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Tips on cloning XP hard drive into Momentus XT hybrid HD-SSD


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I'm going to clone an old, beginning-to-fail hard drive for my favorite XP Pro SP3 32-bit Dell Optiplex desktop PC (146GB capacity) to a Momentus XT hybrid HD-SSD (500GB capacity).


The Momentus is Model Number: ST95005620AS, Firmware Revision: SD28, Sector size (Logical/Physical/Allignment): 512 / 512 / 0.  (I think we bought this in late 2011.)


The Momentus was previously used in my wife's old and abandoned XP laptop so it is NOT "clean".  It was the OS drive for her laptop and still has everything on it.  I have backed it up and am willing to erase everything on the Momentus and then make it into the clone of my current, active XP desktop.


Now, here's what I'm going to do - unless you think this is a bad idea:  I have a third PC running Win 7 Pro 64-bit with extra hard drive bays and SATA sockets on its motherboard.  I'm going to connect BOTH my XP desktop hard drive AND the Momentus XT to the SATA 2 and 3 sockets in my Win 7 desktop. 


Then I'm going to run EITHER Seagate Diskwizard in the Win 7 OR AOMEI Backupper Standard and use it to clone the XP hard drive (SATA 2) into the Momentus XT hybrid drive (SATA 3).


1)  Do I have to "clean" the Momentus XT first?  The Seagate DiscWizard manual seems to say the cloning will do that automatically (or prompt me to do it).


2)  Will the Momentus XT clone be properly "aligned"? 

      a)  The Seagate manual says it will be automatically "aligned" but gives no detail.  (I assume my source old hard drive is NOT "aligned".)

      b)  AOMEI says it has a check-the-box option to "align" at 4K.  Should I check it?


3)  As you can see above, the sector size on the Momentus XT is now 512.  I am NOT sure whether this model was actually expecting Advanced Format 4K sector size (4,096 instead of 512).  What do you think?


4)  Should I make any effort to make the clone as Advanced Format 4K sector size in the Momentus even though the source hard drive is probably 512?  Keep in mind this will stay an XP 32-bit machine when I'm done.  But if you think I should try to make the clone Advanced Format 4K sector size, how do I do that?  (Is that what Aomei is saying?  I think the Seagate DiscWizard is saying something else.)


5)  Any other tips and advice?


6)  Where else should I post this?


EDIT - Maybe Seagate (Acronis) and Aomei talk about "align" differently.  Maybe Seagate (Acronis) uses "align" to mean only a particular "offset" whether or not the segment/sector size is 512 or 4K.  Maybe Aomei uses "align" to mean forcing a segment/sector size of 4K but without any attention to offset.  Don't know, and I don't know what I'm talking about anyway.  Please discuss.



Edited by glnz
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There are a few imprecisions in the definitions you used.

A clone is a clone, i.e. something usually NOT DISTINGUISHABLE from the original.

The sheer moment that you change a single byte, that will NOT be a "clone" anymore.

If you use an actual "cloning" program the result will (or should be) invariably an EXACT copy of the original.

What you actually want to do is to make a (working, bootable) copy of the original disk CONTENTS, with some optimizations (i.e. alignment, resizing, etc.).

The "cloning" operation needs NOT to be preceded by any form of "cleaning" since what happens during a "real cloning" operation is the integral copy of every single sector from the source to the target, thus overwriting *whatever* was in the target before, while since what you will be doing is not "cloning" - though it is not actually "necessary" - "cleaning" the target (at least partially) before copying the contents of the source to it may be a good idea.


Another thing that you may not be fully accurate on is the sector size/alignement.

A "normal" hard disk (or other mass storage device) will have INTERNALLY 512 bytes sector and will expose 512 bytes externally.

A "native 4Kb hard disk will have internally 4 kb sectors and will esxpose 4 kb externally.

A "advanced format" device will have internally 4 Kb sectors BUT expose 512 bytes externally.


You can do "nothing" regarding "Advanced Format", a device either uses 512 bytes sector externally ("traditional" or "advanced format") or it uses 4 kb sectors externally ("native 4kb"), *whatever* is used internally is what the manufacturer implemented and you cannot change it.


Alignment is ONLY the offset at which the filesystem starts.

Traditionally alignment was on the device geometry, i.e. typically with multiples of 63 sectors before, starting with Vista alignment was set to multiples of 4 Kb, which was said (on "normal", "modern" hard disks) to provide some faster operations.

A SSD is not much different, it internally uses 4 kb sectors (maybe) but externally exposes 512 bytes sectors, the difference is that here it is strongly recommended to align to 4kb because the operations will definitely be faster. 

BUT be VERY aware that XP (specifically Disk Manager in XP) should NEVER be used on disks containing 4 Kb aligned Extended partition/Logical volumes, see here why:



The Windows NT letter assignment (and conversely a large part of the way the OS boots and accesses files) depends on the starting offset of the partition.

Drive letters are encoded in the Registry coupled with Disk Signature and Partition Starting Offset, see (only seemingly unrelated):


This info - if absent - is regenerated when the OS is booted, so if you change alignment (i.e. partition start offset) you need to delete this info from the Registry before attempting to boot from the OS n the new device (or you need to manually coorect this info).


Another thing that you need to know is that the Disk Signature is such an important ID for the Windows NT system that you can NEVER have two disks with the same Disk Signature connected to a same Windows OS, as one of the two will be (immediately and silently) changed to avoid a conflict with the other disk.


Now that hopefully you have these things more clear, please do take some time to read this thread:


that should provide you with further info.


Then we will talk of the details and of possible exact procedures. :)



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Jaclaz - you are the greatest, in the greatest forum - no doubt about it.


But I'm a bit overwhelmed by the detail.


Since my original post above, I played a bit with my Momentus XT HD-SSD hybrid drive and Seagate's DiscWizard program, all in another PC running Win 7 Pro 64-bit.  Seagate's DiscWizard program (which is a "limited" version of Acronis True Image) was a freaking disaster.  Wouldn't work consistently and almost wrecked my Win 7 PC, which is finally back to normal (I hope) after numerous sfc /scannows and chkdsk /f.


I still have my original problem - my older and much-valued Dell Optiplex 755 XP Pro SP3 32-bit PC is going to die because the hard drive (a 160GB WD Velociraptor WD1600HLFS-75G6U0 SATA-II at 3Gb/s) is beginning to fail.  I get error messages on reboots, and although it is working this instant I am afraid the next few reboots will be the end.  I need to copy (?) everything over to a new hard drive.  I just ordered on eBay a "new" WD Velociraptor SATA-II at 3Gb/s from the same year and slightly larger at 300 GB.  It should arrive after Thanksgiving.


Also, instead of Seagate DiscWizard, I am thinking of using Aomei Backupper to do the migration, from a bootable CD.  I already have two versions of Aomei Backupper on bootable CDs - Standard 3.2 and Pro 2.5, both issued this year.  Both of them give me the choice of "Disk Clone" or "System Clone/Migration".


What is the difference between System Clone/Migration and Disk Clone?


What are the pros and cons of each?


The old hard drive is a Western Digital Velociraptor WD1600HLFS-75G6U0 (156GB, SATA-II 3.0Gb/s).


The new hard drive will be EITHER (a) a very similar new Western Digital Velociraptor (WD3000HLFS VelociRaptor 300GB) that is larger than the existing hard drive OR (b) (if I decide to use it after all) a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid HD-SSD (ST95005620AS with 500GB) that we bought in 2011 and used only briefly in a long-gone laptop.


Maybe your answer (System Clone/Migration vs Disk Clone) depends on which one I choose as the new hard drive ?  In either case, the new drive will be larger than the old, so somehow I will need for the space to be expanded without wrecking any needed "alignment".


Please provide lots of detail (at my tourist level) !!  And any tips on doing this correctly.


Thanks again.

Edited by glnz
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The simplified way, single disk partition:
A disk normally partitioned with XP or earlier will have 63 sectors before the first partition or if you prefer the partition will start on LBA 63.
A disk normally partitioned with Vista or later will have 2048 sectors before the first partition or if you prefer the partition will start on LBA 2048.
The old disk has 512 bytes sector.
The new disk (or SSD) needs to have 512 bytes sector. (both have, rest assured, "native" 4kb disks are rare the format is limited to very large size ones).
Re-aligning the partition from 63 to 2048 will be unnoticeable to you on the hard disk (and it won't make much difference anyway) but on the SSD it might seriously slow it down, so you should actually move the partition (on the new device) to be 4kb aligned.
The only issue with XP having non-aligned-to-cylinder/head (i.e. 63 sectors before) may come with logical volumes inside extended partition, and only if you fiddle with the disk in the XP disk manager.
I cannot say what exactly (in detail, and when you talk about data details are vital) how the mentioned app behaves in the two different modes, but what I would do would be to use BOTH devices in this case.
1) BEFORE anything else make a copy of the MBR of the disk and of the PBR of the partition there are several ways/tools, but even the simplified HdHacker would do: 
(you want to make a copy of first sector of the \\.\PhysicalDrive and a copy of the first 16 sectors of the \\.\LogicqalDrive)
Store these two files (only a few kilobytes) on anothe device, let's say a USB stick, this is a sort of "insurance", should something in the following change a few key values, we will have a way back.
2) clone "as is" (with Disk Clone) the "failing" old disk to the new "conventional" disk (possibly on the "other", Windows 7 machine)
3) make sure that the new disk works as the old one on the original XP machine
4) then back on the Windows 7 machine:
5) copy the tested "new" disk contents with System Clone/Migration to the SSD (which will have been partitioned and formatted with the "proper" 4 Kb alignment)
6) if the "automagical" tool works as expected the newly made SSD will be able to boot "as the old disk" on the XP machine
7) if it doesn't a simple set of commands should be able to have it working "manually" but even if this doesn't work, you still have the "original disk" (failing/defective but still somehow working) and an exact copy of it on the "new disk" (fully functional) so that we can loop to #4 and use another tool/another approach
Once the "final" SSD (with the new alignment but with the smaller, old size of the partitoin) will have been tested to be working nicely, only then use the tool you mentioned (or a similar one) to extend the size of the partition.
Again, should anything go wrong in this latter process, you can always loop to #4 and start again.



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jaclaz - you are THE MAN.  Many thanks for such a great strategy and clear instructions!


Just before I came back here to read your post above, I already made backup copies of MBR and PBR of the XP machine using a tool called Bootice from www.ipauly.com via softpedia.  It and the resulting .bin files are copied safely on my Win 7 machine just in case.  (The PBR turns out to be a Dell utilities hidden partition, btw.)


The Momentus was used before in an old Dell D830 laptop with XP.  Shortly after I copied over that laptop's XP hard drive to the Momentus, the laptop blew up, possibly due to heat.  The Momentus might run hot when it runs, and to use it in my current XP machine (a Dell Optiplex 755 Desktop), I have purchased a caddy with a built-in fan that's separately powered off a Molex plug in the desktop case.


But I think I need instructions how to "clean" the Momentus so it's properly formatted before I System Clone/Migrate the XP into it.


Also, I ran fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo on both the Momentus hybrid HD-SSD and my old soon-to-fail XP HD, and here are some results:


The fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo command shows that my Momentus XT has the following:
Bytes Per Sector:  512
Bytes Per Physical Sector:  512
Bytes Per Cluster:  4096
Bytes Per File Record Segment:  1024
Clusters Per FileRecord Segment:  0
The same command on my old XP hard drive that I need to clone says:
Bytes Per Sector:  512
(There is no Bytes Per Physical Sector.)
Bytes Per Cluster:  4096
Bytes Per File Record Segment:  1024
Clusters Per FileRecord Segment:  0


What does that say to you?  Is it possible that the Momentus XT is NOT 4K?  The Seagate help-desk person said that BOTH drives are 512E, with E standing for emulate.


I have NO IDEA what any of this means.  But when I "clean" (and maybe reformat ??) the Momentus, what type of formatting should I choose (if any)?



Edited by glnz
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Well, then you have a (very small) issue.

If you saved just the PBR of the DELL recovery/tool partition it means that you have more than one partition on that disk (and you failed to backup the one of the "main" partition).

On a disk there is one (and only one) MBR but as many PBR's (Partition Boot Record) as there are Partitions, so you might want to make a backup of the PBR of the "main" NTFS partition volume as well.

In any case it is just a further safety, not really-really needed (but you never know).


The fsutil behaviour is "normal", the version in XP simply misses that check (at the time it was released ALL disks had 512 bytes/sector) whilst the 7 one has been upgraded to include that "Physical Sector" stuff.

Don't worry :), all those devices expose a 512 bytes "Physical" sector size (remember that they are/were intended by the manufacturer as a "normal" device to work with XP also, it is just the good Microsoft that spread some FUD when they decided that AF/512e drives are not supported in XP/2003 family of OS's, all the world runs normally XP/2003 on AF/512e disks without any issues, with the exception of the mentioned one with logical volumes, which is caused by the new alignment approach even on "native 512" anyway).


In a nutshell:

  1. 512 native: internally use (maybe) 512 bytes sector, externally expose (obviously) 512 bytes/sector.
  2. AF (advanced Format) or 512e (and most SSD's): internally use (maybe) 4096 bytes sector, externally usually[1] expose 512 bytes sector.
  3. 4k native: internally use (maybe) 4096 bytes sector, externally expose 4096 bytes sector.

for your use #1 or #2 doesn't make a difference, while #3 would simply be unbootable on anything before Windows 8.


Still, on AF/512e it is strongly recommended to use the "Mb" alignment (the "default" 2048 LBA is not really *needed*, but it is OK), if you create the partition on your Windows 7 system it will be aligned, but as said I don't know how your "tool of election" actually works (in detail), it is very possible (actually probable) that it has an internal feature that creates (and shifts to the "right" alignment the partition when doing the "System Clone/Migration".


The essential point of the proposed approach is that if the #5 fails (for *whatever* reasons) you still have a fully working source to try again (with the same tool and different settings or with other tools/methods).




[1] The AF or 512e is not really a "standard", each manufacturer may have implemented in one model (or the other) different ways to "expose" to the OS *anything* (and the contrary of it), I wouldn't be surprised if in testing a range of different AD/512e disks Windows Vista :ph34r: or later would detect different "physical size" the good news being that XP in it's "ignorance" ;) hasn't read MS KB's or doesn't really know anything about this and just keeps working.

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jaclaz - thanks again.  When the time comes next weekend, I will again read your superb posts here and try NOT to set fire to my PCs.


Meantime, having been burned by Seagate DiscWizard and not really being in love with AOMEI Backupper, today I installed Macrium Reflect Free in each of (a) my XP SP3 32-bit (soon to die) PC and (b) my dual-boot Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit + Win 10 Pro 64-bit PC and made a separate bootable CD from each, each with its own version of Win PE.  (I discovered that the bootable CD made from my XP SP3 32-bit PC will NOT boot in my dual-boot Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit + Win 10 Pro 64-bit PC, but that its own bootable CD will boot in that newer PC.  Probably a BIOS-vs-UEFI or a 32-vs-64-bit issue.)


I assume that your  "2) clone "as is" (with Disk Clone)"  should be done using the first bootable CD in the XP SP3 32-bit (soon to die) PC, with the old and the new hard drives plugged into the SATA sockets on the motherboard.  That way, everything will be as native as I can get.  I assume you recommend that I NOT move the two hard drives first into the newer dual-boot Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit + Win 10 Pro 64-bit PC.


Later. when I do your 4) and 5), i will plug BOTH the original, troubled XP hard drive and the Momentus XT HD-SSD into the extra SATA sockets in the newer dual-boot Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit + Win 10 Pro 64-bit PC.  I will just run the Macrium in the Win 7 OS and point it to the XP HD as source and the Momentus as target, yes?  But will that UEFI-64-bit flavor of Macrium Reflect Free somehow make the Momentus unbootable when I try it in the old PC?


Or are my concerns here irrelevant?  Thanks.

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Not really.

If you can boot from a CD you don't need the Windows 7 machine at all (if the tool you are using is capable of changing/fixing alignment, many will do).

  • Boot from CD the old machine with the "old" and "temporary" disk drives connected.
  • Clone "old" to "temporary" WITHOUT correcting alignment
  • Disconnect "old" (after having switched off of course).
  • Check that "temporary" works fine as before (i.e. it is an actual clone) by booting from it
  • Connect the "Momentus" (after having switched off)
  • Boot again from CD and Clone/Copy "temporary" to "Momentus", fixing alignment (again cannot say if any of those tools you mentioned will do and how exactly they work)
  • Disconnect the "temporary" (after having switched off)
  • Boot again this time from the "Momentus" and check that it works.
This way if anything works as expected the (supposedly failing) "old" hard disk) is read only once[1], the "temporary" is written and read only once and the "Momentus" is written only once.




[1] This is the actual main thing, the more you use a disk drive that you suspect is failing the more you risk losing data, cloning a disk takes several hours of continuous use of the disk is likely to increase heat/what not.

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jaclaz - sucess, but, as it turned out, my options were limited by a few problems, and I did the drive duplication in the least interesting way. 


Although, on eBay, Mwave (Walnut, California) had sold me a 3.5" replacement velociraptor hard drive, they actually shipped the 2.5" model (a different model number) without the "IcePack" heat sink for 3.5" bay.  When I called to complain, I had to argue with them to check, and they finally got back and said they had none of the 3.5" model, so they sent me an RMA email to return.  They continue to offer the non-existent 3.5" model under various fake seller names in eBay, by the way.  All their pages are the same.


That left me with (1) a dying original 150GB XP drive (slowly increasing re-allocated sector count, although Speccy didn't show any trouble at all, and error messages on boot), (2) my previously used but available 500GB Momentus XT hybrid HD-SSD, and (3) a USB external drive (WD MyBook).


I shut down the XP machine and put its failing hard drive into a bay of my good Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit machine.  The Win 7 saw the drive and gave it a letter but also an error message and would not access it at all.  Said it had zero byte capacity.  So no go on doing anything in the Win 7 machine.  (By the way, the Win 7 machine had no problem seeing the used Momentus XT drive, which was also for an XP machine, so not an issue of MBR vs GPT or 32 vs 64 or BIOS vs UEFI.  The failing drive was just failing, I suppose, and the Win 7 machine disdained it - not a good Samaritan.)


So I knew I had to do everything in or connected to the XP machine from which the drive had just been removed.


First, I decided to try to save the old data on the Momentus.  So with the Momentus still in the Win 7 machine and using Aomei Partition Assistant Pro 5.8, I reduced the Momentus's old C:\ partition to 80GB and converted both that partition and the hidden Dell utility partition to Logical and Hidden and changed their drive letters to None.  In the process, I indicated I wanted those partitions to be "Aligned", an option in the Aomei Partition Assistant Pro. 

I then turned the 385GB± unallocated space into a new partition, and I later divided that into two new partitions, one very small and the other large, to be targets for receiving "Restore" copies of the failing XP hard drive's utility partition and its C:\ partition.  Formatted the tiny one FAT32 and the big one NTFS, both Primary, the big one also Active, both "Aligned", and assigned the drive letters None to the small and C:\ to the big.  I was hoping somehow to preserve the old Momentus data, and it turned out I succeeded.


By the way, Aomei alone didn't do the job 100%.  I also needed EaseUS Partition Master to really make both old partitions truly Hidden and Logical and without drive letters, as the Aomei conversion didn't take 100%.


Then, with the old failing drive back in the XP machine, I hooked up the external USB WD MyBook drive to that machine, rebooted with my CD media copy of Aomei Backupper Professional 2.5, did not copy or clone anything, but instead did a Backup of my failing drive to a folder in the external USB WD MyBook drive.  All via USB, so with verification it took more than two hours.


Then I removed the old failing drive and replaced it with the re-partitioned Momentus XT.  When I rebooted with my CD media copy of Aomei Backupper Professional 2.5, instead of doing a normal Restore of everything (which would have wiped out the old data on the Momentus), the Aomei gave me the option of restoring partitions from the Backup, so that's what I did.  Again, Aomei gave me the option to "Align", so I did so.


When that was done, I tried to boot from the Momentus, but I got a boot error.  My XP machine said I didn't have a bootable drive.  So I put in my CD of Macrium Refect Free, rebooted, and directed it to repair the MBR of the Momentus.  Macrium gives four ways to do that, and I picked all four.


After that, IT WALKS - IT WALKS.  My old XP machine is up and running, with the Momentus instead of the old failing drive.  No more SMART warnings, and no error warnings on bootup.  And using EaseUS Partiton Master, I see that I also saved the old data on the Momentus in the two hidden partitions, if I ever want it.  (Those two hidden partitions also show on the XP's Disk Management as Logical and also as a single "Extended partition".)


Now, I would like to check whether or not the C:\ partition of the Momentus is really "aligned" or not.  Seagate's Partition Offset Information tool says its Offset is ... wait for it ... 168105984 .  Is that good?  The same tool says its "Phys Sector Size" is 512, which it also was before.  So where am I?  Heaven or New Jersey?  (Reminder that C:\ is now after three other partitions.)


Also, from one of your posts above, I realize that the Macrium Refect Free might have done more than needed - anyway for me to check?  For example, maybe Disk Signature was changed?  And if I'm up and running, does it make a difference?


The Momentus seems to be faster with some things and slower in others.  Averaging the same, by feel.


Please suggest any tests I should run.


Thanks again.

Edited by glnz
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Seagate's Partition Offset Information tool says its Offset is ... wait for it ... 168105984 .  Is that good? 


168105984/255/63=10464,113538748832866479925303455 <- not a particularly "round" result ;)

168105984*512/4096=21013248 <- good

168105984*512/1048576=82083 <- very good


It is "good" in the sense that it is 4096 bytes aligned and Mb aligned. :)


It is "no good" :w00t: in the sense that it has logical volumes inside Extended (which is not a problem in itself) BUT you MUST remember to NEVER use, for ANY reason, the XP built-in Disk Manager to change ANYTHING on the disk, not even the Active status of a primary partition, for the reasons explained:





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jaclaz - you wrote

"168105984/255/63=10464,113538748832866479925303455 <- not a particularly 'round' result"


I sort of understand (actually faking) that 63 is a good number for 32-bit XP on a plain old hard drive made with vacuum tubes and gears.  Am I losing anything in my new setup?



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jaclaz - you wrote

"168105984/255/63=10464,113538748832866479925303455 <- not a particularly 'round' result"


I sort of understand (actually faking) that 63 is a good number for 32-bit XP on a plain old hard drive made with vacuum tubes and gears.  Am I losing anything in my new setup?



Naaah everything is fine and dandy :) as long as you don't use the XP Disk Manager (though Microsoft should have been sued for not having "fixed" the mess).


If you have not yet fully understood the 63 I guess a few more days will be needed for the 255 :w00t:.



Don't worry, there is no need to fake understanding, you can accept the whole thing as an axiom, all MS OS's until Vista have been developed in a time when *everything* had a "CHS geometry" which is nowadays not needed.

The XP Disk Manager has been (badly) coded in such a way that in some specific cases it can destroy the chain of partition table in the Extended partition because of some (wrong) assumptions about this "CHS geometry".


Maybe these pages on Wikipedia would help you in understanding:




Actually starting from NT 4.00 the CHS geometry is unused/unneeded (exception made for the initial part of booting), but NT 4.00 had to co-live with DOS and so a number of previous de facto standards were implemented in it, same probably goes for 2K that likely had to co-live with 9.x or with Me, XP is simply a Windows 2K with some bells and whistles, most probably the code in Disk Manager has not changed much, and the routines to deal with logical volumes inside extended are probably still the same since DOS 3.3, and at the time the whole stuff about "having more than one partition" was little more than a half-@§§ed, temporary "hack".



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jaclaz - by the way, with the replacement hard drive, I am having some Event Viewer errors with Windows Indexing (Ci) not working, and a double-mention of bad libraries (suggesting that in Device Manager I should uninstall the drivers for my external USB back-up hard drive and my never-used USB stick, delete the existing libraries, reconnect the two USB devices and run "Find new hardware").


Is any of this related to a changed Disk Signature as you mentioned above?

Edited by glnz
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