insurance, applied the changes you just posted. Then, shortly thereafter, I ran memtest.exe and got the same error, "memtest.exe" not found. The fix was the same (setting the "device" to the "boot" location), and it worked.

    In other words, the BCD file that was subject to my resize attempt was also subject to the three changes I just mentioned.

    Maybe, the word "boot" was too general and confused the recovery media. Then again, this did not confuse the Vista DVD because it could see the OS. But on second thought, I suppose the Vista DVD was confused after all, because it told me there was nothing wrong with my OS start up, which confused me because that would be true except for the fact that my OS wouldn't actually start up.

    Even explaining it confused me, so I hope you can follow. If not, well, then at least you are no less confounded than my Acronis Recovery CD, my Vista DVD, and me.
     
  15. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I have run a quick VM test on this and got the same results. The A disk read error has occurred error message and that's it. Vista won't boot.

    I booted to BartPE and did the BCDEDIT fix (tried both ways) and still won't boot.

    I ran a chkdsk /f and it corrected several errors, but it still won't boot.

    I tried resizing the partition from both the front and end and still won't boot.

    Vista Repair says nothing is wrong. All boot files okay, etc.

    I'm not running more tests tonight, but I did get it to boot. I used DD to resize the cluster size back to 4KB and Vista booted right up.
     
  16. LOOX

    LOOX Registered Member

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    Hmmph! I was hoping that you'd get it right.

    Oh, well, the one think I didnt have was a Bart disk, which I am now making, but it looks like that won't help either.

    So I Am going to bed too. I need to be at work in 5 hours.

    Thanks again for all your help and I'll keep thinking on this.

    Louis
     
  17. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Louis/Paul:

    So I conclude from this that it is a Vista issue, not a DD issue. Apparently Vista is not happy when one or more of its files are resized/moved around. I'm guessing that unless we can figure out a workaround then you cannot resize the clusters on a Vista system partition. To have 16k clusters you would have to format the disk with 16k clusters and then install Vista.

    I had initially suspected that the cause was something in the Boot Configuration Database but maybe it is something else. Since I am also a user of the PerfectDisk 8 defragmenter, I know that PD8 marks several of the Vista system files as unmovable so that their locations on the disk do not change when the disk is defragmented. It is probably one of these system files. The list includes the System Restore/Shadow Copy files, which should not really be an issue. If these are restored to a different location on the disk (as happens when you restore an image using TI), then Vista reacts by simply deleting the restore points.

    The excluded files are: everything in the C:\System Volume Information folder and the C:\winsxs\bootstat.dat file. The latter looks suspicious...
     
  18. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Naah...

    This has to have something to do with the BCD for the following reasons:

    1. When a Vista partition is restored by TI, the clusters are not put back in the same place on the disk. Yet, it will boot properly.
    2. If Vista will not boot, things have not progressed to the stage where the bootloader is able to understand the NTFS filesystem, so it can't have anything to do with the bootstat.dat file.

    This must have something to do with the BCD. I wonder if the following command, run from the Vista recovery environment, would fix it:
    Code:
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
     
  19. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I'm still going to run some more tests on this, but I don't think it's the BCD file that's causing the problem. If it is, it's very odd that the Repair doesn't find anything wrong.

    These KB articles in Microsoft support seem to point to the boot sector causing the problem (at least in normal situations). It may be that DD is changing the boot sector and that causes the error. However, that still doesn't explain why resizing back to 4KB clusters would allow Vista to boot unless DD changed the bootsector back again.

    You receive a "Disk read error has occurred" error message when you use the Winnt32.exe program to reinstall Windows XP on a computer that has both Windows XP and Windows Vista installed

    Windows Vista no longer starts after you install an earlier version of the Windows operating system in a dual-boot configuration

    Windows Vista no longer starts after you install an earlier version of the Windows operating system in a dual-boot configuration


    Error message when you try to install an additional operating system on a computer that is running Windows Vista: "A disk read error has occurred. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart."
    This is the error message I got.

    The solutions seem to suggest rewriting the boot sector by using C:\boot\Bootsect.exe –NT60 All where C: is your Vista drive letter. I haven't tried this yet.

    Also, in my post last night, I forgot to say that the Vista partition used the entire drive, was created using Vista during the installation and had the 2,048 offset. In addition, after the cluster resize, DD changed the offset to 64.
     
  20. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think the same thing. I also wonder if Vista writes a different boot sector when 16K clusters are used (assuming that DD doesn't make any boot sector changes) or otherwise changes the booting files to adjust for this.
     
  21. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    I remain suspicious of the BCD, but maybe you're right. From KB927392:
    Alternatively, if your theory about the bootsector is correct, the same KB article suggests this repair:
    I think that I would try one or the other or both of these first. The other articles were specific to installations where Vista was installed first and then an earlier version of a Microsoft OS was later installed.
     
  22. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Mark,

    Neither of these worked in my test.

    The error message is in the boot sector. This error is before Vista get to where it would try and load the BCD file. The "hand-off" from the boot sector to the bootloader is working.

    vista bootsector 16K cluster changes from 4K.jpg
     
  23. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The plot thickens....

    Then if the bootsector is in error I'm surprised that the bootrec /fixboot command didn't fix it.

    Are the green bytes in your graphic the ones that differ between the bootsector of Vista with 4k clusters and Vista with 16k clusters? And is the displayed bootsector the one with 16k clusters that does not boot?
     
  24. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    This is not intended as a plug for a competing Disk Manager, but take a look at one of the limitations stated for Paragon's Partition Manager 8.5 on this page. Scroll down to the middle of the page and look at the "Known Issues" for "Change Cluster Size" on Vista.
    I'll keep looking to try to understand why this limitation exists.

    And then there is this... but it does not say why this is so.
     
  25. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I don't think the boot sector is in error. I think the code just can't find the boot loader and so displays the error message.

    Yes. The green bytes are the difference between the 2,048 offset 4K cluster partition and the 64 offset 16K cluster partition.

    ---

    I have run another test and this one is weird too. I cleared the drive, started Vista install, created the partition, aborted the install, booted to DD, resized the cluster size to 16K and this is what I got:
    vista PT 16K cluster changes from 4K-2048 (done on empty Vista partition).jpg

    Trying to then install Vista gave this error message:
    vista install attempt to 16K cluster.jpg

    I don't know if this was a fluke or what. Why did the offset change to 88 instead of 64?
     
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