partition order in partition table

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage,comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (More info?)

Hello. How important is the partition order in the MBR partition table?
I seem to remember from reading that some software products care and
some don't.

It is a long story, as always, but the short version is that I have a
desktop with a multiboot setup using bootmagic and partition magic. I
knew I was doing something a little dangerous, so everything is backed
up onto another computer, so data loss isn't an issue (at least not
yet). I had four partitions in the correct order, deleted the last one,
and created space between the second and third in order to have all the
primary partitions at the front of the disk below the 1024 cylinder
limit. Into that space I tried to install FreeBSD so I could play with
it. It installed itself in the space, but didn't reorder the partitions
so right now PartInfo gives the order as 1,2,4,3, with 4 being the
freebsd and 3 the extended partition containing logical drives.

Actually, it doesn't seem to bother the existing windows and logical
drives, which oddly enough work fine. However, Partition Magic now
shows the drive as bad. Won't work on it at all. I have more reading to
do, perhaps in need to find a utility to reorder the partitions in the
partition table, I am not sure yet. What MBR editors do the experienced
folks here prefer?

There are a number of other errors I am getting out of Partition Magic,
which I will post in a follow-up note. I am not home right now, so
can't get to them.

Thanks for the help, and I will post what I find out assuming that
anyone wants to read it.

Irwin
4 answers Last reply
More about partition order partition table
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage,comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (More info?)

    Yes, PartInfo did give that error.

    Actually, the way it really went was that I decided to get rid of
    FreeBSD, so went into Partition Magic and it gave me a large number of
    errors, mostly about the LBA and CHS not agreeing. I made a screenshot
    of the first one, and also a datadump of PartInfo, if the details are
    important. Windows seemed to be working normally despite the errors, so
    I was a little leary about fixing them, seems like it could only make
    things worse. Anyhow, since I had everything backed up, I went ahead
    and let PM fix all the errors, which I guess it did. It no longer
    complains about anything, but still lists the drive as bad. The only
    error that PartInfo gives at this point is the error you mentioned so I
    could only assume that it was the cause of the bad drive. You think
    there is something else?
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage,comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (More info?)

    "Irwin" <ebct@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1126014963.822398.232420@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    > Hello. How important is the partition order in the MBR partition table?
    > I seem to remember from reading that some software products care and
    > some don't.
    >
    > It is a long story, as always, but the short version is that I have a
    > desktop with a multiboot setup using bootmagic and partition magic. I
    > knew I was doing something a little dangerous, so everything is backed
    > up onto another computer, so data loss isn't an issue (at least not
    > yet). I had four partitions in the correct order, deleted the last one,
    > and created space between the second and third in order to have all the
    > primary partitions at the front of the disk below the 1024 cylinder
    > limit. Into that space I tried to install FreeBSD so I could play with
    > it. It installed itself in the space, but didn't reorder the partitions
    > so right now PartInfo gives the order as 1,2,4,3, with 4 being the
    > freebsd and 3 the extended partition containing logical drives.
    >
    > Actually, it doesn't seem to bother the existing windows and logical
    > drives, which oddly enough work fine. However, Partition Magic now
    > shows the drive as bad. Won't work on it at all. I have more reading to
    > do, perhaps in need to find a utility to reorder the partitions in the
    > partition table, I am not sure yet. What MBR editors do the experienced
    > folks here prefer?
    >
    > There are a number of other errors I am getting out of Partition Magic,
    > which I will post in a follow-up note. I am not home right now, so
    > can't get to them.
    >

    Normally PM will not say a disk is bad because of the order in the partition
    table being odd. Partinfo will prolly display "partition table not in
    sequential order".

    Often partinfo will give a clue what PM is complaining about.

    --
    Joep
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage,comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (More info?)

    Talking from experience, Partition Magic sometimes has trouble with
    otherwise problemless (I believe, perfect) disks.
    The more partition or MBR operation you do on the disk with any tool
    different from Partition Magic, the more likely that next time you fire
    up PM itt will complain about something.
    I have many years of experience in this.
    PM complains about my current harddisk structure and displays the end of
    the disk oddly, although there is nothing wrong with it.
    Most of the anomalies originate from the way these tools or systems
    manage the disk itself. The way they calculate the maximum usable size,
    the sectors available for a given partition, etc, etc, etc.
    Also, AFAIK Partition Magic does not support the BSD filelsystem, UFS or
    UFS2. To say that precisely, PM doesn't even know these filesystems. All
    it can do is to identify them by their type signature in the MBR.

    It is hard to tell which tool to use for partitioning, boot management
    and mbr maintenance.
    If you have a DOS floppy, you may want to try *part* from
    http://www.ranish.com/part/ . Maybe version 2.40, or if you are brave
    then try the latest.
    PM also comes with a MBR editor tool.

    As for boot manager, I never liked Boot Magic.
    The best ever boot manager I have come accross was System Commander
    (even purchased it) from v-com.
    http://www.v-com.com/product/System_Commander_Home.html
    Although later versions included a nice GUI interface, I always
    preferred the text only version.
    Later I wanted to leave the commercial software territory and move to
    opensource alternatives, so I ended up with XOSL.
    Also at http://www.ranish.com/part/
    This is a fantastic, free boot manager, I still use it occasionally.

    Ultimately I believe I will settle with GNU Grub, however.

    Partitioning wise, v-com has a product named Partition Commander,
    similar to Partition Magic, but I preferred PM.
    For the last few years though, I concluded that the best tool for
    partitioning is still the native partitioning tool of the OS you are
    creating the partition for.
    If you want to install DOS, use the fdisk and format tools in your DOS
    distribution. For windows, use the windows installation tool to create
    the installation partition. For OS/2 use the built in fdisk or fdiskpm.
    For Linux, use the linux fdisk or cfdisk tool or whatever comes with the
    installer in the distro. And for FreeBSD use the fdisk and disklabel
    tools or invoke them from sysinstall.
    Besides that, DO NOT MESS AROUND THE PARTITIONS or the MBR!
    As long as I keep myself to this wisdom, I have no trouble with partitions.
    I don't even use PM any more on my systems.

    As for solving your current problem, try some of the tools I mentioned.
    A general rule is: the more "automatic" the tool is, the more likely it
    doesn't solve your problem. With pqedit and part you need to know what
    you are doing, but these usually allow you to fix your problem.

    Good Luck!

    Keve
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage,comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (More info?)

    Partition Table Doctor 3.0 -- partition recovery tool.
    Partition Table Doctor is the only real partition recovery software
    used to recover partition for hard disk when you experience a drive
    error
    (other than hardware failure) this versatile tool automatically
    checks and repairs the Master Boot Record, partition table, and
    the boot sector of the partition with an error, to recover the
    FAT16/FAT32/NTFS/NTFS5/EXT2/EXT3/SWAP partitions on
    IDE/ATA/SATA/SCSI hard disk drives. It can create an emergency
    floppy disk or a bootable CD for partition recovery even if your
    operating system fails to boot. Partition Table Doctor manager
    for MS-DOS, Freedos, Windows 95/98/Me, Windows NT 4.0,
    Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003.

    http://www.ptdd.com
    http://www.ptdd.com/partition-recovery.htm
    http://www.ptdd.com/recoverylostpartition.htm
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