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reformat HD impossible after uninstall

Posted on 2001-09-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I recently installed GoBack 3 rollback software trial (Roxio-Adaptec). My system had gotten very instable after installing new CD-burn software trying to  stop all those buffer underrun messages. So I thought this might be a sensible thing to do in the trial and error of messing around with this CD.

And in the beginning it did well, but since the memory lasted back only about 3 days it was only practical for immediate crashes.
Anyway, my problem started before installing Goback, so I decided to delete the whole drive with Windows on it and put back a Drive Image imagefile of the whole drive that was on my second hard disk.
(I have a dual-boot system with on the first HD Win98 on partition C: and Win2000 on partition D:.
On the second HD (E:) was the Drive Image imagefile of the whoole system in a good condition)
And that was when trouble started. Booting to DOS the harddisks had disappeared. There was no drive letter C:, D: or E:anymore!!!!
Drive Image saw a small partition (7.8Mb) of an unknown type (type 44) and was unable to deal with it. Since drive D: was unreadable as well, I could not use my imagefile anyway.
With Partition Magic I was able to delete this partition, but it remained there as free space and whatever I tried in Partition Magic and in FDISK, it always came back no matter how often I resized or changed partitions and formatted everything I could format.
And rebooting still displayed this GoBack startup screen, god knows from where. (GoBack had installed a startup screen before windows, so you could do a rollback even if Windows does not boot anymore.)
A clean Windows install stops with a error message. At this time, I got my drive letters back, but I am not capable of getting rid of this small partition and I can't make a fresh install or put my imagefile back.

I have a backup of this imagefile on en external firewire drive. So what needs to be done is first cleaning those two HD's. Then install windows to be able to getv to the firewire drive and copy the image file to drive E:. And then put back the image file from there to C: and D:.
 
So please:
tell me what to do to get my to hard disks clean again from unwanted partitions, Fat's and MBR's.
Since I'm not a partition wizzard, please give exact instructions on deleting, formatting, active partitions, primary or logical drives, extended partitions, free space, FAT's, MBR and the like.
To do the repair I can use FDISK or Partition Magic.
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Question by:diegopos
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by:SysExpert
ID: 6471241
Apparently goback may have created the small partition.

1) Goto www.bootdisk.com and download the delete partition program
delpart.

Use it to delete the small partition and the rest of the drive.
You are probably going to lose al data on C:

You might try doinag an uninstall of GO back.
I would also check the documentation about disaster recovery using goback etc.

I hope this helps !
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by:SysExpert
ID: 6471255
A few other things to remember.

1) Use win98 boot floppy and do

fdisk /mbr

and then

sys  C:

This should be done if you can not remove goback any other way.

Next would be to use partiton magic to delete te small partition, and then expand your C: drive to include the free space.

Make sure you have FULL backups before trying anything !!

I hope this helps !
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by:PeterMac
ID: 6471257
Not nice !

I don't know the "go back" software, but it has obviously installed itself as the Masterboot program, and is protecting itself by recreating its own hidden partition every time the system is rebooted. Trick is to prevent a reboot from the HD until you have eliminated it.

First Use partition magic to remove all partitions from the drive.

Second Boot directly from a dos startup disk, do not go through any Boot menu software to select the floppy, or allow system to try and boot from the HD, you may have to change bios settings to ensure that the floppy drive is tried before HD at boot time.

Third Using DOS fdisk create a new partition on disk as primary DOS and Active. On reboot again make sure that boot is direct from the floppy drive.

Finaly Format drive C using /s flag to force writing of a new Masterboot program. This should finally get rid of your "go back" software.

After this you should be able to manage the disk normally again.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 6472280
diegopos,

GoBack uses a small non-DOS partition at the very front of the drive in order to control how the system boots, and can only be read by GoBack.

1. Boot to a floppy disk that has Fdisk on it. Run Fdisk and remove non-DOS partitions first.

2. Reboot to the floppy.

3. Now remove all other partitions.

4. Now install one large partition to insure that Fdisk can read the entire drive and verify it. Formatting doesn't create the master boot record, Fdisk does!

5. If you're able to see the full capacity of the drive, then remove the partition and reinstall the partitions in the sizes you need and install your operating systems.

If you have a problem after this, let me know.

Dennis
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6480645
Also, the manufacturer of your drive should provide utilities to completely erase your drive.  See www.maxtor.com, www.storage.ibm.com, www.seagate.com, etc., to see if your vendor provides such a tool.  I know the IBM tool (DFT) will definitely remove all traces of *EVERYTHING* from the drive with its Erase Disk function.

-d
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Author Comment

by:diegopos
ID: 6487764
Sorry to have kept you waiting. But first all this reformatting and things took quite a lot of time and then the tragedy in New York and Washington took place and I wasn't very much into computer problems. Like the whole world we were glued to our tv's watching in disbelief and horror. I can assure you that Holland was in shock.

Anyway, work must go on as well. So: after a few trials I managed to get the system clean with your combined tips. I was able to install a clean dual boot win98 and Win 2000 system.
But the I tried to restore my recent Drive Image image file and that didn't work. The system didn't boot anymore. (Dew and Sysedit, you were there last time I had trouble with booting after restoring a Win2000 imagefile). That time I had only made an imagefile of drive D: (Win2000).
This time I thought to be wiser and made an imagefile of the whole disk (C:=Win98; D:=Win2000), including all partitions.
And it didn't work! Very frustrating. In the end I made I clean dual boot and then just copied back all files to it. This trick worked, but why on earth does this Drive Image image file refuse to work? Bringing systems back to life is what they are meant for, isn't it?
Do you have a clue why the restored HD doesn't boot?

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Expert Comment

by:dew_associates
ID: 6489103
Okay, well fist, this question started with a Goback problem. That may have had an affect on how Drive Image sees the drive. That aside, you haven't provided much information other than it wouldn't work. More details will defintely help.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6490492
Yes...if the image was made with GoBack installed (using a hidden partition to boot from) I'd say that Win2K can't find the system files (ntldr, boot.ini, ntdetect.com, etc) to boot the system.  What kind of error do you get specifically ("Can't find NTLDR", "No Operating System", etc)?  Do a reinstall of Win2K, and choose the Repair option.  Hopefully you have your Repair Disk, this will help.

-d
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Author Comment

by:diegopos
ID: 6490557
This Drive Image was made before GoBack came into my life. At an earlier crash I tried to reinstall in vain only an image of partition D: (Win2000). It would not boot. We messed aroun with boot.ini. but to no avail. I reinstalled a clean win2000 on D: and with the same boot.ini it did boot.
But this time I restored my an image of the complete HD, thinking that all the boot information will be put back as well. As far as I understand Drive Image, it overwrites existing partitions to put back an exact copy of the drive you have backupped.
In doing so Drive Image warned: are you sure, the disk might not be bootable. But no explanation and no options were given.
And trying to boot it just stops after the bios checking the systen with a blinking Dos cursor. No messages.

The problem is I don't trust my Drive Image backup's anymore as long as I don't know what goes wrong.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 6490631
It's not drive image though. The problem is that your system creates a small 7.8k partition at the beginning of the drive, and this is used by drive image. Goback modifies this small hidden partition at the beginning of the drive which was used by drive image and the bootldr. Once Goback changes this, you would need to Fdisk that drive first and then restore the image.
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by:PeterMac
ID: 6490811
Just to add a little clarification to the above.

Both Drive Image, and Goback use small hidden partitions at the beginning of the drive to allow them to work. You can only restore your Drive image backup to a system that has Drive Image installed on it. ie including the small reserved partition. You would need to reinstate drive to pretty much the same state as it was in when you made the backup, before restoring. Fdisk to original partition sizes, install bare system on C:, then install Drive Image.

After this it should be possible to restore any partitions you have backed up.

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by:dew_associates
ID: 6490985
PeterMac,

"You can only restore your Drive image backup to a system that has Drive Image installed on it. ie including the small reserved partition."

Not true! You do not need to have Drive Image installed on the machine to either create an image or to restore an image, you only need the 2 imaging disks. Additionally, neither Goback or Drive Image create the small hidden partition, that is a function of Fdisk and the SYS files system.

Goback modifies that small hidden partition which is not modified by a format procedure, therefore Drive Image cannot use it. It, Drive Image, needs either the original 7.8k partition or "no" partition to function correctly.

Dennis
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Author Comment

by:diegopos
ID: 6492935
It is true that you use Drive Image from floppy in DOS. The things you install are just utilities.
But then: looking in old problem reports I saw that this 7.8MB partition was there before I installed GoBack. So I guess it is true that in the end GoBack did not create it, but just used it. But who made it for what purpose?
Anyway, the first time I attempted to put back my imgage file this small partition was still there (being used by GoBack) and Drive Image failed to make the system bootable.
After all this fdisking en reformatting, the small partition is removed and still Drive Image was not capable of restoring a bootable system.
So what should be done to make sure it wiil indeed restore a bootable image in the future?
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Accepted Solution

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dew_associates earned 300 total points
ID: 6493226
The small partition is where the Master Boot Record resides, and it is created during the Fdisk process. It's on every drive on which Fdisk is run. Without the Master Boot Record, the system cannot start.

In order to fix this particular problem, you need to remove all partitions, including any that are non-DOS, using Fdisk, reboot back to the floppy, run Fdisk again and put a new partition in place and make it active.

Reboot again to the floppy and you have a choice, you can format the drive, or boot to the Drive Image disks and the perform the restoration of the image.
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Author Comment

by:diegopos
ID: 6495780
Ok Dew,

I'll keep this in mind next time I have to put back an image file. Since I'm on my way again I will not try it right away, it is time to get back to work.

regards,

Diego
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by:dew_associates
ID: 6495789
Ok Diago. Just bookmark this page and come back to it should you have a problem and I'll be glad to help you with it.
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