Help needed to recover other boot partition

By aSchwarzie · 32 replies
Mar 20, 2007
  1. kraft

    kraft TS Rookie

    Recovery continued

    Hi Arnie,

    Re Boot.ini: You will not get the boot loader screen to show with only one OS system installed, because there is no choice to be made. If you want to see the choice menu displayed just change your boot.ini as below (make sure that there is at least one blank line at the end shown as ** here (but not to be included ** in the actual boot.ini file),

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin

    From the boot loader I see that XP is on the first partition so Acronis is obviously on a second hidden partition.
    As I said previously it is probably FAT16 or even Linux neither which can be recognised by XP (there are many types of file systems: DOS, Fat 16, ext2, ect3, reisers, Mac, Unix ete.) but XP only recognises FAT 32 or NTFS. There is another way to hide a partition, a bit primative but it works The drive letter may be removed. To check this go to Control Panel -> Admin Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management this will give you a picture af all the partitions and disks on your comp. Look to find if one is shown without a drive letter assigned. If you find one then right click on it and assign one. If there is a partition shown as not recognised then you will have to find out what file system it is. Partition Magic also has a facility to hide partitions but I doubt if Acronis has the ability to use this remotely. Pressing F11 on start (on the face of it from your previous info) is booting into another OS.

    As I said previously the free small program (run via the dos prompt) called "bootpart" which will tell you what type of partitions U have on the computer. If it wasn't simple drive letter hiding then you have to find out this way what you are dealing with. The reason activf11.exe did not work is probably because XP couldn't recognise the file format & just threw up it's hands in surrender. However you could try run from the DOS prompt and not the "run" command line.

    It is also impossible to "Hack" into a partition using a different file system format. Windows file types are b (native) & 5 (extended), Linux are 82 (swap) and 83 (native). If you find another listed and not identified then do a search via Google or similar.

    Note that linux can run on less than 1GB (including swap file), you can also get linux to run on a thumb (flash) drive. There is a possability a linux distro may be on your 3gb partition (a small version of linux in bed with the image files which are probably .iso).

    I personally would get the full version of XP (French) from the torrent network, as I mentioned previously. Then reinstall/repair as I said before. Re-format the unknown partition to NFTS and use it as a fixed page file 1500-3000mb and reduce defragmentation on the comp.

    Be careful with %root% pchealth\helpctr\binaries\msconfig.exe

    TestDisk is a very good program and will also supply excellent file info.

    Have enclosed xp (french).torrent file as zip attachment.

    Keep at it and u will win.
  2. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Other forums for help

    The next leg of our journey will take us to see the beauty of ISO & IMG . It seems that we need the ability to extract files from image files and the ability to transform boot floppies into boot CDs.

    Reference: Techspot ! Misc.Software & Utilities – led me to

    Google search keywords: iso image floppy boot
    Google search keyword : winimage
    Other forums, shareware, freeware: ……. Bart PE help section ...... yes

    Happy Hunting
  3. kraft

    kraft TS Rookie

    Making a boot Cd to emulate drive A (floppy)

    Hi Arnie,

    To add to other information supplied, I enclose attachment with instructions on how to create a Boot CD which will act as if it is drive A. The use of this CD will require a basic knowledge of using MS DOS. This may allow U to access the hidden partition and copy the image files from the hidden drive assuming the file system is FAT16. It will not work on any of Linux file systems.

    Bart PE is good as as it creates a boot CD with Windows XP Pre install Environment (PE) and you can add other programs (image extraction etc.) of your choice during creation. Keep in mind the maximum capacity of your CD (about 700mb). Everyone with a computer using Windows XP should have one of these CDs.

    However, Bart PE it is really a skeleton version of XP and I doubt if it will pick up your hidden partition.

    Good luck,
  4. aSchwarzie

    aSchwarzie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OMG !! I'm so ashamed ! I *never* realised (or deleted the notice) that some more replies where posted here I'll need to read all these and carefully see what can be done ! Thanks a lot and please accept my apologies for thinking that I was left alone out there in the dark...

    Hi JesseM, thanks for the hint. I downloaded it and used it in "analysis" mode on my personal computer and understand what it does. I'm not sure this is a utility I actually need as I more and more believe the second partition is actually a content that only Acronis software would be able to access, but I'll keep it at hand when I return to my friend's place !

    Hello Kraft !
    Okay, I've been through this instructions file and believe I understand what it does. The trick might be in locating all required file... And I also see there is a lot of manipulations at hand.
    I'll now read your other recommendations... Goch you made a GREAT supporting effort for me man, I'm so impressed ! Thanks a lot, once again, Kraft !
  5. aSchwarzie

    aSchwarzie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay, I understood that. Good to know.

    I believe that too yes, especially when you look at the screenshot I attached.

    Is there any probability that before the system got broke, i.e. when F11 **WAS** actually switching to Acronis True Image before Windows would apparently load, that this Acronis program was accessing that separate partition with its "own" means ? Did Acronis load *IN PLACE* of Windows XP or was it loaded by Windows XP ? Would Arconis be able to access that second partition like a "bit stream" without first loading a known file system like FAT 16 or FAT 32 ? (I realise how crazy my question is...)

    Okay, I'll test that.


    I hope I won't need to do that... a bit beyond my skills I'm afraid !

    Curiously enough, after the (erroneous) install of WinXP UK over the existing installation, I could'nt find ANY Acronis code file in any Program Files folder. I was at least expecting that !
    I *might* be wrong but I *guess* that activf11.exe would create a boot entry in the boot.ini file (to be accesses via F11) that would load an Acronis code file (to load as an OS ?) that would be able to access that "hidden" partition and "reapply" back to the C: drive the contents of that partition, that were copied there as a "valid" folder structure and content image from C:, initially taken from a clean (i.e. very initial) and successful installation.

    You mean by "simply" renaming the .exe as a .com ??

    I most certainly value and praise and acknowledge your level of expertise (along with pretty good pedagogic skills here man) but I'll leave that "Hack" thingy to others, the true gurus that even geeks admire...

    I believe indeed that this seems to be the most realistic (though still a long walk) way to reach a final solution. I'd need to collect and driver's reference information to also download the corresponding device drivers (as my support OEM DVD with all utilities is in GERMAN !! Heck, what else !?)

    Hmm, sure, why you say that ?

    Yup, i'll give it a try, most certainly.

    Eeeeh, any suggestion about a recommended Torrent downloader I might want to use ?

    Thank you sooooooo much for the sustained and very high quality supporting efforts, kraft !!
  6. kraft

    kraft TS Rookie

    Hi Arnie,

    I use the free BitComet (

    Azureus is good but needa Java to run and is resource hungry.

    As a matter of interest, I believe your problem partition was created by Acronis to store the image file it created. So just format (NTFS) and use it to host your pagefile.

    msconfig.sys controls what you load and don't load both for files and services. removing items can have serious consequences and could result in XP not loading correctly. However, that said, it is an excellent way to remove unwanted items from your system tray. I suggest you get the excellent free program called Hijackthis from ( It does the same thing but much more frendly with backup options.

    Good Luck
  7. aSchwarzie

    aSchwarzie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I finally went for Azureus (new version) beause BitComet got an increasingly negative user feed-back about bugs and failures and ads/spam.
    I loaded the ".torrent" link you provided but no download started so far (I could test other downloads so the install is okay) -- seemingly there would be no such source online now ?? Strangely enough, a simple Azureus Search on "SP2" or on "Windows" returns NO result at all !? Aint' that suspicious ?

    If I went to wipe it all out, why not completely merging that partition with the existing C: ? And in the end, 3-4GB is a huge space for a page file, no ?

    Yup I know Hijackthis thanks ;-)
    I think I went into "run msconfig" already and saw nothing special in the start-up entries : I was actually HOPING to find an entry pointing me at some Acronis executable file but was desperate to find nothing ! Even in "Program Files" I saw no Acronis folder at all ! :-( Sighhhhh. But I'll give it a try once again -- maybe the services section deserves a second look... Sorry of this all takes such a delay, but my friend's living in a city 50miles away from mine...

    Thanks for the advice once again Kraft !
  8. kraft

    kraft TS Rookie

    Hi Arnie,

    at 2040 European time on May 06 there were 3 active XP Pro French active torrents at the link below (same as previous). Go to this link in your browser.

    Click on the torrent you want and it will expand to give more info. Click on download.torrent and this will save a small file with a.torrent extension to your computer. drag this into Azureus and the torrent will start. The download may take a few minutes to get active & gather speed.

    Note that the numbers under the S & L columns (seeds & leeches) indicate how active the torrent is. The higher the numbers the better. Try downloading all 3 of the torrents and drag into Azureus and see which is performing best.

    Torrents do not last forever and when everyone has got the file it stops being available i.e. there will be a zero under one or both of the S & L columns.

    There are many more torrent sights besides Isohunt. Check them out for other XP Pro French as all sights do not have the same availability.

    Pagefile: merging partitions can be tricky. "Partition Tragic" didn't get that name for no reason. If windows controls page file automatically this will cause defragmention of the hard drive (which is annoying) so it is better to have it as a fixed size on a small partition. Any unused space on this small partition can still be used. I make my swapfile 1500 to 4000 this almost eliminates defrag and speeds up overall perfotmance NB 4000 is the Maximum size. Also a good idea to assign the swapfile partition a higher drive letter (to have it tucked away) e.g. x,y or z.

    Hope this helps
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