Rescue media cannot read the images' partition


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JL Arranz
JL Arranz
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Hello, I'll put 3 posts as my problem has several ways to say it so.

This is not urgent because Windows 11 is working okay, but I've discovered that the rescue media (a mostly default Windows RE 11 USB pendrive, seen as F: from both Windows and the rescue media, new version v8.1.7675 but Idk since when is this happening) cannot access the partition with the Macrium Reflect images, it shows it with a small "forbidden" symbol (a red circle with a red "/" inside) and it is not among the available partitions/drives if you try browsing for an image. If the cause is what I ask in the following 2 paragraphs, I could have the same problem in other computers because they have a similar arrangement (2 MBR partitions with offset "0", not 1 MB as usual, although they're SATA disks, not USB like in this case).

First a possible shortcut. All mentioned partitions are NTFS. The images are in a 2TB USB spinning drive MBR style formatted with 2 primary and non-OS partitions, the first one (seen as D: from Windows and as E: from the rescue media) has about 64 GB and has small files (drivers, installers, documents,...), the second one (seen as E: from Windows and as D: from the rescue media) has about 1800 GB and has Macrium Reflect images from the W11 drive (formatted GPT with a C: drive and 3 small auxiliary items) and other large files.

(the "shortcut"): If you do this "normally" you get an empty 1 MB offset before each partition, but I've managed to supress it. My 64 GB partition goes from sector 0 to say sector 123,456,789 (invented for clarity, the real number is aligned to a 1 MB boundary -1 of course) instead of from sector 2048, and the 1800 GB partition goes from (say) sector 123,456,790 (aligned to a 1 MB boundary) to say sector 3600,456,789 (again, aligned to a 1 MB boundary -1) instead of from sector 123,456,790 + 2,048. There's a trailing unallocated space smaller than 2048 sectors (1 MB). Is this valid for a rescue media, or does it need the usual 1 MB offset?



JL Arranz
JL Arranz
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Another possible reason (and this is why I checked the result this time, what I don't use to do) is that the process of building the rescue media was not 100% fine, although a "Rescue Media successfully created" or similar was shown. I create it as an *.iso file (and integrate it with WinSetupFromUSB in a single USB pendrive that also has the Windows Recovery Disk; when booted, this pendrive shows both options and both load fine if choosen, this is not the part that I consider "not 100% fine").

This is a mini-PC w/o restart button, it only has a power-on button. I'm not sure what other functions does it have but I believe it's a kind of intelligent button that does what it considers most smart depending on the context, for sure it powers up if the system is off but plugged (red light, if the computer is on it's blue, I've never seen it in other colors, of course there's no info and Idk if this the hardware or Windows).

Well, possibly the Rescue Media build lasted exactly 10 minutes or some fewer seconds, and the screen saver didn't seem to kick in well for whatever reason and the screen was all black except the mouse pointer, that I could move (normally the screen saver would have shown images until I move the mouse, then the normal screen would've been shown). As the screen didn't react, I pressed the power-on button hoping to restart or shut down or anything. The normal screen appeared for a split second but then all black, not even the mouse pointer. Some seconds later I pressed it again and it seemed to restart or log out then in or anything, I'm not sure now if the first screen with the blue window plus the circle moving appeared, for sure the welcome screen did, I could then enter the PIN ("Windows Hello" system I believe) and the normal screen appeared at once (it didn't boot up normal, what takes 2-3 minutes more from this stage loading the systray etc, instead it seemed to resume the session from the same exact point). Reflect was open with a "Rescue Media successfully created" sub-window and possibly other subwindows from the ended Rescue Media creation process.

As I wasn't sure if the result was good, I tried to repeat it and compare. I couldn't because Reflect or Windows 11 stores it somewhere and they simply copy another file w/o building anything (this 1.08 GB iso file isn't in the Reflect folder nor in the %temp% folder, both are smaller although I searched in both anyway). I deleted both copies and tried again with the same result (file simply copied to the target folder from somewhere). Then I decided to try it and saw the problem.

JL Arranz
JL Arranz
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A minor problem: I've got 1920x1200 monitors but sometimes the Rescue Media starts at 800x600 and cannot be changed from there. 1600x1200 looks fine but I cannot get it always.

JL Arranz
JL Arranz
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Problem solved. It was the absence of 1 MB offsets in the USB drive. Putting them back solved the problem in the Windows 11 mini-PC, for both v8.1.7638 and 7675.

After trying the rescue media of versions 8.1.7638 (latest but one and previously installed) and 7675 (latest) in 3 other different desktops, one W7 and one W10 with similar drives arrangement (SSD vs eMMC for the Windows drive and SATA vs USB for the data drive, sizes and partitioning mostly the same) and another W7 with a MBR RAID 0 array with multiple OS and non-OS partitions instead, all aligned to MB but w/o any 1 MB offset in the data drives nor in the RAID, all combinations worked fine except v7675 in the W10 rig that had other kind of problems (partial incompatibility with classic RivaTuner and/or RTSS and blue screen when booting with the Rescue Media, there's a thread about this and I've got a message for it).

In conclusion, respect the typical 1 MB offsets in USB disks with several partitions.

jimrf97
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and integrate it with WinSetupFromUSB in a single USB pendrive


Careful with these 3rd party tools, could have timed malware.

You do not need special software to create a multi boot usb, just partition it with gpt layout I make each partition around 9 gb.
Then using 7-zip I extract each iso to a partition.
Keep track of the order, I use an avery labels, never had any problems.
I guess if msdos (mbr) structure only make 4 partitions. All my systems are uefi.
Just me, but I do not trust some of those 3rd party tools especially ventoy.

JL Arranz
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Thanks for the tip. In fact when I type the boot menu key (repeatedly as they've suppressed the different booting screens that let you know when to press anything) I have to select "Toshiba Transmemory Partition 1" (or similar). With your method I suppose the menu would also have a "Toshiba Transmemory Partition 2" entry and more if you do more partitions.

There's an ancient rule that dictates that "removeable" drives can only have one partition. I'm assuming that with GPT partitioning in UEFI systems (my Windows 11 mini-PC is UEFI) this restriction does not exist.

But I like the nice menu I'm getting with my current setup. Now I know that it could be considered redundant (it is subjective), but I still like it and I completely trust the program. The boot menu lists physical devices and partitions, and after that I get a software menu whose entries can be named by me: "Windows 11 Recovery Disk" and "Macrium Reflect v8.1".

GO

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