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Re: Preparing hard drive for external case

11/16/2005 12:25 PM
Re: Preparing hard drive for external case
If you can you really do want to first expose the HDD to a controller which was designed to handle over 137gb.  
Second choice would be a MB that was originally issued handling less than 137G, but had its bios updated to work over 137G.  
So use about the newest MB you have to set up the HDD. After that if things go well, you should even be able to move the HDD to a MB that does not go above 137G, and at least see the partitions below that point. But don't let such a MB make changes to the HDD. This may be difficult to avoid unless you have on-board MB virus detection enabled which gives you a message from bios whenever something is about to change your MBR. Like installing windows.  
One of the worthwhile HDD backup elements is on the Western Digital bootable CDROM that comes with their new HDD's larger than 137G. Data Lifeguard Tools is what they still call it but IIRC you need to boot to the CD then make a floppy, then boot to the floppy and use a utility to backup the master boot record.  
This would be the same utility you can download from the WD site, except IME the downloaded version only works on WD HDD's but the CD included with a purchase works on other HDD's besides WD.  
If you do plan to remove a 200G HDD from a current MB and put it in a <137G MB, it would really be a good idea to back up the master boot record on the more capable MB beforehand, so in case it gets edited by the weaker machine you could restore from the backup to recover your higher partitions.  
I have also been using Ranish 2.44 to view and record the detailed track information after a virgin HDD is first set up. This utility is downloaded, added to a bootable floppy, then boot to DOS on the floppy, run part.exe and you are in Ranish. But once in Ranish, you can select a menu item that will write an additional floppy that will be bootable by itself without DOS, just goes straight to Ranish. That's the floppy I boot to after that.  
Basically this track info is contained in the HDD but if it gets hosed you can manually reenter and recover partitions as long as they have not been overwritten.  
I do not use ranish to hide or unhide partitions since that part of it seems to be in conflict with how PM7 hides & unhides. So I always use PM7 to hide & unhide. Mainly just use Ranish to view whether the MBR is *standard* or *unknown*, and reset it to standard after a change. that way once you get all your bootable primary partitions with OS's on them, and everything is working OK, you set the MBR to standard and it will then revert to unknown only after a significant change like ingesting an MBR virus.  
I suggest as much experimentation as you can handle with PM7 before putting valuable data on the HDD. A good exersize is to just play around with W98SE after doing a quick slim install of less than 200MB worth of OS files. then you can xxcopy this bootable volume between partitions and make sure they still boot, etc. before moving up to bootable XP volumes with the extra time & effort involved installing, copying and replacing the much greater disk space needed for XP.  
Once accustomed to xxcopy of both W98 and XP in between bootable fat32 partitions, then do the analogous method of using GHOST 2003 (not a newer version, and do not *mark drives for use by ghost*) for creating uncompressed backup images for transfer of bootable volumes to other partitions for NTFS installations.  
and that's after using just basic W98 DOS to SYS volumes on the external HDD just to make sure it can boot before moving on to the full W98.