Unable To Find A Free MBR Slot Error Message With Ghost

Posted on 2003-11-08
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I am using Ghost 2003 and have XP Home OS. I am trying to Ghost an image of my C: drive to an IOMEGA USB external drive.

How can I work around the following Ghost error message:

"Unable to find a free MBL slot in the virtual partition DLL"

Thanks in advance:)
Question by:njb
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 9707614
From Symantecs web site

Error: "Unable to find a free MBR slot in virtual partition.dll--usually due to no free slots on disk"

When attempting to run an operation in Ghost that requires a reboot into the virtual partition, you receive the error "Unable to find a free MBR slot in virtual partition.dll--usually due to no free slots on disk."

This problem occurs when the client computer has used up all four primary partitions in the partition table of the boot drive. An Extended partition takes up one Primary Slot, so having three Primary partitions and one Extended partition would also cause this issue.

Computer architecture allows each hard drive to have no more than four primary partitions (the other partitions are extended partitions). Because the Ghost Virtual Partition is implemented as a primary partition, you see this message when the disk is using all four primary partitions and does not have an available slot for the virtual partition.

Use one of the following methods to resolve the problem

Use a Ghost Boot Partition rather than a Ghost Virtual Partition. For information on using a Ghost Boot Partition, see the document How to prepare a workstation for control by the Ghost Console.
Start the computer from a Ghost bootable floppy disk rather than a Ghost Virtual Partition. You can use Ghost Boot Wizard to create a Ghost Standard Book Disk for this purpose.
Repartition the disk. If you repartition the disk, ensure that you create backups of your data before doing so.

Author Comment

ID: 9707855
Sorry, I should have told you that I already went to their website and read the blurb.

I didn't want to repartition because I have never done so and do not know how safe such a procedure is in terms of losing data and my current configurations. Is it as simple as using a defrag utility or is it a reformatting type of function? I have  C:,D:,E: and F: partitions on one physical drive.

I was also looking for another work around, to avoid running Ghost from DOS , if at all possible.


LVL 44

Assisted Solution

CrazyOne earned 150 total points
ID: 9708369
Well you only have 4 partitions so that doesn't look like it is the problem. Just curios have you tried it from the Ghost boot disk to see it does work.

Accepted Solution

philby11 earned 200 total points
ID: 9708415
you should backup all important data ( Mydocs, address book, email etc..)
to repartition there are many utilities available, my fav is Partition Magic 8.
This enables you to resize the partition or delete it fairly safely.
To simply delete a Partition once its backed up you can use disk management in computer management in administartive tools in the control panel.
Once you have freed up a Primary partition you can use ghost to perform the clone.
you set up the clone parameters in windows it then reboots to DOS mode & does it all for you. Just kick back & nervously watch as the ghost does it's thing.
when it's done the PC will reboot automatically & if all went well you will have a clone.
Word of warning  make sure you setup the dos drivers for your USB drive. You will be prompted about this during the setup process.
good luck
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

chicagoan earned 150 total points
ID: 9709284
Note the number of questions in this forum about recovering data from failed on-the-fly repartitioning and take philby's advice... back up first if you're going to attempt this.

You should have no problem writing an image to your USB drive from a boot floppy.
It'll have to be formatted with FAT32.

Author Comment

ID: 9710275
I want to thank everyone for their quick responses. It looks as if there is no way other than taking a chance with repartitioning, which makes me break out in a cold sweat, or using the boot disk from DOS which is awkward at best for me.

I have decided to purchase Acronis Ture Image. I tried it out and it worked on my system, with no error message, and is *****fast********.

I made an image file of my 5.6 gig C: drive in 15 minutes.

Thanks again:)

If you do not get the points split, please email me.

Expert Comment

ID: 9805299
how did this work out NJB...I had the same and Tom kindly made me a bootable ghost cd...See recent fixes on operating systems about bootable cd. I used to like Ghost but have gone off it as the customer support is so bad now....How was Acronis and did you try restotring yet?

Author Comment

ID: 9805881
Acronis Tru Image worked out fine. I have not had to restore yet, however, so I don't know how easy that is yet. It is very user friendly, fast (I use an Iomega HDDF USB2), and the best part is that you can continue working in Windows while it works in the background.

Good luck:)

Expert Comment

ID: 9806266
that does not sound so good.....there are loads of bits of your op system which wil not allow itself to be tampered with while it is running....hence th eneed to run i dos mode to get a proper image...You should try a restore when you dont need it !..Good luck!!!!

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