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Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery (Read 2388 times)
bbct
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Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery
Dec 12th, 2007 at 10:27am
 
I would like to take an image of the hard disk of my Thinkpad with Ghost 2003.

As most laptop, the Thinkpad comes with a system partition (Xp pro, in my case) and a hidden service partition from which one can recover the system partition, if required. This can be accomplished using a predesktop console utility (Rescue & Recovery) similar to WinPE (or IS WinPE?) with network access, etc. This console (which resides, I think, in the hidden partition) can be accessed pressing F11 or a dedicated blue button on boot. The computer is also provided with a Windows version of "Rescue & Recovery" which allows, besides normal backups, the (one time) creation of a set of recovery boot CD/DVD (which I already did): these can restore the factory pre-load content of hd (including hidden partition and predesktop environment).

To get rid of most unnecessary software bundled with the laptop, I did a clean Xp install (preserving the hidden partition) and now I want to keep an image of the entire disk on an external hd. I would like to include in the image the hidden partition and preserve the possibility to boot in the predesktop environment, which, I suppose, implies the cloning ot the MBR code that recognizes the press of F11 key. The purpose, if not obvious, is to recover the image of the hd, with a clean Xp, in case of disaster. The idea is to use the image so created to recover from
a) OS failure, MBR or partition disaster,
b) hard disk failure.
Therefore, the image would be restored on the original hard disk in a), but in a new, and not necessarily identical hard disk in b).

I never did an image of a disk with Ghost (I usually keep images of single partitions), so I'll need some advice, especially about switches to use in order to get an exact copy (byte per byte?) of the hd in its current status.


Thanks for the help.
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery
Reply #1 - Dec 14th, 2007 at 7:16pm
 
bbct

If you want to be sure it all works, you should seriously consider investing in a spare HDD to place in the Thinkpad and actually test the recovery--to see if anything fails that has to be trouble shot!

You probably need to use the *-ib* (image boot) switch when you load Ghost:  ghost.exe -ib

This will copy the entire boot region (sectors 0 thru 62), and not just the first sector only.

And then you would use:  Local > Disk > To Image

Do the test restore:  Local > Disk > From Image

You might find these resources of interest regarding Dell's utility partition and restore partitions and what happens when using Ghost:  

Re: Ghost and PC Restore on Dell


Dan Goodell's *Inside the Dell Utility Partition*

Inside the Dell PC Restore Partition

How to fix the Dell System Restore (DSR) feature


That's why you need to test to see if the functionality is maintained!
 

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Re: Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery
Reply #2 - Dec 17th, 2007 at 9:23am
 
NightOwl,

thank you for the interesting links. I made the image as per your suggestion with the -ib switch. However, I don't have a spare HDD and cannot test the recovery.

On the other hand, I came to the conclusion that preserving the possibility to boot in the predesktop environment of Rescue & Recovery is not so important for me, as long as I can use Ghost. After playing a little with Rescue & Recovery I decided it is too complex for me, so I don't use it. In the end I'll delete the hidden partition and set up the notebook HDD with three partitions: one for the OS, one for data and one for Ghost images of other two partitions.

I can always return the notebook to out-of-factory status with the recovery CD/DVD already created and tested.
 
 
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Re: Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery
Reply #3 - Dec 17th, 2007 at 9:38am
 
bbct

Quote:
In the end I'll delete the hidden partition and set up the notebook HDD with three partitions: one for the OS, one for data and one for Ghost images of other two partitions.

Note:  many experience *boot failure* when they start deleting the *hidden partition(s)*--usually it is a simple matter of editing the *boot.ini* file to point to the correct partition once you have made layout changes.

Quote:
set up the notebook HDD with three partitions: one for the OS, one for data and one for Ghost images of other two partitions

Saving your Ghost images on the same HDD that you are creating backup Ghost images for is inherently more risky--if the HDD dies, so too do your backup images!
 

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Re: Ghost 2003 and Thinkpad's Rescue & Recovery
Reply #4 - Dec 17th, 2007 at 11:10am
 
NightOwl,

thank you for the warnings!

Quote:
Note:  many experience *boot failure* when they start deleting the *hidden partition(s)*--usually it is a simple matter of editing the *boot.ini* file to point to the correct partition once you have made layout changes.

I think I'll reinitialize the MBR and re-format the disk to start from clean

Quote:
Saving your Ghost images on the same HDD that you are creating backup Ghost images for is inherently more risky--if the HDD dies, so too do your backup images!

I know, but I keep copies of the images also on an external HD. Moreover, the notebook is not my main computer and any data on it is a copy of data from my desktop computer. I use the notebook only when I go working somewhere for a short period (and in this case I keep frequent backups of modified data files on thumb drives) or, as a presentation device, when I give lectures.

Of course I can't use the images on the notebook HD if this breaks, but I wouldn't use the notebook anyway with a broken HD! On the other hand, the images may be useful to recover from a software problem, for example, an Xp or Office malfunction, allowing to rebuild the system partition without affecting the data one. Basically, this is the same functionality of the original hidden partition, but I think is better because the image has the OS updated and with all other software installed and... I'm more at ease with Ghost.

However I'm always open to learn better backup strategies, so if I'm wrong let me know. Any suggestion is appreciated!
 
 
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