OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical > Storage

How to make a disk drive for a distant computer

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Neil Waldhauer:
I want to make a disk drive and mail it to another computer user 3000 miles away. In the past, I have tried this, but the computer will not boot from the drive. BIOS sees the drive, but the OS/2 boot blob never shows.

I sent a DFSee partition image to the remote site, and they restored it using DFSee for Windows. But when it installs, there is no joy. I made the image on a very much newer computer. There must be a better way to send a disk or partition image.

How can I be sure the remote computer will boot from that hard drive?

Dave Yeo:
That's weird. I've always just moved my hard drives to the newer computer I'm migrating to and other then having to adjust the boot order the odd time, booting has always worked, though sometimes having to press enter for bad drivers and last time I had to add a EHCI.SYS line to get the keyboard working.
I have always used a bootmanager, air boot lately so maybe that's the secret?

Olafur Gunnlaugsson:
You have tried both sending a functional drive and an image previously? Or have you only sent an image?

I cannot really comment on this as I have never had any computer fail to boot from a DFSEE cloned drive that is within the boot specifications of the target computer in regards to disk size or geometry.

What occasionally happens is that if I send a partition image to a third party they will incorrectly copy the partition onto a drive with incorrect partition settings, the usual partition not marked active or bootable etc, incorrect alignment on an SSD etc.

I have solved this either by sending them a compressed disk image for a drive slightly smaller than the drive that is going to be used on the other end, rather than a partition image, this ensures that the partitions are written to the drive as found. The other option is to make them install Air-Boot as it can force boot the image regardless of it is partition settings.

The only other problems I have ever encountered are embedded BIOS's from a company called Insyde, used in Axiom industrial computers and 10Zig (Clientron) Thin Clients for instance. They both have incompatibilities with standard BIOSes when it comes to booting especially if they are used in conjunction with eMMC and also weird BIOS boot lockdowns intended to ensure you only use HDD's and software from the original supplier.

But as I said, I regularly clone OS/2 drives and partitions here for testing back and forth on hardware ranging from Cyrix based thin clients from the late 90's with tiny featureless embedded BIOSEs , to modern Xeon hardware with UEFI and never seem to have any problems going backwards and forwards regardless of hardware, with the obvious caveats about configuration setting.

There may be other options available, send them a VBox image converted to raw, transfer that to hd using rufus? YMMV but works for me with some caveats ...

Olafur Gunnlaugsson:
Or to simplify my last answer, the only other option I know is to send a raw partition or disk image file as there is a whole host of tools available for any OS that will write those to disk, with the caveat that Linux based and or Linux derived tools will usually write OS/2 partitions incorrectly to disk. Partitions must be copied in DOS/Windows style.

Is windows on the computer they are trying to restore to?  They might have hit the MBR - GPT disk problem.

Another thing, if it is a clean disk they are trying to write to is it the same size, or larger, than the diskimage you are sending?

As a last resort they could try writing the image to a new clean disk mounted in a SATA/USB adapter attached to the windows machine then insert the new drive into the target machine and boot from it.

As Olafur says it is a simple process that just works except for a few oddball computer bios.  In fact that is how we updated our clients systems except on our case I sent a tech over with the image on a DVD and she never reported any problems.


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