Avr 042023
 

You need to boot in UEFI mode but do not want to convert your disk to GPT (with mbr2gpt for instance)?

-free some disk space (by shrinking you main partition for instance)

-create a FAT32 partition

-make your partition bootable with bcdboot c:\windows /s g: /f all (with g: being your new partition)

-now, shutdown your computer, modify your bios to UEFI, reboot and enjoy!

Oct 092022
 

You have settled a new disk as « dynamic disk » and now you want to go back to basic disk.

But the option is grayed out in the windows disk manager console.

Lets see how to revert to basic disk without losing data, with CloneDisk.

This procedure applies to a MBR disk but a similar procedure can be performed on GPT disk.

Warning here : if you work on a production disk/system, please do a backup/snapshot to eventually be able to roll back your changes.

First you want to check the partition table : indeed, you do need a partition table to perform this operation and if your disk is a « data » disk, i.e not a « system » disk, your dynamic disk most probably does not have a partition table to match your existing volumes.

See the below screenshots :

-we have 2 disks (0 & 1) : one basic (system) and one dynamic (data)

-we have 4 volumes (2 on each disk)

-second disk (disk 1) does not have a partition table reflecting its volumes (since it is a dynamic disk)

You need to use the « RETAIN » diskpart command to instruct your system to create a partition table for your volumes.

Note that most probably you would not need to perform this task if your disk is a « system » one (partition table will have been taken care of already by the system).

Now, lets have a look at the partition table again.

Much better 🙂

Now lets change the partition type for all partition (0x42 indicating a dynamic disk).

We will change our partitions (here number 4 and 2) to 0x7 aka IFS (for NTFS) and we will hide « dummy » partitions (a left over from the dynamic disk) to 0x17 aka Hidden IFS.

And we will do a offline/online to force the system to refresh its disk (we could/should actually also have performed this change offline and go online once done).

Now lets check our disk management console again and « tada » : our dynamic disk was reverted back to a basic disk 🙂

Sep 042022
 

A while ago, we have seen here how we could play with vhd differencing disks and starwind san free product.

However, the poor scripting capabilities of starwind san free associated with a strict licensing model renders this solution dodgy.

Today lets see how we achieve a better solution with powershell and windows iscsi target capabilities.

First lest have at the script below : all it does is create an iscsi target for the incoming requests if the target does not exist yet thus enabling one to boot many client devices from one unique parent/master.

Note : creating your master image (i.e a windows that can boot over the network using iscsi is not in scope here).


write-host "#!ipxe"
write-host "clear net0.dhcp/gateway:ipv4"
write-host "set gateway 0.0.0.0"
write-host "set initiator-iqn iqn.2006-11.1"
write-host "set keep-san 1"
#if pxesrv is running on the isci target, use ${next-server} instead of harcoded ip
write-host 'set target ${next-server}'
#
$TargetName = $args[0]
write-host "echo TargetName: "$TargetName
$vhdpath = "C:\_images\" + $args[0] + ".vhd"
write-host "echo vhdpath: "$vhdpath
$iqn ="iqn.1991-05.com.microsoft:"+$TargetName
write-host "echo iqn: "$iqn
if (-not(Test-Path -Path $vhdpath -PathType Leaf)) {
$parent = "c:\_images\iscsi.vhd"
#$result=New-VHD -ParentPath $parent -Path $vhdpath -Differencing -Confirm:$false
$result=c:\temp\vmount.exe createchildvhd $vhdpath $parent
$result=Import-IscsiVirtualDisk -Path $vhdpath
$result=New-IscsiServerTarget -TargetName $TargetName -InitiatorIds "iqn:iqn.2006-11.1"
#option : Set-IscsiServerTarget -TargetName "child1" -InitiatorId "IQN:*"
$result=Set-IscsiServerTarget -TargetName $TargetName -TargetIqn $iqn
$result=Add-IscsiVirtualDiskTargetMapping -TargetName $TargetName -DevicePath $vhdpath
write-host "echo iscsi target configured, enjoy !"
}
#
write-host $('sanboot --keep iscsi:${target}:tcp:3260:0:' + $iqn)

Lets first run tiny pxe server (as admin since we will be calling some low level powershell scripts) and lets call our powershell script from a remote device like this : http://192.168.1.147/iscsi.ps1?aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff (replace the ip with whatever your iscsi target is).

You should get a result like this in your browser:


#!ipxe
clear net0.dhcp/gateway:ipv4
set gateway 0.0.0.0
set initiator-iqn iqn.2006-11.1
set keep-san 1
set target ${next-server}
echo TargetName:  aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff
echo vhdpath:  C:\_images\aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff.vhd
echo iqn:  iqn.1991-05.com.microsoft:aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff
echo iscsi target configured, enjoy !
sanboot --keep iscsi:${target}:tcp:3260:0:iqn.1991-05.com.microsoft:aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff

And your iscsi target should look like this :

You are now ready to boot your devices by setting your second stage bootloader in TPS like this : http://@opt54/iscsi.ps1?@mac .

Every pxe boot device will get a new image if it dos not exist yet or will boot from its image if it exists.

Mai 082019
 

I have added a 2 extra formats in latest version : VHD/VHDX and LZ4.

VHD/VHDX is using MS virtual disk API and LZ4 is using opensource LZ4 library.

While at it, I also added extra WIM compression methods (LZX and LZMS).

 

LZ4 is quite interesting as in some cases it is faster to compress thru LZ4 compared to using a RAW format and this despite the CPU overhead.

LZ4 files generated by Clonedisk are compatible with LZ4.exe.

 

 

VH7E1Fe.png

Avr 212019
 

Following some notes around netcat here and here.

Some extra commands to backup a disk over the network :

-listen on port 9000 and dump the raw file
nc -v -l -p 9000 > dump.img
(restore with nc -v -l -p 9000 < dump.img)

-same but compressed with lz4 via stdin
nc -v -l -p 9000 | lz4.exe -1 stdin -f dump.lz4
(restore with lz4 -l -c dump.lz4 | nc -v -l -p 9000
and not with nc -v -l -p 9000 -e « lz4.exe -c dump.lz4 »)

-the same but with 7zip
nc -v -l -p 9000 | 7z a dump.7z -si
(restore with 7z e dump.7z -so | nc -v -l -p 9000)

-the same but with bzip2
nc -v -l -p 9000 | bzip2 -z > dump.gz
(restore with bzip2 -cd < dump.gz | nc -v -l -p 9000)

 

lz4 can be downloaded here.
bzip2 can be downloaded here.
7-zip can be downloaded here.
netcat can be downloaded here.

Jan 212019
 

You have this volume you want to backup but this is a live volume : some apps are constantly writting to it and you need to backup a snapshot.

Lets use CloneDisk and VSCSC

On the command line :
-Lets create a volume shadow copy : vscsc.exe -wait f:
In CloneDisk :
-lets assign a x: logical drive letter to our shadow volume copy (step 1 below) -> this step is optional
-lets backup this x: logical drive, or dosdevice if you did not assign a letter, to a file (step 2 below)

You can now restore from this file but also open it in 7zip, mount it with imdisk, etc.

Déc 152018
 

Lately I have discovered libnfs.
I quote « LIBNFS is a client library for accessing NFS shares over a network. ».

It is well documented and easy to use with Delphi (or freepascal).

I have decided to build a lightweight NFS client with simple features : discover, list directories, read & write files.

That could be handy at some point with either CloneDisk or TinyPXE Server.

Download here.
Discuss here.

Juin 112018
 

MakeIso will create an ISO from a source folder.

Supports multi-boot iso : x86 and EFI.
Support ISO9660, UDF, Joliet or any combination of these 3 filesystems.
Supports isolinux (checksum will be taken care of).
Tested successfully with Grub4Dos.

Mkiso is native (no external dependencies), standalone, built in on windows builtin imapi2.

MkIso is also part of CloneDisk.

Questions, feedback, requests welcome here.

Download here.

Regards,
Erwan

 Posted by at 20 h 06 min