This blog post is about how I recovered / restored a hard drive partition image which the PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost) LiveCD refused to restore. This post details the problem I experienced and how I find a way to restore the partition.Warning: You follow my hard drive partition restoration instructions at your own risk. If you lose data, money or experience any other problems, whether financial or something else, due to following these instructions or advice, you can not hold anyone responsible!
Why restore a partition image?
For many years I had been using the PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost) LiveCD to backup partition images. The objective for me being to be able to quickly migrate to a new HD due to a hard drive problem or upgrade.
I also know some technical support people use hard drive images to quickly setup computers. i.e. Rolling out a large linux deployment on a school network.
It really can be a time saver, as usually restoring a partition image takes a fraction of the time it takes to setup an operating system from a CD. Though obviously once you restore an old partition, you should immediately check for operating system updates etc.
I can imagine there are some headaches though, such as people restoring a Windows OS to different hardware, or accidentally restoring the wrong image and thus having two duplicate licenses running.
In my case, I was just restoring an image of a partition back to the same computer.
What was the problem?
My laptop hard drive died, but I had a partition backup available, so I wasn’t concerned…. until the image created using PING wouldn’t restore! I seemed to run into the following problems:
- It appeared the hard drive partition image was larger than the hard drive I was trying to restore to, which didn’t seem right.
- Another issue was ‘the file system could not be evaluated’ was occurring that wouldn’t allow the PING HD image to be restored.
My first action was to visit the PING website for help. Unfortunately it appears the development has been halted and the forum, whilst not shut are a bit quiet. Not surprising as the software hasn’t be updated in years. The forum search feature still worked, but I couldn’t find the exact solution. However it turns out PING is a GUI for Partimage, so I went looking for another liveCD to use.
At this stage I should of just sat there and reinstalled the operating system, applications and gone through all the configuration pain again! However I became determined to resolve the problem. I was a geek on a mission!
Here is how I solved the problem.
Here is the short version of how I resolved the problem, and then I will provide some additional tips afterwards.
Note: If you’ve experienced the same problem that I did, a lot depends of the size of partition you are trying to restore. Luckily I had a spare 200GB hard drive available, which was larger that the partition I was having problems restoring.
Another note: I’ve written these instructions from my perspective, as they could be slightly different for you. If my replacement hard drive for my laptop had been 160 – 200GB in size, I wouldn’t of needed to perform some of the instructions as outlined below. So please read through the steps, and then as you proceed tailor them for your specific requirements.
The instructions further below cover the following:
- Not using PING, I was able to restore the partition image to a larger USB connected hard drive.
- I then resized the restored partition to a smaller size, and created a new partition image (not using PING).
- I then restored the newly created image to the replacement hard drive in my laptop.
Confused? Between using two USB connected hard drives and a couple of LiveCDs, I was able to restore my large partition to a new smaller HD in my laptop. It was a three stage process, time consuming and a bit geeky. So even though I originally backed up using PING, the restoration was achieved using more recently updated software.
It would have been easier for me just to perform a clean install, but I decided to resolve this problem and I hope you appreciate the solution:
- I downloaded and burnt the ‘System Restore CD‘, which is a live cd that contains the package PartImage that PING uses!
- I placed the partition image I wanted to restore onto a HD in a USB enclosure.
- I then connected up a 200GB HD in another USB HD enclosure. meaning I had two USB hard drives connected!
- I then used Partimage on the system restore CD (which is actually quite easy to use) to restore the image to the large 200GB hard drive. *
- I then used a Gparted live cd (I probably could of used System Restore CD again, as it also has Gparted), to shrink the newly restored image partition size.
- I then backed up the newly, but importantly smaller partition using Partimage on the System Restore CD (I wasn’t going to use PING!).
- Finally I was able to restore the new smaller partition image to my small replacement hard drive in my laptop.
Blimey, that was a bit of work! However it shows that a solution was available. Now it took me a while to suss out the steps above.
How to restore a partition image stored on a NTFS hard drive in a USB enclosure.
* In step four above I had to mount a NTFS hard drive which had the original PING HD image on, in order to read the files to restore using the Partimage package on the System Restore CD. Here is how I did it:
- I ran ‘Show Filesystems’ to find the dev path of the USB HD with the image. In my case it was sdb1.
- I then opened a terminal window and typed: cd /mnt
- Next I typed mkdir 40GB (the name i.e. 40GB doesn’t really matter).
- Finally I typed ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt/40GB (the external HD was NTFS formatted).
- Then I could run PartImage. **
So this means I’ve mounted the hard drive in Linux for Partimage to see the files, in order to restore elsewhere.
How to use Partimage to restore a partition image.
** Perhaps you need a bit of help, trying to work out how to use Partimage? That’s okay, it isn’t easy!
- With the partition image to be restored readable, run the Partimage software.
- Select the drive to restore the image to.
- Browse to where your backed up partition image files are, and select the first image in the set. i.e. sda1.000
- Select ‘Restore partition from an image file’.
- Double check all your settings!
- When ready press F5 to continue.
- The rest of the instructions are simple to follow.
Is your restored operating system not booting?
If you find your computer isn’t booting your newly restored OS on the restored partition, you can always look at repairing it using ‘Boot Repair Disk‘. If you are using Microsoft Windows, you should be able to repair it with the installation CD. Also remember newer versions of MS Windows often can repair boot issues for older versions of the OS. i.e. A Windows 7 installation CD can be used to repair a boot issue for a Vista OS.
Blimey that was geeky! I should of typed these notes up sooner, so I apologise for any errors, but hope they point you in the right direction. If I left something out or got something wrong, I’m sorry.
Usually I leave comments open, but other than writing this useful blog post, I definitely don’t want to respond to support questions for partition restoring! Please don’t bother me with questions via a contact page either! Regardless, I hope this blog post helps someone.