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Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install (Read 24357 times)
zmdmw52
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Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Dec 9th, 2007 at 4:36pm
 
I have 500 GB SATA and 250 GB Seagate HD's on my desktop PC, presently dual-booting Windows Prof SP2 with itself.

Plan to add Linux Fedora Core 8 as a 3rd OS, but want to preserve the current WinXP installs and the MBR, so that if anything goes wrong, I can revert to the old configuration (minus Fedora).

- How can I go about doing this: links to relevant webpages would also be useful.

- More importantly, how can I backup and restore the MBR to the previous state (i.e. WinXP only), in case something goes wrong.

Would appreciate detailed instructions, particularly on how to backup & restore the MBR; as I am new to this.

Thanks

 
 
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Brian
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #1 - Dec 9th, 2007 at 5:22pm
 
zmdmw52,

I don't use Linux but here is something to get you started.

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

http://members.shaw.ca/LeesPlace/mbrwork.htm

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/utilities.html

Using MBRWork from a floppy, you can backup and restore the first track, LBA-0 to LBA-62. Your MBR is LBA-0.
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #2 - Dec 11th, 2007 at 2:22am
 
Quote:
Using MBRWork from a floppy, you can backup and restore the first track, LBA-0 to LBA-62. Your MBR is LBA-0.


The MBRWork DOS screen offers to:

- backup the MBR,  and
- backup MBR to a file

What is the difference between these 2 options?

Also, more important:
Where is this backup stored? i.e. from within Windows how can I access the MBR backup or the 'MBR backup file'?
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #3 - Dec 11th, 2007 at 3:03am
 
Quote:
- backup the MBR,  and
- backup MBR to a file

Are you sure? I don't see those options with MBRWork.

The first track is backed up to the floppy. Then you can restore from the same floppy. That's what you need, the First Track.

You can run MBRWork from a USB flash drive but be careful that you don't backup the First Track of the flash drive. Floppies are easier to use. Less likely to make a mistake.
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #4 - Dec 11th, 2007 at 4:56pm
 
My PC does not have a Floppy Drive and I use MBRWorks from a bootable CD.

Is there any way to save the MBR to a file (or as a file) on the Hard Disk & then restore from there if there is a problem.

Will try and post a screenshot of the MBR screen later, to explain the options that I referred to earlier.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #5 - Dec 11th, 2007 at 7:42pm
 
Can you boot to a USB flash drive?
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #6 - Dec 19th, 2007 at 2:47am
 
Please refer to the attached image:
The first picture has the MBRWork Main Screen. I think I can get this to boot from a USB Disk. (ccurrently am booting from a DOS bootable CD).
Could you give the steps necessary for backing up the MBR to a file on the Hard Disk or Flash Disk (if such a thing is possible).
Also, *by default*, where does MBRWork backup the MBR?


Quote:
Quote:
- backup the MBR, and
- backup MBR to a file
(Brian's reply)
Are you sure? I don't see those options with MBRWork.

Sorry for the mix-up, but those options were from MBRTool 2.2.100 (that was also used from a boot CD) and which I found easier to deal with. The 2nd pict displays the Main screen of MBR Tool, from which I chose Option # 2, since I wanted to backup to file.
The 3rd picture shows the results: it says that the MBRs of all 3 Hard Disks have been backed-up to file (named ? MBR_BACK.drv ?).
(I have 3 Hard Disks in my system, as given in the first pane of this post ... with the 500 GB WD SATA added on with the boot sector (*System*/*Active* C:/ partition))  

But I have no clue as to *
where
* this file has been backed-up.
I am mainly concerned with backing up the MBR of the first HD (disk 128 (0) in 3rd pict).
 

Picture1a.jpg (Attachment deleted)
 
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #7 - Dec 19th, 2007 at 3:45am
 
zmdmw52,

I don't think you can backup the MBR from a boot CD with MBRWork. The medium has to be writable. ie floppy or USB stick.

This may be easier. Download MBRWhisky from..

http://red.boot-land.net/mbrwhisky.html

Also download MBRWizard 1.53 (Aug 24 2004) from...

http://www.mbrwizard.com/download.shtml

Put both exe files in the same folder and run MBRWhisky.

Choose your HD, Disk, Save MBR to file etc

How did it go?



 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #8 - Dec 21st, 2007 at 11:15am
 
Thank you for those 2 programs!

I saved them to a folder on the C:/ drive and ran MBRWhisky from there. It was able to backup  the MBR to a location on the Hard Drive (as a '.dat' file).
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #9 - Jul 5th, 2008 at 12:00am
 
About the above discussion:
If I image my C:/ drive with Norton Ghost 2003, does it include the
MBR
(and other 'hidden'/'boot sector' files/tracks); so that if & when I have to restore the C:/ image, everything,
including MBR
gets restored?
 

Linux User 483705  |  (openSUSE 11.1,  Ubuntu 9.04,  i686)   w/ Windows XP
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #10 - Jul 5th, 2008 at 4:13am
 
zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 5th, 2008 at 12:00am:
does it include the MBR (and other 'hidden'/'boot sector' files/tracks); so that if & when I have to restore the C:/ image, everything, including MBR gets restored

The Ghost image does always contain a full MBR, but not the rest of the boot track unless you specify the "-ib" switch. That's true of every version ever made up to now, but it'll be something we're aiming to change as soon as we can since an increasing number of machines are using custom MBRs now that occupy multiple sectors.

The rules about what gets put back under what circumstances are more subtle.

In general for normal images (no -ib) although the image has the MBR it pretty much never restores it, because it has no real way of knowing whether the boot code in the MBR already on a disk is more or less suitable for the machine the disk is going to end up in than the MBR in the image is (and this problem is particularly acute when you have multisector MBRs floating around).

However, if when taking the image you use the "-ib" flag to ensure that the boot track is captured, then it will be restored by default (on the basis that's what you intended to have happen by asking for it explicitly to be captured) if you do a disk restore, and to stop this happening you have to do partition restores from the image.
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #11 - Jul 5th, 2008 at 6:18am
 
Nigel,
Thanks for the reply.

I was also considering using third-party boot loaders
+
. If you have any experience in using one-

Would it be better than the standard Windows boot loader in terms of ease of backup, reliability & stability (or would it confuse things more)?
Will it be an advantage if I install Linux (plan on Fedora Core 9), for dual-booting with Windows (Win XP)?


Or am I better off just letting the Windows boot loader handle everything (with periodic image backups using the '-ib' switch as above)?

+
XOSL is one I have heard about. Partition Magic (ver 8, by PowerQuest) also has it's own boot manager ('Boot Magic').
 

Linux User 483705  |  (openSUSE 11.1,  Ubuntu 9.04,  i686)   w/ Windows XP
jaylinux  
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #12 - Jul 6th, 2008 at 12:03am
 
zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 5th, 2008 at 6:18am:
If you have any experience in using one-

A great deal, over the years, and there is no way I'll ever use one over a VM if I can help it.

zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 5th, 2008 at 6:18am:
Will it be an advantage if I install Linux (plan on Fedora Core 9), for dual-booting with Windows (Win XP)?

I cannot emphasise strongly enough that you are best off putting either one inside a VM running under the other (or both in VMs under something like VMware ESX, but that's not something most people need). Keep the VMs in a volume separate from the host OS, so they are easy to backup using a simple file copy, and periodically back up the host OS as you would normally (whether by imaging or whatever else you prefer).

Which OSes to use as the host and which as the guest (and which VMM to prefer) is your choice, and really depends on personal preference and what you're doing. Since I'm a developer my choices will probably be different to yours.
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #13 - Jul 6th, 2008 at 9:27am
 
Quote:
The Ghost image does always contain a full MBR, but not the rest of the boot track unless you specify the "-ib" switch. 

I tried the '-ib' switch. Ghost displayed an Error Message- "-ib & -id switches are not valid for partition to image backups" (or something to that effect). What option do I have to use to image the boot sector & ensure that the MBR/boot sector gets restored when I restore from that image?

Subsequently, I tried the '-ia' switch, the complete partition (entire 30 GB, including the vacant portion got imaged; in contrast to the data portion (eg 5 GB) that happens when Ghost is used without any additional parameters). Naturally, would prefer to use the "-ib" option, if available, to conserve disk space.

Another question that arises is: on restoration from this '-ia' image, to an unequal-size partition (i.e. original part (incld. free space = 30 GB), destination part. - 60 GB), would the destination partition be auto-resized to 30 GB (if so, what happens to the additional 30 GB?-does it have to be extended manually using another program)?

 

Linux User 483705  |  (openSUSE 11.1,  Ubuntu 9.04,  i686)   w/ Windows XP
jaylinux  
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Backup/Restore MBR b/f Linux install
Reply #14 - Jul 6th, 2008 at 4:29pm
 
zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 6th, 2008 at 9:27am:
What option do I have to use to image the boot sector & ensure that the MBR/boot sector gets restored when I restore from that image?

It's tied into Disk imaging; you have to do a disk-to-image operation and restore with an image-to-disk with the -ib switch.

The issue here is really just a UI one, unfortunately. When adding the ability to capture the boot track to Ghost, the developers decided to make it happen implicitly as a side-effect of "disk" operations. The reasons it was done this way are hard to explain, but are consequences of the way the cloning code was originally written and evolved over the years, and the image file format evolved with it.

The most flexible (and thus, the correct internal implementation style, and what the code has evolved to nowadays) would have been for the boot track to be in effect a kind of pseudo-volume with an implicit size, for images to be just collections of volumes, and for Ghost to have the ability to allow arbitrary numbers of partitions (from an arbitrary number of source disks) to be gathered into or deployed from an image in a single operation.

Unfortunately, the code at the time the "-ib" switch was added wasn't designed with that flexibility in mind; the two modes of operation - single disk with all partitions, or a single partition - were baked solidly into the code and into the image file format. Faced with retrofitting the ability to capture and image the boot track by itself into that model, the developers chose to add it as a side-effect of the disk imaging rather than changing Ghost's internal modeling in a substantial way.

 
 
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