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Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

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bmc
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Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Sorry for the long post!!!

 

I run Win7 on a NVME SSD. I also have Win10 or a separate SSD. Used to be dual boot until I started messing with Linux - now I have to re-start and go to the Boot menu to get into Win10. No problems with this - it works.

 

Earlier this year I was trying to get Win7 installed on an Inter NUC box - it took a couple of weeks before I found out Win7 doesn't work with NUC8 . As part of the attempt I was also looking to put Mint on the NUC SSD in a separate partition. Ended up with just Mint!!!

 

In attempting to clone in an OS I was advised to try CloneZilla. Works well enough - especially once I found out why I couldn't get things to work on the NUC.

 

As part of setting up the NUC I cloned my current Win7 & Win10 systems onto separate SSD's as back up. Win7 needs to be cloned rather than taking a backup as NVME SSD's don't work nicely with Win7 (no installed driver).

 

So this week I thought it was about time I re-cloned my Win7 setup to update the clone. Once I had figured out (again) how CloneZilla works I set about the task. It failed. Apparently there is a MBR/GPT discrepancy on the Win7 SSD (which I'm pretty certain wasn't there before).

 

Checked the disk using both Win7 Disk Management  and CloneZilla ( sudo parted -s /dev/nvme0n1 print ) neither of which shows a GPT partition. For reasons I cannot recall my Win10 SSD setup is on GPT (not that this has anything to do with my Win7 SSD).

 

I tried running the repair suggestion from CloneZilla ( sudo sgdisk -z /dev/nvme0n1 ) but this failed as it couldn't find a file.

 

To cap it all I can't boot from the Win7 clone SSD but can boot Win7 from a 15 month old clone on a HDD

 

Any suggestions

 

Thanks

 

Brian

12 REPLIES 12
VileReynard
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

And you want to do what, exactly? 😀

Wherever possible, I'd go for GPT - although Win7 seems to have problems with this.

 

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@VileReynard 

Thanks for replying.

 

I'm trying to create a clone copy of my NVME drive - something I've done in the past. This time however CloneZilla is refusing to run because of a mis-match in the drive between MBR / GPT.

 

However, I can't find any trace of a GPT partition on the drive.

 

Brian

PeeGee
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Seems to be a number of factors. I believe:

Disks are either MBR or GPT partitioned and MS Windows/GPT combination requires Secure boot, which I don't recall Win 7 having.

GPT allows simpler partitioning and much larger capacity discs than MBR can handle.

It follows, therefore, that you cannot clone a MBR partition onto a GPT disk (or the other way) without changing the partitioning and losing any data on the disk.

You can mix discs - I have a dual boot Win10/Linux with Win10 on a MBR disk and linux on GPT disks.

Phil

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bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@PeeGee 

Thanks for replying.

 

I didn't know GPT even existed until I was mucking about trying to get Win7 installed on an Intel NUC8 box a few months back.

 

However, I do know it has never been used on my main NVME M.2 drive - apart from anything else I'm paranoid about touching this drive as I'd never get Win7 re-installed (at least I don't think I would and have no wish to try). Win7 doesn't have the drivers necessary to run on NVME M.2 so you had to create a bodged install disk with appropriate drivers included (which I may or may not still have).

 

At some point Linux Grub may have had a toe on the disk - I lost my dual boot when mucking about with Linux a while back. I thought I had cleared Grub completely with Win7 as default install and Win10 available via the boot menu.

 

However, when running Clonezilla via a USB memory stick it insists that the NVME SSD has a mis-match between MBR & GPT and won't run.

 

Brian

VileReynard
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Have you thought of using clonezilla to take backups of selected partitions?

It should be fine in a mixed GPT/MBR setup (although it wouldn't protect against a total failure of whatever drive you take partition images of). Would be worth testing - just to make sure. 😀

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@VileReynard 

Thanks - worth a shot just to see what happens. I suspect it'll fail on the Reserved Partition where Grub might once have resided. It'll probably be next week before I have time to figure things out and try.

 

After I do that I'll clone my working clone copy (15 months old on a HDD) to the SSD used for the test. If that runs I can at least make a back up Win7 install. Wouldn't take that long to update all required programs and data files can be copied via another USB HDD (which acts as a data back up).

 

Brian

VileReynard
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Grub only uses the 512 byte MBR sector plus some of the unused sectors before the start of the first partition.

Windows tends to come with reserved partitions, sometimes hidden, typically 10 - 20GBytes.

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

TheRoadCrew
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Fix

@bmc wrote:

This time however CloneZilla is refusing to run because of a mis-match in the drive between MBR / GPT.


This mismatch?

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@TheRoadCrew 

Thanks

 

Yes, same error. So far I can't find any trace of a GPT partition.  Something to look at next week.

 

Brian

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@TheRoadCrew 

Progress

 

Using sudo gdisk as per your link shows a damaged GPT partition. CloneZilla suggested sudo sgdisk which shows less detail (and no GPT partition).

 

Now I just need to drum up the courage to follow the repair commands through. Before I do so I'll copy all my data files onto a disk in case things go pear shaped on my main NVME SSD.

 

Brian

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

@VileReynard 

I had a look at using CloneZilla to do partition cloning but decided it looked too complicated - thanks for the idea anyway. That, and thanks to a post from @TheRoadCrew  I have something to follow up on which will hopefully fix the NVME SSD.

 

Before tempting fate by trying to fix the NVME drive I've been getting my ducks in order so I have a fall back position if things go horribly wrong. Turns out I had 3 Win7 clones - one on a SSD which didn't boot, one on a USB HDD which did boot and appeared to be the most recent (April this year) and one on a HDD which not only booted but still had the dual boot setup. However, at 15 months old I don't think I'll using it.

 

I used "EaseUS ToDo" to clone the USB HDD onto the SDD which now boots so that's the first part of the fall back position. Tomorrow I'll format one of the HDD's to clear the clone and then use it to take a copy of all my data files.

 

Then, and only then, I'll attempt the repair using "sudo gdisk" on CloneZilla

 

Brian

bmc
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Re: Linux & MBR-GPT Partitions

Thanks to all who replied.

 

The link provided by @TheRoadCrew  not only gave the required "sudo" command but the options required to fix the SSD.

 

CloneZilla still refused to clone the disk but that was due to the target being smaller than the source (256gb v 250gb). Luckily EaseUK ToDo does not appear to mind differences in size so I now have an up to date working clone if required.

 

Brian