Monday, 22 May 2017

MBRWizard

I didn't mention it in the update but my restore from Ghost backup actually messed up my PC's Master Boot Record (MBR). I panicked when Windows wouldn't boot - it choked half way after struggling for a minute or two. Luckily though, Ubuntu Linux did boot up. However, I soon noticed that none of my Windows partitions were visible from within Ubuntu. I panicked again.

I started fdisk to see what is in my partition table. What I saw gave me a shock - there were something like 50 partitions, some overlapping, defined in the MBR. Only one thing that I could do - delete those nonsensical partitions.

To cut a long story short, what saved the day in the end was some scribbled down notes that I have from fdisk of the starting and ending cylinders of the partitions that I have on my hard disk. I just used this to bring some sanity back to my hard disk again. It works - Windows rebooted without any problems. All Windows partition recovered. No data was loss. Phew!

I spent something like 2½ hours for what was suppose to be a 40 minute restore-from-backup job. Bad. Very bad and no good. What happened Ghost? Aren't you supposed to just restore my primary Windows partition and not mess with the MBR?

Neat Little Utility

I thought of replacing the Ghost backup software, but while out looking for an alternative I found this neat little freeware utility instead: MBRWizard (CLI Freeware). All it does is to just backup the MBR ( Manage, Safeguard, and Recover the Master Boot Record (MBR) - as it says in the command reference MBRWiz3.html file).

Definition of my MBR as reported by MBRWizard

I have created a backup of my MBR now with MBRWizard. I can list out the partitions of my hard disk from this backed up MBRWizard created file, so I assume that everything is alright. Ghost backup works. It just that during a restore, it messed up my MBR somehow. So, by working in combination with MBRWizard, I should be safe - I hope.

But just in case, I am still have keeping my fdisk partition's cylinder definitions that I have on paper previously. Never know. It might come in handy again one day.

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