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Disk/Partition Alignment (Read 27600 times)
Brian
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #30 - Jul 4th, 2010 at 5:18am
 
You can use BING to re-create a cylinder aligned partition. In Settings, remove the two ticks you entered and tick the two boxes that were originally ticked. Actually, when you boot from the BING CD the ticks should be in the default position. Slide the start of the partition a few MB. Then do the Resize exercise on the end of the partition. I hope that should be enough.
 
 
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Pilgrim
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #31 - Jul 4th, 2010 at 5:46am
 
Sorry, lost my internet connection for a couple of minutes while I switched the power off.

I got down on the floor to have a look at the RAM, I cannot take it out without disconnecting everything and putting the tower on its side on a table, I did manage to loosen the clips and reseat all 4, but nothing changed. I am confident in my own mind that is not the problem.

I have got TI running without altering the partition, it will almost certainly reset the start of it and I am not too worried about the end. As long as C is not aligned I cannot restore D with TI anyway, which was my main concern.

I need to break off now, when I get everything back in place I will send you a PartInfo file including the external drive. I have made one of the Netbook as well. Perhaps you could have a look at them and see if you can spot any other issues besides C.

TI just finished, rebooted without problems and ran PAT because it was the easiest, as expected C is showing as not aligned.

Got to go.
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #32 - Jul 4th, 2010 at 5:59am
 
Nice to hear WinXP is working again.
 
 
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #33 - Jul 4th, 2010 at 10:27am
 
I am attaching the 2 PartInfo files I have just made so that you can see where everything is.
My intention was that all the partitions on any single disk should be the same size leaving as little free space as possible.
Recently, using software that is more accurate than Acronis DD with which I originally created the partitions it appears that I succeeded better in some places than in others.


I would like to sum up where I think we are with the PC's C partition and ask for comments:

1. The events of earlier today largely matched my other attempts, the partition can be aligned but once it is the OS will not run on it.
    I refer here to sector alignment so there is no misunderstanding.

2. Mention has been made of cylinder alignment and sector alignment but is there a state where a partition is simply 'not aligned'?
    The reason I ask is that when I run an analysis with PAT it has three options:
    1. Aligned.
    2. Not aligned.
    3. Unable to align.
    Or does the 'not aligned' only apply to the type of alignment which PAT uses, which I assume is sector alignment.

3. Staying with PAT for a moment.
    Through my contact with Paragon I have tried several versions of this program, 3 were installations, 3 were CD's.
    A couple of the installations matched a couple of the CD's but as far as I can work out without version numbers 4 of them were different.
    On all versions except one the only information that I got about a partition was 'aligned' or 'not aligned'.
    The other one produced an error message which said it had failed due to 'cross-linked files'.
    As far as I can make out this is being quoted as the cause on most, if not all, the systems that PAT fails on.
    Never having heard of this I looked it up and among other things I found a reference to .chk files.
    I ran a search for these using Everything and found that both my computers had 3 of them.
    They are all in different Windows folders, they are all 8kb, they are all called edb.chk, and if they are deleted they reappear at the next reboot, 1 of them with what I can only presume was an installation date, the other 2 with the current date and time.
    I have been able to make no understandable connection between these files and the failure to successfully align C.

4. I was aware before I started this thread that different imaging software had different effects on a partition when restoring a full partition image, Dan has also referred to it in one of his posts.
    I would like to know if anyone knows of a program that will restore a non-aligned image to an aligned partition without removing the alignment. If that is, such a thing is possible.
    It would need to have a free trial and it would need to run from a CD.
    My idea being to create an image, then align the partition, then restore the image and see if it would run.
    I would also make a current TI image so that I could get back to where I started.

That's it, I am out of ideas.
 

PartInfg_NB.txt (18 KB | 219 )
PartInfg_PC.txt (14 KB | 221 )

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Brian
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #34 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 1:28am
 
@
Pilgrim

Pilgrim wrote on Jul 4th, 2010 at 10:27am:
The reason I ask is that when I run an analysis with PAT it has three options:
1. Aligned.
2. Not aligned.
3. Unable to align.

I tried the PAT on my test computer. The three options I saw were
1. Optimally aligned
2. Not optimally aligned
3. Partition cannot be aligned.

I ran the tool and my cylinder aligned WinXP and Data partitions became MB aligned. I don't understand what happens to your WinXP partition when it becomes MB aligned.

The Paragon White paper on alignment doesn't mention the HDs you and I are using. The paper discusses the new 4K sector SATA HDs. I know my test and my main computer perform the same with both alignments and I suspect non 4K sector SATA HDs are alignment agnostic as far as performance is concerned.
 
 
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #35 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 3:11am
 
Brian,

When I listed the PAT options in my last post I never had the program open in front of me and I could not recall the exact wording only what it implied.

Quote:
I ran the tool and my cylinder aligned WinXP and Data partitions became MB aligned.

This is why I asked the question if it was possible for a partition to be 'not aligned'.
PAT is changing your partitions from one type of alignment to another, what if I am starting with my partition in a third state?
As I say I do not know if this is possible which is why I asked the question.

Dan referred to cylinder alignment and sector alignment as the two most prevalent types of alignment.
As he is the one who has made a point of precision in definitions, and I mean no sarcasm in that, is he not saying that there are other states?

Like many of the articles I have looked at the Paragon White Paper goes way beyond my understanding so I will not pretend to have read it in detail. What I did understand was some of the diagrams which laid the basics out graphically.

Let me go back to something I have mentioned a couple of times that has not been picked up, the differences in installations of XP with different service packs.

Paragon have admitted that they started developing PAT after SP3 came out and have never tested it on what is, or in my case was, an SP2 installation.

Have any of the systems which you have successfully used BING on been SP2 installations?

The service pack issue might be irrelevant but I have seen it raised in a couple of places neither of which offered a definitive answer.

There is also the question of 'cross-linked files' to which Paragon attribute most of PAT's failures.
This is something else that I do not fully understand.
Apart from a reference to .chk files the only other thing I could make sense of is that they are files which are connected to more than one point but I do not understand exactly what they mean by that. The only thing that comes to my mind are hard or symbolic links and while I have the software to create them I have never used it because by the time I got to moving files from one partition to another I had picked up a program that enabled me to change the paths in the registry to the new locations all in one go.
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #36 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 4:03am
 
@
Pilgrim

I've been using WinXP SP3 since it was released so I haven't tested with SP2. Are you using SP2?

On HD1, your partitions in MBR slots 2 and 3 don't finish on a cylinder or a MB boundary so they are unaligned. I'm interested to hear from Dan about the significance of a non aligned end.

Pilgrim wrote on Jul 5th, 2010 at 3:11am:
There is also the question of 'cross-linked files' to which Paragon attribute most of PAT's failures.

I've no idea.

To align the end of your partitions to a MB boundary, use the Resize option in BING. Just click OK but remember to select the appropriate choices in Settings.
 
 
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #37 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 4:55am
 
Brian,

Quote:
Are you using SP2?

No I am using SP3 but the point I am making is about what was originally installed.

My Netbook was installed with SP3 from new and its C partition has always shown as aligned.
My PC was originally installed with SP2 and later updated.

What I read was that SP2 would not install in an aligned position and updating to SP3 did not change that.
The same article suggested that with SP2 there was some sort of interaction between the OS and the disk that prevented the OS, and therefore the partition, from being successfully moved.
This was apparently resolved in SP3 but only applies to clean installs not updated systems like mine.

As I am still in touch with Paragon I have written to them and brought them up to date with events.
I have also asked them if they can provide further information on 'cross-linked files'.
These are being linked to the problems PAT is having with other operating systems as well as XP.

As I have only used BING once I am not completely confident with using it.
I will have to have a look at the manual.

As you only mention 2 partitions are all the rest, on both computers, as they should be?
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #38 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 6:30am
 
Response from Paragon:
Quote:
thank you for update.
I have requested from developers identification of cross linked files within the program working process but got answer that stated - it is impossible to give exact paths or information about the cross linked files.
Cross linked files means that files located on different Windows directories are pointing to the same record in MFT of the file system where only one file should be written to.
If you use any defragging tool please try to compact MFT and this could fix the problem (sometimes it does for sure).
In my opinion the problem happens when MFT is not renewed automatically and its records are not updated so deleting one file does not erase the record and system tries to write there another file which leads to cross link error.
Our software checks the file location on file system and records in MFT that compares where which file must be stored.
And if it finds problems it stops any operation to avoid possible problems with data.


My Reply:
Quote:
To pick up your point about defrag tools, I use Defraggler if I just wish to defrag individual files or small numbers of them but my main defrag tool is PerfectDisk 10 Pro.
I run this at the end of most days especially if I have installed/updated any programs.
It has a very efficient Boot Time Defrag for system files which I run when the program indicates that system file fragmentation has reached a certain point which is still only equivalent to a tiny percentage of the whole, when I mentioned on the 2nd the effects of running your last CD that was the first time that it has proved less than 100% effective.



Paragon have just come back with the suggestion that I should try compacting the MFT, unfortunately none of the software I have offers that option.
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #39 - Jul 5th, 2010 at 2:09pm
 
Pilgrim, concerning “cross-linked files,” I believe Paragon is refering to “hardlinks." Please see the Microsoft FSUTIL utility for further information.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #40 - Jul 6th, 2010 at 8:16am
 
Pleonasm,

Love the definition of your username.

Quote:
Pilgrim, concerning “cross-linked files,” I believe Paragon is referring to “hardlinks." Please see the Microsoft FSUTIL utility for further information.

If you look at the bottom of Reply #35 you will see that I had the same idea.
Earlier I have been looking into the question of whether it is possible to locate them but everything that I found states that you need to know the file name first. Something which according to Paragon it is impossible to find out.

I see that I have another reply waiting for me from Paragon, if I learn any more I will come back.
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #41 - Jul 7th, 2010 at 9:14am
 
Pilgrim, one option to identify entries in the $MFT with multiple hardlinks is to use WinHex, but it appears to require a forensic class license (expensive).

P.S.:  I did not notice the reference to hardlinks in your prior post. 
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #42 - Jul 7th, 2010 at 11:24am
 
Pleonasm,

Buying software licenses at any price is not on my list of priorities at any time in the foreseeable future. (If ever!)
Thank you for the information though.

As far as it goes what I am trying to do is not something that has got to be done nor would it be worth throwing money at (even if I had any spare) but as a practical person when something that should work fails to I try to find out why.

As I am posting again I will offer a few thoughts to see if anyone has any ideas:

It seems to me that the heart of this problem is being able to move the data at all, in particular the OS, whether or not it does align, and keep it running.

The problem of cross-linked files is not system specific nor is it OS specific.

An OS that does not have them can be moved and can be aligned.

An OS that does have them will work without any problems provided that you do not try to move it.

Ergo; something is happening/changing when you move such a system, what?

I keep coming back to the question of imaging files:
With all the imaging software that I have any knowledge of, apart from a small number of exceptions like an hibernation file a full image will copy all the data necessary for that system to run, so that it can even be restored to a different disk.
If there is an imaging program that ignores the question of alignment should it not be possible to restore any image, that was working when it was made, to an aligned partition and still have it work?
The question is if there is such a program?

Quote:
Cross linked files means that files located on different Windows directories are pointing to the same record in MFT of the file system where only one file should be written to.

The first time I looked at this it made me think of the fact that there are numerous instances within Windows as a whole where you have more than one file with the same name, this could apply to any number of them.
I can even think of one instance on my PC, explorer.exe, where I have 3 files of the same name when in fact one is different from the other two.

As I said these are just my thoughts on a subject that, as everybody who has followed this post will have realised long ago, is largely over my head.


Re your P.S. Don't worry about it, I have trouble keeping up with everything in my posts, and I wrote them.

By the way I have been thinking about the definition of your username again.
Isn't that another description of a conversation?
 

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Re: Disk/Partition Alignment
Reply #43 - Jul 15th, 2010 at 7:11am
 
Just to keep anybody who is following this thread updated I have not given up on getting C: sector aligned and working, I am awaiting developments from others.

Paragon gave me a fuller explanation of cross-linked files as follows:
Quote:
The alignment operation moves the data proportionally to a new position. As you know the MFT has a table of data allocation and every file has its record. If you assign the wrong records to the wrong files you will get a total mess in the data.
This is the main risk of the failure you can get resizing the partition that has errors in the file system.
A simple example: in the MFT you have allocation records such as 1 2 3 4 5 6 and have data this way 1 2 4 5 6 (as you see there is no 3), now when you move the data your MFR will point as 1 - 1; 2 - 2; 3 - 4; 4 - 5; 5 - 6.

As I understand it if you attempt to align/move the partition the space that was occupied by a file that is no longer there is closed, if you create an image you copy the spaces (errors) along with the data.

Paragon are at present working on the development of a new version of their imaging software which it is intended will offer the option of partition alignment when restoring an image, regardless of how it was aligned when the image was taken.
As this will restore both data and errors in the same order as they were in originally it should overcome the problems that are caused by cross-linked files.
It will not remove them but it seems that except in very rare circumstances they do not affect the running of the system.
 

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