Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ImageX Gotchas

As of late, ImageX has been my imaging software of choice. Mostly because it is free and I already have it installed. I've been using it to move existing computers to a new drive when a hard drive starts to report errors.

To use ImageX, I attach the drive to my server by using an external USB case. Then run imagex /capture to gather data from the drive. Then I use imagex /apply to put the image down onto the new drive also attached via USB.

The first few times I did this, I was worried the MBR on the new disk would not be configured correctly, but no special preparation is required. Just format the disk ahead of time and mark the partition active.

System Restore Files Not Captured
The files used by System Restore are not captured by the default configuration of ImageX. I was moving to a new drive and then planning on repairing Windows XP. Not such a good plan. This forced me to manually copy system restore registry files from the old drive to the new drive by using a boot CD. However, despite the pain, the system started booting again.

System Restore files are stored in C:\System Volume Information. By default only System has permission to read that folder. To image the files, you may need to modify those permissions. You will definitely need to create a configuration file for ImageX to specify that the folder should be included in the image. Documentation on creating the configuration file is here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766147(WS.10).aspx

Don't Forget the Utility Partitions
The hard drive I was capturing data from yesterday had a utility partition installed by the manufacturer in addition to the operating system partition. However, I forgot all about the utility partition and only moved the operating system partition. Then the new drive would not boot.

To get the system bootable, I needed to edit the boot.ini file on the root of C: to point at the single existing partition. The original arc path was pointed at partition 2, I needed to point it at partition 1 as in the example below:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

1 comment:

  1. Startup repair will do the partition work for you.
    It may have to be done twice, depending on what other partitions that exist on the disk that the image was applied to.