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parted's cp command for FAT32, and LBA/CHS/NTLDR missing woes

From: Andrew A.
Subject: parted's cp command for FAT32, and LBA/CHS/NTLDR missing woes
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:00:21 -0400

I write this mostly for intellectual/curiosity reasons, since I've already punted and re-installed Win2K from CD.  I am curious to see if you believe the recent parted release that fixes CHS/LBA issues would prevent/cure the problems I encountered, and I am also *really* baffled
I have a working Win2K partition which is approx 14Gig of a 50G drive Maxtor.  I also have another Maxtor approx 12Gig.  I wanted to move the 14Gig bootable partition to the smaller Maxtor.
For the below, I was using Win2K Pro from an MSDN subscription and parted/sfdisk/etc. from the Fedora Core 2 Rescue mode.  /dev/hdb is large drive, /dev/hda is small one.  All partitions are FAT32.
(1) Without touching the partition table on small drive, I used parted cp /dev/hdb 1 1 ... to move the large partition down.  It told me I needed to free up space.  I rebooted into windows, deleted some large files from /dev/hdb and issues the command again.  It completed without a problem.  Note:  parted complained of a "fixable" problem in the partition information on /dev/hdb
Result:  NTLDR missing
(2) I used the sfdisk -H255 solution to "fix" the partition information on /dev/hda, thinking that parted might have touched the partition information despite the fact that I only asked for a copy operation.
Result:  NTLDR missing
(3) I used Win2K Rescue mode to fixboot c:, fixmbr \Device\Harddisk0\Partition0, fixmbr \Device\Harddisk0
Result:  NTLDR missing
(4) I removed the partition and re-partitioned using parted, re-copied the partition
Result:  Invalid boot disk, insert disk in A.
(5) I marked the partition bootable using parted
Result:  NTLDR missing
(6) I repeated steps 1-3.
Result:  NTLDR missing
(7) I removed the partition, and re-partitioned using Win2K Rescue mode.  Then re-copied the partition.
Result:  Invalid boot disk, insert disk in A.
(8) I repeated steps 1-3 & 5
Result:  NTLDR missing
(9) I got a copy of Partition Magic 7.0 and used its rescue disks.  When it came up, it warned me of a problem in the partition table of /dev/hda, specifically that the CHS and LBA lengths were different than the length in the MBR (or was it the boot sector, probably MBR).  I told it to fix the problem
Result:  NTLDR missing
(10) I repeated all of the above steps trying a manual copy of NTLDR/NTDETECT from the Win2K install discs between each reboot
Result:  NTLDR missing
(11) I took a hammer and beat the sh*t out of the drive, leaving it in small pieces on the floor.
(12) I woke up from my daydream.
(13) I formatted the drive and re-installed windows.
QUESTION --->  Given all of the above steps etc., I am left thinking that (1) The parted cp command somehow affects the boot information   (2) That there might be some dependency in the windows boot sector code on the physical location of NTLDR, and that parted's cp somehow either moves NTLDR or otherwise changes that -- specifically, that NTLDR might have ended up beyond some BIOS limit such as a cylinder > 1024 ?
Any ideas?  Do you think spanking new parted releases avoid these problems?
Parted's cp command is very useful and I'd love to help make it work for this scenario, thus making it a free laternative to expensive applications such as Partition Magic, for people relocating Windows partitions.

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