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Does Ghost store partition size / MBR info in .GHO files? (Read 4096 times)
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Does Ghost store partition size / MBR info in .GHO files?
Aug 14th, 2009 at 7:10pm
 
I've been using DOS-based Ghost 2003 and WinPE-based Ghost 11.5 (GSS 2.5) for some time but there are a few items I've never completely understood.  I'm hoping the gurus can help me out!

1) When creating an image of a partition (using Local > Partition > To Image), does Ghost store any info in the image about the size of the partition I just imaged?  For example, if I just imaged a 15 GB partition that only has 5 GB of data, I know Ghost knows there's only 5 GB of data there but does it know it came from a 15 GB partition?

2) Same question as #1 but for a full-disk image (using Local > Disk > To Image).

3) When restoring a partition or disk image, does Ghost make any changes to the partition table or MBR?  In the example above, would Ghost create a 15 GB partition to match the source partition's size?  Or would it simply keep the destination partition size and rely on me to set it accordingly?

While I'm at it, here's a related question:

4) Does Windows really care what size a partition *was*?  For example, if I format a 15 GB partition, load the OS there, image it and then restore it to a smaller or larger partition does the restored OS care or get confused because the partition size is no longer what it used to be?

Thanks in advance for clearing up these gray areas for me....
 
 
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Re: Does Ghost store partition size / MBR info in .GHO files?
Reply #1 - Aug 21st, 2009 at 11:26am
 
@
lunadesign

Quote:
1) When creating an image of a partition (using Local > Partition > To Image), does Ghost store any info in the image about the size of the partition I just imaged?  For example, if I just imaged a 15 GB partition that only has 5 GB of data, I know Ghost knows there's only 5 GB of data there but does it know it came from a 15 GB partition?

2) Same question as #1 but for a full-disk image (using Local > Disk > To Image).

Answering question #2 first--when I transferred my whole disk image to a new, larger HDD--when you reach the point where you have selected the *destination* HDD for the image, you get a *summary* page showing what Ghost 2003 is about to do--and it shows the data size, the previous partition size, and Ghost 2003's *proposed* new partition sizes based on the size of the new destination HDD--so, yes--Ghost 2003 *knows* what the original partition size of the image source HDD (I presume Ghost 11.5 will act in a similar manner--but don't know that from experience!)

If the replacement HDD is *identical* in size, then Ghost 2003's proposed new partitioning of the replacement HDD is the *same* as the previous source HDD's partition sizes.

Back to question #1:

Quote:
I know Ghost knows there's only 5 GB of data there but does it know it came from a 15 GB partition?

I presume one would see a similar summary page if restoring to a *blank* HDD--i.e. no prior partitions!  But, if you have partitioned your new HDD ahead of time--Ghost will not jump in and force the partition to be the same as when you created the image!  It will simply make the data fit in the existing partition size--whatever the size is (bigger or smaller than the original source partition)--there just needs to be enough space for the data to *fit*!

Quote:
3) When restoring a partition or disk image, does Ghost make any changes to the partition table or MBR?  In the example above, would Ghost create a 15 GB partition to match the source partition's size?  Or would it simply keep the destination partition size and rely on me to set it accordingly?

If the HDD does not have partitions already defined, then *yes* Ghost will make changes to the partition table and MBR.  If they already exist, Ghost will sometimes make *minor* adjustments to the partition table (apparently Ghost likes to make sure certain *boundaries* are maintained where the data starts--if there was an issue regarding this, then Ghost may make adjustments--I'm not an expert on this, so I don't claim to understand the details!), but typically no changes to the MBR.

So, for example:  if you are putting a new HDD into your system, and you use a Win98se boot disk to format the HDD prior to placing the image file onto that HDD--you will have a Win98se based MBR on the new HDD.  If your image came from a system that has a WinXP MBR--Ghost will not over-writer the Win98se MBR when you restore that image from the system that had a WinXP MBR!  Ghost will only restore the data to the partition as you have defined it prior to doing the restore!

But, if you simply put the new HDD in and restore the image to a blank HDD--then Ghost will restore the MBR that it has a record of from creating that image from the WinXP based system and its MBR!  So, now you will have the WinXP MBR on the new HDD!

Regarding the partition size during restore--Ghost's default behavior is to *fill* the whole HDD with whatever image you are restoring--and does not default to only the size of the original source HDD's partitions sizes.  There are command line switches that can be used to *force* Ghost to maintain the previous partition sizes--but those are non-default settings!  But, as stated above, if you have already partitioned the HDD prior to restoring a partition--then Ghost will not offer to change the current partition size.

If you tell Ghost to restore a *partition* image to the *whole disk*, then Ghost will wipe out any prior partitioning--and the whole disk will have that one partition--the partition will be the size of the whole disk, and the data will be put on that one partition--and there will be no unallocated space--so the *partition table* will be modified, but the MBR will not be changed if one already exists!

Quote:
4) Does Windows really care what size a partition *was*?  For example, if I format a 15 GB partition, load the OS there, image it and then restore it to a smaller or larger partition does the restored OS care or get confused because the partition size is no longer what it used to be?

I've never seen a problem with this.  You can get into trouble if you have an older MBR that is not aware of the newer, larger HDD sizes--and you restore your OS beyond the certain boundaries that the older MBR was able to work with.  For example:  I formatted a HDD with an older version of *fdisk* (i.e. original Win98--not the Win98se version)--this version of the MBR could only boot the OS if it began below an 8 GB boundary.  If the OS was restored to a primary partition that was above the 8 GB boundary--it would not boot!  Replaced that Win98 MBR with the WinXP MBR--and now no 8 GB boundary problems!
 

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