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Erase DiskID on external USB drive (Read 26963 times)
John.
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Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Feb 23rd, 2006 at 1:12pm
 
Does anyone know of any master boot record (mbr) sector utility that will clear or erase the DiskID field on an external USB hard drive?

Several problems relating to Ghost 9/10 Copy Drive feature or Ghost 9/10 backup/restore feature depend upon booting from the Ghost emergency boot Recovery Environment CD.  As discussed by Dan Goodell in other threads and at his website, booting problems and recognition problems often occur because the DiskID field on the new drive (or external drive) conflict with the new boot environment.

http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm

I've read about ways to clear the DiskID field on internal hard drives, but never for an external USB drive.

Any suggestions or ideas?  Most sector utilities are DOS based and do not or will not touch a USB drive.  I've never seen a Windows XP utility that will modify the boot record for an external USB drive.



 

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Dan Goodell
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive ?
Reply #1 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 5:35pm
 
"Most sector utilities are DOS based and do not or will not touch a USB drive.  I've never seen a Windows XP utility that will modify the boot record for an external USB drive."


How about trying Roadkil's NT-based Sector Editor?

I don't use external HDDs so don't have much experience with them, and the few I have tried were natively recognized by the bios when booted to DOS (Dell Dimension 4700's, 9100, 9150).

 
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive ?
Reply #2 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 5:41pm
 
Ghost4me.John

This will most likely work with your USB HDD--just substitute for Ghost with the DOS based disk editor:

A Better USB 2.0 DOS Driver for Ghost + More!


If you have Norton SystemWorks 2003 (and probably earlier versions), you can find a nice DOS disk editor by Symantec on the installation CD here:

X:\NU\DISKEDIT.EXE
 

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John.
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #3 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 7:23pm
 
Thanks again Dan!  I successfully reset the DiskID of my external USB disk drive!!!  

For reference, here are Dan's links:

Fixing Windows 2000/XP Drive Letters

Before the change, my external drive letter was k: and after the change, I rebooted XP, and when it restarted the drive letter was f: (which is the next available unused drive letter in my PC).

Here is the procedure I used with Sectedit from roadkil.
http://www.roadkil.net/Sectedit.html

All operations are used from Windows XP.  
Caution, use with care!


After starting Sectedit, I got a menu asking for "Select Disk".
 Choices were Logical C, Logical D, Logical E, and Physical 2.

...

On my PC, Physical 2 is my external USB drive (I have two internal IDE drives). If you have more than one external drives connected and powered on, Sectedit may show Physical 2 and Physical 3, etc.  Best to power off any unneeded USB drives
before running Sectedit
so you don't accidently change the wrong USB drive.

DiskID is four bytes long and is located at sector address hex 01B8 through 01BB.  In this case it contains the values of:  BE E7 FC AF

...

For backup and safety, write down and save the contents of locations 01B8 through 01BB!  Note the screenshot above shows the results from my DiskID.  Your contents will be different, but at same locations ( 01B8 01B9 01BA 01BB )

Change/type over:   BE E7 FC AF  to   00 00 00 00

File/Save Sector

Exit

Shut down PC

Retest your Ghost 10 emergency Recovery Environment boot CD.  Ghost 10 should see the USB drive now as an "new unassigned drive" and will give it a compatible drive letter that Ghost 10 chooses. 

Reboot

Note new drive letter assigned by XP.

I think this will be an invaluable tool to fix Ghost 10 Recovery Environment boot CD issues that are caused by conflicting drive letter assignments stored on the external USB hard drive DiskID.

Credit for information on this to Dan Goodell at
http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Brian
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #4 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 9:58pm
 
John, I'm still not clear on how this differs from changing the drive letter from K: to F: in Disk Management. Once changed to F: it will keep that letter.
 
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #5 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 10:06pm
 
After clearing the DiskID, you don't use Disk Management to change it back.  You shut down, then boot from the Ghost 10 RE CD.  Ghost 10 RE will see it as an "unassigned" drive.  The RE will then be free to assign an appropriate drive letter and signature that works for the RE.

After the Ghost 10 RE restore, you can reset it back to some low drive letter (not z though!)

This is only a temporary workaround until Symantec fixes their boot cd pre-environment logic.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #6 - Feb 24th, 2006 at 12:40am
 
I'm with you now. I misunderstood your previous post and wondered why you wanted to change from K: to F: in Windows.
 
 
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John.
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #7 - Feb 24th, 2006 at 4:35am
 
Clearing the DiskID is essentially Method #3 ("Kawecki's Trick") as outlined by Dan Goodell, but instead of using Method #3 with fdisk /mbr for an internal IDE drive, you use Sectedit to do the same thing for an external USB drive .

Fixing Windows 2000/XP Drive Letters
http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #8 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 5:57am
 
John, in your Reply #3, could you explain what hex 01B8 means? How does that correlate with BE E7 FC AF?
 
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #9 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 6:56am
 
In the screenshot above, the physical address of each byte in the sector is shown in the list on the left.  the contents of those sector addresses are then displayed across the screenshot.

It starts with the first sector addresses of 0000 (and reading left to right on the first line) through 000f.

The second line continues 0010 through 001f.
etc.

The address with the
highlighted yellow
starts with 01B0 and continuing through 01BF

The contents of locaton 01B0 are hex 00

The contents of location 01B8 are hex BE
The contents of location 01B9 are hex E7
The contents of location 01B9 are hex FC
The contents of location 01B9 are hex AF

For convenience, stated this way:

The contents of the sector beginning with location 01B8 are BE E7 FC AF

Those four bytes are the DiskID, which must be zero'd to reset the drive signature and drive letter.
 

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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #10 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 4:47pm
 
Ghost4me.John

Thanks for your ongoing research into this problem with Ghost 10's Recovery CD and USB HDD's.

I'm reporting back with the results of my testing on a DOS based disk editor to access a USB HDD to erase it's disk id:

Erase DiskID on external USB drive--Reply #2


I suggested Symantec's *DiskEdit* program in reply #2 above as one option, but because not everyone will have access to that, I also looked around for something that's available to download from the Net.

Dan Goodell's site has a page which lists some useful utilities, one of which is a DOS based, freeware, disk edititing program--*PTS Disk Editor*:

Useful Tools for Our Project


Download PTS Disk Editor here: 
PTS Disk Editor


(Be careful with this program--it is live and HOT--it will edit your HDD if you make a change and tell it to save the changes!--no warnings!!!  Symantec's *DiskEdit* program starts in *Read Only* mode, and you have to manually change it to allow for writing to a disk.)

I used my DOS boot disk with the Panasonic USB DOS drivers on it to boot to the A:\ prompt.  I had saved the *PTS Disk Editor* program file (de.exe) to my G:\ partition, so did a drive change from A:\ to G:\ by typing *g:* at the A:\ prompt.

At the G:\ prompt, typed *de.exe* and got this:

...

I have two internal HDD's (drives 1 and 2), and I have two USB 2.0 external HDD's hooked up to a powered USB 2.0 Hub (drives 3 and 4).

I then selected drive #4, my Iomega USB 2.0 40 GB external HDD:

...

I went to Sector 62, which is where Ghost 2003 *marks* a HDD the first time it sees that HDD (in DOS, you can refuse to let Ghost 2003 *mark* the HDD, but if using the Windows interface--you must let Ghost 2003 *mark* the HDD, or else it will not allow you to proceed with the Ghost procedure you're setting up).

I then zeroed out the Ghost 2003 *marking*, and replaced it with *IOMEGA USB 2 HDD* to test if the disk editor would properly write to a USB HDD in DOS:

...

Everything worked without any problems.

I also tested the Symantec *DiskEdit.exe* DOS disk editor program, and it worked just fine as well:

...

...

This is my other USB HDD--I have never allowed Ghost 2003 to *mark* this HDD, so you see that Sector 62 is *empty*--all *zeroes*.
 

No question is stupid...but, possibly the answers are Wink !&&
 
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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #11 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 5:01pm
 
Ghost4me.John

You might be wondering why I have gone on about the *Sector 62* in my last post--I have an ulterior motive  Wink !

You have used editing the USB's disk ID to force Ghost 10 to re-assign drive letters when you boot the Ghost 10 Recovery Disk.  Editing the disk ID also means you will have to re-assign the disk drive letter in WinXP as well, if you want it to be a particular drive letter.

As I mentioned before in this other thread:

Ghost 10 Recovery CD problems--Reply #17


Ghost 10 Recovery CD problems--Reply #23


I think Symantec must be writing to the external HDD, code that *remembers* the drive letter assignment of the USB HDD that is seen while in WinXP--and is trying to have that same drive letter show up in the *Recovery Environment* when you boot the *Recovery Disk*.

Can you check Sector 62 on your USB HDD, using the *Sectedit* program from Roadkil, to see if Symantec's Ghost 10 is recording any code to that Sector 62 that might be allowing it to remember the WinXP drive letter assignment of the USB HDD?

If it is, it may be possible to edit that Sector 62, zeroing it out, rather than editing the disk ID in order to force Ghost 10's Recovery Disk to assign useable drive letters to the USB HDD.
 

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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #12 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 5:10pm
 
Nightowl,

Thanks for the clarification and information.  I stand corrected about DOS utilities not being able to write directly to physical sectors on USB drives.

Now users have 3 programs that can be used:

PTS Disk Editor (DOS based if DOS USB drivers used)
Symantec DiskEdit (DOS based if DOS USB drivers used)
roadkil Sectedit (XP based)

 

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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #13 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 5:38pm
 
Quote:
You have used editing the USB's disk ID to force Ghost 10 to re-assign drive letters when you boot the Ghost 10 Recovery Disk.  Editing the disk ID also means you will have to re-assign the disk drive letter in WinXP as well, if you want it to be a particular drive letter.

I don't think Ghost 10 is re-assigning drive letters when booting from the RE cd.  It's the Windows Pre-Environment.  Unfortunately what I discovered several months ago was that if the Pre-Environment found z: as the assigned drive letter, then it basically did not mount the drive.  Hence Ghost 10 never got a chance to see, much less restore my image.  

The next time you start up the XP Windows Pre-Environment cd, it will find a DiskID present, and try to honor that assignment.

Quote:
I think Symantec must be writing to the external HDD, code that *remembers* the drive letter assignment of the USB HDD that is seen while in WinXP--and is trying to have that same drive letter show up in the *Recovery Environment* when you boot the *Recovery Disk*.

After clearing the DiskID field, XP filled it in again but used the next-available drive letter, which was f: in my case.  You're right though that I would have to manually reassign it if I had programs or other data on it that pointed incorrectly.  However, just seeing it was a big improvement because that meant/means that I can use Ghost 10 RE cd.  So I redefined the Ghost backup definitions to the revised drive letter.

I looked at sector 62 and it is all zeros.  Of course I have never used Ghost 2003 which I think explains why it was never marked.

I don't claim that all of these tests and observations are 100% correct, just how I understand them as of now.  Any help NightOwl or guidance from anyone appreciated.

I'm just trying to get Ghost 10 Recovery CD to work (reliably) !
 

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Re: Erase DiskID on external USB drive
Reply #14 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 6:17pm
 
So, is sector 62 the Ghost 2003 equivalent of DiskID for Windows XP/Ghost 10?

I remember that Windows 98 had problems remembering drive letters for devices.  I had just assumed that XP corrected that somehow.  Later I found out about 01B8 (DiskID) field.
 

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