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 Converting a File System after Restore <RENAMED>
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gpspigeon
Starting Member

Australia
6 Posts

Posted - October 07 2007 :  14:22:50  Show Profile
A great feature of the Reflect utility is the ability to extend the size of the partition being written to a size greater than that occupied by the original image in order to create some workspace on the re-written partition.

In my case I had an 8Gb drive that I wanted to clone and expand on to an 80Gb drive. Reflect did as asked and let me expand my FAT32 8Gb partition to around 80Gb while writing the new partition. (It is my understanding that FAT32 can support up to a 8 Terabytes under WindowsXP).

At a time when Windows XP still reported that I had available around 55Gb of the 80Gb total, the operating system informed me that it could not copy a 5.0Gb file onto the apparent 55Gb space because there was not sufficient room. This Microsoft link explains why. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463/EN-US/. For FAT32 systems Windows requires files less than 4Gb and it is usually only formats partitions based on FAT32 to a maximum of 32Gb. (Although windows can read and write larger than this size in FAT32).

I circumvented my problem by creating two partitions on my 80Gb drive by growing the 8Gb partition to around 30Gb and then creating a second partition for the remaining 50Gb but formatted as a NTFS file system.

For my wish list I would like to see Reflect handle this situation automatically with appropriate messages/prompts to the user. A better solution could allow the expansion to occur as just one 80Gb partition written in the higher capacity format. The final disk would need to act as a perfect clone in spite of the restructuring resulting from the changes in file configuration.

Perhaps others may wish to comment further. I certainly hope so.

Regards

Gpspigeon

Nick
Moderator

United Kingdom
6129 Posts

Posted - October 07 2007 :  15:29:04  Show Profile
Hi Peter

FAT32 will only handle files up to 4GB in size. This is true regardless of the size of the FAT32 partition. There is no difference in this respect between a 30GB and a 80GB partition. Reflect will however store an image file of ANY size on a FAT32 partition. It does this by splitting the image into 4GB chunks as it writes.

Could you explain a bit more about the 'situation' that reflect could handle 'automatically'?

I'm sure I've just misunderstood what your 5.0GB file is and why Reflect should know about this file at the time of writing the partition table and offer an alternative partition scheme.

Many thanks for your input so far.


Nick - Macrium Support
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gpspigeon
Starting Member

Australia
6 Posts

Posted - October 08 2007 :  02:03:13  Show Profile
Hi Nick,

Sorry if I have not been clear enough in expressing my thoughts.

I see that there are two computer environments at play in this discussion. The first I will call the "Reflect" utility environment and the second relates to general everyday computing, I will call it the "outside" Reflex environment.

Within the Reflect environment everything you comment on is true. Reflect handles those files over 4Gb admirably. My problem and hence my post, came as a result of WindowsXP in the outside environment not being able to handle one of the disk image files (actually 4.27Gb in size) I had created with Reflect because I asked it to copy the file to my recently expanded FAT32 partition of which 55Gb of space was available. WindowsXP said "Not enough room". I note that you split an image into in 4Gb chunks when writing to FAT32, however my image file was larger probably because I initially wrote it to a server running Linux and later saved it to the 300Gb SATA drive. (I love Reflect)

On face value this is not really "Reflect's" problem however from a users point of view it would have been handy to be fore-warned that files over 4Gb cannot be written by WindowsXP to FAT32 partitions and offer an alternative partition scheme. If for instance an original 8Gb FAT32 partition image was able to expanded and be rewritten as an 80Gb NTFS partition this problem evaporates. Whether or not this creates issues with the way installed applications run is something on which I cannot comment because it is an area outside my experience.

Case study notes:-

In addition to the 8Gb->80Gb Drive "C" upgrade of my computer, I needed to offload information on a 300Gb SATA drive so that I could reconfigure it from a "dynamic" (presently unsupported by Reflect) type to a "basic" type to take advantage of your capable utility.

Initially I created the 80Gb partition as drive "C" but for reasons already described I had to use WindowsXP to transfer files from the 300Gb to it. It was while attempting this process that the 4Gb limit of FAT32 raised its ugly head and I had to rethink my strategy. It was all simple enough to do but it required a lot of care and several hours with screwdriver at hand, image rewrites and so on to achieve the current successful outcome I now enjoy.

In these days of DVD and indeed the disk image files created by Reflect, files exceeding 4Gb are becoming common. If my system was only populated with a single 80Gb drive formatted with FAT32 it appears I could not use WindowsXP to copy these files, conversely, allowing a user to rewrite an expanded image in a different partition scheme solves such problems. I believe by including this feature users in the "outside" Reflect environment will appreciate the additional flexibility of what is already a most useful utility.

I hope this helps clarify my thoughts on such a feature.

Gpspigeon
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Admin
Forum Admin

United Kingdom
132 Posts

Posted - October 08 2007 :  07:55:43  Show Profile
Hi Peter

I renamed the title of this topic purely because at first glance it looked like you were asking for Reflect to be able to grow a partition, which of course it can

Your situation would have been made a lot easier had you known about an XP facility to convert FAT32 to NTFS....

'convert X: /fs:ntfs' (Where X: is the letter of the drive to convert)

Simply run this command from the command prompt to convert the file system to NTFS.

I don't consider this to be something that Reflect should do automatically, but, perhaps an informational message box at the end of the restore?

Cheers

Nick
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gpspigeon
Starting Member

Australia
6 Posts

Posted - October 08 2007 :  11:27:35  Show Profile
Nick,

Great solution. I like it. I didn't know about the "convert" command until now.

Your suggestion of a message box to prompt a user on how to easily migrate to a new file structure is spot on! Lame users like me have a lot to learn about the not so common features available under the hood of our black boxes. It is always rewarding to scratch beneath the surface and take on board some useful advice from more experienced players.

In closing I would like to add an additional observation. Many less experienced users will be phased by running commands at the command prompt. It appears that it is not going to be particularly difficult for Reflect to interface to the "convert" process in a user friendly way that does not require a user to know about the Windows command line. From what I have seen attention to user friendliness is already a corner-stone of the software design philosophy at Macrium Software.

Thanks for your comments. Keep up the good work.

Gpspigeon

Edited by - gpspigeon on October 09 2007 01:45:46
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