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Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista (Read 227344 times)
NightOwl
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #120 - Oct 25th, 2007 at 10:29am
 
k4kjf

Thank you for your testing...and reporting the results here--it's always helpful when members contribute this kind of data!

But, there is a *confounding variable* that has probably crept into your test (that you may not be aware of!).

In reply #116, you stated:

Quote:
But, I would think that if your Vista hard drive dies and you have no choice but to restore to a new, unused disk, that might you increase your chances of success to 100% again if you take the time to do a preliminary clean install of bare Vista on the hard drive from the original media first.  This would make any required MBR (and any other)? modifications to the hard drive….

But, in your tests you used:

Quote:
In both tests, the target drives were old retired Win2k or XP hard drives which had never held a Vista Installation.


Your test target HDD's are not *new, unused* HDD's!

I've done some testing, but not with Vista--but I have looked at the Master Boot Record (MBR)--primarily the absolute sector 0--and if a HDD has been previously partitioned--then an initial MBR has been created, and usually Ghost 2003, Windows installation programs, and partitioning programs (such as PartitionMagic)--do not touch that absolute sector 0, except to update the Master Boot Partition Table if re-partitioning occurs--to show the partition boundaries--but the basic MBR structure is left intact!

So, whatever partitioning tool was used initially--that MBR structure continues going forward except for the adjustments to the Master Boot Partition Table!

I have been using this MBR tool (the DOS version) to look at the MBR in DOS:  MBRWizard - The MBR Management Utility.

If you have a *used* HDD, you can make it look like an unused *virgin* HDD to any partitioning or OS installation software simply by zero filling the absolute sector 0!  And the above mentioned tool can do that for you!  There are other tools as well that will *wipe* a HDD--but you have to make sure they wipe the MBR as well as the *data* portion of the HDD if you want the HDD to be treated as an *unused* HDD!

So, most likely the structure of the MBR on your *used* HDD was carried forward even with the re-partitioning done by the WinVista installation program.  If you have the time and energy, it would be instructive if you first zeroed the MBR absolute sector 0 first and then performed your testing of an installation and restore of a prior image to see if the installation goes without a hitch--and you can avoid the *repair* installation!

(By the way--if you want to confirm if the MBR is left intact--you can use the MBRWizard to edit the MBR--in absolute sector 0, there is usually some *text* verbiage that is there in the event of a boot failure--mine usually has something to the effect of *...missing system files, etc., etc....*--I edit *missing* to be *mizzing*--this changes only the text message spelling, but does not change any other aspect of the MBR.  Now I can tract if the MBR is changed or replaced by a installation, Ghost procedure, or partitioning program--if *mizzing* is still there after preforming a procedure (for instance--a restore of a Ghost image taken before I made the editing change to the *missing*--the program did not alter the MBR basic structure!)

I think a *virgin* install of Vista creates a MBR that is 200 sectors long--while most previous programs only *understand* the previous standard of 63 sectors long.  If you use Ghost 2003's ability to *force* the saving and restoring of the master boot region, it will only see and work with that first 63 sectors--this would create a problem if Vista is expecting that 200 sector boot region!

But, apparently if you install Vista on a HDD that already has an old 63 sector boot region--i.e. the HDD has been previously partitioned and the MBR created was that old standard of 63 sectors--Vista will still install and work just fine.  You could confirm that with the above *tracking* technique mentioned above!

You have a perfect *test setup* to do some interesting experiments--if you have the time and inclination!
 

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Updates persist through a Repair?
Reply #121 - Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:45pm
 
Christer - yes, I've noticed that also.  The first reboot of an XP system after a system partition restore is little rough. But after the hardware is reconciled and any new device drivers are added, all is smooth sailing again.  

Regarding Updates:  It appears that they do persist through the repair operation– at least under Vista.  However, I did have automatic updates turned on in the experimental system here.  After I read your post, I ran Windows Update and saw the following:

Windows is up to date
Available: 2 optional updates
No new important updates are available for your computer
Most recent check for updates: Today at 6:43 PM
Updates were installed: Today at 6:43 PM
You have Windows set to: Automatically install new updates every day
at 3:00 AM


However, when I looked at Update History, the first 40 had an older date stamp of 10/22/07 which was the day I originally let them load, after which I created the system partition image.  Only the very last one had a date of 10/24/07, which was the day I completed the restore and it was probably the one referred to in the report statement: Updates were installed: Today at 6:43 PM.

To be sure of this at the next opportunity I'll make sure the Internet connection is open when I reboot after the restore, and then I'll check to see if update history shows the old updates as still being present.  (I hope all these restore shenanigans don't mess up the Update History report.  I would think that if "Repair" stripped them out, the history report would properly reflect that they are gone.)

Another consideration might be that there are probably different levels of a "repair".  The repairs to my Vista system took I believe under a minute to accomplish – not long enough to reload programs that included a lot of pre-update code.  But there probably are other types of repairs that are more extensive and would indeed involve restoring pre-update code,  This might be a tough one to predict.

Ken
 
 
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Start with a clean MBR...
Reply #122 - Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:47pm
 
NightOwl – Yes, I agree that there would be a leftover MBR on the retired XP and Win2K drives and that they are not the same as whast would be present on a new, unused disk,… and that this might indeed affect test results.  

However assuming that this method of starting with a retired XP drive is shown to be viable, I could argue that in the event of a catastrophic failure of my Vista system, I could take new fresh drive and turn it into "retired XP drive" by loading XP first, then do the Vista install to prepare the system to receive the previously made Vista image, and finally restoring that image.  But yes, that is rather cumbersome at best!

I like your suggestion of first filling sector 0 with zeros, then loading Vista, and finally completing the system partition restore.  

I think your primary point was that because some sort of MBR code was there, Vista might have let it persist, or parts of it anyway.  Whereas if sector 0 was all zeros, Vista would load the whole MBR and the end result might be more compatible with future system partition restore operations.  

I'm going to have to get MBRWizard.  Should help me in understanding what is going on here.  I had used DiskProbe to look at 1's and 0's on a disk many years ago with NT systems and was thinking of trying to locate a copy for these Vista experiments.  But MBRWizard is probably newer and better.  I'll check it out.

There is always FDISK /MBR or the "Rewrite MBR" utility found in the Ghost 9.0 Emergency Boot Environment, but they are probably no good with Vista's larger MBR.  In fact when I first ran into the problem as described in my post #118, I tried the Ghost 9.0 "Rewrite MBR" utility – Didn't help a bit!

After the #118 post, I did another experiment.  After I'd let the system complete it's repair after a restore, and it was booting smoothly and properly, I did another restore of the same image fully expecting that this time it would be smooth sailing, that whatever the original problem was, the repair had taken care of it never again to trouble that particular hard disc.  Not true!  Had exactly the same problem, and had to take the same steps (repair…) to fix it.  I had imagined that the Repair function was doing something with the partition table, or something like that.  Some area outside the data of my Ghost image.  But given this new twist, apparently it is fixing something in the system partition – something that is captured in the data of the Ghost image.  

And, at this point, I know nothing about Vista's Boot Configuration Data store.  Probably a dangereous situation!  I need to do some more reading….

Let me know if you have any more thoughts on this.  I will definitely get MBRWizard and start a restore sequence with a zero filled sector 0, and see where that leads.  

Ken
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #123 - Oct 25th, 2007 at 7:29pm
 
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #124 - Oct 26th, 2007 at 4:02am
 
Ken,

Quote:
To be sure of this at the next opportunity I'll make sure the Internet connection is
open
when I reboot after the restore, and then I'll check to see if update history shows the old updates as still being present.

Maybe you mean what I would suggest, to disconnect from the internet until you have checked what happened to installed updates. Those installed after the image was created will "be gone" because they were never there but the ones included in the image might get lost in the "repair".

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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #125 - Oct 26th, 2007 at 1:03pm
 
Brian - Excellent!  In my quick review last night it was clear that many have experienced the situation of needing to do a repair after a restore to fresh media.  I think some of the postings indicated that getting the BCD store set up properly prior to creating the image might be the key to avoid a repair.  Hope that proves to be true. Good information there - Thanks for the references.

Christer - Yes, Sorry, that is what I meant! Smiley  I'll leave the Ethernet cable unplugged until I check installed update status.  

Ken
 
 
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updates persist through a Repair
Reply #126 - Oct 27th, 2007 at 2:33pm
 
I confirmed that Windows Updates present at the time a Ghost 2003 image is made of the system partition, persist through a "Repair" operation. The is true at least for a repair operation as required to fix the "missing winload.exe" problem that arises when rebooting after restoring to a different hard drive than where the image was originally created. 

First I disconnected the Ethernet cable from the computer's NIC, and didn't connect it again until after I had a chance to examine Windows Update History.  There was no way the updates could sneak back in as part of the repair or the reboot/restart operation!

Then I installed Vista Home Premium on a retired XP drive to prepare for a subsequent restore of a Vista system partition image made a few days ago (10/22).  This image was made immediately after 40 updates totaling 93 MB were installed to the Vista system.

After restore, the infamous "missing winload.exe" screen was presented on reboot and it suggested I do a Repair.  I did, and this time paid more attention.  The repair is fast!  It was less than 5 sec between I clicked the OK button to allow the indicated repairs to be made, and when the repair routine finished and started an automatic reboot.  It is clearly not reloading MB's of software from the installation DVD to fix this problem.

The reboot was successful and upon examining Update History, all of the original 40 updates were still listed as being installed, and all were date-stamped with the original install date of 10/22/07.  A screen shot of a partial listing is attached.

At that point I reconnected the Ethernet cable and on checking now, I noticed that one more update has been automatically added since that time. 

But the caveat here is that I'm sure there are differing level of repairs, and for some extensive repairs, I would think there is a good chance that installed updates might be affected.  However, at least judging from the speed of which the "missing winload.exe" problem is fixed, its probably not loading a lot of original s/w from the install disk that needs to be updated.

Which, I suppose is good.  If the repair step turns out to be unavoidable, it is fast, and all of the previously installed updates are still present.

Ken
 

PartialUpdateHistory.GIF (Attachment deleted)
 
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Startup Repair is required.
Reply #127 - Oct 27th, 2007 at 7:29pm
 
I had hoped that following NightOwl's suggestion above regarding starting with a wiped MBR might force the Vista install process to do a more thorough job in setting up MBR code and data and perhaps eliminate the need to do a "Repair" after an image  restore to a different hard drive.  Also, mustang's posting #15 in the first thread mentioned in Brian's posting above seemed to give hope.  But it didn’t work for me.

I ran mbrwizard with the /wipe=MBR option, then dumped the MBR to a file and examined the result with DEBUG to verify that there were zeros in at least the first couple of successive display screens.  Then also took the unnecessary step of demonstrating that a subsequent boot attempt failed!

After that Vista Home Premium was installed (uneventfully) and then a previously made Ghost 2003 image of the Vista system partition from another hard drive was restored. But, after reboot, the same "missing winload.exe" screen was presented as seen earlier. Running Startup Repair from the Installation disk fixed it in short order – same as before.

On re-reading it, I think I might have misinterpreted mustang's posting. I think his successful restore to a disk that had been recently low-level formatted was a disk restore, not a system partition restore.  Later in his posting he states:

"I low level formatted the 120 GB drive. This time I only restored the system partition without the MBR. As you would expect, I got the missing winload.exe error. It was easily fixed with a Startup Repair using the Vista disk. This doesn't seem bad to me. Restoring XP without the MBR can also result in a non bootable system if the disk has previously been used in the XP system that is being restored. The easiest fix is to repair the MBR."

So it doesn't seem to matter if the MBR is a left-over XP MBR, or if it is all zeros, a simple restore of just the system partition will not boot until Startup Repair is run from the Vista install disk. And perhaps the intermediate step I'd been following of doing an initial Vista install to prepare for the system partition restore is not actually required. Maybe all you have to do is restore the system partition, do a Startup Repair and go!  Will have to try that.

It would appear that using the Startup Repair function is the only way to get a Vista system that has had just its system partition restored to a different hard disk to boot up properly…The guys posting to the Acronis True Image forum were rather irate at this state-of-affairs, but I think it is an acceptable situation.

Ken
 
 
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Re: Startup Repair is required.
Reply #128 - Oct 27th, 2007 at 8:12pm
 
k4kjf wrote on Oct 27th, 2007 at 7:29pm:
It would appear that using the Startup Repair function is the only way to get a Vista system that has had just its system partition restored to a different hard disk to boot up properly…The guys posting to the Acronis True Image forum were rather irate at this state-of-affairs, but I think it is an acceptable situation.


That wasn't the experience I had with Ghost 12 and Vista.  See the thread Ghost 12 restore results with Vista.

I restored my Vista Home Premium backup image onto a previously-used XP drive, and then ran another test restoring my Vista Home Premium backup image onto a zeroed drive.  Both times I was able to boot the restored image without any problem or intervention or repair etc.

Obviously my experience was different than yours.  Not sure of the details or why yours didn't work as well.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: Startup Repair is required.
Reply #129 - Oct 27th, 2007 at 8:31pm
 
John. wrote on Oct 27th, 2007 at 8:12pm:
That wasn't the experience I had with Ghost 12 and Vista.

Both "Norton Ghost" 12 and genuine Ghost from GSS2 are both written to automatically update the BCD, so no repair is necessary with either.
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #130 - Oct 28th, 2007 at 4:06am
 
I have never used Vista, only seen it "on the news" but I have a few thoughts:

Does the Vista CD have a "FIX MBR" option? If so, what happens if you restore the image but reboot from the Vista CD and let it run "FIX MBR" prior to rebooting from the "fixed MBR" on the restored HDD?

In Vista, does the "found new hardware" dialog appear when connecting a new hard disk? By new I mean a model of hard disk never connected to the system before? If so, does it appear when the restore has been done to a target model, never seen before?

The message "missing winload.exe" is confusing. Isn't that a message received when the search path to the *.exe has changed but some *.ini file (or whatever) has not been updated?

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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #131 - Oct 28th, 2007 at 2:17pm
 
Christer -

Quote:
Does the Vista CD have a "FIX MBR" option? If so, what happens if you restore the image but reboot from the Vista CD and let it run "FIX MBR" prior to rebooting from the "fixed MBR" on the restored HDD?

On page 42 of the book Windows Vista Inside Out by Bott, Siechert and Stinson, they provide a troubleshooting tip related to a a situation where the Vista option no longer appears on multi-boot system menu.  They state that if you install Vista as a 2nd operating system, the new Vista boot menu will incorporate the changes from the older boot menu.  But if you install a fresh copy of XP on a system already running Vista, you will overwrite the MBR with one that doesn't recognize the Windows Vista Boot Loader.  They further tell you that you can repair the damage by opening a command prompt window in the older operating system and run the following command from the Windows Vista Installation DVD:

d:\Boot\Bootsect.exe –NT60 All


They state that after you run this command the Windows Vista Menu will have returned and then they go on to tell you how add in a boot option for your earlier version of Windows.

It sounds like you maybe could run that command from the DOS environment provided by booting from the Ghost 2003 CD-ROM instead of running the Vista Instllation Repair option to fix the "missing winload.exe problem  I'll give it a try.

Quote:
In Vista, does the "found new hardware" dialog appear when connecting a new hard disk? By new I mean a model of hard disk never connected to the system before? If so, does it appear when the restore has been done to a target model, never seen before?

I think so, but I've run out of retired XP hard drives that have never seen Vista, so cannot try it again and watch closely.

Quote:
The message "missing winload.exe" is confusing. Isn't that a message received when the search path to the *.exe has changed but some *.ini file (or whatever) has not been updated?

The error message on reboot does indeed complain that winload.exe is missing.  But when you run Repair, it reports, "Partition size: 0 MB", and "Windows Device: Partition=Not found".  So maybe its really a problem related to data in the partition table, or pointers to that data?

Ken

 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #132 - Oct 28th, 2007 at 5:12pm
 
Ken,
thank you very much for your comprehensive answer!

Christer
 

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Restore Vista System Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #133 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 9:53pm
 
I've managed to restore a Vista Home Premium system partition using Ghost 2003 nine times now.  Eight of those were to a different hard drive than where the image originated or to a hard drive where the MBR had been wiped with zeros. One was just a simple restore to the same hard drive as where the image originated from.  The target drives were retired XP or Win2K drives - some with a "left-over" MBR from a previous XP installation or some where I'd used MBRWizard to wipe the MBR.  All nine were eventually able to boot  successfully, but in all but the simple restore to the same hard drive, I had to use the "Repair Your Computer" function from the Vista installation DVD to fix startup problems.  And in cases where I had initially wiped the MBR, I had to do "something" to provide a "starter MBR" for the Repair function to work with.  The "something" turned out to be either completing a preliminary installation of Vista to the drive from the distribution DVD, or using Ghost 2003 or 9.0 utilities to rewrite the MBR (obviously a pre-Vista MBR, but apparently enough so that Repair can work with it).

It appears that the target drive can either contain a previous XP (or presumably other earlier Windows OS) installation, or it can have had its MBR wiped with zeros. Not sure about a fresh out-of-the-box hard drive, but I assume it would react like a used drive where the MBR had been wiped.  

If you decide to try something like this, I'd suggest the following steps:

1. Restore the image of the previously made system partition to the target drive. On about half of the tests so far, two partitions were pre-existing on the target drive and I booted from the Ghost 2003 CD-ROM and restored from an image residing in the 2nd partition on the same physical drive.  On the rest of the tests, I didn't have a data partition on the target drive, so I booted from the Ghost 9.0 CD-ROM, started network services, mapped to a networked drive, and restored the image to a partition that occupied the entire drive using the "Restore Legacy Ghost Image" utility.

2. After the restore completes, its interesting to try to reboot at that point.  If you were overlaying old XP programs, data, and MBR on the target drive, you will see the "missing winload.exe" screen. If you started with the MBR of the target drive wiped with zeros, you will just see a blinking cursor at screen upper left.  

3. If you do see the missing winload.exe screen, load the Vista installation DVD, reboot, let it run awhile, choose the language, then select "Repair Your Computer". Follow the prompts to let it complete the repair.  It will then reboot and this time it will come up to the login screen, and finally to the desktop after you log in.  It will then almost immediately want to restart again.  Let it do so and you're done.

4. If instead you see just the blinking cursor at upper left because you started with a wiped MBR (or presumably with a clean, out-of-the-box hard drive?) either complete a preliminary Vista installation from the distribution DVD to the hard drive (takes awhile) or boot off a Ghost 9.0 CD-ROM and use the furnished "Rewrite MBR" utility (faster), or boot off the Ghost 2003 CD-ROM and use gdisk to rewrite the MBR (fastest).  Then try another reboot off the hard drive and this time you should see the "missing winload.exe" screen.  Proceed as described in step 3 above to complete the restore.

If I started with a zeroed MBR and skipped this step of supplying a "starter MBR" and just went straight to Repair, (hoping Repair would take care of everything) the Repair programs' actions and message box text were encouraging (it found my restored system partition!) but on reboot I still only saw a blinking cursor at upper left.  Only after I wrote a pre-Vista MBR to the drive was Repair able to fix the system so it would boot.

These were my experiences anyway. BTW, these tests were using a system still in its first 30 days and which had not yet been activated.  Maybe with a previously activated system there will more issues besides convincing the Microsoft activation line representative that you are doing this for good and valid reasons?  Hope not!

I'd be very interested in hearing of the experiences of anyone who attempts Vista system partition restores using similar methods.

Oh, I should also mention that I was not able to use the "\boot\bootsect.exe –NT60 All" command  (mentioned in reply #131 above) to write a Vista-compatible MBR to the drive.  I could not get it to execute in the DOS environment provided by booting from the Ghost 2003 CD-ROM.  Microsoft Knowledgebase Article # 919529 has more information on bootsect.exe if you are interested.

Ken
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003/Ghost 8.2 and Windows Vista
Reply #134 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 10:13pm
 
k4kjf,

Fantastic series of tests. I'm sure you have made the DOS people here very happy.
 
 
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