Author Topic: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer  (Read 1614 times)

Neil Waldhauer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 9
  • -Receive: 43
  • Posts: 556
    • View Profile
    • Blonde Guy
How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« on: March 20, 2020, 05:18:22 pm »
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?
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

Dave Yeo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 11
  • -Receive: 173
  • Posts: 2467
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 06:03:26 pm »
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 36
  • -Receive: 17
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 09:16:33 pm »
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 36
  • -Receive: 17
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2020, 09:43:00 pm »
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.

ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 39
  • Posts: 1149
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2020, 09:51:33 pm »
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.

Neil Waldhauer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 9
  • -Receive: 43
  • Posts: 556
    • View Profile
    • Blonde Guy
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2020, 11:51:36 pm »
I want to reiterate that the target computer is 3000 miles away.

The target computer has a Pentium 3, so I think GPT is not involved. DFSee shows the drive to be perfect, but nothing happens on boot.

I tried imaging just a partition. Still no joy.

I sent a partition image and DFSee. I am sending a drive, but I expect it to fail the same way. I'll find out in a week or so. I'll refresh this thread when I see a result.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

Dave Yeo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 11
  • -Receive: 173
  • Posts: 2467
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2020, 02:32:45 am »
With a Pentium 3, you might be hitting a BIOS limitation when it comes to booting. How big is the hard drive?

Neil Waldhauer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 9
  • -Receive: 43
  • Posts: 556
    • View Profile
    • Blonde Guy
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2020, 02:44:45 am »
The drives are 40 GB and 80 GB. We have about 600 nearly identical OS/2 and eComStation machines. The problem machine is eComStation. The DFSee machine is running Windows 7 also on the same hardware. I do not have any access to any of the machines. No TCP/IP network, 3000 miles away.

I've taught them to text me cell phone photos, so I have a couple of screen shots.

Once the new drive is installed, the computer does not issue one character of output once control is transferred to the drive. Something goes wrong right at the time transfer goes to MBR or possibly when it looks for OS2LDR -- but that would issue a message, right?

Interesting puzzle.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

Dave Yeo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 11
  • -Receive: 173
  • Posts: 2467
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2020, 06:26:16 am »
Last machine I had around that vintage (and my memory is fuzzy), I bought a 80 GB hard drive. I had to use a jumper on it to make it present as a 32 GB hard drive to boot. After booting from close to the beginning of the drive, OS/2 saw all 80 GBs and I wrestled Linux to do the same. Win98 never did see more then 32 GBs.
I can't remember the symptoms now, but the BIOS not handling the drive is a possibility. As you seem to know the machines, perhaps get them to go to the BIOS and report what the BIOS reports.
Installing airboot might be a workaround as well and it seems that DFSee could make a drive present as less then 32GBs.

David Graser

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 0
  • -Receive: 68
  • Posts: 602
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2020, 07:10:58 am »
This machine must use the old OS/2 boot loader.  Is the machine making to the old OS/2 boot loader menu?  If not, and if they had one installation CD, could they possibly start the install and get to the setup screen, install the old os/2 boot manager, reboot and take the cd out while it is rebooting and see if the boot manager menu appears.

Also, it has been awhile but do they have one hard drive set as master and the other to slave with the jumpers?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 07:15:39 am by David Graser »

Roderick Klein

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 0
  • -Receive: 21
  • Posts: 344
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2020, 01:57:42 pm »
Always install airboot. I have seen more then once that the system does not boot if you have on primary partition. Do not know why.

Neil Waldhauer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 9
  • -Receive: 43
  • Posts: 556
    • View Profile
    • Blonde Guy
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2020, 06:58:17 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions. Since the target machine is one of 600 identical machines, I know that it supports the full size of the drives. It doesn't need it, because I'm only trying to restore one 1 GB partition.

I also know that it supports booting from Primary, booting from IBM Boot Manager and booting from AirBoot.

That's a good suggestion about master and slave -- I'll send it along and see what happens.

I'm also thinking of having them try cloning a hard drive using DFSee. Originally, they tried to clone with Ghost. I'm sure most of you are laughing at them for thinking Ghost could clone a drive.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

Doug Bissett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1
  • -Receive: 55
  • Posts: 1324
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2020, 07:22:36 pm »
Always install airboot. I have seen more then once that the system does not boot if you have on primary partition. Do not know why.

I have one old DELL, where Air Boot finds some sort of problem. I need to use Boot Manager. If I install Air Boot on the disk, and it fails, I can put that disk in a more modern machine, and it works, so it is a machine problem (probably BIOS isn't capable). However, I do agree that Boot Manager should be used, only as a last resort.

Quote
I also know that it supports booting from Primary, booting from IBM Boot Manager and booting from AirBoot.

Any chance that SYSINSTX.COM is needed?

Neil Waldhauer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 9
  • -Receive: 43
  • Posts: 556
    • View Profile
    • Blonde Guy
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2020, 10:22:39 pm »
That sounds like a possibility. SYSINTX.COM might be needed, but there is no platform to run it. I have an experiment in the works to tell me in another week or so if that was the problem.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 39
  • Posts: 1149
    • View Profile
Re: How to make a disk drive for a distant computer
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2020, 01:36:27 am »
What results do you get if you write the image to one of your computers?  I know that might sound odd but it does check that you have a bootable image says he who has been caught out that way.