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G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please (Read 22930 times)
voximan
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G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Jun 8th, 2012 at 5:51am
 
For some years now I've been using Ghost 2003 for backing up my Windows partitions and cloning my hard drives. Of late, I've been wondering whether I could substitute my single current conventional 7200rpm hard drive in my PC with a couple of SSDs. I'm constantly striving to quieten my system and this would be yet another way of doing it, whilst at the same time rendering improved longterm reliability, lessening the heat produced inside the PC, and increasing data fetch speeds. I've obviously looked over the Radified forums for any insight into this but haven't been able to conclude whether my Ghost 2003 could indeed be used to transfer the current partitions successfully on to the two Crucial SSDs that I have in mind.

I gather that there's possibly a problem in doing this because of a difference in file block structure on the two types of drive. Is there absolutely no way around this? Installing instead my WinXP-based setup from scratch on to an SSD is something I'd want to avoid now at all costs, as I've only recently completed such a reinstall on my conventional drive and it took me two weeks of solid work to complete. Beyond a certain amount, installing the OS and applications from scratch, plus all their updates, can be an absolute nightmare.

Currently, I run my backups and restores from a Build 793 Ghost 2003 bootdisk (floppy). I run multiple partitions on the single physical hard drive that I have in the PC. With the bootdisk I make two sets of backups of my system partition - one to a reserved partition on the PC's hard drive and one to an external conventional hard drive (connected via USB). Normally, if I need to restore, I do it from the copy on the PC's drive, as that's a faster operation. All partitions are NTFS-formatted, using the default block size.

Current situation
CONVENTIONAL PHYSICAL DRIVE A, 1TB (PC's drive):
C:\Main 50GB Primary
D:\Images 150GB Primary
E:\Audiovis 715GB Logical
F:\Archived 15GB Logical

EXTERNAL CONVENTIONAL PHYSICAL DRIVE B, 1TB (USB):
Same partitions as in Drive A, except named differently.

Planned situation
SSD PHYSICAL DRIVE A, 256GB.
C:\Main 45GB Primary
D:\Images 200GB Primary
E:\Archived 10GB Primary

SSD PHYSICAL DRIVE B, 512GB.
F:\Audiovis 510GB Primary

EXTERNAL CONVENTIONAL PHYSICAL DRIVE C, 1TB (USB):
The same external drive as used now.

Main is the system drive. Apart from Images, which is the partition into which Ghost images are placed, all other partitions simply contain data. For example, Audiovis contains largely photo files. Ghost-imaging of the data partitions therefore isn't necessary, as copying from one drive to another can be done instead by, say, drag n' drop. Note that none of the partitions are near full, so any mapping discrepancies of partition sizes you might notice above may well be inconsequential.

The way I would approach the changeover from conventional to SSD drive would be:

(i) Physically replace the current conventional drive with the two SSDs;
(ii) Use the WinXP installation DVD to install a basic Windows XP on to the 256GB SSD;
(iii) Run Ghost 2003 from the bootdisk and restore the appropriate image from the Images partition that's on the external drive to the 256GB SSD, so as to replace the basic edition of WinXP;
(iv) Boot with the 256GB SSD, then create the remaining partitions required on it, using WinXP's Disk Management. Also, format and create the required new partition on the 512GB SSD.
(v) Copy across the data files in Partitions E and F on the external drive to the requisite partitions of the two SSDs.

This would all seem to be pretty straightforward, assuming of course that both my PC (a recent self-build) and Ghost recognises the two SSDs. Note that all the new partitions would be NTFS and, as before, would use the default block size.

Now, I thought I read somewhere that there was a fundamental incompatibility of conventional drives with SSDs, in that the layout structure of the files was different. I thought I read that conventional drives were CHS-organised but SSDs were something different. Or was it the other way around? The implication was that any swapping around of images from one to the other would therefore be impossible without disasterous results. Is this really the case? If so, has nobody yet found a workaround for it? Surely, the SSD manufacturers must have realised that users would want to perform image transfers, if only to start using the new drive?
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #1 - Jun 8th, 2012 at 10:40am
 
@
voximan

I'll get the ball rolling here--but, I have no personal experience with the SSD technology--so can't help answer your specific questions----

Quote:
Now, I thought I read somewhere that there was a fundamental incompatibility of conventional drives with SSDs, in that the layout structure of the files was different.

I know how it is, you get on the scent of a particular topic, Google search and click on multiple entries, skimming the information looking for what you want, find all kinds of good info, but the next day, can't remember where those website are!

I now try not to simply click on a Google entry and have the browser switch to that link.  I right-click the entry and open the link in a new tab.  And then I use the *Favorites Tool Bar* that allows one to click on a *Star with a right pointing arrow* (talking about MS Internet Explorer v8.xx) and that website link is added to the Favorites Tool Bar list.  I make a *New Folder* on the Favorites Tool Bar by right-clicking on the tool bar and selecting the menu item.  Then I drag-and-drop each new web entry that looks promising onto that folder.

Now, I have a folder with related websites on a topic so I can easily go back and find the information.  And, I can paste those links in postings to forums such as this one!

My point--it's very hard to evaluate your question(s) when you offer us a vague recollection summary of what you thought you understood, so that we can offer you any good answers, if you are not able to show us the links to the original information so we too can evaluate the information!

Quote:
I thought I read that conventional drives were CHS-organised but SSDs were something different.

Link(s)?

Quote:
The implication was that any swapping around of images from one to the other would therefore be impossible without disasterous results. Is this really the case?

Link(s)?  Are we talking about Ghost 2003 specifically--or any imaging program?

Quote:
I gather that there's possibly a problem in doing this because of a difference in file block structure on the two types of drive.

Link(s)?

Quote:
I've only recently completed such a reinstall on my conventional drive and it took me two weeks of solid work to complete.

Why did you start over--don't you have Ghost backup images to use?

Quote:
EXTERNAL CONVENTIONAL PHYSICAL DRIVE B, 1TB (USB):
Same partitions as in Drive A, except named differently.

Could you explain this--why partition your external HDD like the internal HDD--are you doing direct disk-to-disk or partition-to-partition Ghost backup--and not using Ghost Image files?

Quote:
(ii) Use the WinXP installation DVD to install a basic Windows XP on to the 256GB SSD;

Why this *extra* step--why not just have Ghost 2003 transfer the OS partition image file directly?  You should be able to do *Image to Disk* and tell Ghost what size to make the destination partition it will create.  Or, you could use the WinXP install disk to do an initial partitioning of the SSD (don't have to install WinXP) and then do an *Image to Partition* process.

Ghost 2003 is an *old* program!  And there could be an incompatibility factor (although--without links to evaluate that issue, I'm not yet convinced there is a problem).  So, there might be other imaging programs that are still under current development, and should be up to date with the newer technologies (i.e. TeraBytes Image for Windows, DOS, Linux series of programs).  They have the ability to transfer successfully an image from one machine to another that has completely different hardware.  Our resident expert on those programs, Brian, may have some insight into their use with SSD.  Hopefully he'll see this thread and will make comments.  If not, I'll flag him down.

 

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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #2 - Jun 8th, 2012 at 5:10pm
 
@
voximan

I saw this comment, "All imaging software backup and restore SSDs without a hitch." I know KOR has lots of software and lots of SSDs.

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=2065363#post2065363#4

I gather WinXP is not optimized for SSDs so you may not get the performance benefits seen by folks using Win7. I recently helped a mate alter the partitions on a SSD in his Dell Win7 Precision computer. He had a couple of 2 TB conventional HDs as well. We used BIBM for the partitioning and IFW to create the subsequent partition images, writing the images to one of the conventional HDs. Now that is a fast computer.

I assume you realize your partitions need to be 2048 sector aligned to get the best out of your SSDs. So you can't let WinXP create your partitions as it creates legacy cylinder aligned partitions.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #3 - Jun 8th, 2012 at 6:27pm
 
@
voximan

Brian wrote on Jun 8th, 2012 at 5:10pm:
I assume you realize your partitions need to be 2048 sector aligned to get the best out of your SSDs. So you can't let WinXP create your partitions as it creates legacy cylinder aligned partitions. 

Well, I guess my suggestion wasn't the best *answer*:

NightOwl wrote on Jun 8th, 2012 at 10:40am:
Why this *extra* step--why not just have Ghost 2003 transfer the OS partition image file directly?You should be able to do *Image to Disk* and tell Ghost what size to make the destination partition it will create.Or, you could use the WinXP install disk to do an initial partitioning of the SSD (don't have to install WinXP) and then do an *Image to Partition* process.

Both procedures above would give you *legacy cylinder aligned partitions*!  Ghost 2003 only knows how to create cylinder alignment as is true of the WinXP partitioning tool as well.  If something else creates the correct partition alignment--then Ghost 2003 can restore to the existing partition without any problems.

Thanks Brian--thought you might know the answers.





 

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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #4 - Jun 9th, 2012 at 7:19am
 
NightOwl,

I think almost all the previous references to SSDs in the context of G2003 were scattered over this website, so you've probably seen them before anyway.

To make it clear, I'm concerned with only Ghost 2003 here, not any other imaging application.

Why shouldn't I partition my external drive?! It's a personal choice. In the main, I'm doing partition-to-partition imaging.

As for why I didn't start over when I recently reinstalled everything: well, the original system partition was corrupted on the drive itself. That's to say, the drive had some quite serious faults on it from new, faults that had taken months of work to investigate. In the end, I was able to work around the faults and was able to use the drive for a year or more. It was then at that stage that I decided to buy a completely new drive. It therefore made sense to install everything from scratch, rather than risk transferring the faults across on to the new drive. Besides, there were apps and utilities on the original that I didn't want any longer. (Don't let's digress into a discussion of all the whys and wherefores of this; there's a lot more to the story than I've given. Just accept that what I did was the only sensible recourse).

And about first creating a basic WinXP on the SSD: yes, you're quite right, I could merely create the new partition and do the image all in one procedure using Image to Partition, getting G2003 to set up the partition size.

Brian,

I worry when I see such sweeping statements as are in that link you gave. This is why I'd like to hear from others who've attempted this exercise.

Ah, so the SSDs would need to be 2048 sector aligned, to get the optimum performance? Hmm, well, in my case, performance (speed) wouldn't be the main reason for changing to SSDs, but just how much of a performance hit would there be if I used WinXP and/or G2003 to create/restore the partitions? Or is it that any such attempt would result in corruption of files? This is the kind of thing I was hoping to get clarified. And, from what you say, it sounds as though I might well have to throw out my external hard drive as well, as continuing to use it with SSDs in the PC would be equally incongruous.

It rather looks as though I'm going to have to stay with conventional drives - unless someone somewhere produces a utility that could solve the alignment issue. Unfortunately, the current costs of SSDs are such that this is something that one cannot test out for oneself without risking an awful lot of money.

 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #5 - Jun 9th, 2012 at 5:52pm
 
@
voximan

I have no idea how much of a performance hit you will suffer by using cylinder aligned partitions but why take the risk when you can easily create 2048 sector aligned partitions. Gparted is free and will create these partitions. I use BIBM but it isn't free. Just ask if you need help.

I have no doubt KOR is correct. You are just imaging sectors and Ghost 2003 will work.

Don't worry about your external HD. It will be fine. As will any conventional internal HDs you may add later. I don't have any SSDs but my next computer will have one. Only one for my many OS. I'll use large conventional HDs for data and backups. Just like my mate's computer I mentioned.

So you are ready to go. Install the SSD and create the 2048 sector aligned partitions on your SSD. Restore your Ghost 2003 images. Boot from the SSD. Easy.

Quote:
I'm doing partition-to-partition imaging.

Or Partition to image? Partition to partition could present booting issues.

Edit... I forgot to ask whether the SSD needs drivers.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #6 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 4:29am
 
Sorry Brian, when you previously hinted that 2048 aligned partitions would be required, I thought you meant that the whole thing would therefore be impossible. But it seems that, on the contrary, if something such as GParted is used, the problem can be solved. I'll google for it. At this stage, I've absolutely no idea what BIBM is, either.

When I stated that I'm doing 'partition-to-partition imaging', I meant that in the wider sense. I meant that I was making images from one partition into another (and, when necessary, restoring from one image to another). So, in strict G2003 terminology, 'Partition-to-Image' and 'Image-to-Partition'.

You ask about drivers. I'm not aware that the SSDs would require any special drivers in my setup. Have you found that some SSD/BIOS/motherboard combinations need special drivers, then?

I'm on a big learning curve here.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #7 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 5:21am
 
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voximan

http://sourceforge.net/projects/gparted/files/gparted-live-stable/

Get gparted-live-0.12.1-5.iso (129.6 MB) and make a CD.

To create partitions...

Boot from the CD and press Enter for all challenges
When in GParted /dev/sda is your first SSD, /dev/sdb is your second SSD. Or HD if you are using HDs.


Right click in "Unallocated"
New
New size, type in your desired MiB
Align to MiB (not to Cylinder or None)
Primary Partition
File system ntfs
Label eg WinXP, Data, Images, etc
Click Add


To create further partitions Right click in the remaining "Unallocated"
New
as above

When finished creating the partitions, click Apply
Apply again
Close

You can check the partition alignment by right clicking a partition and clicking Information. Write down the First sector number and divide it by 2048. The result should be an integer.

Close the GParted window
Double click Exit
Shutdown

You are using images; that's good.
I'm not sure about the need for drivers either.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #8 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am
 
Brian,

Yes, I immediately googled for GParted and found it at sourceforge.net. Am I right in thinking it's some sort of open-source software? It looks as though it's still under a bit of development.

You'll have to excuse my ignorance in this area, as I'm completely new to SSDs and to considering alignment on disks, but I'm still unclear about a couple of things surrounding your detailed procedure (given in your reply above) if using GParted. For example, if I were to opt to use GParted simply to create the partitions I need on the two SSDs with the 2048 alignment, will my G2003 imaged partition(s) then transfer correctly back from my ext drive to the SSDs? Or are you suggesting that I dispense with G2003 altogether? From what you've previously explained, the continued use of my ext drive wouldn't be possible. Sorry, but I'm confused about this.

A few moments ago, I dropped over to Crucial's website, to see if I could find any article by them on alignment. There wasn't as such. However, they do have a couple of useful videos there, one of which is a guide to transferring the contents of existing partitions from a conventional HDD to a new m4 SSD. As far as Crucial are concerned, apparently all you need in order to do this is to buy a 'transfer kit' of theirs when buying the SSD itself. You can buy with or without the transfer kit. You install a bit of software from a CD they supply in the kit, switch the PC off, then connect a special lead into a USB port, then boot from that port. The software then does the rest. I noticed in particular that the video advised not to select 2048 alignment under WinXP when initially installing the software. Also (and more generally), I'm assuming that, thereafter, it's impossible to continue using a conventional ext drive, or any application or utility that relies on cylinder alignment. But it's not at all clear. I may well contact Crucial to get this clarified.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #9 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:36am
 
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voximan

voximan wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am:
It looks as though it's still under a bit of development.

It's stable. Been around for years.

voximan wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am:
if I were to opt to use GParted simply to create the partitions I need on the two SSDs with the 2048 alignment, will my G2003 imaged partition(s) then transfer correctly back from my ext drive to the SSDs? 

Yes, just restore your current Ghost 2003 images into the 2048 sector aligned partitions.

voximan wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am:
the continued use of my ext drive wouldn't be possible.

Not at all. Continue to use your external HD.

voximan wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am:
all you need in order to do this is to buy a 'transfer kit' of theirs

That is the slow way to do it. It's better to create the partitions first.

voximan wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:18am:
it's impossible to continue using a conventional ext drive, or any application or utility that relies on cylinder alignment.

Not at all. You can continue to use cylinder aligned partitions on your internal and external HDs. There is no need to change these partitions. It is only the SSD partitions that need the new alignment. Don't regard it as complicated. All the image/restore steps are the same as for a conventional HD. The only difference is the partition alignment.

I've just done something similar. My primary HD was 640 GB with 28 primary partitions. Don't ask. I transferred the partitions to a 2 TB advanced format HD. It's recommended the partitions on these HDs be 2048 sector aligned so I've done that. I must say I noticed no difference in WinXP or Win7 performance after changing the alignment. But I wasn't using a SSD.

If you would prefer to use the trial version of BIBM instead of GParted I can post instructions.



 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #10 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 8:39am
 
Oh crikey, that sounds a lot more hopeful! I understand it more now.

When you make and then use a GParted CD as you've instructed, does GParted get permanently installed on the PC, or does it only run if you boot from the CD? Does the download include a CD-maker, or will any half-decent one do, such as Nero? Can't remember the last time I ever burned a CD/DVD. Must have been several years ago.

Is there any reason why a USB stick can't be used instead?
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #11 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 4:31pm
 
@
voximan

GParted runs from the boot disk. It is not installed. Stick with running it from a CD. It can be run from a USBFD but that adds to the complexity.

The ISO has to be burnt as an image so in Nero it is..

Recorder
Burn image
Browse to the ISO

You can't just copy the ISO to a CD.


NightOwl,

When you restore a Ghost 2003 image how do you restore the MBR? I noticed GParted doesn't create a Standard MBR when it creates partitions on an empty HD. It only creates a Disk Signature, a partition table and MS-DOS boot code.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #12 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 5:31pm
 
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voximan

I now think you would be better off using BIBM rather than GParted. Download the 30 day trial from....

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/downloads-bootit-bare-metal.htm

Unzip the file
double click makedisk.exe, next
dot in BootIt Bare Metal, next
dot in I accept the agreement, next
select Image for DOS (GUI), next
dot in Mouse Support Enabled, next
dot in VESA Video, next
dot in Video Mode 1024*768 - 64K Colors, next
dot in Partition Work (Don't put a dot in Normal), next
don't choose any Device Options, next
tick in Enable USB 1.1 (UHCI), next
tick in Align partitions on 2048 Sectors
ignore Additional bootitbm.ini Options, next
select your CD burner drive letter (you can use a CD-RW or a CD-R disc)
Finish

A CD will be easier for you to use than a USBFD. We can discuss how to use BIBM later.

 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #13 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 5:49pm
 
It's now later. How to create partitions...

The trial CD boots to "Work with Partitions"
Use Bus: BIOS
Drive 0 (the SSD should be the only drive in your computer. Saves getting confused with other drives)
Select Free Space and click Create
Name (eg Main, Images, etc)
File System NTFS
Choose Size (Type in your desired MiB size)
Leave the rest untouched
OK, OK, OK

Create further partitions with the same method. If you make a mistake, no problem, delete the partitions using the Delete button and start again.

When finished, click View MBR and write down the LBA or each partition. Divide each LBA by 2048 and the result should be an integer. While still in View MBR select the first partition (the future WinXP), click Set Active, Apply.

Click Close, Reboot and remove the CD. You are now ready to restore your WinXP image in the usual manner.
 
 
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Re: G2003, WinXP, and SSDs: views, please
Reply #14 - Jun 11th, 2012 at 12:12am
 
@
Brian

Brian wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 4:31pm:
NightOwl,

When you restore a Ghost 2003 image how do you restore the MBR? I noticed GParted doesn't create a Standard MBR when it creates partitions on an empty HD. It only creates a Disk Signature, a partition table and MS-DOS boot code.

Here we go again  Wink !  Define what is meant by a *Standard MBR*?!  Isn't *MS-DOS boot code* a *Standard MBR*--just pre-WinXP, Vista, Win7--which each have their own *Standard MBR*?  Actually, the MS-DOS boot code MBR changed over time from the Win3.x, to Win95 and later Win98, and Win98se, and then WinME.  I really don't know how to define a *Standard MBR*--I wish there was such a *standard*--or at least an identifiable version number!

I wonder what MBR various Linux OS's create?  I suspect that's why some folks have major problems trying to uninstall a Linux OS and revert to a Windows OS--most partitioning tools will not zero and/or over-write an existing MBR unless explicitly instructed to do so (many do not have such an option)!

Well, once again this is one of the limitations of DOS Ghost 2003.  I'm not sure if Symantec has improved this in the newer Corporate versions--I know that the consumer Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, and 15 have a check box to tell Ghost to restore the MBR--but, when checked, do those versions of Ghost over-write any existing MBR code, and restore the original source MBR recorded along with the image file?  And, if it does over-write any existing MBR code, is the restored MBR just absolute sector 0, 0 thru 63, and/or 2048 sectors for the new aligned sector requirements?  Does it give you the choice?

I do *whole disk* images.  The MBR absolute sector 0 from the source disk is recorded along with the data from the partition(s) to the image.  If you restore the image to a *factory fresh* HDD (or zeroed absolute sector 0 HDD), then Ghost 2003 will restore the MBR that was from your original source HDD MBR.

If the HDD is not a factory fresh HDD (or zeroed absolute sector 0 HDD), then Ghost 2003 will not restore the MBR that was on the original source HDD!  It will simply update the partition table.  There is no box to check or command line switch that will force the original MBR to be restored on a HDD that has an existing MBR!

You can use a command line switch to force Ghost to save the entire boot tract (absolute sector 0 thru 63), but you have to do a whole disk image backup--and you must restore the whole disk image in order to get that stored MBR restored.  In this case an existing MBR will be over-written with the original source HDD MBR.

You can also do a whole HDD image, and then do a *From Image/Partition to Disk* restore and this too will restore the original source HDD's MBR (if to a *factory fresh* HDD (or zeroed absolute sector 0 HDD)).  Here, you can then control how much of the disk is to be used for that partition, and you can later create additional partitions with DOS partitioning tools, or once booted to a Windows OS.

You can not do a *From Image/Partition to Partition* unless you have already created a partition (which means you have already created a MBR) as an existing destination for the image file data.




 

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