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"E00040004 Disk is Full"-error for empty USB flash drive

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my system:
+ Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0.2288 (installed)
+ (C:) Windows XP Pro SP3 (32-bit, x86, hidden/unhidden)
+ (C*:) Windows XP Pro x64 Edition SP2 (64-bit, unhidden/hidden)
+ Acronis OS Selector (installed) on hidden primary FAT32-partition between C: and C*:
+ latest hardware (parts were market released in summer 2009 and purchased just now)

my problem:
i CAN create a nice and nicely working full bootCD (CD-R) with Acronis Media Builder (4 components selected = "Space required:34.31 MB"), but i CANNOT create a bootable USB flash drive with it. When I go through the steps and finally click on "Proceed", it takes a few seconds and then it states

"E00040004 Disk is Full"

Although the USB memory stick is empty (4GB, FAT32, freshly formatted). I am stuck here.. since some alternative idea such as the preparation of the USB stick to make it bootable would not solve the issue. I could content myself with the burned CD-R, it boots perfectly without interfering (much) with OS Selector, booting as:

"Acronis Rescue Media www.acronis.com (BOOT MENU): 1. Acronis Disk Director Full version (recommended) 2. Acronis Disk Director Safe version 3. Acronis OS Selector Activator 4. Acronis OS Selector Setup 5. Windows"

I would love to have this same media-booted menu from my booting USB flash drive!

The following links are relevant but didnt work out for me:

http://forum.acronis.com/forum/6766 or

http://kb.acronis.com/sites/default/files/content/2006/3/1526/flash-syslinux.html (my USB stick becomes bootable but the instructions are incomplete, they dont cover Acronis DDS (the 4 checkable components, 34.31MB); i do find two small *.dat files somewhere else, namely in the DDS program folder, but when i place those onto the USB stick, the USB stick boots only and directly into '1. Acronis Disk Director Full version' seems like, and also messes up my OSS boot menu. )

http://www.themudcrab.com/acronis_grub4dos.php (of course i am using the 'copying the *.ISO-file to the root dir of the usb drive'-option. anyway, this didnt work out at all for me. the PC tries (apparently!) to boot from USB stick and tries to handle its few files but finally i end up in my OSS boot menu. maybe it's because grub4dos and OSS collide at some point and OSS is the winner of the fight. i am almost sure that this method would work if i hadnt any OSS installed on my PC.)

http://kb.acronis.com/sites/default/files/content/2006/3/1526/flashVista72008.html (Windows Vista users can use and must use the DISKPART.EXE preparation of the USB stick before they can use the Acronis Bootable Rescue Media Builder with USB flash drives successfully. Good for them! Windows XP users cant use DISKPART.. and using the XP Acronis Bootable Rescue Media Builder results in 'E00040004 Disk is Full' for USB flash drives.)

http://diddy.boot-land.net/grub4dos/Grub4dos.htm (i am supposed to read all that? No, i am not. I have paid expensive money for DDS so that i dont need to use grub4dos and so that i dont need to read pages of detailed grub4dos explanations and instructions. i have paid expensive money for DDS so that DDS does all that job. All that job that it is supposed to do: managing multiboot PC system (grub4dos can do it too!), making a USB stick bootable with rescue boot menu (grub4dos can do it too!), etc. etc. Short, DDS is not giving me the desired result nor does it tell me how to fix the issue. This is unacceptable.

I am sick and tired of reading and testing now.

IN THE FIRST PLACE, the Acronis Media Builder should NOT give me any error. Or, if the user (me!) did forget something (preparation of USB stick or alike) or didnt read necessary pre-info, then the software wizard should POINT ME TO IT AND TELL ME SO and not let me surf for hours the internet and get regged on support forums to wait for some help.

My USB stick is new, can be made bootable (by various methods), is free of errors, and is blank/empty/formatted. Acronis Media Builder tells me that my USB stick is full. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. IN THE FIRST PLACE.

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Peter:

I have a hunch that OS Selector is responsible for the problems that you are experiencing. It has a habit of modifying the MBR of any attached disks in the system including external USB disks. This probably corrupts the installation of Grub4DOS on the MBR of the flash drive. If you want to test this theory then temporarily de-activate OS Selector and then try reinstalling Grub4DOS to the flash drive. Then see if it will boot correctly.

Since I don't use OS Selector (preferring Grub4DOS as a boot manager) I can't be of much help other than to say that the resident OS Selector expert on the forum is forum MVP MudCrab. As soon as he reads this post perhaps he can offer a helpful suggestion or two.

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Dear Mark,

thanks for the comment. Yes, i can do this (deactivate OSS) and other things just to make grub4dos on my usb stick (pen drive) boot and work. There are actually many tutorial video clips on youtube. If it works, it is just a workaround (even if acceptable).
On the other hand, installing and using grub4dos is not the point of this forum (a support forum for Acronis products) ;-)
And.. it does not address the original issue: Why does the bootmediacreationwizard return this unacceptable error message, why doesnt it solve it, why doesnt it give me suggestions to solve it, why doesnt it simply do its job, why does the user has to use other software (grub4dos, ..), why.. etc.. ?

Peter

my new pc allowed me to install Windows Vista (compact install) in 12mins., now i am testing the DISKPART.EXE command. the formatting of the pen drive takes forever... (*right now formatting*) Meanwhile ive installed Disk Director Suite which asked me to (re-)activate OSS, which i did. Let s see what this m*ss is going to end up in.. :P

EDIT: didnt work out!! Again the same error. "Error - E00040004: The disk is full! Select a disk with more free space.". I am going to attach a screenshot so that everybody can see that i did it all correct according to:

http://kb.acronis.com/sites/default/files/content/2006/3/1526/flashVista72008.html

c u l8ter

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Peter:

Of course you are correct that Bootable Media Builder should not error out after the flash drive MBR has been modified by OS Selector. Then again, OS Selector has no business modifying the MBR of attached drives either, so there are two levels of problems with the current implementation of OS Selector in Disk Director.

Acronis is on the verge of releasing Disk Director 11. Hopefully they will address some of these issues in the new version, but from your tests it appears like the fault lies with the current version of OS Selector in Disk Director 10.

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this is what i was talking about. even under windows vista (i burned a disc and installed it just for this purpose, isnt that pathetic?) following those 'Acronis instructions' the mediabuilder returns the error after clicking on 'Proceed':

Then i click on "OK", then instead of "Cancel" (to close the wizard) again on "Proceed". This time some other error message appears: I will stick with Acronis products (and i am going to deinstall Vista now) and there is no need for grub4dos since OSS works just fine and the bootCD (35MB) works perfectly too (without interfering with OSS or any other files/programs on my dual boot system). I should test other sticks now.. as for grub4dos.. i will give it another shot too (with deactivated OSS).

EDIT1: it's getting worse now with my tests. trying to use DISKPART.EXE on a 500MB stick and 2GB stick failed with 'insufficient disk space for creating partition'-error message. then again the 4GB pen.. 'insufficient disk space for creating... ?? this looks like a flaw in diskpart. and maybe even in windows. the "FREE SIZE" is not correctly displayed by diskpart (stating "0 Bytes" for both my hdd and any usb drive.  --- the instructions show at least SOME numbers for free/occupied size.). so after all, it might be a problem of windows (and diskpart) why the mediabuilder comes up with E00040004.

EDIT2: i tried again on the 2GB. diskpart still with error. but the mediabuilder copied "the" files (strange st*ff!) to the ('undiskparted') 2GB pen, hooray! So at least i have the 'usb files', i guess. in any case the 2gb usb stick is NOT bootable (like the grub4dos stick.. i would end up in OSS menu). i formatted the 4gb stick with "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool V2.2.3" just to see.. and it does boot *before* the OSS menu loads. in other words, the 2gb has "the files" but is NOT bootable (maybe because of the missing diskparting). i've rebooted vista, and am diskparting the 4gb again. then i ll copy "the files" from the 2gb to it. if the booting from usb THEN fails, then it time to say game over! (*again, the formatting format fs=fat32 takes forever..*)

EDIT3: didnt work out, argh! it s now definitely about time to call it a day.

EDIT4: i re-tried on the 2gb from scratch (after reboot and would not)  this time neither diskpart nor mediabuilder came up with an error message. i did it all correct. and... rebooting... ta-rah! the 2gb boots (BEFORE the OSS boot menu) with the full screen acronis welcome screen, then loads the isolinux boot strap, and then... the disappointment and end of the story. i HAVE reached it. But what is it exactly? it is NOT the "5 options" menu but only the direct boot into option 1 (seems like). Option 1 ("Acronis Disk Directory Suite Full version") means, in my case, that i CANNOT use the mouse but only the keyboard keys.

in other words, i ve an "official USB-boot stick (34MB)" but it doesnt give me a menu items such as OSS Activator nor OSS Setup, nor is my mouse (PS/2) enabled!

apparently my new 4gb pen drive is not compatible with (windows|mediabuilder) -- so it is a hardware issue, i guess -- but that all doesnt matter because the official usb-boot stick (34MB) ist absolutely worthless on my system.

Finally. After 1 day of testing (was a challenge and some fun. with lots of deceptions and frustrations) i am convinced that I MUST USE CD-R's ONLY FOR RESCUE MEDIA AND SHALL TOTALLY FORGET ABOUT THE PEN DRIVE POSSIBILITY! (why? because usb pen drives as rescue media wont make any DDS user happy.. because of the missing OSS Setup and the missing OSS Activator)

Feel free to comment or to post your experience with USB rescue media (flash drive, memory sticks, pen drive) created with DDS 10.0.2288, welcome! (in any case, i am done with the testing and hoping. actually i am pretty disappointed. not about my pen drive (the 2gb works fine, the 4gb has the E00040004-error), but about the software product. --- So i hope this was interesting reading for everyone in here who is using OSS and rescue media (CD-R, pen drive, etc.)!!)

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Peter,

Mark has repsonded to most of the OSS related problems. OSS will take over flashdrives. Because of this, you may only get one boot off of them before it will revert back to the OSS menu even if you boot the flashdrive. If you can use a flashdrive with a "lock" on it (read-only), that's a good option since OSS won't be able to modify it.

In addition, booting to the flashdrive won't give you the option to boot Windows. The other options will be the same as the CD version. I gave up on using flashdrives to boot a computer with OSS installed. It was just too much hassle to keep resetting them (plus it made me too mad). I even got where I wouldn't set a flashdrive on or near my OSS computer because of this. It seemed to take them over by proximity.

You can avoid the long formats with DISKPART by using the quick option (as shown in my guide).

In my flashdrive tests, DISKPART always did a really good job of "resetting" a messed up drive. Before that, I had to use Linux's "dd" command to wipe it, "fdisk" to create an empty partition table, and then XP to initialize it. This was the only order that would result in a "correct" usable flashdrive for me.

The free space reported by DISKPART is probably correct. Remember, this space is the amount available to use for creating partitions (unallocated space) and not the space that's free on an already created partition.

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2gb pen drive!

diskpart was this time OK. so i can launch mediabuilder:

time to press 'Proceed' and then hope...

yah!! no error message, but "File copying"-message. cool!

all done. so lemme check the new contents of the 2gb pen drive:

in windows explorer the 23 items look like this. i DONT KNOW WHAT THE NUMBER "68.6MB" MEANS. :-??

all hidden or system files are unhidden, etc.:

that's a screenshot from my earlier attempt (copying files from 2gb pen to diskparted 4gb pen. as mentioned earlier, the 4gb did not boot "prepared" this way!)

this screenshot exemplifies how unpredictable the behaviour of diskpart can be! only a reboot should help!!

If an ACRONIS SUPPORT TECHNICIAN can comment upon the E00040004 error behaviour of my new 4gb drive .. i would be interested to know. That is interesting! ;)

I am reading now and understanding your comments and info, MudCrab and Mark. Thanks for the illuminating info. Also for sharing your experience with flash drives in conjunction with OSS. let me try to comment in between.. (*to be continued*)

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That DISKPART error isn't that uncommon (in my experience). Scroll to the bottom of my guide for what solved it for me.

The incorrect "total" value shown in Explorer is just a bug (as far as I know). I've seen it before and just ignore it.

The flashdrive should have the same Acronis menu (minus the Windows option) as the CD. Please note that booting Windows when booted to the flashdrive wouldn't work even if the option was there unless some special tweaking was done. This is because the flashdrive is seen as a hard drive and this changes the drives for booting. A CD doesn't interfere with the hard drive booting order.

What happens if you rerun Media Builder on the flashdrive now? Does it show all the options when booted?

What are the contents of the bootmenu.xml file? It looks like multiple programs are on the drive (going from the directory listing).

When setting up and testing the flashdrive(s), it's very helpful to deactivate OSS first. Just select whichever OS you'll be using as the default.

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Mark, i dont understand (technically) all what you said in your 2nd comment, sorry. I just can reply that i can stop testing (incl. grub4dos) because i was able to create (finally/magically/difficult to reproduce!) a pen (the 2gb one!) which boots and which does the booting BEFORE the OSS menu. And.. OSS does not, this time, write any files (BOOTWIZ, *.oss) on the pen. In short, the pen boots similar to a cd-r. just with less program options, i.e only 1 option!

MudCrab,

> Mark has repsonded to most of the OSS related problems. OSS will take over flashdrives. Because of this, you may only get one boot off of them before it will revert back to the OSS menu even if you boot the flashdrive. If you can use a flashdrive with a "lock" on it (read-only), that's a good option since OSS won't be able to modify it.

here too, i dont understand (technically) everything. in any case, my observation of the system's behaviour is stated as well.

> In addition, booting to the flashdrive won't give you the option to boot Windows. The other options will be the same as the CD version.

as my observations indicate, i cannot confirm yours. With the CD version (35MB) i get a nice menu with 5 program options (or, software components). the 5th is the 'Windows' boot. With the USB version (35MB) i dont get any menu. The system launches the DDS Full version, and my mouse is disabled. That s why i am disappointed with the USB pen version.

> I gave up on using flashdrives to boot a computer with OSS installed. It was just too much hassle to keep resetting them (plus it made me too mad). I even got where I wouldn't set a flashdrive on or near my OSS computer because of this. It seemed to take them over by proximity.

thank you very much for sharing your experience. VERY helpful! :) I am giving up now too. And even with future versions of DDS, i am not going to re-install Vista (for diskpart.exe) again and do all the same disappointing testing (with good or bad pen drive hardware). The CD version does its job just fine. It is read only. And it doesnt mess with OSS's boot menu or settings (i guess).

> You can avoid the long formats with DISKPART by using the quick option (as shown in my guide).  In my flashdrive tests, DISKPART always did a really good job of "resetting" a messed up drive. Before that, I had to use Linux's "dd" command to wipe it, "fdisk" to create an empty partition table, and then XP to initialize it. This was the only order that would result in a "correct" usable flashdrive for me.

Thanks!! Really sounds like a hassle, in any case!

> The free space reported by DISKPART is probably correct. Remember, this space is the amount available to use for creating partitions (unallocated space) and not the space that's free on an already created partition.

*LOL* How should i know?? Thanks for the info. Now i know. And i had thought that.. etc.. (I feel so ignorant, argh.)

Hopefully this was interesting and clarifying info for all DDS users!

Let's summarize (i hope this is correct advice and info ;-)

WHEN OSS IS INSTALLED (ACTIVATED OR NOT), FORGET ABOUT USING PEN DRIVES! THE PEN DRIVES DONT GIVE YOU ALL 5 OPTIONS (like the cd version) ANYWAY!!

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i've deactivated OSS now. [...] aarh.. this time the 2gb doesnt boot at all!! what the h*ck?? this is insane! nobody can rely on the functionality of a usb rescue medium! okok, let's call it day. no further testing. this is getting crazy...

+++++++++++++++++++++snip++++++++++++++++++++++++++

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<resource>
    <group>
        <aml:item help="Start the full version of Acronis Disk Director Suite (recommended)" name="C1" verb="C1">
            <title>
                &lt;font stock='bootmenu_title'>Acronis Disk Director Full version (recommended)&lt;/font>
            </title>
            <icon href="C1.png" type="extra" />
        </aml:item>
        <aml:item help="Start the safe version of Acronis Disk Director Suite" name="C2" verb="C2">
            <title>
                &lt;font stock='bootmenu_title'>Acronis Disk Director Safe version&lt;/font>
            </title>
            <icon href="C2.png" type="extra" />
        </aml:item>
        <aml:item help="Activate Acronis OS Selector on your computer." name="C3" verb="C3">
            <title>
                &lt;font stock='bootmenu_title'>Acronis OS Selector Activator&lt;/font>
            </title>
            <icon href="C3.png" type="extra" />
        </aml:item>
        <aml:item help="Install Acronis OS Selector on your computer." name="C4" verb="C4">
            <title>
                &lt;font stock='bootmenu_title'>Acronis OS Selector Setup&lt;/font>
            </title>
            <icon href="C4.png" type="extra" />
        </aml:item>
        <aml:item help="Continue to boot Windows." name="continue" verb="continue">
            <title>
                &lt;font stock='bootmenu_title'>Windows&lt;/font>
            </title>
            <icon href="icon_continue_48.png" type="extra" />
        </aml:item>
    </group>
    <aml:menu name="menu_default">
        <aml:item flags="default" title="execute" verb="execute" />
    </aml:menu>
</resource>
++++++++++++++++++++++++++snap++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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The menu has the options to boot the other programs. The files are also on the flashdrive. I don't know exactly what's going on there. Please note that I have not tested build 2,288 on a flashdrive. I know build 2,160 worked normally.

The fact that the flashdrive doesn't boot now is expected. If you're lucky enough to get one boot, that's about it. Since OSS was deactivated, the boot process couldn't "jump" to it and show the menu. So... no boot.

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thnx!

ah. i found a way to make my 2gb boot again. i force it to boot via the motherboard boot menu (MSI motherboard). when the PC boots (black window) i need to press F11. then i can force to boot from usb. but, again, the 2gb stick (i've renewed the mediabuilder copying of files) goes directly through to the Full version. No program choice/options/menu given.
(this post will be edited.. )

THIS FREAKS ME OUT NOW! (positively)

i am using now the 4gb stick (which was diskparted correctly but had the E00040004-error so i had to transfer the 23 files from the 2gb pen to the 4gb pen). And.. when i am F11 forcing the motherboard to boot from USB, i do enter the full menu (4 menu options given)!!! i cant believe it that *i* found this workaround myself *LOL*

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If you leave the Full version out and only include the Safe version and the OSS programs, what happens?

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oops, i cannot reproduce the positive result with the 4gb stick!

????

i do a reboot, i press F11, then choose USB, and then.. i get to the (activated) OSS boot menu. argh!

????

(maybe the system changed the files on my 4gb drive? i am going to do a folder comparison now (BeyondCompare).. hold on)

EDIT: yah, as you guys stated earlier. folder comparison: the usb stick has an additional folder containing a file, apart from which all files are the same (CRC32):

\BOOTWIZ\context.oss

oh man. this all s*cks.. :-|

So another step in the work around is, apparently: MAKING SURE THAT THERE IS NO SUCH FOLDER BEFORE USING THE 4GB AS BOOT MEDIUM (WITH F11). woargh!

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You'd probably have to check the MBR code (and possibly Track 0) for changes. I don't think OSS changes the files on the flashdrive.

One of the reasons I like using Grub4DOS is because I can quickly and easily use the installer to reset the MBR/booting code when it gets disabled.

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good idea. maybe i should switch to Grub4DOS too then. on the other hand, if i forget about the USB st*ff, i can continue to be happy with a CD-R and OSS.

EDIT:
nope. i deleted the BOOTWIZ folder. and...F11.. etc.... the 4gb is still (or "again") dead! i end up in the OSS boot menu.

ARGHH!!!!

Editing/viewing Track0 of the 4gb usb stick? i could probably do that with winhex.. but .. no way. this is going too far. I just believe you guys that OSS messes up my stick(s) and i would have to reset them with diskpart (or whatsoever other tools). Sure, the best would be to protect them with WRITE-PROTECTED. hmm.. any tool out there for this? (*lol*)

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The only work around I found that actually works is to deactivate OSS before connecting any bootable flashdrive to the computer. In addition, don't boot into any Windows OS that has OSS installed and connect any bootable flashdrive.

Repairing the flashdrive after every boot (if you even get one) will eventually drive you nuts.

I don't think the BOOTWIZ folder is the problem. That folder just holds an ID for the drive.

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i did much testing of OSS (and usb/cd media) today. but you seem to have done MUCH MORE. ("driving nuts")

i begin to understand.. it would drive me nuts too.

btw, deactivating OSS before using the USB as rescue medium (also proposed by Mark) does nt make too much sense. If in future i have a messed up system (partition table, MBR, etc.) and all i have is the usb drive, then.. i wont have any (good) chance to deactivate the OSS prior to using my 1-shot USB pen because neither of my Win systems (dualboot) would boot :D

and after the 1 shot, the USB is dead again.

How do we deactivate OSS? Of course with Acronis DDS software (either by rescue bootcd or by win-gui based installation). But then again, why would i want to use DDS to deactivate OSS, and then reboot with usb flash which.. loads the same software (DDS + OSS)!!?!

LOL

i am beginning to find this all funny and absurd!! :P

it is becoming clear now for ALL readers that a USB pen drive wont be helpful at all in case it is needed (emergency). It can be used 1x (once!) at maximum, then it is dead (on an arbitrary system where OSS installed and nobody knows if it is activated or not). So in the worst case, you can use your USB pen just 1x (once!) to load the set of programs (4 program options).

That is ridiculous.

This kind of information or warning should be stated somewhere during the mediabuilder wizard procedure! This is actually important information.. that OSS alters the (track0, mbr) of your boot medium (here: flash drive), and not only creates a BOOTWIZ folder. The safest way is the use of CDs. On CDs the software cannot change the track0 nor create any BOOTWIZ folder!

(sorry, now i am taking the words out of your mouths making me sound like a smart aleck ;D )

Having stated the above, it should be logical that

http://www.themudcrab.com/acronis_grub4dos.php

should not work well for my system with OSS installed. OSS would change track0 too, etc. For the sake of testing, i should test it now (with my F11 key) too.. *lol*

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You can use the Disk Editor in DD to view the MBR and Track 0 code (just view the sectors). However, it's not really worth the trouble.

Acronis tried to make OSS too smart. I think the goal was to be able to connect other drives and OSS would detect the OS on them and add them to the menu. When that drive was later booted, the standard OSS menu would show up instead to allow the user to select from all installed operating systems. The problem is that OSS (in many cases) ends up disabling the independent booting of the drives. I sincerely hope Acronis removes this "feature" from OSS 11 or gives an option to disable it.

In more rare cases, the disabled drive would still boot, though with an error message. This problem also seems to be worse on some computers/drives than others.

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There's tons of information regarding OSS problems on the old (Wilders) forum. Over here, most of the OSS problems relate to Windows 7. As a result, searching for OSS problems here is kind of a waste of time.

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i would assume that all problems generated by the installation of parallel operating systems (or the installation of OSS on a "multi-bootable" PC) can be fixed simply by using the rescue CD-R medium and re-installing OSS through the OSS Setup (from CD). The OSS Setup gives us the option to repairnupdate the OSS installation, and OSS is so smart to analyze and detect the new boot configuration.

I find tools like Smart Boot Manager and Grub4Dos, flexible and robust as they are, rather complicated.
And they dont look as nice and blue as the Acronis GUI.

(well, in the past i was a long-term advocat of Powerquest Bootmagic, partitionmagic, etc. -- but they have become obsolete and are not made for modern systems)

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let me ask:

Which is the best way to reset a USB pen drive?
(Does it suffice to do a quick format under WindowsXP GUI?)

i am asking because of the diskparted 4gb pen.

if i quick format it (under winXP), is all info (mbr, diskpart info) gone.. so that i am ready for

http://www.themudcrab.com/acronis_grub4dos.php ?

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I've found that not all USB flashdrives are equal - I just find ones that works with Grub4DOS and forget about ones that don't. Otherwise you will go nuts trying to force a USB flashdrive to work. I don't use OSS, which is well known to conflict with bootable flash drives.

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hello, thx for sharing !

[...]

i am happy finally. the grub4dos solution ("Section 3 - Setup Booting of an Acronis ISO File") WORKS FOR ME, FINALLY,.. BUT ONLY IF I FORCE the motherboard with F11. (i had forgotten about that method earlier today. in fact, the configuration of the BIOS boot sequence on my motherboard is really strange!)

the good news is that OSS does NOT corrupt my 4gb stick.

i leave the stick in the usb port all the time. When i reboot, the standard OSS boot menu shows up. This means that the system didnot boot from USB, *although* it should have. (and it *does*, if the USB stick is formatted with MS-DOS boot files (COMMAND.COM, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS)). so i reboot again. when i now hit the F11 key and directly boot from USB, i enter the 5-options menu of ADD.

Funny is, when i hit on "5 Windows" i am redirected to the grub4dos "menu" (black background), and i am never directed to the OSS boot menu! :P

@MudCrab,
maybe you can integrate my experience in your tutorial... that some users have "strange" motherboards with "strange boot sequences" and that those users sometimes need to force the USB boot with F11 (or other keys). in other words, those users should NOT RELY on the BIOS-set boot sequence.. especially not if a boot loader (OSS, Smart Boot Manager, grub4dos, etc.) is installed somewhere.

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AAAAAHHHHHHHH!

i am revoking again!
i 've played more with my system (2gb stick, 4gb stick, F11, BIOS boot sequence, etc.).. and finally.. the 4gb is dead again (the one with the *.ISO and the grub4dos), even if i hit F11!!!

NOOOO!

(so again, OSS must have altered the mbr of the usb memory. no wonder!)

[...] now it's maybe worth the trouble to use Disk Editor to compare...

[...]

i have also learned (just!) that the boot sequence on my motherboard is dynamic! if i reboot and there s no usb pen plugged, then DEL-key results in a BIOS with only 3 possible items for the boot sequence (and no possibility to set it to/say "boot from USB!").

if i reboot and there s a usb pen drive plugged, magic!, then DEL-key results in a BIOS setup with 4 possible items. And each item can now be set to USB. So here i set the sequence to #1 OPTICAL, #2 USB, #3 HDD, #4 YES (=others ENABLED).

Set this way, the system will directly boot to USB (without hitting F11. i need to confirm this..), and giving OSS no chance to alter the pen's mbr (track0).

let 's see...

EDIT:

ive reinstalled the bootability of the 4gb stick with "grubinst_gui.exe", and the stick works again and would boot without hitting F11 (because i optimized the BIOS boot seq setting). now, this must be the final observation:

i am in the grub4dos menu, and start ADD, and i get a 5 options menu. i start, e.g. ADD Safe version, exit the ADD Safe version. Then hit on "5 Windows". And, this time, i go get to .. the OSS boot menu. Test end. i reboot. And.. usb stick is dead again. i end up in the OSS boot menu. i take out the stick, and see the BOOTWIZ-stuff (i m using another PC for this viewing) and obviously, the mbr (track0) is altered. Thanks to OSS.

Thanks, OSS!!! :P

this time OSS cant change

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In my tests, a quick format does not reset a messed up flashdrive. Neither does wiping (do a zero-out) with DD. For me, I have to use DISKPART or Linux (dd, fdisk, XP initialize) to reset back to full use. When my flashdrives were messed up, even the HP utility wouldn't fix them. Note that some of my flashdrives were really messed up in testing, probably more so than in normal use.

When just the MBR/Track 0 is messed up, you should be able to repair just that part and get it working again. However, it doesn't always work. Grub4DOS is usually pretty good about this. Acronis Media Builder usually isn't (it often doesn't update the MBR if one exists or doesn't write one if one doesn't).

Most modern BIOS's remember the connected devices and have separate boot menus for when they are connected. Most also have separate drive menus with the flashdrives not always being in the same menu and the hard drives.

Using the BIOS boot menu (F11 for MSI, F8 for ASUS, for example), is usually an easier way to select the drive to boot than editing the BIOS. I use this method to select my Grub4DOS drive.

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MudCrab, where exactly do i have to look with DiskEdit?
diskedit has sooo many different views (windows)!

EDIT:
i did a comparison using "View -> As Hex F2" (hehe.. visual comparison of screen snapshots BeyondCompare), there are NO differences. So.. maybe DiskEdit is not able to display the Bytes on the MBR (track0)?

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When you select to boot "Windows" from the Acronis menu, it's booting the first drive (or trying to). When you boot a flashdrive, "Windows" will boot the flashdrive (if it's seen as the booting hard drive). If you boot the flashdrive and get the OSS menu, OSS has taken over the flashdrive.

Even if you figure out a way to get it to work, it's not worth it. Believe me, I've tried. You'll forget and leave it plugged it or you'll miss the boot key and Windows will boot or something... and it's screwed up again.

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MudCrab, where exactly do i have to look with DiskEdit?
  1. Right-click on the drive (not a partition).
  2. Select Advanced >> Edit.
  3. Select View >> As Hex.
  4. Scroll through the sectors. Sector 0 is the MBR sector (MBR and Partition Table). The following few sectors are part of Track 0.
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i did a comparison using "View -> As Hex F2" (hehe.. visual comparison of screen snapshots BeyondCompare), there are NO differences. So.. maybe DiskEdit is not able to display the Bytes on the MBR (track0)?

Then check the boot sector code (first sector in the Active partition) on the flashdrive.

I wonder if you created a Logical partition on the flashdrive and used Grub4DOS if OSS would leave it alone. I never tested that scenario.

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the Disk Editor begins with the display of sector 128.
i dont see any way to get sector 1 or 0 displayed.
Sectors 0-127 are *not* displayed by disk Editor, seem like. sorry for my ignorance :)

it says "Absolute sector 128 (cylinder 0, head 2, sector 3)"
0000: ..etc etc. (hex display, similar to Winhex.com)

nono, no logical partition. lol.
DDS shows the 4GB as "primary, active"
ill try winhex.com instead.

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You're not selecting the drive. You need to right-click on Disk # or on the drive graphic to the left of the partition graphics and select Advanced >> Edit.

Here is an example.

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thanks, i already did the comparison with winhex :)

this is now VERY visual and explicit and clear. OSS takes over!!!
(the left pic is the good USB, the right one the dead USB)

ok, i am convinced by your expertise and experience. i cant use usb flash drives as long as OSS is installed. it would just corrupt either my grub4dos USB stick or my Acronis USB stick.

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thanks for the link and more detailed instructions!!

OK, let's get back to the essential user's question or philosophy (this thread ends with philosophy *LOL*):

1) Shall i use beautiful (and intelligent and automatic working) OSS, but then never again use USB boot media (in case of work with Acronis products)?

OR:

2) Shall i use some "intense" boot loader (grub4dos, Smart Boot Manager, etc.) but then be able to use grub4dos cool *.ISO-file booting capability? (does this also work for installing *.ISO-original windows cd images?)

[ i will think of this philosophical question while signing off for today. time to brush teeth and ready for bed *ggg* ]

THANKS SO FAR!!

Maybe you could detail just a little how you handle your system regarding booting usb-sticks and bootmanager...

if it sounds convincing then i will deinstall OSS forever. hehe. bye bye Acronis!! :P

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While I haven't personally tested it (since I don't have one), you should be able to use a read-only flashdrive (like this one, for example). Since OSS can't write to it, it can't change it. You'll only unlock it to upate it or when being used on another (non-OSS) computer. I think most SD cards also have a switch on them, but your computer needs to be able to boot from SD.

I generally boot to a secondary internal drive (usually with Grub4DOS) via the BIOS boot menu. On another computer, I multi-boot and have an OS dedicated to imaging. Because of this, I rarely need to boot either of my main computers from a CD or flashdrive.

Regarding installing an OS from an ISO booted via Grub4DOS, personally, I wouldn't recommend it. It may not even work properly due to the emulation used and the reboots needed. I'd rather do a normal install and know it's right.

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Thanks again MudCrab for all the info (personal booting situation, experience) and advice. I will consider imitating the setup of your system :)=) (oops, what a copy-cat i am ;)
[...]
It's another day.. and i have thought a little about the philosophy.
As everybody can read, i spent a whole day on hard-core testing Acronis DDS's mediabuilder for bootable USB pen drives.
While the original problem ("Why E00040004 error on 4gb pen?") remained/remains unsolved, i ran into new questions ("Why doesnt the 2gb boot properly with a 4 or 5 options menu although i created it 100% according to the Acronis instructions?"). The original problem became less important when it became apparent that OSS interfered with *any* connected writeable drive (i.e. internal HDD's, flash drives, external HDD's, solid state drives,..), sooner or later. OSS renders *any* bootable USB flash drive imbootable by altering the MBR (track0), which can well be called manipulation or manipulative interaction.

OSS is intelligent, mature and a solid, robust application (with automatic detection and repair functionality). But is it necessary to write an ugly BOOTWIZ folder with some files on each and every connected drive (logical partitions, my USB pen)? Is it acceptable that i cannot use the USB boot functionality of my new PC anymore only because i want to leave OSS activated? -- Maybe it is, for most users it isnt, in any case i dont feel content with this situation.

PowerQuest Symantec PartitionMagic was the market leader for commercial partitioning software for years.
Then the market leadership was taken over by Acronis (is this correct?) who is the strongest and most popular for several years, as can be seen e.g. from the numbers of amazon reviews, and with a large user community (plus this impressive support forum). And while i'm still thinking that Acronis products deserve to be reviewed as the #1 top quality imaging and partitioning software, after my 18 hours of yesterday it is fair to consider trialling some of its commercial rivals and competitors (re: their boot managers, their mediabuilder, booting from USB pens), before coming back to this forum.

On this Acronis forum it is not allowed to discuss or advertise competitor's products. So I wont because i cant.
I am just saying that i will test 1(one) other competitive product (not 2, 3, or more!), namely Paragon. Let's see when I'll be back.. ;)

;-)

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[...]

i am back :D *lol*

[...]

Please could someone direct me to the BEST webpage (1 page) with a tutorial to install grub4dos as boot manager?
BEST = the simplest and clearest (and shortest), with easy steps (similar to the quality of tut's on mudcrab's website)

Paragon let me down. I had to low-level format :))

EDIT: i am reading this here now: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub.html ,  but i am wondering why isnt there any win32 application (wizard style) which prompts me to enter the required data (click Next, Next, Next, etc.) and then at the end spits out the "menu.lst"-file? That would be much faster and fool-proof then myself reading the tut and writing code with notepad.exe ;P

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Peter:

The tutorial that you linked to is for GRUB, the Linux boot manager. Grub4DOS is newer, and although it recognizes and uses GRUB syntax, it has added a number of new commands that make writing a menu.lst file simpler. Once you have "caught on" it is rather simple to copy an example and modify it to suit your personal tastes.

As an example, the following is the menu.lst file from my laptop which contains an installation of Windows 7, Kubuntu, and bootable ISO image files for VistaPE, Acronis True Image, Acronis Disk Director, and PartedMagic. The boot files for Windows 7 and all of the bootable ISO image files are located on the first primary partition on the disk (hd0,0); Linux is located on the first logical partition (hd0,4); and the other partitions contain data. The Grub4DOS menu.lst file and the Grub4DOS loader file, grldr, are located on the first primary partition along with the Windows 7 boot files. Each of the groups of lines that start with title make up a GRUB stanza and result in a menu item that boots the PC into an operating system. You could start with my menu.lst file or one you find in any article and modify it to suit:

# Lenovo X61 Tablet PC
# November 29, 2009  MJW

splashimage /grub/gentleblue.gz
timeout 5
default 0

title Windows 7
root (hd0,0)
chainloader /bootmgr

title VistaPE
map (hd0,0)/images/VistaPE.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title Linux
root (hd0,4)
configfile /boot/grub/menu.lst

title Acronis
map (hd0,0)/images/ati.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title PartedMagic
map --mem (hd0,0)/images/pmagic-4.3.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title MemTest86+
root (hd0,0)
kernel /grub/mt86plus.bin

title CommandLine
commandline

title Reboot
reboot

title Shut Down
halt

The Grub4DOS low-level boot code is written to the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the disk. Personally, I think MudCrab's tutorial for installing Grub4DOS is the best I've seen, making use of the Windows graphical installer program grubinst_gui to write the low-level boot code to the MBR via a "point and click" interface. You do need to write your own menu.lst file, but a few minutes of study will show you that it isn't that difficult to do, and there is lots of help available here and on the Boot Land Grub4DOS forum.

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hello Mark!!
i am reading your post right now.
And also, right now my samsung hdd has been fully wiped to 00(hex) from the very first sector and track to the very last, as has been verified with Acronis DDS and also Paragon. (strangely, the Samsung HDD low level formatter ESTOOL 3.00g left some residues 14,14,14,14,14,etc. on the last mega/gigabytes of my 1TB hdd.

now i am ready to proceed with acronis true image (backup images of winxp and winxp64)..
hopefully i manage the grub4dos thing. it is scary!! :D
Thanks!

EDIT: oh this is great, maybe you could help just a little?

My partitions will be all Windows, triple boot, in physical order (all adjacent):

primary1: (C:) NTFS WindowsXPPro, 20GB (hd 0,0) (HIDDEN if another "C" is booted)

primary2: (C*:) NTFS WindowsXPPro x64, 25GB (hd 0,1) (HIDDEN if another "C" is booted)

primary3: (C**:) NTFS Windows7 (32bit or 64bit, to be installed in far future ;), 30GB (hd 0,2) (HIDDEN if another "C" is booted)

primary4=extended partition, to be accessed by all systems

logical partition1 (D:) NTFS Programs, 100GB (hd0,4)   (*is this correct?*) NEVER HIDDEN

logical partition2 (E:) NTFS Archive, 750GB (hd0,5) NEVER HIDDEN

logical partition3 (F:, ALWAYS HIDDEN) FAT32 System, 6GB (containing HDD-images, or eventual space for commercial boot managers if grub4dos fails ;) (hd0,6)

Those GB numbers should add up to 1TB (931GB).

Mark, i am not sure about the numbering of the logical partitions. Moreover, does this partioning layout make sense (reasonable)? i am not going to install Linux ever :) And what would the menu.lst look like? THANK YOU.

MudCrab's tutorial is for USB flash drives - making them bootable with a menu for *.ISO-files which are place in the root dir of the USB flash drive. I successfully did that. I am not sure though how that tutorial applies to a boot manager boot menu for my hdd..  :-? (yeah i guess i have to do some more reading..)

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Peter:

Primary partitions are numbered starting at 0, as you have noted. Logical partitions are numbered starting at 4, so your first logical partition will be (hd0,4), the second will be (hd0,5), etc. But since you aren't booting from any of the logical partitions you don't need to know their numbers to write a menu.lst file.

I presume that you want independent Windows installations where each is hidden from the others; correct? This is the preferred way to set up a multiboot system. If you don't hide them from each other then Windows XP will destroy the system restore points on your (future) Windows 7 installation. Also, it makes life much simpler if the system partition on each Windows installation is the C: drive, which will happen with independent installations.

Since you have your disk partitioned already, hide the primary 2 and primary 3 partitions using Acronis Disk Director (DD) before proceeding with the first restore. Then restore primary 1 using Acronis True Image (TI). Restore as an active partition and then test to verify that the system boots into Windows XP on the first partition. If TI does not write the MBR boot code then go back and also restore MBR and Track 0 from your image file and then boot the PC. Let me know when you get this working and we'll then start installing Grub4DOS and writing your menu file.

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Mark, my 2 true images are all restored (with Acronis True Image) and partitions properly flagged (with Acronis DDS) to go on with the grub4dos installation.
(hd0,0) = winxp (primary,bootable,active, unhidden)
(hd0,1) = winxpx64 (primay,bootable,hidden)
(hd0,2) = empty (a serve for win7 or winvista)

status: When i reboot the PC, the system boots into the first primary partition. i can see D:\PROGRAMS, E:\ARCHIVE, but not the other OS-partitions. All fine!

I dont really care about Windows automatic system restore points, i usually leave it deactivated.
Let's get started, here, on the Acronis forum :D
THANKS!

(i am writing here on this forum from my old PC with DSL-connection, btw :-)

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Peter:

Follow MudCrab's tutorial to install Grub4DOS to your disk. Installing to a hard disk is the same as installing to a flash drive; just be careful to select the right disk in the drop-down menu. You can do this while booted to WinXP. Copy the grldr file and the file gentleblue.gz to the root of the first primary partition. Use this as your first menu.lst file and put a copy in the root of the first primary partition:

#Peter Kreisler's menu file
#15 May 2010

splashimage /gentleblue.gz
timeout 5
default 0

title Windows XP Pro (32-bit)
root (hd0,0)
chainloader /ntldr

title CommandLine
commandline

title Reboot
reboot

title Shut Down
halt

We can add the other operating systems later (I'm mostly working outside today while it's sunny). Test each menu entry to see if they work. Later we'll get into hiding and unhiding Windows partitions and adding the WinXP x64 menu entry. The above file is just a starting point and will only boot WinXP on the first partition. I'll check back in a few hours.

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hello thanks!
~~~ THIS POST HERE WILL BE EDITED (until you post again ;) ~~~
EDIT1: yeeha, i am looking for the gentleblue file, hehe..
WOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHH i m laughing my b*tt o**!! :D
It works!! (black background, menu as known from the USB stick method, all options work, of course nothing gentleblue)

Let s continue. i am speechless. i was about to install/try osl2000 but ... no way. grub4dos installer gui works fantastic!
(i am just wondering that we didnt do any backup of the full first hard drive track! - we dont need?; the Acronis images i took (*.tib) were from the respective installed C-partitions, and not from the entire harddisk, so the *.tib dont contain the HDD's very first track incl. MBR, i guess)

by the way, it's now clear: byebye Acronis OSS! :) [..and for people who still want to revise OSS and other commercial boot managers a fine page to revise the most common commercial ones is:

http://www.multibooters.co.uk/managers.html

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Peter:

Sounds great so far!

I've attached a zip file containing several GRUB splash images; you can try them all out and choose your favorite (just change the filename of the splash image in the menu.lst file). In order to keep the root of your C: drive clean, create a folder called grub and one called images; both at the root of your C: drive. Unzip the splash images and copy them into the /grub folder and copy any of your bootable ISO image files into the /images folder.

The following is an edited version of the menu.lst file that hides and unhides the different Windows installations from each other. It also contains a line for booting the Acronis ISO (change the file name to match).

#Peter Kreisler's menu file
#15 May 2010

splashimage /grub/gentleblue.gz
timeout 5
default 0

title Windows XP Pro (32-bit)
root (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,1)
hide (hd0,2)
unhide (hd0,0)
chainloader /ntldr

title Windows XP Pro (64-bit)
root (hd0,1)
hide (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,2)
unhide (hd0,1)
chainloader /ntldr

title Windows 7
root (hd0,2)
hide (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,1)
unhide (hd0,2)
chainloader /bootmgr

title Acronis Disk Director 10
map (hd0,0)/images/dd10.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title CommandLine
commandline

title Reboot
reboot

title Shut Down
halt

Your image file contains a backup of track 0 in case you ever want to restore it. Additionally, one of the features of Grub4DOS is that it while it is installing to the MBR it copies sector 0 into sector 1 as a backup. So if/when you uninstall Grub4DOS it will ask if you want to restore the prior boot manager from the backup. So you have two redundant methods of restoring the XP boot manager (three if you use fixmbr from a Windows XP install disk).

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i've added the hiding of the FAT32 partition with

hide hd(0,6)

so everything works perfectly now incl the booting of my USB stick (also based on grub4dos). Track0 and/or MBR (this includes the important partition table, doesnt it?) should be backed up in any case (How do *you* manually back it up onto usb/floppy? I know that Paragon has ways to backup the 'First Hard Disk Track' and the 'Master Boot Record' and to 'Update the MBR', what about Acronis?). Also the menu.lst config file.

Let's assume that the MBR is overwritten and the partition table is completely corrupted, then i should be able to recover both by using my backupped files -- i should try this by manually zeroing track0 with DiskEdit ;)

How does grub4dos come into play for desaster recovery (e.g. when i lost my backupped files) -- is it able to reconstruct the partition table and get everything back to work perfectly: If the system doesnt boot at all, how's the general recovery procedure (no step by steps) for our grub4dos system? (i guess that i boot to USB pen drive which has a "copy" of the HDD boot menu. How do i make the USB's menu.lst point to my HDD boot partitions? .. if there is a relevant webpage link, cool.)

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Peter:

1. Since you're not continually hiding and unhiding the FAT32 partition you can just use Disk Director to hide it once. It will stay hidden. You can then remove the hide (hd0,6) statements from your menu.lst file.

2. As far as I know, sector 1 is a direct copy of sector 0 at the time that Grub4DOS was installed. Therefore you will have to be careful of how you use it for recovery. For example, if you do any partitioning (adding, deleting, or resizing partitions), the partition table in sector 0 is modified and the backup in sector 1 will not change, so it would then be unwise to restore it. It would be safer to restore Track 0 from a True Image backup because that operation will restore everything BUT the partition table.

3. Grub4DOS will automatically search for its files grldr and menu.lst, starting with the first partition on the booting disk. It continues with each additional partition on the booting disk and then starts looking on any other attached disks. It will use the first one that it finds (this is why I recommended that you put the files on the first partition; it will find them faster). There should not be any issue with having Grub4DOS on your hard disk and also on a flash drive; it will use the menu file from the disk that the PC booted from.

It sounds like you're now multibooting correctly; congratulations! There is one final bit of advice for when you get around to installing Windows 7. You will need to proceed as follows:

a) Boot from Disk Director, hide the two XP partitions, unhide the Windows 7 partition, set the Windows 7 partition as Active.
b) Install Windows 7. It is important to realize that the installer will put the Windows 7 boot files on the Active partition, so that's the reason for making the Windows 7 partition active in step a). Otherwise, the installer would put the Windows 7 boot files on the XP (first) partition, assuming that it is still the active partition.
c) The installer will write its own boot code to sector 0, overwriting Grub4DOS. When the installer has finished you will be booting directly into Windows 7.
d) To return control to Grub4DOS, boot your PC from the Disk Director CD and hide the Windows 7 partition, unhide the first XP partition, and make the first XP partition active. Reboot the PC; it should start up directly into Windows XP 32-bit.
e) Run grubinst_gui again to reinstall the Grub4DOS boot code to sector 0.
f) Test boot Windows 7 from the Grub4DOS menu.

You can put a copy of grubinst_gui on the XP64 and on the Windows 7 partitions - it can be run from any of these operating systems. Eventually you will probably discover that you really like Windows 7 and may want to make it your main OS.

Good luck! It's been fun...

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Peter Kreisler wrote:
...Track0 and/or MBR (this includes the important partition table, doesnt it?) should be backed up in any case (How do *you* manually back it up onto usb/floppy? I know that Paragon has ways to backup the 'First Hard Disk Track' and the 'Master Boot Record' and to 'Update the MBR', what about Acronis?)...

...Let's assume that the MBR is overwritten and the partition table is completely corrupted, then i should be able to recover both by using my backupped files -- i should try this by manually zeroing track0 with DiskEdit ;) ...

Just saw that you had edited your original post. If you back up with Acronis True Image (TI) then you can restore your disk completely; either a single partition or the whole disk. TI creates a new partition table entry for each partition that is restored, so even if your partition table is completely blank, TI can recover it. Restoring "Track 0 and MBR" will restore everything in the first 63 sectors on the disk except for the partition table. You can use that function if Grub4DOS is written over and you want a quick way to replace it. The partition table itself is rebuilt by TI, one partition at a time, as you restore each partition.

If you have not modified the original partition table then you can use a couple of other disaster recovery methods. First, you can copy/paste the partition table backup copy in sector 1 back into sector 0 using the disk editor in DD10. Second, you could use the disk editor in DD10 now to copy sector 0 to a file that you store elsewhere. To do this just select all 512 bytes in sector 0 and choose "Write to file" from the Edit menu as shown in the example below:

Peter Kreisler wrote:
...How does grub4dos come into play for desaster recovery (e.g. when i lost my backupped files) -- is it able to reconstruct the partition table and get everything back to work perfectly: If the system doesnt boot at all, how's the general recovery procedure (no step by steps) for our grub4dos system? (i guess that i boot to USB pen drive which has a "copy" of the HDD boot menu. How do i make the USB's menu.lst point to my HDD boot partitions? .. if there is a relevant webpage link, cool.)

If one of your Windows installations is working you can run grubinst_gui and restore the previous MBR as shown below:

I had forgotten that the installer also has a provision for saving to a file, but I must confess not knowing exactly how that works. But if you have a disaster situation then the chances of having a working Windows installation is slim, so instead I would rather rely on restoring from a TI backup or restoring sector 0 from a saved copy as discussed above.

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Thanks a lot! I would have done (i would do) the installation of Win7 exactly this way anyway, naturally - it makes sense this way and is logical -- but good to have that confirmation from you beforehand, thanks so much!! :)) [this is the way i had installed my winxp64!] oh yah, good idea, i'll keep the grubinst_gui on partition D:\PROGRAMS, because that one will be accessible any time. oh,i've had to resize partitions (D, E, F, and also C*, C**) meanwhile, because Acronis DDS did not create the exact GB-number i wanted to see in Windows Explorer. They were all(!) a few MB's too small so that Windows Explorer would list them as 24.99GB or 24.9GB instead of 25.00GB. That means, that partition table is changed. No problem, i've backed it up.

i am a little confused when you say "track 0" and "sector 0" and other resources use terms such as "first hard disk track" (Paragon) or "first sector". and then there is the convention of numbering/counting. tracks (cylinders) are counted from 0 on, sides (heads) from 0 on, BUT sectors from 1 on. So, CHS001 is altogether (512Bytes) the MBR (containing exec. code and partition table). "First track" = "track zero". "First sector of HDD" = "MBR". Track0 consists of several sectors then (i dont know how many). Yes, you have helped me a great deal to setup this FREE (and easy to install!) boot manager. It replaces OSS perfectly (sorry Acronis!! ;), and.. i can make use of my USB sticks (with several bootable*.iso-files saved on it to be booted by USB's grub4dos). ((This thread has clarified that OSS users CANNOT use pen drives as boot media in a flexible or reasonable way. OSS kills the bootability of USB flash drives!))

I've learned quite a lot, and it was fun too! Now i feel set to do reading and learning on my own. Grub4dos is really intriguing. My PC is setup, i am not going to play more with partitions or OS installations -- i am ready to start working with the pc!! When DDS 11 with a new version of OSS is released, i will check back on this forum to see if OSS *still* kills the bootability of USB memory sticks and writes nice "BOOTWIZ"-folders on every connected drive/partition. That will make me smile :)=) and remind me of the odyssey of the past few days (which included a low-level format of the whole disc after Paragon corrupted the MBR with its nice function "Update MBR" :-). you guys have been very friendly and helpful, thank you so much for it! God bless you. CU guys soon! Acronis products rock too!! [...]

i came to this forum in order to get a bootable acronis usb pen drive (rescue media). then i learned that my beloved installed beautiful OSS kills (the bootability of) usb pen drives. finally, i am leaving this forum with a deinstalled OSS, with a FREE cool, flexible, robust boot manager (which can even boot bootable ISO-images) instead, with new related knowledge and testing experience (i've also tested BootIT Next Generation, and OSL2000 (nice one!)), and with a single USB stick which can boot several *.ISO-images (i.e. incl. the acronis rescue media, paragon rescue media, etc.) and also boot the OS's which are installed on HDD (in case the HDD's MBR and partition table is corrupt). (ok, i've invented the last one. i dont know if that is feasible lol ;)

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Thanks for a fascinating forum thread - all of you! This is very educational. Mark, you have really piqued my curiosity about Grub4Dos as a boot manager. I've already configured a USB drive to boot various ISOs with it (from the BIOS menu, with Paul's help), and I am planning on transforming this approach to an internal drive to do the same, as soon as I get a few spare drives from the IT person at work, who still needs to wipe them before he gives them to me.

One question though - is it possible to use Grub4Dos to boot from ISOs or a bootable partition on the same drive? In other words, could I have a partition with the ISOs and a WinXP partition on the same drive and select the ISOs or the WinXP partition to boot? (if it is possible for another WinXP partition to boot, since I have a Dell system with a hidden utility partition, and the location of the boot XP partition seems to matter for the bootability of it - and I was hoping to just use an image of the XP partition restored via TI...)

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Gary:

Yes you can; that's how I have my PCs set up. Grub4DOS is flexible so there are many ways to set this up. You can have a separate partition for the ISOs or you can put them on your WinXP partition; it doesn't matter. All that is needed is to specify the correct path to the ISO in the menu.lst file. I'll be glad to help you set this up, Gary. Just start a new thread when you're ready.

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Good morning everybody! (Hi Gary, who is Paul? ..MudCrab? :-) Yeeha, maybe it was the diskparting of the days before or the too much playing with my new PC and USB pen, lol... in any case all of a sudden my DDS (and Paragon and other tools; but not Windows Explorer) 'mount' my 4GB pen with 3 partitions and worst of all.. it has lost its bootability. Re-applying grubinst_gui.exe doesnt work! (weird behaviour, returns error message "Unknown image"). So what i did was ... filling absolute sector zero (=CHS001) with 00h's (*ggg*) with the help of DiskEditor (winhex refused to do it "write protected"-error; but Paragon and Acronis have a very similar DiskEditor), hoping that the pen drive would be "available for reapplying grubinst_gui.exe" under Windows. And let's guess..

question: What happens if you erase sector0 (=the very first 512Bytes on the storage drive) (here: on a USB memory chip)?

answer: all tools and Windows Explorer show the 4gb as a single "unallocated space" and ask "Would you like to format?". So there is no way, AFAIK, that grub4dos can reinstall its MBR (neither under DOS nor under Windows) to sector0. ((now we call it "sector0" instead of "track0" ;)). only the user herself/himself could reinstate those 512Bytes (flash drive MBR + flash drive partition table) manually (with a DiskEditor only.. ). but i never did a backup of sector0 of my pen drive :)

And since i never saved its 512Bytes (and whereto? to another USB pen? i dont have a floppy drive! ;), all i can do now is trying to recover the files themselves with recovery tools. I'll do that for the sake of experience and exercise. Whatever its result will be, i should also try the copy/paste method described by Mark (on the USB pen only ;) on a bootable USB stick. i'll let you know. I dont think that Acronis has an effective piece of software for my emergency case ("zero-filled sector0, with no backup of MBR"),

EDIT1: wow.. quite some DOS-based recovery tools failed (incl. Ontrack and all kinds of 'partition recovery software'), but right now a win32-based  tool called "GetDataBack" does the trick seemingly with total ease and beauty. that's enlightening, i am delighted! i've copied the whole original usb stick contents from "the unallocated space" to a hdd partition. All data saved! Wow that was an easy exercise. (For sure you cannot use such a win32-based tool, when something corrupted the partiton table (within the first 512Bytes) of your HDD.. --- in such a case only restoring the old MBR manually (with diskedit from a recovery CD/usb) is the most efficient way to get all your data AND partitions back at once. [ i will do this exercise now too ] This all belongs to this Acronis Forum thread... because it deals with booting USB media and Rescue/Recovery from such media.

Definitely fun and educational this thread, right you are Gary :))

EDIT2: i did it. exercise successfully completed! with Acronis diskedit, i saved (select sector0, write to file) C/H/S:0/0/1 of my 4gb usb stick to a txt-file with extension *.bin (i saved the *.bin to a hdd partition). The file is indeed 512 Bytes in size! with Paragon diskedit, i filled CHS001 with 00h's. Then under Windows the pen was inaccessible ("Would you like to format?"). So, for the sake of intercompatibility test i used the diskedit of winhex (www.winhex.com) to view sector zero. winhex has sophisticated options to do a copy and to do a paste operation, i chose the correct one (hellas!). after the pasting of the 512 Bytes, i had to confirm and reconfirm the write-to-disk operation (Warning! by winhex). Done. With windows Explorer, trying to access the usb stick didnt work -- but after unplugging and repluggin the pen, it did. All contents and usb drive layout (volume names, partitions,etc.) restored. Like magic, fantastic!!

EDIT3: since i had nothing to lose, i redid the exercise, this time on my internal 1TB boot hdd. i zero'd sector0 acronis, rebooted the machine, game over. again reboot to boot recovery iso from usb, i chose paragon. with paragon diskedit i pasted the 512Bytes (which i had saved to usb yesterday night with acronis select/writetofile, thanks to Mark), and confirmed the writetodisk operation.  rebooted the machine and.. the whole system is back. It is really good to actually see the 512 Bytes and see the manual paste (=overwrite of sector0) operation and not to blindly trust so-called MBR tools (which may or may not save the MBR in a proprietary format. In fact, Paragon's official backing up of the MBR (the subfolder of "First Hard Disk Track") saves the MBR in *.PBF-format, which is a proprietary compressed format. When you open the *.PBF-file with a hex editor, the lower part of the file actually resembles the original 512 Bytes..etc.

Please correct me, if i am wrong with the following statement:

This little, simple and straightforward exercise proves.. Whatever boot problem (PC doesnt boot or comes up with weird error messages) or corrupted partition table problem a user might have (e.g. caused by installing another OS, by a boot virus, by testing/playing with a new mbr boot manager, by playing with low level tools (PQMagic, Winhex, Acronis, Paragon, tools-collection-bootcd's, etc.), by overwriting or deleting the MBR accidentally, by etc.), dont rely on or waste time with 'partition recovery' disk scanning software or other related undelete software (GetDataBack, etc.)..  --if the problem originates from altered master boot code MBC or from altered wrong partition table entries-- then the most straight-forward, safe and robust method to get the whole system back instantly is ... by restoring the 512 Bytes (that's the size of CHS001) from an backup (e.g. on floppy, usb pen) with appropriate diskedit-capable software (e.g. on bootCD, bootUSB).

So easy and clear. Cool.. That exercise has made me much more 'wise' and confident .. so that i wont freak out again (with True Image restores and re-partitionings) when my system seems again totally messed up (in my past: by testing various boot manager products in the quest for the BEST boot manager out there ;) or doesnt boot up.

Thanks again to all. Am looking forward to my next system crash.. I will be prepared with backupped MBR at hand :))

Now i am wondering, and every reader here should wonder too!, why Acronis DDS does NOT have a user-friendly option (function/button within the GUI) which allows her/him to "Save the current MBR" (or "Backup the current MBR") and to "Overwrite existing MBR with previous saved copy" (or "Restore old MBR"). I would wish to see such a button ;) in the DDS interface!! (dangerous button ;) (the select/writetofile/paste back procedure by Mark.. is maybe to scary for the timid *ggg*)

!! At least, after partitioning operations and before exiting the program, DDS should ask the user to save (backup!) the updated MBR on Floppy. !!

just my two cents ;)