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Old 12-23-2005, 04:41 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2003
Posts: 368

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using linux cd to backup xp drive

i just tested a backup/restore process involving a linux based cd called 'system rescue cd'. i was able to successfully backup and restore my entire xp system this way with only one hitch. i had to use my xp disc to begin an install process so that the partition structure would match the original. this seemed to have something to do with a hidden 8mb partition xp creates to store system information. when i only used the rescue cd to reconstitute my partitions my restore failed. when i started an install from the xp disc, quitting after repartitioning, i was able to use these partitions to reload my backed up partitions.

my question:

what's the structure of this 8mb partition? i'd like to be able to do the entire restore process from the rescue cd in the future but it seems i need to know more about how xp originally structures the drive. is it as simple as making an 8mb parttion first on the drive? is there some special area this partition goes?

any info is much appreciated.
Old 12-23-2005, 05:52 PM   #2
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Registered: Oct 2003
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Have you tried using linux dd to save and restore the partition table? That should give you the exact partition setup as the original.

For example:
save it with this command:
   dd if=/dev/hda of=/mnt/images/mbrfile bs=512 count=1

restore it with this command:
   dd if=/mnt/images/mbrfile of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1
Old 12-23-2005, 08:26 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2003
Posts: 368

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thanks homey. that was how i tried it the first time when it failed.
one additional and probably quite relevant point is that i was
restoring to a new drive, one that was smaller than the original.
the original was a 120gb with 5gb wxp, 5gb programs, 4gb swap, and
the rest for data. the new drive was an 80gb. obviously i was able
to match the wxp, programs, and swap partitions, but the data
partition would be different. don't know how this affects things
but i tend to think it would in a big way. what i'd like is to be
able to repartition the new drive with matching partitions where
relevant, and to let the rest (the data) go undefined so i could
deal with it later. this would preclude restoring all partitions
at once. i'm hoping that if i can find out how xp creates and
uses the hidden partition, i can match it, thus allowing a selective
restore of partitions (wxp, programs, and deal with data later).

another point is that the hidden partition really seems to be hidden.
i'm not sure backing up the structure with dd really handled it.



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