Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior....

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SonicExplorer
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2017/10/14 04:07:07 (permalink)

Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior....

Hi Guys,
 
I rebuilt an XP DAW and the main disk has 2 partitions. However when I use an older bootable version of Ghost it doesn't see things like XP does.  In XP they are seen as C:SYS_VOL and D:SAMP_VOL, both reflected as primary partitions.  All this is what I would expect.  However Ghost sees the system partition as NO_NAME while the other partition appears as expected (SAMP_VOL).   I don't believe this to be a problem within Ghost, rather there is likely something not properly written on the MBR/Partitions to enable Ghost to understand the system partition name/label.  Any ideas how I can get the system partition to be correctly reflected in programs outside of XP such as Ghost? 
 
Sonic
post edited by SonicExplorer - 2017/10/14 14:30:17
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    tunedeaf
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 14:37:02 (permalink)
    I assume this worked correctly on the old system so a few questions: Is this a new hard drive or simply a re-partition of the old drive? Is the drive SATA or PATA? SSD or HDD? Are the partitions formatted NTFS or FAT32?
    #2
    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 16:09:58 (permalink)
    New hard drive.  It is SATA but the BIOS is set for Legacy emulation so all software uses it as a conventional ATAPI/IDE type interface.  (Hope I said that right, but I'm sure you can at least understand what's going on)
     
    It is formatted with FAT32.  System partition is 10GB and sample partition 50GB.  In my initial testing of the DAW rebuild process I ended up used different tools and approaches to partitioning and formatting the drive.  So this current case is not a "virgin" partition scenario.  In some instances I let XP OS installer do the job, in others I used a Western Digital tool, or DOS command line. And of course the disk manager inside XP. So I can't say for sure how this specific instance was partitioned & formatted.  Only that whatever was used was in the realm of industry-standard stuff.  I'm pretty sure in this specific situation I used the DOS command prompt from within XP recovery mode to format the system volume in order to blow away the preceding XP test-OS, and then used the XP installer to format it again during re-install.  
     
    Sonic
     
     
    #3
    tunedeaf
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 19:13:34 (permalink)
    I believe the issue might be with Ghost as it can potentially have issues with SATA drives. I think, though I can't be certain, that this has to do with the different cabling. Conventional drives use a single cable to connect 2 drives, one master, one slave. The SATA of course only uses one with no master/slave designation. Earlier versions of Ghost, and maybe later I'm not sure, would get confused when the cabling was not connected properly. For example a drive connected to the slave connector on the IDE cable with the jumper set to master.
     
    Incidentally, are you using legacy mode because XP did not recognize the drive during install?
     
    I can't definitively say this is what your problem is but if the partitions show up in XP correctly I would think they are fine. You could run a chkdsk to verify. I reluctantly gave up using Ghost years ago and now use Acronis True Image. It might be worthwhile to download a trial copy, of this or some other program, and see if the partitions show up as you expect.
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    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 20:02:34 (permalink)
    No, the issue isn't the drive being SATA, Ghost and everything else sees it just fine and the partitions are working fine.  But outside Windows, any DOS/Win98 type bootable utilities seem not to be able to recognize the NAME of the system partition.  It comes up as NO_NAME, while the other partition's label is seen just fine. So something is going on, but I don't understand what.  Not only do I need to see the system volume name for ease of use when imaging, etc I also want to understand what is behind this anomaly so I don't have some unanticipated surprise down the road once I put this machine into use.  I'm assuming there is something missing, or written incorrectly, in the MBR/partition table.
     
    Sonic
    post edited by SonicExplorer - 2017/10/14 20:23:41
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    slartabartfast
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 21:02:35 (permalink)
    So I am assuming that you have not tried the obvious long shot of renaming the no-name drive in your XP disk management. If there is truly a problem with the way the name is written to the disk index, that might be expected to solve it. Are you booting into Ghost when it fails to report the disk name?
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    tunedeaf
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/14 21:18:43 (permalink)
    That was my next "silly question". Occam's razor.
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    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/15 02:52:07 (permalink)
    I tried the rename approach inside XP Disk Manager and it didn't change anything with respect to Ghost still seeing the volume name as NO NAME.
     
    And yes, I am booting into Ghost.
    post edited by SonicExplorer - 2017/10/15 07:30:14
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    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/15 10:26:35 (permalink)
    It seems there may be some issue in early disk-based utilities.  I found some threads on the web about this but couldn't find a resolution.  Seems people tried to use some utiliies to re-print the MBR/Partition but no-one ever responded back as to what they actually used to do it nor the details of how.
     
    Somewhere in the 2000-2003 range there was a time where the Windows NT based PC's were laying down certain MBR/Partition & FS info that some utilities, including Ghost 2003, could not understand.  Or rather maybe were expecting something different, at least as far as the Volume/Label goes.  I actually found a neat little stand-alone program from that era that also reported the same "NO NAME" for the partition in question.  It's probably as simple as just getting a tool to read the sector, change the name, and save it back.  But I have no idea where to find such a thing, that is also user-friendly.
     
    Did I mention I really hate computers....?   
    post edited by SonicExplorer - 2017/10/15 16:16:49
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    slartabartfast
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/15 17:50:27 (permalink)
    So you are saying that ghost (?version) boot environment is not the only program that cannot see the partition name? I think if you are going back far enough, the ghost boot environment is 16 bit DOS. There was as I recall also a requirement that Ghost mark the drive in some way to show that you are using a legal copy of the program, and maybe required a "virtual partition" to run. Without that marking it could not access the drive/partition. Have you installed Ghost on your XP system? Have you tried running Ghost from within XP? Ghost is no longer available, and there are several free partition managers and cloners that support XP that might be better. Have you tried a Linux boot environment (many of those freebies use one) to see how it sees your partition names?
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    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/16 08:51:59 (permalink)
    Ok Guys, I figured this out, and it is useful information because this is a rather common issue believe it or not.  I'll do my best to describe all the research and solution, but it will be in somewhat layman's terms as I am not the most uber-technical, so for you super-geeks on the forum please cut me some slack if I say something not quite precise.
     
    So, from what I gather, at some point Windows began changing the way it was storing the "Volume Name" that it portrays to users in Disk Manager.  In other words, it is apparently not stored any longer in the same FAT32 boot sector like used to be the case.  I didn't waste time finding where exactly, but it is apparently stored some place else.  This is why Windows and other more modern tools will reflect something different than what is in the actual boot sector.  But the reality is, depending on HOW the partition was formatted, it may even have "NO NAME" stored in the boot sector.  And this is why, when using tools that actually read the literal boot sector, it does NOT reflect the "Windows" Volume Name as you'd expect.
     
    Ghost 2003 in particular is a PITA about this because it starts out asking to select a source partition from a provided list - but it uses the actual boot sector information.  So you will tend to see something like DRV1_VOL1 and DRV1_VO2, or the now infamous NO NAME.  Yet when it then next asks to select the target for the image file it portrays a list of volumes as Windows would normally represent them.  For example C:SYSTEM_VOL, D:AUDIO_VOL.  So it is very schizo and confusing.  And then if you also have a NO NAME volume thrown in the mix it really confuses matters even further for the user.  So you can now probably appreciate why it is important to have the boot sector volume names be something sensible & consistent, if not outright matching, the Windows volume names.  
     
    Why sometimes does a volume end up with NO NAME in the boot sector you ask? Well, from what I can see, this happens when you use some utility that doesn't bother to ask about a volume name, or if you run the Format.exe command from the command line and don't bother to use the /v switch.  The default ends up as NO_NAME.  There are a variety of ways it might happen actually.
     
    So then how do you fix this?  Well, I am still searching for a more tailored stand-alone solution, but for now have managed to find a neat program called Active@ Disk Editor. It is free and can be found here: http://www.disk-editor.org/  It isn't very large, installs quickly and allows incredible control over the entire disk, quite an amazing piece of software.  But you need to take time to understand it since it can be very dangerous if you start making changes and saving them without understanding what you are doing.  To solve the particular problem under discussion is quite simple: Just load the FAT32 boot template and then Navigate to each of the boot sectors and look for the Volume Names.  Then set the Editor to Enable Changes, make the changes and save.  And be sure to also alter the boot sector copy as well.  Then repeat this for each partition that needs changing, or that you want to have match the Windows volume names.   This way, when you go into any disk or imaging tools in the future everything will always make sense.  As I said, I'm hoping to find a smaller, safer, simpler, standalone utility that will allow for volume name changes to the actual boot sectors.  So if any of you guys know of any such tool, please share. 
     
    Hopefully I've managed to contribute something useful back to the forum after all the wonderful help people have provided on my DAW rebuild journey.  
     
    Kind regards,
     
         Sonic
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    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Please Help Me Understand This Windows Partition Behavior.... 2017/10/20 20:23:09 (permalink)
    Quick update on this....I found another method that is even simpler....
     
    The right versions of LABEL.EXE tool can do the trick.  Boot up with any OS version from DOS 5.0 to Win98 that has that executable included.  Win98 is probably the safest bet since it understood FAT32 and long file names by that point, etc.   Anything after that, no dice.  And very importantly, keep in mind if you issue a DIR command it may "lie" like later versions of Windows do...it may report back the "Windows Volume Label" instead of what is truly written in the boot sector.  To be sure you have the boot sector written accordingly simply issue the label command with the same volume name as being reported by the DIR command.  That will insure you have both the Windows volume label AND the boot sector volume label the same.  Then, no matter what utilities or OS you use, the volume label will always be reported consistently.
     
    One quick disclaimer - I did not test this using NTFS, only FAT32, but I assume the same thing likely applies.
     
    Sonic
    #12
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