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winXP frozen at Ghost2003 (PC DOS) background (Read 35403 times)
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Re: winXP frozen at Ghost2003 (PC DOS) background
Reply #30 - Nov 27th, 2006 at 2:35pm
Hi all.  first, since this is my first post in any Rad forums, my hats off to all of the moderators.  The articles and topics are all excellent and I find this site to be a very valuable resource.  Thank you.

I see this is an old thread but I am posting here because I ran into a similar problem two weeks ago when trying to ghost a friend's new computer.  I solved the problem eventually -- before I found this forum -- but, like Scott, I was close to reformatting as well.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints, (friend had to go home and took the computer), I no longer have the system, so I cannot do any further testing to try to get Ghost working, but I can tell you what I did that solved the problem, as it may contribute to the thread.  (Solve is actually the wrong word.  I never did resolve the problem to get Ghost to work, but I did manage to recover the system without reformatting.)  This might help someone else.

System:  Acer /Athlon 3400/Windows XP Home
Optical drive:  CD/DVD RW DL (Lite On I think)
160 GB drive partitioned (from factory) as 4 GB hidden, and 2 72 GB (approx) partitions.
The hidden partition is a diagnostic partition (I believe).  A program that came with the system called Acer eRecovery Manager, can be used to create a "factory condition" restore disk set at any time, or do other "image" backups although I'm not confident in them as I have never tried to retore one. (unlike Ghost which I've used many times.)

I wanted to run a Ghost backup, as is my usual practise when working on a system, so that I can at least put the system back to the way it was.  I ran Ghost from a boot CD (standard NightOwl Ghost boot CD "on steroids" - Thank you very much!), and the system froze on the DOS Ghost screen, and a hardware reset was the only option.

Following the reset, the computer failed to boot. It froze early in the boot sequence just at point where it accesses the mbr.  How I know this is because of what solved it.  It froze consistently at a system message "Verifying DMI data pool ....".  (Note: During a normal boot this is almost instantly followed by "Successful", and continuation of the boot sequence.)

The computer would still boot from CD.  I created a boot CD with fdisk (with help from RAD guides - Thank you very much!)

Using fdisk, I set the active partition to the former C: partition, (Win XP), but it still froze at same message.

Eventually , fdisk /mbr fixed the problem and the system booted again with no other apparent damage.  What I think happened is that Ghost froze when accessing/writing the mbr, possible due to the optical drive compatibility, or the hidden diagnostic partition, and the MBR was left screwed up when I did the harware reset.

After reading this thread and the Symantec guides, I'm pretty sure that was the problem. However I was unable to determine this due to not having the system any more.  At the time, I was just glad to have restored the system, and I ended up deleting Ghost and creating a backup with the Acer eRecovery Manager.  A solution I was not happy with (i.e. having an untested backup).

I have been trying to find a solution to get Ghost to run on this system, the next time I'm working on it.  I never thought of the optical drive compatibility issue.  My experience is slightly different than Scott's problem though, and it may still be worth a try to take the optical drive out of the system to see if that helps.

This thread has certainly shed some light on what I experienced.  I will certainly post additional findings if I resolve the issue.  Any of your thoughts on this would also be helpful.

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Re: winXP frozen at Ghost2003 (PC DOS) background
Reply #31 - Nov 27th, 2006 at 10:31pm

Thanks for your input.  It's always interesting to hear troubleshooting adventures  Wink !

But, I was surprised that you made this observation:

What I think happened is that
Ghost froze when accessing/writing the mbr

You stated earlier:

I ran Ghost from a boot CD
(standard NightOwl Ghost boot CD "on steroids"

It has not been my experience that Ghost access or changes the MBR data unless you are working with Ghost's Windows interface which will create the *virtual partition* by changing the partition table--but that action never occurs, to my knowledge, if booting directly to DOS using either a boot floppy or bootable CD--and no *virtual partition* involved.

But, you later made this comment:

At the time, I was just glad to have restored the system, and
I ended up deleting Ghost

So...had you installed the Windows Ghost, and were you setting up Ghost from Windows, and letting it create the *virtual partition*, and re-booting to DOS?

This thread talks about using the Ghost partitioning tool *GDisk* in DOS to correct the *virtual partition* problem: 
Ghost 2003 -operating system not found
.  Make sure you note the incorrect GDisk commands I initially gave and the corrections in a later post.

You could use this tool instead of *GDisk*--using the outline above but this tools commands for the same steps: 
MBRWizard - The MBR utility you've been looking for!


No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are Wink !
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Re: winXP frozen at Ghost2003 (PC DOS) background
Reply #32 - Nov 28th, 2006 at 10:31am

The exact sequence I went through is a little fuzzy after two weeks. (I'm notoriously bad for not documenting the steps I take).

Yes I did install Ghost in Windows.  You are probably correct that the "fatal" problem occurred when running Ghost from Windows.   I didn't put the whole story for brevity, but now that you mention the fact that the Ghost boot disk shouldn't modify the mbr, it makes sense and it probably was the Windows version that caused the problem.  I made two attempts to create a Ghost image.  If recollection serves, my first attempt was using the Ghost boot disk and it froze non-fatally -- that is, a hard reset booted back to Windows.  My second attempt was after installing Systemworks in Windows and trying to run an image with a virtual partition.

So then, the possible sequence was: 1. Ghost Win modifies mbr and reboots system.  2. Ghost DOS freezes due to optical drive incompatibility, non-standard partition problem, or some other unknown issue.  3.  On hard reset, obviously, mbr is not restored and system cannot boot.  4. Restoring mbr solves problem and system can boot.
This is still not complete, I think because after #2, the system should have been in a continuous boot back to Ghost DOS, No?

I don't remember that, but at one stage, I decided to use fdisk to restore the active partition.  A continuous boot back to Ghost Dos is probably why I thought of fdisk, and that's when it started freezng at the "Verifying DMI data pool" message, after restoring the active partition but with a bad mbr.

So now the sequence is: 1. Ghost win modifies mbr and reboots.  2. Ghost Dos freezes and computer is in a loop booting to Ghost DOS. 3. Fdisk restores active partition but mbr is bad so system cannot boot.  4. Fdisk /mbr restores mbr and system can boot?

Does this sound plausible?

Really, this is two problems:  one is how the mbr got hooped, and the second, which I haven't even started on, is why Ghost DOS froze.

I really must start keeping a log -- despite my aversion to doing so. Undecided  I should know better after 20+ years of working on computers.

The problem is that the next time I work on this system I will likely be at my friend's place out in the boonies with no internet access, and without my own computer systems to work with.  I'll have to take everything with me.
I hate fixing a problem without understanding it.  That's luck not expertise, and while its good that the problem was fixed, its only marginally better than not having fixed it, in my opinion.
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