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Old 10-31-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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Exclamation Hard Drive Issue Regarding Different Partition Structure in Windows 7 and XP

Hardware: An embedded computer system is using Windows xp as an operating system and it has a 40 Gb hard drive, which has multiple partitions.

Symptom: The OS would not boot because the OS could not create any temp files due to 0 bytes of free memory size. The entire free space had been filled by the user software which created a massive error log (3.9 Gb) over the past 14 months of operating time.

Actions: Removed the hard drive from embedded system, connected hard drive to laptop (windows 7) as USB connected auxiliary drive to use laptop operating system to search the embedded system's hard drive for issues. Located the 3.9 Gb error log file which was deleted. Note: This file has nothing to do with the OS, it just re-establishes itself from the user software and continues to add to this text file as a historical error log. Lastly, I reinstalled hard drive back into the embedded system.

Result: The embedded system has windows xp operating system and it could not access the reinstalled hard drive. It saw that it was present but had a size designation of 0Mb. Investigation revealed that the laptop windows 7 had "upgraded" the partition format structure which could no longer be read by embedded system's windows xp. Windows 7 uses a "CHS" for drive partition format structure while windows xp uses an "LBA" drive partition format structure. There was no warning, information, or challenge question of any kind when the drive was installed into the Windows 7 environment.

Remedy: Unsuccessfully attempted to convert the "CHS" back to "LBA" format. Installed new blank hard drive into embedded system and reloaded ghost disk image.

1) My ghost disk image is out of date from the embedded system OS.
2) The "Failed" hard drive is fully available to any other running operating system (like Windows 7 on my laptop), all 4 partitions with all files are readable and present. But in the embedded system, the new symptom arises only when an OS is in process of booting on the "failed" hard drive itself and it comes up with an unexpected "PARTITION" structure. The FILE structure was not altered.
3) In the case of the embedded system, when using the "failed" hard drive to boot up from its own installed OS, the BIOS boot sequence displays the drive as 0MB LBA Partitioned drive and 40GB of CHS format partition memory space. What’s supposed to happen is that it should read its hard drive as 40 GB LBA partitioned memory space during Bios boot sequence, without CHS format at all.

Any thoughts on how to convert the hard drive PARTITION format back to LBA without reformatting the drive ?


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Old 10-31-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hard Drive Issue Regarding Different Partition Structure in Windows 7 and XP

How did you arrive at this conclusion?

An operating system does not use CHS or LBA as these are addressing methods employed by the BIOS and drive controller. It is not possible to partition a drive as LBA or CHS.

Test with a known working drive. If the known good drive does not work in the embedded system, then you know that the issue lies elsewhere such as with the SATA or IDE host.
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