How can I diagnose what is interfering with partition/FAT info?


J

John S.

Happy New Year to all!

I would be grateful for suggestions as to how I can solve a
problem I've run into, over what I thought would be quite a
straightforward partitioning/cloning task.

I'm trying to clone the HDD's of 3 computers belonging to a
voluntary organisation I belong to.

I purchased three Seagate 40GB drives, intending to use Partition
Magic (5.0) and Drive Image to make them into clones of the
existing drives, plus a second partition on each new drive for
backed up data.

The first computer I tackled went OK. It had Windows ME on a 20
GB drive in a single FAT 32 primary partition, with less than 2
GB of space used.

Method I used was was:-

Install new 40 GB drive jumpered as slave,
detected OK by BIOS and reported as correct size,

started PM 5.0 from floppy disks and created 7.8 GB FAT 32
primary partition, plus balance 32 GB FAT 32 logical partition

Shut down; started Drive Image from floppy and made an image
(medium compression) of original 20 GB drive on the 32 GB logical
partition on new drive.

"Restored" this new image to the 7.8 GB pri partition on the new
drive.

Shut down, disconnect old drive, jumper new drive as single
drive, restart and verify that the "cloned" drive boots up and
works OK.

Everything seemed satisfactory, although I then attempted to use
PM 5.0 to split the original 20 GB drive into two partitions. The
operation aborted almost immediately with an error message saying
that there was a bad sector on the drive. Scandisk however,
(running from within Windows ME), didn't report any bad sector on
a quick scan. Haven't tried a "thorough" scan yet.

***********

Next, came computer number two, and here I ran into problems.

No 2 is very similar to No 1 with a 20 GB drive (single FAT 32
partition) and less than 2 GB of space used, also running Windows
ME.

I followed the same procedure as described above and everything
seemed to proceed as before until I finally jumpered the newly
cloned 40 GB drive as a single drive and tried to boot from it to
verify that it was working OK.

The drive wouldn't boot. When I used a floppy to boot to DOS,
and did a "DIR" command, instead of seeing the expected list of
files and directories I saw a list of non ascii characters.

Since then I have tried several times to clone this computer's 20
GB drive to the new drive, without success. On each attempt I
have first used the Samsung ClearHDD utility to get rid of
anything already written to the first part of track zero. On some
occasions I used fdisk to create the partitions or to check on
the partitions created by PM 5.0, and found that fdisk and PM 5.0
seemed to agree with one another about the partition details.

I have tried doing a disk to disk copy with Drive Image, instead
of using the intermediate step of an image file. I have tried
using a jumper to limit the capacity of the new drive to 32 GB in
case that was causing complications (although the BIOS correctly
reported the size of the drive anyway, so I assume it supports 40
GB).

On each occasion, a DIR command on the newly cloned primary
partition would show a list of non ascii characters in place of
file names, or there would be no list displayed at all, and the
drive would not boot of course.

Finally something worked. I tried creating a primary partition
on the new drive of 21 GB, then using Drive Image to do a drive
to drive copy, this time allowing Drive Image to adjust the
target partition to exactly the same (approx 20 GB) size as the
source partition (leaving the rest of the 21 GB partition as free
space).

This method appeared to work, and I found the newly cloned
primary partition displayed the expected list of files and
directories, and the partition booted OK.

Having got this far, I defragged the newly created partition,
from within Windows ME. I then shut down, and used Drive Image
(from floppy disks again) to make an image of the defragged
partition (that image is stored on the original drive as
insurance whilst I'm experimenting with the new drive).

Next step left me back where I started, because I tried to use PM
5.0 to resize the new, defragged primary partition down to 7.8
GB. I figured this should work as there was less than 2 GB of
space used on the partition, and I had previously managed to
clone computer No 1 to a partition this size.

PM 5.0 seemed to do the job OK and reported all operations
successfully completed, BUT the resized partition was again
unbootable and no files were shown listed by the DOS DIR command.

I have since gone back and restored the saved image to a
partition of the "correct" approx 20 GB size on the new drive, so
I now have an operating clone on the new drive.
However, I'm not all that confident in having a drive as backup
which resists any change of partition size, and I'd really like
to understand what's going on.

I should mention that both computers (No 1 and No 2) have some
kind of Norton "protection" software installed, and this software
seems to take over some operating system management functions at
a fairly low level as far as I can make out. I'm wondering if it
is possible that this protective software manages the data in
track zero and interferes with the way partition data or FAT data
is handled?

Nobody here seems to know who installed the Norton software, and
I can't find the original Norton disks in the filing cabinets so
I'm not really sure what I'm dealing with.

I'm puzzled why two apparently very similar computer
installations behave quite differently with the same partitioning
and imaging software.

I would be grateful for any practical suggestions as to how I can
diagnose what is going on, and how I can take control of this
darned HDD and partition it the way I want to.

I suppose I could try uninstalling the Norton software (although
it doesn't seem to want to let you do anything radical unless you
have "administrator" privileges), and try again. However, every
time I try a cloning operation it seems to take several hours by
the time I've gone through everything, so I'm asking for help.

Cheers, and thanks in advance. John S.
 
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R

Rod Speed

I would be grateful for suggestions as to how I can
solve a problem I've run into, over what I thought would
be quite a straightforward partitioning/cloning task.
I'm trying to clone the HDD's of 3 computers
belonging to a voluntary organisation I belong to.
I purchased three Seagate 40GB drives, intending
to use Partition Magic (5.0) and Drive Image to make
them into clones of the existing drives, plus a second
partition on each new drive for backed up data.

You didnt really need to use them both, DI will do it all.
The first computer I tackled went OK. It had
Windows ME on a 20 GB drive in a single FAT 32
primary partition, with less than 2 GB of space used.
Method I used was was:-
Install new 40 GB drive jumpered as slave,
detected OK by BIOS and reported as correct size,
started PM 5.0 from floppy disks and created 7.8 GB FAT 32
primary partition, plus balance 32 GB FAT 32 logical partition
Shut down; started Drive Image from floppy and made
an image (medium compression) of original 20 GB drive
on the 32 GB logical partition on new drive.
"Restored" this new image to the 7
.8 GB pri partition on the new drive.

You didnt really need to do it like that. You could have
cloned the original drive to the new drive, then shrunk
that to 7.8GB and then just created a new partition in
the free space for the images, using DI.
Shut down, disconnect old drive, jumper new
drive as single drive, restart and verify that
the "cloned" drive boots up and works OK.
Everything seemed satisfactory, although I then attempted to
use PM 5.0 to split the original 20 GB drive into two partitions.
The operation aborted almost immediately with an error message
saying that there was a bad sector on the drive. Scandisk however,
(running from within Windows ME), didn't report any bad sector on
a quick scan. Haven't tried a "thorough" scan yet.

Its the thorough scan that matters.
***********
Next, came computer number two, and here I ran into problems.
No 2 is very similar to No 1 with a 20 GB drive
(single FAT 32 partition) and less than 2 GB
of space used, also running Windows ME.
I followed the same procedure as described above and
everything seemed to proceed as before until I finally
jumpered the newly cloned 40 GB drive as a single drive
and tried to boot from it to verify that it was working OK.
The drive wouldn't boot. When I used a floppy to boot to DOS,
and did a "DIR" command, instead of seeing the expected list
of files and directories I saw a list of non ascii characters.

That normally indicates some pretty basic hardware problem.
Since then I have tried several times to clone this computer's
20 GB drive to the new drive, without success. On each
attempt I have first used the Samsung ClearHDD utility to get
rid of anything already written to the first part of track zero.

You should have run Seagate's diagnostic on the 40GB drive first.
And when it reported a problem, work out where the problem was.
On some occasions I used fdisk to create the partitions or to check
on the partitions created by PM 5.0, and found that fdisk and PM
5.0 seemed to agree with one another about the partition details.
I have tried doing a disk to disk copy with Drive Image,
instead of using the intermediate step of an image file.

Again, you should have tried the Seagate diagnostic on the drive.
I have tried using a jumper to limit the capacity of the
new drive to 32 GB in case that was causing complications

The symptom of that bug is that the system locks up
with drives over 32GB and you werent seeing that.
(although the BIOS correctly reported the size of
the drive anyway, so I assume it supports 40 GB).

Very likely since it didnt lock up.
On each occasion, a DIR command on the newly cloned
primary partition would show a list of non ascii characters
in place of file names, or there would be no list displayed
at all, and the drive would not boot of course.
Finally something worked. I tried creating a primary
partition on the new drive of 21 GB, then using Drive
Image to do a drive to drive copy, this time allowing
Drive Image to adjust the target partition to exactly
the same (approx 20 GB) size as the source partition
(leaving the rest of the 21 GB partition as free space).

Likely it only worked because the hardware problem wasnt see
at that time, or it doesnt affect that particular operation. Tho it
might concievably be Nortons playing silly buggers, see below.
This method appeared to work, and I found the newly
cloned primary partition displayed the expected list of
files and directories, and the partition booted OK.
Having got this far, I defragged the newly created partition,
from within Windows ME. I then shut down, and used Drive
Image (from floppy disks again) to make an image of the
defragged partition (that image is stored on the original drive
as insurance whilst I'm experimenting with the new drive).
Next step left me back where I started, because I tried to
use PM 5.0 to resize the new, defragged primary partition
down to 7.8 GB. I figured this should work as there was less
than 2 GB of space used on the partition, and I had previously
managed to clone computer No 1 to a partition this size.
PM 5.0 seemed to do the job OK and reported all operations
successfully completed, BUT the resized partition was again
unbootable and no files were shown listed by the DOS DIR command.
I have since gone back and restored the saved image to
a partition of the "correct" approx 20 GB size on the new
drive, so I now have an operating clone on the new drive.
However, I'm not all that confident in having a drive
as backup which resists any change of partition size,
and I'd really like to understand what's going on.

Most likely there is a hardware problem. Run the Seagate diagnostic.
I should mention that both computers (No 1 and No 2)
have some kind of Norton "protection" software installed,

Shouldnt matter if you were doing all the ops from booted
floppys, tho it might be having a massive brain fart on the
first boot after the partition has been resized I spose.

There can be a problem with the motherboard bios
virus protection of the boot sector, but that shouldnt
produce those symptoms and clearly isnt stopping
a clone to a 20GB partition from working. Guess it
might be stomping on the attempt to resize the partition
tho since that needs to have the partition table amended.

Easy to check by disabling that in the bios if its enabled.
and this software seems to take over some
operating system management functions at
a fairly low level as far as I can make out.
I'm wondering if it is possible that this protective
software manages the data in track zero and interferes
with the way partition data or FAT data is handled?

Its more likely that its decided that there is a problem
with the resized partition if it is Norton thats the problem.
Nobody here seems to know who installed the Norton
software, and I can't find the original Norton disks in the
filing cabinets so I'm not really sure what I'm dealing with.
I'm puzzled why two apparently very similar
computer installations behave quite differently
with the same partitioning and imaging software.

You can get that if one has a hardware problem.
I would be grateful for any practical suggestions
as to how I can diagnose what is going on,

First, run the Seagate diagnostic and see what it
says about the 40GB drive. Likely thats the problem.
and how I can take control of this darned
HDD and partition it the way I want to.
I suppose I could try uninstalling the Norton software
(although it doesn't seem to want to let you do anything radical
unless you have "administrator" privileges), and try again.

Guess it might be having a massive brain fart on the
first boot with the new partition size. Doesnt explain
why the first PC didnt see that problem, tho its always
possible it isnt installed the same way on both PCs.
 
J

John S.

Rod Speed said:
...... snip

You should have run Seagate's diagnostic on the 40GB drive first.
And when it reported a problem, work out where the problem was.

Thanks for the suggestion - have downloaded the Seagate
"Seatools" utility and will do the test.

..... snip
There can be a problem with the motherboard bios
virus protection of the boot sector, but that shouldnt
produce those symptoms and clearly isnt stopping
a clone to a 20GB partition from working. Guess it
might be stomping on the attempt to resize the partition
tho since that needs to have the partition table amended.

Easy to check by disabling that in the bios if its enabled.

Hadn't thought of that - will take a look in the BIOS.

Cheers, John S
 
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J

John S.

On 6 January I posted a message (repeated at the bottom - it's a
bit long) asking for ideas on a problem cloning a 20 GB drive to
a new 40 GB drive with Drive Image.

I've found a solution that works and am posting some updated
info, but I still don't understand what was causing the problem.

My difficulty was that the cloning was successful ONLY if the
target partition on the 40 GB drive was exactly the same size as
the source partition (the whole of the 20 GB drive). Any attempt
to clone to a different sized partition, or to adjust the size of
the partition (with Partition Magic) after cloning resulted in
the partition becoming unbootable, and the files seemingly
disappeared from the partition (ie a DIR command from a DOS
floppy boot disk would show no files present).

Rod Speed was kind enough to respond with a couple of
suggestions, namely :-

a) check the BIOS to see if virus protection was enabled.

(I checked. It was enabled. I disabled it. Made no difference to
the problem - drat!)

b) run the manufacturer's drive diagnostic utility on the new
drive.

(Did that. Ran Seagate's Seatools diagnostic. After a two hour
comprehensive test it reported no problems with the drive.
Hooray!!)

Since then I've put the 40 GB drive in my own home computer,
created a new primary partition the same size as I previously was
cloning to, restored a Drive Image file of my own computer's C:
drive and then changed the partition size with Partition Magic,
all with no problems, so I guess the problem is due to something
installed on the original computer's 20 GB drive.

Today I wiped the primary partition on the 40 GB drive, made a
new one of 7.8 GB to replace it (and made it active), and then
cloned the original 20 GB drive to it (only less than 2 GB of
space on the drive is used), this time using CloneXX, a utility
made my Art Kopp employing the copy util XXCopy.

This different method of cloning seemed to do the trick. After
Sys - ing the target partition I was able to boot to it and
everything seemed quite normal. Then I fired up Partiton Magic
and resized the target partition to a larger size. No problem,
the resized partition worked normally when booted.

So it seems to me that something on the source partition is
preventing drive image from successfully cloning if a change in
partition size happens, but whatever it is does not affect the
target partition if the cloning is done by copying files instead
of "raw" partition information.

I would love to know what the problem might be even though I have
found a way round it.

One clue may be the fact that, after cloning with XXCopy, the
reconciliation between the source and target partitions produced
an error message revealing that the target partition had one more
file than the source partition. This should not be possible as
the target partition was newly created and empty before using
XXCopy. Also the XXCopy "Clone" switch deletes any file on the
target partition which is not on the source partition.

I can only speculate that there may be some kind of data which is
hidden on the source, but somehow able to be copied by XXCopy??
Maybe that's not logical though.

I would love toknow what is happening. Any suggestions?

---- original post ----
 

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