Thursday, July 21, 2005

NTFS Disaster Recovery Preparedness

This was fun...

I built a laptop with a simple base load of Win2k with updates on it for one of our maintenance shops. I didn't want to have to manually reload the thing if they ever blew up the system so I wanted to get a partition image. The version of Partition Magic I had didn't work to enable me to resize the NTFS partion (to give me some room to dump the Win2k image), and when I did get it resized (as I will quickly describe later) Ghost would not dump the partition to an image file for me. It kept throwing errors. What to do? I ended up using GNU/Linux tools to get the job done--even then it was not as easy as I had hoped, though it could have been as you will see...

Here is a quick run down on how I did it. I am sure there are better ways but whatever:

  • QTParted from the SystemRescueCD let me resize the NTFS partition on the laptop & create a new temporary FAT32 partition so I could have some space to put my image.
  • From Win2K, I deleted the Compaq driver installation folders from the C: partition and defragmented the drive which let me use…
  • partimage to create a 695MB image of the NTFS partition on the FAT32 logical drive
  • I rebooted into Win2K on the LT in question, mapped a drive from my box to the Win32 drive containing the image file & dragged it over
  • Burnt this image to CD-R
  • Rebooted the LT with the SystemRescueCD
  • Deleted the temporary FAT32 partition with QTParted
  • Resized the NTFS partition to fill the physical drive on the LT
  • Rebooted into Win2k on the now backed up LT and everything appears just fine
This all worked fine, except my initial images were too big to fit on one 700MB CD-R. It was only after deleting the driver installation directories that partimage gave me a bzipped image file small enough to burn to one disc. My other frustration was attempting to do things another way. I tried to use Knoppix and DSL LiveCD's to use Mondo Rescue to create the partition backup. This would have been ideal if it had worked because I would have then had ISO file(s) I could write to CD-R that would provide me with a bootable restore disc. Very convenient. This probably would have worked but apt-geting mondo to these LiveCD's didn't end up working. (Knoppix hung during the mondo install & while it did install under DSL, mondo did not think I had enough memory. That didn't make sense as it was not hitting the swap file at all and it wasn't even using all of the physical RAM on the laptop. I dunno. I would like to remaster DSL with mondo on it and try that our again some time.)

At any rate FOSS saved the day (once again). The commercial tools couldn't do what I needed done, but GNU/Linux made it happen after all...

I like links so I will put them in later, but not tonight thanks! :-)

Updated: July 21, 2005 10:03pm

(hyperlinks added, which of course will quickly become broken but as no on will ever read this, I doubt it will ever matter. I suppose if anyone were
really interested in a term they did not understand or a a piece of software they had not heard of they could simply Google for it [define:term] or search Wikipedia... I have to laugh, putting in a link for Google. It doesn't get any more silly then that does it?)

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