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How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003 (Read 22528 times)
andrewdh
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How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Jul 14th, 2013 at 10:49am
 
This Topic covers how to recover a SATA2 drive with a "lost" windows partition when you stupidly try to use any of the GHOST 2003 tools on a live late model PC.

I installed my old Ghost 2003 program so I could verify an old GHO file I needed for an old machine that had got fried.

A local install of Ghost 2003 creates a Ghost virtual disk from inside windows on your local machines hard drive to load the GHO file into.  It does this for most of the advances features.

This component works fine "inside windows" however if your local drive is SATA 2 once the machine reboots you are locked out and cannot get ghreboot to work.  No matter what you do your host machine is "stuffed"  Angry Cry

If you use any of the partition tools available you will see your partition is empty or a Dos partition "sharing" partition space.

The problem is that because you can no longer LiveUpdate Ghost 2003 you cannot get the version with SATA drivers required to correctly access your SATA2 drive.  Also the new versions of Ghost do not read GHO files.

The Solution:

FIRSTLY - DO NOT FIDDLE WITH ANYTHING
I grabbed an empty PATA (IDE) drive of the same size (in my case I was lucky to have an identical sized 160GB IDE drive) and installed it in my SATA machine.

The PATA drive needs to be the same size or bigger.

Now I booted from a Linux based SystemRescueCD
available from http://www.sysresccd.org/

Using the Terminal screen that comes up when the CD boots type
fdisk -l
to find out which drive was which (in my case SDA was the SATA and SDB PATA)

Then type
ddrescue /dev/sda /dev/sdb --force
This forces ddrescue to overwrite the target disk (SDB in my case).
Once completed (I had no errors and it took about 60mins) I removed the SATA cables and rebooted the PC on the PATA (IDE) drive.
The Ghost2003 virtual environment loaded fine so I quickly selected the option "Return to Windows" - you need to be quick.  As expected it worked and on a reboot - BINGO I had my Windows environment back (but now on an IDE not my SATA). Remember the SATA is still unplugged.

At this stage all that is required is copy your IDE drive back to the SATA.
  Plug the SATA drive back in.
  Do NOT allow PC to boot on either hard drive

I used the same procedure as above:
Booted Linux SystemRescueCD
fdisk -l       Just to check the drives are still the same

ddrescue /dev/sdb /dev/sda --force
NOTE the drives are the other way round this time

When complete shutdown and remove CD and PATA (IDE) drive.

Reboot and you have your system back as it was before GHOST 2003 destroyed it.  Wink

The lesson - DO NOT run GHOST 2003 from the application inside windows using a SATA drive.

I hope this helps because I have spent all day researching this solution.
 
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NightOwl
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #1 - Jul 15th, 2013 at 1:40am
 
@
andrewdh

Thanks for sharing--a very unique solution!

However, this is probably not unique to our more modern SATA based systems.  Back in the day (2002, 2003) folks with PATA HDDs had this issue happen as well.  Usually the *ghreboot* program would solve most people's problems, but not all!  I have a system with the standard two PATA controllers plus an imbedded PATA RAID controller chip.  I run my OS on the RAID controller (initially Win98se and then WinXP) and have spare HDDs and optical drives on the other standard PATA controllers.  I got trapped in the Ghost 2003 virtual partition and *ghreboot* did not successfully correct my problem.

This is pure speculation, but it fits the problem that occurs:  with my RAID system and your SATA system--both have the *standard* PATA controllers as well.  For older OS systems, it was required that the OS be on the HDD on the Primary channel of the first IDE controller that the system BIOS sees and reports.  When Windows Ghost 2003 sets up the virtual partition--it's done from within Windows--so it sees the SATA or RAID HDDs just fine because there are drivers in Windows for that purpose.  But, when Ghost 2003 reboots the system, the first controller seen is the standard PATA IDE, either on your SATA system or my old RAID system--this is probably to be backward compatible with the former requirement of the OS being found on that first controller on the primary channel.  So when you tell Ghost, from within the virtual partition to re-boot to the OS, or use the  *ghreboot* program, the software is programed to look for the first controller, the PATA IDE controller (and not your SATA or my RAID controller--which are further down the BIOS list of controllers).  Ghost 2003 or *ghreboot* do not find the master boot record that has the Ghost virtual partition entry on it at that PATA IDE controller, and fails to successfully change the master boot record for re-booting to the OS.

The reason I think this may be the cause of the problem is that when I have used my old RAID system with the other extra HDDs on the standard PATA controllers--and in DOS, those HDDs with FAT partitons on them on the standard PATA controllers are assigned drive letters before any FAT partitions that may be on the HDDs attached to the RAID controller--which means the BIOS sees the standard IDE controllers ahead of the RAID controller.

Quote:
If you use any of the partition tools available you will see your partition is empty or a Dos partition "sharing" partition space.

I would be interested in better understanding this statement.  What partition tools did you use?

If you use a DOS based partitioning tool (booted from a floppy disk or a DOS bootable CD), you should be able to access the master boot record to see what the partition status is for each of the listings for the partition table.  In the past, I've used DOS based PartitonMagic, what used to be a free program called MBRWizard (now a paid program--but, possibly worth the cost), old *fdisk* from MS DOS, and the Ghost 2003 command line partitioning program works as well--*gdisk*.

I see that all my old links to Symantec regarding using *ghreboot* and *gdisk* are now dead--Symantec is no longer supporting even the FAQ for Ghost 2003--that's just nasty--they want our dollars to support them, but they are more than willing to abandon their customer base who supported them in the past.  Well, what goes around comes around--see if my dollars will be spent on any of their new products!  There are other competitors with as good, and maybe better options than anything Symantec now produces (did I mention the TeraByte imaging products TeraByte's group of Image for Windows, DOS, and Linux ?).

Here's a link to our forum where I discussed using the *gdisk* program when the *ghreboot* program did not work (you'll see some of the broken links there):  Ghost 2003 -operating system not found

The basic problem is that the Windows Ghost 2003 interface, before shutting down Windows and re-booting to the DOS Ghost virtural partition, creates a new entry in the master boot record (a new primary partition), makes that partition *Active*,  makes your current OS partition *Not Actvie*, and *Hides* your current OS partition.  When it's time to re-boot to your OS, Ghost is supposed to undo those changes--i.e. hide the Ghost virtual partition, and un-hide your OS partition and make it active.

So, to boot back to your original OS, you should be able to boot to DOS, load a master boot record utility that shows the SATA HDD master boot record information, and using that tool, Hide the Ghost partition, make the Ghost partition non-Active if hiding did not already do that, and un-Hide the OS partititon, and make the OS partition Active.  Remove the DOS boot media, and you should be able to re-boot to your OS.

Quote:
I installed my old Ghost 2003 program so I could verify an old GHO file I needed for an old machine that had got fried.

What were you trying to verify?  Maybe there's an alternate method that we could help you with.
 

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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #2 - Jul 15th, 2013 at 2:46am
 
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NightOwl

I just installed Ghost 2003 to "make" an image of WinXP. The computer restarted into Ghost 2003 and I aborted. A BIBM CD was used to examine the partition table of HD0 (a SATA HD).

-VBGHBOOT- was in the fourth partition slot. I deleted the virtual partition, wrote standard boot code and made WinXP Active. WinXP booted normally.

Maybe this is a different situation to what andrewdh experienced.
 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #3 - Jul 15th, 2013 at 8:45am
 
@
Brian

Quote:
Maybe this is a different situation to what andrewdh experienced.

Actually, I think this is exactly the situation. 

Your aborting just after booting to Ghost leaves the system in the state that the Ghost program has established for its processing of the Ghost procedure set up in the Windows Ghost interface.

I'm glad you joined in and reported how easy the TeraByte partition and imaging program BIBM (Boot-It, Bare Metal) works if it's needed to clear up the mess if the normal Ghost process does not work properly.

I presume when you re-booted the system to the BIBM interface, you saw the *VBGHBOOT* as active, and your WinXP OS partition was *hidden*.  Deleting the virtual partition is the ultimate *hiding* of a partition  Cool , and did BIBM automatically makes the WinXP OS active when you unhide it (?), or did you have to do that as an extra command?

I had not used some of my old links in a long time, and I was appalled when I saw that Symantec has taken down access to their web-based FAQ regarding Ghost 2003 and older programs!  I can understand no longer offering active support for an older program, but not allowing access to the FAQ on their servers--that puts a sword in my heart (two thumbs down as well as two big toes down to Symantec)!

 

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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #4 - Jul 15th, 2013 at 9:09am
 
@
andrewdh

andrewdh wrote on Jul 14th, 2013 at 10:49am:
The problem is that because you can no longer LiveUpdate Ghost 2003 you cannot get the version with SATA drivers required to correctly access your SATA2 drive.

I can probably help you with updating the installed Ghost 2003 program. 

But, based on the above discussion, I have doubts about whether it will actually solve this particular problem.

Send me a PM (Private Message) if you're interested in updating the installed Ghost 2003 program.  You could then test to see if the update solves the problem, or not, and report back here!

And, if it does not help--then you could possibly have on hand the 30 day trial version of BIBM from TeraByte to quickly undo the master partition table changes so you can recover your system back to your OS.  (Or, you could try some of the other partitioning tools to see which one(s) will work on your system, figure out how to use them to modify the master partition table, and be ready to use them if needed after the trial of the updated Ghost 2003.)
 

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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #5 - Jul 15th, 2013 at 12:33pm
 
@
NightOwl

I repeated the test several times. The -VBGHBOOT- partition was Active and a Type Eh partition (FAT-16). WinXP wasn't Active and was a Type 7h partition (NTFS). On no occasion was WinXP a Type 17h partition (Hidden NTFS).

The virtual partition was 16065 sectors in size. One cylinder. 8 MB. It started inside the WinXP partition, 4125316 sectors after the WinXP Start LBA.

After deleting the virtual partition the boot error was, "No boot device available".
After then setting WinXP Active the boot error was, "Missing operating system".
After then writing boot code, WinXP booted normally.

 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #6 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 1:33am
 
@
Brian

Brian wrote on Jul 15th, 2013 at 2:46am:
I deleted the virtual partition, wrote standard boot code and made WinXP Active. WinXP booted normally.

Wow!  I glossed over that statement!

I have no recollection of ever having to rewrite the master boot record when using the Ghost virtual partition.  And, I've helped several folks on the forum here over the years to recover from being trapped in the virtual partition--and I can't recall ever needing to apply a new master boot record.  It has always been the hiding and unhiding of the necessary partition, and making the proper partition active.

The devil is always in the details--what was the original master boot record source--i.e. how did the original master boot code on the HDD get written by what software before you used the Ghost Windows interface to set up the Ghost virtual partition?  Was it the installation CD for WinXP or some other source?

Brian wrote on Jul 15th, 2013 at 12:33pm:
The virtual partition was 16065 sectors in size. One cylinder. 8 MB. It started inside the WinXP partition, 4125316 sectors after the WinXP Start LBA.

I'm guessing you are using the BIBM program to see that bit of detail.  I don't recall ever seeing that information using the software I have used--or at least not that I was smart enough to use to look for that.  Where do you see that, and how do I bring it up to record the info?

I'm busy for the next couple days and can not play with computers, but I will fire up my old system and see what I find when I use Ghost's virtual partition. (Bet I have to delete one primary partition to make room in the partition table for Ghost's partition!  I've been using the boot directly to DOS method and not the Windows Ghost interface for a long time!)

 

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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #7 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 1:55am
 
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NightOwl

I looked at the MBR with DE (disk editor) and noticed Ghost 2003 had changed the boot code. It was different code to what I saw 5 minutes ago before running the Ghost backup. That's what it has to do to make the computer boot into the Virtual partition. So unless the Ghost code is removed, Windows won't boot.

I guess one of the tools you used removes the Ghost boot code. It will be easy to test using DE.

To see the partition table in BIBM, click View MBR.

Several of the TeraByte tools work in a similar fashion. Change the boot code for the boot and then restore the original boot code.

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/howto/howto-ifd-bootfile.htm
 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #8 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 4:26am
 
 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #9 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 9:35am
 
@
Brian

Brian wrote on Jul 16th, 2013 at 1:55am:
I looked at the MBR with DE (disk editor) and noticed Ghost 2003 had changed the boot code. It was different code to what I saw 5 minutes ago before running the Ghost backup. That's what it has to do to make the computer boot into the Virtual partition. So unless the Ghost code is removed, Windows won't boot.

Well, I never knowingly changed the boot code!  For all the MBR tools I used, the only thing I remember ever doing is hiding and unhiding partitions, and changing the active or not active settings of the partition table.  I never had a boot problem after I manipulated those variables, so I never looked at the rest of the boot code.

Brian wrote on Jul 15th, 2013 at 12:33pm:
WinXP wasn't Active and was a Type 7h partition (NTFS). On no occasion was WinXP a Type 17h partition (Hidden NTFS)

Well, thinking back and looking at the above forum link I gave in reply #1, I only used commands in gdisk to hide the Ghost virtual partition.  I never used a code to unhide the OS partition.  So Ghost probably only switched the Active partition setting.  (The hiding and unhiding of OS partitions was probably me remembering what I was doing to automate Ghost backups from within Windows using MBR tools (not the Ghost virtual partition option), and booting to a DOS primary partition on the same HDD for performing a Ghost procedure.  Looks like hiding the non-active partition may not be necessary--but I think I was doing that because PartitionMagic always gave a warning that you should not have two bootable primary partitions visible--but, maybe only that Active setting is necessary!?)

So, the boot code *I saw 5 minutes ago before running the Ghost backup*--where did that original boot code come from?  What format and partition tool was used to create that code--the WinXP installation CD or .....other.....?

Are you using the BIBM boot code, and/or Multi-boot manager code?  Ghost would not understand TeraByte's proprietary MBR--maybe that could be a source of why your non-boot occurs unless you replace the boot code before you can get the system to boot to WinXP.

Not asking you to rush out and do this *now*, but, if the opportunity arises in the future, can you do a MBR backup to a file of the before and after master boot code.  I think that type of file can be opened in Notepad and read as a text file, which can then be copied and pasted here.  I would like to see where and what code is different.

Right now, when I look at my MBR--I will have no idea where it came from!  It has been whacked so many times by various tools--but, quite some time ago--5-6 years ago (?).  But, I will look at it before I attempt the Ghost virtual partition procedure, and try to make a text capture of the code--and then the after once I have booted to the virtual partition--to look for differences.

I always thought the only change Ghost did was to make an entry in the master partition table for a new primary partition, and making it Active.  That code somehow does  a *redirect* (jump code?) telling the initial boot sequence where to go to continue the bootup process--the startup sequence knows which jump code to use based on which partition was set as *Active*.  Each bootable primary partition has its own jump code to tell the boot sequence where to go to boot that particular OS that has been set for Active
 

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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #10 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 3:16pm
 
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NightOwl

The boot code prior to using Ghost was TeraByte code.



 

mbr_pre_ghost.PNG (42 KB | 316 )
mbr_pre_ghost.PNG
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #11 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 3:17pm
 
I'll have to take a photo of the new code generated by Ghost. Later today.

The above MBR doesn't have "Missing operating system" so the Ghost MBR generated that message.
 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #12 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 3:43pm
 
Captured in a WinPE...(the last two lines are the active Virtual partition)

 

ghost-mbr.gif (29 KB | 293 )
ghost-mbr.gif
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #13 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 3:53pm
 
After capturing the above MBR I restarted the computer and on the Ghost screen chose Return to Windows and it did. The original TeraByte MBR was present so Ghost must back it up and then restore it.
 
 
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Re: How to Recover from Lost Windows Partition with Ghost 2003
Reply #14 - Jul 16th, 2013 at 9:49pm
 
If I don't abort out of Ghost it creates an image backup and boots back into Windows. So Ghost is happy with the TeraByte boot code.

If I abort out of Ghost and then delete the Virtual partition and make WinXP Active, it doesn't matter whether I write Standard boot code or TeraByte boot code, WinXP boots.

This is a WinXP Standard MBR...

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b16/bjkdegree/MBR-Standard.gif

This is a Win7 MBR...

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b16/bjkdegree/MBR-Win7.gif

WinXP boots fine with a Win7 MBR. Win7 usually boots fine with a WinXP MBR, but not always.

This is a Dell WinXP MBR...

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b16/bjkdegree/dell-mbr.gif
 
 
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