Backing up and restoring Windows partition on a MacIntel.

Started by brams, September 19, 2006, 06:01:23 pm

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I sent this into Accelerate your Mac yesterday, I thought it might prove useful to post it here as well:

I thought I'd share my experiences of backing up and restoring the Windows FAT32 partition of my 15" MacBook Pro 2.0ghz (early 256mb VRAM model), on which I have successfully backed up both Windows XP Pro SP2 & Windows 2000 Pro SP4 and restored them again.

First I should mention that as far as I know, there is a dummy/false MBR created by Bootcamp when it partitions the Mac OS X disc, this as far as I can tell has a few peculiarities about it. The very first time I installed Windows XP SP2 on the machine the day that Bootcamp beta 1.0 was released, I got XP working fine, however later as progress was being made with 2K on Intel Macs and the fact I prefer 2K over XP, I thought I'd give 2K a shot. So I went about making an XPE emergency disc using something called Reatogo XPE which in turn is based on something called a Bart XPE emergency disc, I then backed up the XP FAT 32 partition to a firewire external HD using Ghost 9 of the XPE boot CD. I then installed Windows 2000 on the machine first using the 2K setup to delete the XP FAT 32 partition and then creating it again under 2K, I formatted using FAT32 under 2K and installed (using a hacked 2K CD ROM with an XP SP2 NTDETECT.COM file in the i386 folder of the 2K CD). Everything worked fine except that when I booted under OS X I could see the Windows partition on the OS X desktop but there was nothing in it. Thinking this was odd I restored the XP partition back with the same problem, I could not see anything in the Windows partition from OS X.

I've since learned that, using a Windows CD to alter anything with the MBR partition list does not do anything, in fact apparently it is impossible to delete the Mac OS X partition from Windows (due the that fact I guess that it's a dummy MBR). I have found out a work around though, what needs to be done is the following:

1. If you already have a Windows partition on the machine, you need to use Bootcamp to restore to a Mac OS X single volume (after you've backed up if needed). Reboot OS X and then create another Windows partition. Then go about installing W2K or XP in the normal way. What I'm trying to say is you cannot use Windows to destroy a previous install and create another partition, not if you want to see the Windows files under OS X anyway.

2. If you want to use a Reatogo/Bart XPE emergency disc to restore a partition, you need to adopt the same process as above. Then use the Ghost 9 app on the Reatogo CD ROM to restore from a FW ext harddrive.

3. If you want to backup and already installed Windows partition, you can boot the XPE disc just by holding C at boot time, and back up using Ghost in the normal way.

This process works fine with the exception that due it seems to the fake MBR, if you want to make a bigger partition under Bootcamp than the one backed up (i.e you want to resize the Windows partition to a larger size) you can't, Ghost 9 says that there is a locked cylinder that cannot be moved and aborts. Thus it seems using this method, you can only restore onto a partition that is the same size as the one that was originally backed up. In my case 20gb FAT32. I have not tried NTFS so I have no idea if this works or not

It's also a good idea before you backup using Ghost 9 to run Check disk and do a sector scan & repair as Ghost gives a weird error and quits unexpectedly during the backup. It took me a while to find the solution but do the following: Start - Run - cmd - chkdsk /R C: and then back up using Ghost after check disc finshes the scan/repair (it usually find errors in the Windows VM file).

On a side note, I got 2K working fine except for the Keyboard (right click/keyboard mapping is a problem) still trying to find a fix for this. Also during the install process you cannot use the normal HAL, you have to hit F5 and select "Advanced Configuration and Power Interface(ACPI) PC", which does not seem to be a dual processor HAL. I've not played with this yet, but did verify that only one core did show up in the task manager under 2K. I might give the SGI MP HAL a try, this was meant for Silicon Graphics VW 320/540 workstations which where dual PIII/Xeon's and did not have normal PC BIOS's, they used the SGI ARCS firmware interface (tried this it does not work, now trying to hack the XP MP ACPI HAL).

How to build a 2K disk for an Intel Mac, also use the instructions available on the net on how to make the disc bootable again for this you need a util called ISO buster and read the instructions on how to slipstream an XP SP1 disk into an SP2 disk for which you need to Google:

You'll need a copy of Symantec Ghost 9, afaik Ghost 10 does not work. You'll also need an i386 folder or installed version of Windows XP on the MacBook/Intel Mac to build the XPE disc using the Windows XPE builder app. I built mine from a installed version of XP SP2 with Bootcamp drivers installed.

Obviously you are "playing with the unknown" I am not a Windows or Mac expert and this method may result in data loss under OS X and/or Windows, if it does, don't blame me.
Mick Bramley
NeXTcube Turbo Dimension, NeXTstation Turbo Color, MP2100, Q840av, Q650, WS G4 500, Pismo G4 550, SGI Octane R12K MXE, BeBox 133.