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Create multiple partitions from a boot disk

My company purchases small amounts of PCs every few months and that leaves me with two major problems: 1. I have to keep a massive driver library and 2. I can't use imaging software to automate my builds. To automate the process as much as possible I use a boot disk to create the primary partition (Windows 98 boot disk with FDISK with an FDISK answer file), a network boot disk (MODBOOT) to load NDIS drivers for the network card and connect to a network share where winnt.exe is called with an unattended switch and answer file. Once the OS is installed I run a vbs-based application "buildscript".

What I need to do is get two partitions on the disk before the OS is loaded from the network share, I can then specify an alternative path for (amongst others) the Documents and Settings folder. I need to assign 10GB to the first partition and fill the rest of the drive with the second. The format of the drive is unimportant as I can convert at a later stage (although it would be useful if it was NTFS straight off).

Does anyone know of any software package that can do this or failing that does anyone think I can use FDISK to create the second partition (preferably as a primary partition as well) and make sure it fills the remainder of the drive EVEN when the disk size will change depending on the PC?

I'm sorry I can only offer 50 points but I have yet to answer enough questions. I will get more philanthropic when I can afford it!
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medlockz
Asked:
medlockz
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2 Solutions
 
scampgbCommented:
Hi medlockz,
If I understand your question correctly, you want a way of automatically setting up partitions - with one of the partitions taking up the remainder of the disk?

AEFDISK can do this - take a look at http:/www.aefdisk.com
I've used it in the past for exactly the scenario you describe of putting unattended OS installs on machines with different hardware.

You can also find some information about kicking off unattended installs at http://www.aefdisk.com/unioos.html 

Does that help?
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
Let me take a look. Might be Monday now but I will get back to you.
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rindiCommented:
I have a similar setup. I use http://unattended.sourceforge.net for the unattended installation of the OS (Windows XP) and all or most other Software, including office etc. This works pretty well, so I suggest you take a look at that site...

Also I prefer having the "My Documents" Folder as far away from the OS as possible, because in my opinion Data and OS is something to be separated. What I do is before I start the installation procedure, I use the UBCD (http://ultimatebootcd.com) which has some partition programs on it. With that I create a 10GB Primary Partition, active, and the rest is extended. In that extended partition I create a logical disk of, say, 20 GBand format both to fat32.

My unatended file has the following entry (I'm sure yours has the same):

ProfilesDir=D:\UserData\

When the script from unattended.sourceforge.net runs, it asks to format the disk, and here I just answer to leave everything as is. After that everything is automatic.

If after the installation I need other partition sizes, I use acronis Diskdirector suite to change the sizes, Or, if you need something free, I use the knoppix CD, which has QtParted on board, and with this I can do the same as with Acronis Diskdirector Suite or partition magic. You can download knoppix from http://knoppix.net
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
rindi,

How do you get that second partition formatted as NTFS? I now you can use the unattended file to convert the C drive but I don't think that extends to another partition?
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rindiCommented:
That's one thing you have to do by hand after the installation. Just use a command prompt and enter the following command:

convert d: /FS:NTFS

If you are using a script based system like I am you should be able to add that to the script so it would do that during an installation stage.
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
Doesn't that mean some of the profile information created prior to the conversion is set to Everyone Full Control? I know this isn't much to worry about but wondered if you'd noticed what the ACLs end up looking like.
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rindiCommented:
Yes, that is correct.
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
scampgb,

What partition type do you choose when you run aefdisk? Type 6 only handles 2GB (traditional FAT16) and type 7 claims to be NTFS but I'm not certain it is. Is there an equivalent to the type that is created with FDISK in "large disk support" mode?
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
scampgb,

Forget that last question, I used B and C as my two types and that gave me two FAT32 partitions that I can convert to NTFS later.
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
rindi,

The newly created NTFS partition needs locking down as the Documents and Settings folder is inheriting permissions it shouldn't be. Very easy to fix with cacls or xcacls.
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medlockzAuthor Commented:
Thank you to you both for your help. scampgb gets the "Accepted Answer" because AEFDISK is the perfect replacement for FDISK and still keeps everything automated. rindi, thank you for your ongoing help, for that reason I have awarded you half the points.

Like I said before, once I have some points to give away I will get more generous.
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rindiCommented:
Thanx.
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scampgbCommented:
medlockz:
Thanks - glad I could help.  :-)
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