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Restoring OS only image to new HDD (Read 43699 times)
Dan Goodell
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #30 - Aug 19th, 2006 at 3:55pm
 
ckcc & Brian,

I have a bootable CD you might find useful.  With it, you can directly examine what's in the MBR rather than trying to guess what's there based on symptoms.

Download my dsrfix98.zip file, extract the iso file, and use it to create a bootable CD.  It includes the PTS Disk Editor (de.exe, courtesy of The Starman, whose website I see you're already familiar with) which you can use to directly examine the content of the MBR sector.

After you restore your test image, boot from the dsrfix98 CD, which will leave you at the 'A:>' prompt.  Launch de.exe and look at the MBR of your hard disk.  (I have some sample screen shots here.  These examples show partition boot records, but you'll want to choose 'Physical Devices' and open the first sector of your hard disk.)

I just ran a test in which I zeroed out the MBR and then restored a Ghost 2003 partition image.  The partition table (at the bottom of LBA-0) was adjusted, but the boot code portion remained zeroes.
 
 
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ckcc
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #31 - Aug 19th, 2006 at 4:33pm
 
Thanks Dan,

I'll give that a try. I have a program that looks similar ( sector spy xp) but have never understood how to utilize it before.

I just ran a test in which I zeroed out the MBR and then restored a Ghost 2003 partition image.  The partition table (at the bottom of LBA-0) was adjusted, but the boot code portion remained zeroes.


Thats the conclusion I've reached from my tests and research... that only the Partition table entry is restored with the image and the rest of the boot code either has to already be there or supplied afterwards. Creating a partition before restoring the image creates this code in the MBR. Is that correct?
 

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Dan Goodell
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #32 - Aug 19th, 2006 at 4:44pm
 
"I have a program that looks similar ( sector spy xp) ..."


If that's a XP-based utility, it won't be that easy to use when the hard disk doesn't boot.

"Creating a partition before restoring the image creates this code in the MBR. Is that correct?"


Well, it's really two separate activities, so I suppose it depends on the utility you're using to create the partition.  All the utilities I use seem to behave that way.  I guess they assume you'll always want boot code if you've got partitions.


 
 
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ckcc
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #33 - Aug 19th, 2006 at 5:00pm
 
If that's a XP-based utility, it won't be that easy to use when the hard disk doesn't boot


It's on my Bart PE / Ultimate Boot CD... looks like several of them. already downloaded yours and will try that. Thanks.

It's all starting to make a little sense now. Undecided
 

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Brian
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #34 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 12:55am
 
Dan Goodell wrote on Aug 18th, 2006 at 2:54pm:
It looks to me like you guys haven't been controlling all variables in your tests.  Simply removing all partitions from a disk does not remove the 400-odd bytes of boot code from the MBR.


That's what concerned me with my first test. I used a HD that contained a WinXP partition and a data partition. I deleted both partitions but obviously didn't remove the MBR. When I restored the Ghost 2003 image to Unallocated Space it booted but the MBR was from the original HD and not from the HD where the image was made. I feel I don't understand the MBR well enough to generalize but the adage about not being able to restore a Ghost 2003 OS partition image to a new HD seems to be a incorrect.

ckcc, you have done some interesting tests while I've been away.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #35 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 1:20am
 
ckcc wrote on Aug 18th, 2006 at 5:28am:
Did you still have the option to boot the second install of XP...


I don't use a special boot manager as I only occasionally use that second WinXP. I just use pqboot32.exe which is situated in a common data partition visible to both OSs.

Using Ghost 9 I've restored both partitions in the past. Easy.
 
 
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #36 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 3:45pm
 
ckcc, Brian and Dan

Interesting posts since I started this thread--thanks for each of your contributions--and testing!  I've been tied up with a couple other projects and did not respond for the last couple days pending doing a little more research and testing myself!

I have to say that I now have a much fuller understanding of the Master Boot Record (MBR), the partition table, the *boot tract*, and booting issues surrounding these items--but, I'm also even more confused--partly because there does not appear to be an agreed upon terminology for certain aspects of this area regarding the MBR, etc.--I'll point that out later.

First off, when I Googled *Master Boot Record*, I stumbled upon Starman's series of webpages about the MBR, Fdisk, etc. that ckcc referenced in one of the earlier posts--excellent stuff--fairly technical--but enough of it can be appreciated for its general overview--and you can ignore the highly technical stuff--worth reviewing for better understanding--I made up a list of some of the more relevant pages:

(Edit by NightOwl, 8/23/06 at 10:10 pm--fixed third link so goes to the correct page.

Also--see Dan Goodell's reply
# 51
--it adds great clarity to my comments below!)


An Examination of the Standard MBR


An Examination of the MBR ( Master Boot Record ) for: MS-Windows 95B, 98, 98SE and ME


An Examination of the Windows 2000 ( NT5.0 ) and Windows XP ( NT5.1 ) MBR


An Examination of the MSWIN4.1 OS Boot Record


An Examination of the NTFS Boot Record Of Microsoft® Windows 2000 (NT5.0) and Windows XP (NT5.1)


Detailed Notes on Microsoft's FDISK.EXE Program


What Does Microsoft's (Win 9x/ME) FDISK.EXE Program do to a Hard Disk?


How To Permanently Erase Data from a Hard Disk


MBR, Partition Table and Boot Record Tools



To summarize some of the main points I got out of those pages:

1.  The MBR boot code and Fdisk have changed over time from DOS 3.30 through now NT.  

a.  The Std MBR code was the same from DOS 3.30 thru Win95a that Fdisk places in the MBR:

Quote:
*NOTE: Even though we're examining the code created by Microsoft's FDISK utility,
this MBR is OS-independent. Its code can be used to start the bootup process for any operating system's Boot Record on an x86-CPU based (PC) computer as long as that OS is:
1) on the Primary Master hard drive, 2) set to be the only Active partition, 3) it's Boot Sector is located at or under cylinder 1024 of the hard drive (since this MBR uses the standard INT 13 Read Function which is limited to that value) and 4) it has a boot loader in the first sector of that partition.

The above means you can boot WinXP using this Std MBR code as long as the *Boot Sector is located at or under cylinder 1024*!

b.  The MBR used in Win95b through WinME by Fdisk was changed to function under the FAT32 file system:

Quote:
Basically, this MBR was created so that Microsoft's FAT32 Boot Sectors could be located in a partition that's beyond the reach of the Standard MBR (which is limited to cylinder 1024 or less, since it does not use the Extended INT 13 Function 42h which is found in this MBR).


c.  Starting with Win2000, a new MBR code was introduced with the advent of the NTFS file system.  But, see the quote below--apparently one does not have to have this MBR code if you are installing an NT based Windows to an existing HDD that already has, say for instance, the Win98se MBR code already on that HDD from a prior Win98se install!:

Quote:
This MBR code is installed on
blank
hard drives when Disk Management is used by a Windows 2000, XP or 2003 OS.

This code will be written to Cylinder 0, Head 0, Sector 1 of a Hard Drive by various OS routines, such as the Disk Management Console,  
if  the drive does not already have an existing MBR sector
(recognized by Windows) when it is installed.


And, note:

Quote:
Note: Like all other code presented in this series, this MBR code could still be used to boot any OS on an x86 PC if it meets the conditions listed here
*(added by Nightowl--"here*" references essentially the same quote as above for the Std MBR code, except there is this added requirement:


the CPU itself must be an 80286 or later, since some of the opcodes (see Code below) require that.


2.  Apparently, it's not the MBR code that is a critical factor in booting--it can be replaced easily with *fdisk /mbr*--and the actual code will be based on the version of *fdisk* that you are using!

If using the *Recovery Console*, the *fixmbr* command will presumably write the NT version of the MBR code to the first part of Absolute Sector 0!

I now know that *the MBR code is not critical* is a good thing, being as we have recommended using Dan Goodell's
Kawecki's Trick
on a WinXP system to make it forget its HDD letter assignments using a Win98se version of fdisk!

Have to wonder, though, what, if any functionality is missing when using an NT system with a Win98 MBR code loader--must not be any--being as WinXP will not replace an existing MBR code if other code is already there!

3.  But, what is probably more critical is the *Partition Table* that is the last portion of Absolute Sector 0:

Quote:
IMPORTANT: One of the first things that any PC user should do after setting up a new hard disk (or creating a new partition with a utility such as Partition Magic) is to make a copy of its MBR; especially if you have more than one partition on the disk! Why? If you accidentally overwrite this sector, or are infected by a Boot sector virus, you may never be able to access some or even all of your disk again!  
Even the most expensive HD utility might not correctly restore the Partition Table of a multi-partitioned hard disk!

Some advice: Save the Partition Table data on floppy disks or even on paper(!); it does no good to have the data you need to access your HD on the un-accessible HD itself! There are many ways you can do this... See the MBR Tools Page. Any good Disk Editor will allow you to manually enter data you've written down under an easy to use Partition Table View, or you can use Power Quest's excellent little utility program "MBRutil" (under any version of Windows!) and "MBRUTILD" (under DOS) to save the binary data to a file on a floppy diskette and later restore the MBR from the saved file.


For regular Ghost users, you may want to take the above advice under *advisement*--you don't want to go restoring the *partition table* to a HDD that
you
have made any adjustments to the partition layout.  And when you restored an image to a HDD--
Ghost may do some adjustments
to the partition layout using *built-in behind the scenes* partition *adjustments*--even if it's to the same HDD as the original source HDD for the image!

So, it's not a bad idea to have a back up of the MBR sector with the *partition table*, but caution in using the restore function of the MBR sector--it has to be for that exact partition layout without any changes having been made since the last MBR sector backup!

I have more--I will respond with separate posts to address individual questions and issues.

 

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NightOwl
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #37 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 4:40pm
 
Pleonasm

Quote:
Symantec explicitly assured me that the MBR is automatically included in the image

Knowing what I've been reading so far, I would strongly doubt this applies to backing up and restoring just the OS partition of a multi-partitioned HDD!

My reasons:

1.  From the Ghost 10 User Guide you mentioned:

Quote:
Restores the master boot record. The
master boot record is contained in
the first sector of the first physical
hard drive. The MBR consists of a
master boot program and a partition
table that describes the disk
partitions.
The master boot program
looks at the partition table to see
which primary partition is active. It
then starts the boot program from
the boot sector of the active
partition.
This option is recommended for
advanced users and
is available only
when restoring a whole drive
under
the recovery environment.


Someone using Ghost 9 and/or 10 would have to report back if this item is selectable if you define just a single OS partition backup of a multi-partition HDD--I'm guessing not.

It's interesting--Ghost 9/10 do not have an option of imaging a *whole drive* nor restoring a *whole drive*, if I understand how they work--you have to select each partition separately until you have selected all of them in order to do a *whole drive* image and/or a restore.  Ghost must have to keep track of what you have elected to do to decide if the MBR can/will be *stored* with the image, and can/will get *restored*!

(Brian--you have mentioned deleting a *non-essential* file that allows one to restore *all the partitions* at once (?)--do I have that correct?--I wonder if that file is holding the MBR if you have selected that option?)

Quote:
So, for users of Ghost 9/Ghost 10, is it true that the MBR information is automatically captured in the image (a.k.a. “recovery point”) and may optionally be restored during the recovery process?

I'm betting not, unless it's a *whole drive* backup--whatever that means in Ghost 9/10!

Does one have to *check* a box if restoring a *whole HDD* using Ghost 9/10 to restore the MBR as well?  (Someone could set up a *pretend* whole HDD restore up to the point where you would have the option of selecting the *Restore MBR* to see if that options appears and is selectable--without having to actually carry out the deed--would have to be in the Recovery Environment if it's for the OS HDD.)

2.  Ghost (all flavors) has built-in ability to both *partition* and *format* HDD's--so it must also have built-in ability to create the MBR boot code and the partition table when you perform a restore to a new HDD that's fresh out of the box--you would not want Ghost placing that partition table (of the old HDD) on that new HDD--and Ghost usually does not--it offers to make changes in the partition sizes to *fill* the whole disk, or lets you resize partitions to your liking--so can't be restoring the *original* MBR boot sector with that *original partition table*--at least not *unmodified*!

(Having said that last statement--I wonder what version of the MBR code Ghost places on a HDD that it partitions--and for that matter--what version of the MBR code does PartitionMagic place on a HDD when you use it?)
 

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Brian
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #38 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 6:20pm
 
Quote:
Knowing what I've been reading so far, I would strongly doubt this applies to backing up and restoring just the OS partition of a multi-partitioned HDD!


NightOwl,

I think the userguide is badly worded. I think "whole drive" means "partition" and they are trying to say the MBR can't be restored from a "files and folder backup". You are correct in that a "whole drive" can't be restored in the Ghost 2003 sense.

For Copy Drive the userguide actually says,

Quote:
Copy the master boot record
from the source drive to the
destination drive. Select this
option if you are copying the
C:\ drive to a new, empty hard
drive. You should not select
this option if you are copying a
drive to another space on the
same hard drive as a backup
or if you are copying the drive
to a hard drive with existing
partitions that you will not be
replacing. Additionally, if you
are copying multiple drives to
a new, empty hard drive, you
only need to select this option
once.


So the userguide is quite specific regarding copying the MBR with Copy Drive but not specific at all with restoring an image. I wonder whether the above implies that you shouldn't restore the MBR to a new HD that you have already partitioned and then intend to restore images from your old HD.


Quote:
you have mentioned deleting a *non-essential* file that allows one to restore *all the partitions* at once (?)--do I have that correct?--I wonder if that file is holding the MBR if you have selected that option?)


I think that is the .sv2i file. An index file that may save a few seconds in selecting which images to restore. It has nothing to do with the MBR. I gather it's useful with VMware as the file can be imported to create a virtual machine.

Quote:
Someone using Ghost 9 and/or 10 would have to report back if this item is selectable if you define just a single OS partition backup of a multi-partition HDD--I'm guessing not.


Yes, it is present for a single image restore although it should not be ticked when restoring an image to the same HD.
 
 
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #39 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 6:23pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Aug 20th, 2006 at 3:45pm:
ckcc, Brian and Dan

I have to say that I now have a much fuller understanding of the Master Boot Record (MBR), the partition table, the *boot tract*, and booting issues surrounding these items--but, I'm also even more confuseds



My thoughts exactly!

Have missed your input NightOwl, welcome back.

You have raised a few more interesting questions... which are beyond me answering. I'm gonna sit back and listen and learn.

I have Ghost 9 but have never used it.... have booted to the recovery environment just to look aroud though.
 

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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #40 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 6:33pm
 
NightOwl, the phrase "whole drive" does not appear in Ghost 10 User's Guide, other than in the section describing the MBR restore option.  Therefore, I strongly suspect that the phrase is (as Brian suggests) Symantec's attempt to state that the option applies when restoring a partition as opposed to files/folders.

Remember, in the parlance of Ghost 10, the word "drive" = "partition"; therefore, the comment "whole drive" really means "whole partition".

By the way, I have looked at the XML code within the .SV2I file, and see no obvious indication that it contains anything related to the MBR.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #41 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 7:02pm
 
ckcc and Brian

Thanks for your reports on using Ghost 2003 to restore a single OS partition--I have done some testing too (I wish I had read ckcc's question and Dan's statement about whether the *MBR boot code* is the same as from the original source HDD--I didn't think to look and compare that--so unfortunately that testing will have to wait for another day  Wink ).

But here's what I did, and then I have a question as to what you did:

I have a system that I wanted to add a second HDD to--so I was going to be opening it up and switching cables around--so why not do some testing  Cheesy !?--the original HDD had two primaries, one of which had the status of *none*, the other was the *active*, and there was an extended partition with a single logical partition filling it--so three partitions.  Added the second HDD and partitioned it with an extended partition only with 3 logical partitions within it.

Then, using another HDD for testing--used Gdisk, Ghost 2003's DOS partitioning tool, I ran *gdisk 3 /diskwipe* (being very careful to get the right disk # to wipe!) which *zero'ed* out the whole drive, including the MBR Absolute Sector 0, and everything else in the boot track, and whole HDD.

Using DOS Ghost 2003, created an image of the OS partition only from Disk 0 (the primary, Master HDD that's booted from), to one of the partitions on Disk 1 (primary, Slave HDD).  (Note--disks start their numbering at 0.)

Test #1:


Then, with the 3rd HDD hooked up (Disk 2), I then tried to use:

Local > Partition > From Image.

I was able to select the image file on the second HDD as the source, and I had to select the single partition from within that image file (even though there was only 1 partition there!).  I could see the 3rd HDD listed in Ghost under the *Destination* menu, but it was *greyed out* as an option and could not be selected. 
So an image of a Partition could not be sent to a HDD that did not already have a partition defined!


Test #2:


So, next tried:

Local > Disk > From Image

I was able again to select that image file on the 2nd HDD as source, but this time there was no option to select the individual partition within that image file.  Now, the unpartitioned 3rd HDD was shown as *available* to use as a destination!  Once selected, I was shown a screen that indicated that the whole HDD (60 GB), by default, would be used for the image that originally came from a 10 GB partition, but I was given the option of changing the final size.  I elected to resize to the original 10 GB.  Ghost did its thing.  Pulled the original primary, master HDD out,  and replaced it with the newly restored HDD set as master.  Booted fine! 
Ghost had partitioned, formatted, and set active that restored partition image!  Ghost must have *known* it had a bootable OS on it?--or does Ghost always set the first partition on a new, unpartitioned HDD as a primary, active partition?


Test #3: 


Being as test #1 failed--I thought I'd try creating a partition first and then restoring to it to see what happens.  So, I *gdisk 1 /diskwipe* to once again zero out the whole HDD, and then using PartitionMagic (PM) created a 20 GB, unformatted primary partition--note--PM did not *automatically* make this *active*!  That requires a separate step!  So, I left its status as *None*.

I then fired up Ghost 2003 and again selected the source image file on the 2nd disk with the single OS partition and tried this procedure:

Local > Partition > From Image

This brought up the *choose the source* dialog box--selected the image on the second HDD, and was required to select that only partition from within that image again.  Now the default destination screen showed Ghost wanting to place that partition on the HDD in the *unallocated* space beginning just after the partition I had just created using PM.  It wanted to fill the remaining unallocated space and I elected to proceed.  Once done,
I re-booted fully expecting a boot failure because I now had my OS partition in the second position of the Partition Table, and not on the first as the original--so I expected *boot.ini* to not find the OS correctly--and that's what happened.  But, that new partition was set as *active* by Ghost--I verified that with PM after the restore and the boot failure.
  (Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and I did not attempt to alter *boot.ini* to see if that solved the problem--so I can not confirm if that would have solved the boot failure for sure--but I do this on another system where the Partition Table is *non-sequential* and I have to fix boot.ini whenever I restore to the non-sequential partition, and it works every time.)

Test #4:


So, I reset everything back to the setup in Test #3--but this time I selected the 20 GB unformatted, primary partition (status--none) that was created by PM as the destination.  This time, there was no offer by Ghost to allow for adjusting the partition size!  I then proceeded with the restore.  Rebooted and got a boot failure.  When back to PM, and now set that partition as *active* (which Ghost did not do!), and also noted that the partition image of the 10 GB original source partition was now the 20 GB partition that I had predefined--so Ghost did not re-size that restored image to match the original partition size, but left the size as indicated in the current Partition Table of the new HDD.  Re-booted and the OS came up just fine!  So,
Ghost will not alter an existing partition (Partition Table) either in size or status (active) when doing a *Local > Partition > From Image* procedure!


ckcc--here's my question:

Your reply #29 test setup appears to mirror my Test #2 above--but you had a boot failure--and I booted fine--can you check over my steps and determine where we may have differed?
 

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NightOwl
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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #42 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 7:30pm
 
Brian and Pleonasm

Quote:
I think the userguide is badly worded. I think "whole drive" means "partition" and they are trying to say the MBR can't be restored from a "files and folder backup".


Quote:
Remember, in the parlance of Ghost 10, the word "drive" = "partition"; therefore, the comment "whole drive" really means "whole partition".


I have no problem with accepting that a Symantec User Guide is possibly *badly worded*  Grin !

But this should be easily tested if you have a spare HDD:

Create a single partition image of the OS that's on your boot HDD that has more than one partition, and *tick* off the backup MBR.

Put in that spare HDD and using the Recovery Environment--restore that image file and *tick* off restore the MBR (remember the User Manual say you have backed up the MBR boot code AND the Partition Table!!)--you should get a HDD with that OS partition from the image restored, but a HDD that has multiple partitions to match the original Partition Table--Yes?--is that what happens?  Presumably those other partitions would be empty until you put something in them.
 

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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #43 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 7:37pm
 
ckcc--here's my question:

Your reply #29 test setup appears to mirror my Test #2 above--but you had a boot failure--and I booted fine--can you check over my steps and determine where we may have differed?


Actually your test #1 is what I did... and It allowed me to restore to unallocated space. I did not try Local > Disk > From Image. Guess I'll have to redo and try both and see what I get.

Gotta go to work tonight... so may be awhile before I get to it.
 

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Re: Restoring OS only image to new HDD
Reply #44 - Aug 20th, 2006 at 8:11pm
 
Quote:
Create a single partition image of the OS that's on your boot HDD that has more than one partition, and *tick* off the backup MBR.

Put in that spare HDD and using the Recovery Environment--restore that image file and *tick* off restore the MBR


NightOwl,

Can't be done I'm afraid. There is no option to not backup the MBR. You only have an option at the restore stage of restoring the MBR or not.

Quote:
Test #1:

Then, with the 3rd HDD hooked up (Disk 2), I then tried to use:

Local > Partition > From Image.


I'm pretty raw with Ghost 2003 as you are aware. I may have chosen  Local > Disk > From Image, but I doubt it. I restored to the Unallocated Space.
 
 
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