NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2006
by Ed Maxey, Past President
(click to email author)

"NO JUMPERS," was the sign just above the jumper socket of a new MAXTOR ATA133 hard drive. It seemed strange not to need jumpers. This could be tested by connecting the drive on the motherboard's 40 connector IDE cable. The two regular hard drives, being on an ATA/133 PCI card, should be safe enough.

They were not safe.

Every partition in each regular drive was blown away.

Now you may think you know how this must have made me feel. You do not. It is utterly impossible for anyone to know how this feels unless it has has happened to them.

Well, not to worry, everything was safe in a PLUMAX box in the hall closet. It's was only a matter of getting the magnetic data back where it belonged inside the destop. Here's how that was done.

The PLUMAX was connected via USB2 cable to the desktop and the computer booted from a system floppy. You guessed correctly; neither hard drive responded to the keyboard.

A bootable CD had been previously burned for just such a disaster. It was named "GOTCHA;" descriptive of the "got you covered" sentiment.

The GOTCHA disk was used to reboot the computer and Ghost, which normally runs automatically, was shut down. GOTCHA has a MRBOOT folder which contains contains EFDISK.EXE among other programs. One could have used FDISK.EXE but that program always terrifies me.
The command;

wrote a new master boot record. EFDISK was run again, parameters for the primary partition (size, unhidden, set active) were entered from the keyboard and a new partition table was written.

The command;

formatted the new partition thus assuring me that a functional C: primary partition was ready to have its data restored.

GOTCHA was again run and correctly paused with a notice to connect all USB devices before pressing the enter key. It is always fascinating to watch USB devices being found since most believe USB can not be run from DOS. Ghost was then run and the mouse was used to select "partition to partion" copy. Ghost presented the three hard drives as horizontal bars. It was easy for me to identify the source since it was the smallest of the thee drives. Clicking that bar displayed all the partitions that drive contained. A left click on the Win98SE partition selected it and Ghost then displayed the options where it could be copied. A click on the master drive bar and another click on the single partition within it selected the new partition. The source and objection options which Ghost now displayed were accepted. Ghost then restored the Windows98SE partition.

The command;

ScanDisk C:
was then run and found no errors in the restoration.

Windows98SE was now back with its Partition Magic 8.0 (in our library as item 148 according to John Clark). It is a powerful program which allowed easy creation of the other partitions which had been on the master drive. It is well to remember that a single hard drive can have only four primary partitions; one of these can be an extended partition and it can contain any number of logical partitions. Partition Magic sees the partitions in the PLUMAX drive and can also copy them back into the desktop if one wishes. Curiously, the speed of copy seems faster with GOTCHA's Ghost than with Partition Magic; it took Ghost just over 6 minutes to copy Windows98SE from the PLUMAX to the desktop.


    1. EFDISK is used with the permission of its author, Nagy Daniel.

    It is part of MasterBooter the shareware version of which is in GOTCHA in the MRBOOT folder under the name MRBOOT34.ZIP.

    2. GOTCHA probably will not work with NTFS partitions. It works quite nicely if one uses Partition Magic to change an NTFS WindowsXP from NTFS to FAT32.

    3. Your computer's BIOS must be set to boot from a CD in order to take advantage of GOTCHA's USB2 from DOS capability.

    4. The command;

    LIST xxx.yyy
    where xxx = a text file name and
    yyy = a text file extension
    will display that file from the DOS level. This could be useful for reading some tutorial text files; e.g. EFDISK.TXT or GOTCHA.TXT.

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