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Not enough free sectors for PartitionMagic

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by Isak O, Feb 16, 2007.

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  1. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Hi! I hope you can help with this tricky problem.

    Sony Vaio PCG-9411 laptop, 6GB HD, 192MB RAM, Windows ME.

    The laptop has two partitions, C (a primary partition) and D (logical partition), of roughly equal sizes. I have installed PowerQuest's PartitionMagic 8.01 (build 1274) (minimum installation), and am left with 177MB of space on C according to P.Magic, but 155MB according to Windows Explorer!, and loads of space on D. There does not appear to be any hidden partitions on the disk, though I can't be sure - I haven't tried to boot up in DOS and look for one with Fdisk. I think any hidden partition would show up in P.Magic.

    No matter what I try, P.Magic produces this error message:
    error #197 There are not enough free sectors in the first track. Please refer to the online user guide for instructions on how to resolve this issue.

    This is bad news. The userguide on the CD doesn't list this error. I cannot find any online userguide - it seems to have been removed with Symantec's takeover.
    Can anyone help? I badly need to resize the partitions or merge them, and both attempts produce the same message.
    Would it avoid the problem if I installed the drive in a USB caddy connected to another PC that has P.Magic installed?

    Any help very much appreciated! Thanks!
    Isak O
     
  2. WhitPhil

    WhitPhil Gone but never forgotten Trusted Advisor

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    This info is from the WayBack Machine.

    The problem is noted here with an indication that "wiping" that area of the first sector resolved the issue.

    This is the Symantec note about the error and it contains a link to the fix program, Head.zip.
     
  3. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Hi WhitPhil,

    Thank you for your prompt and very helpful reply. I have studied the links, and believe that what is described will work, but I cannot risk loss of data and therefore need to understand a bit more about the situation before going to work.

    This first sector, is that within or outside the primary, boot partition, C: ? What is supposed to be in it? What else may be in it? Does it hold the MBR or not?

    If I clean it up and later restore it, may the HD have lost its boot sector? May it have lost user data - or OS functionality?

    The laptop will run Norton Ghost from CD, but when doing that, the utility does not recognise my USB harddrive, and there is no optical writer in the machine. On this particular laptop, the hard drive is encased with no external access flap, and beyond my daring to take out. (I should have much preferred to take it out and back up the whole thing to another HD, and then use fdisk, format and restore.) As it is, I can only back up C: to D:, and that leaves little room for maneuvre, as the two partitions have almost equal sizes, and C: is all but full. I could write out the image to external USB DVD-R/W (after booting back into Windows) for safety, though if I need to restore from it, I'd need to copy it back to HD, and again be stuck with a too big D: partition. Not fun!

    However, if I make an image of C on D:, format C: and restore C:, will that leave the first sector empty, yet without risking data loss? Using PartitionMagic would then be straightforward.

    I realise am perhaps being too careful, it is because I don't know what may be in that first sector, and from experience I know the meaning of 'better safe than sorry'. This is very much frontier territory for me. I know this is a lot of questions rolled into one!

    Thank you for any further information that can help me decide which procedure poses less, or no, risks.

    Best regards,

    Isak O
     
  4. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Come to think of it, would Norton Ghost be likely to recognise and write an image to/restore from, a rewritable DVD in a USB caddy?

    Isak O
     
  5. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    You need to back up your data before making ANY partition changes to your system. Regardless of how much you read to prepare beforehand, there is a real risk of losing data in the process.

    You should also be making regular backups if your data is important.
     
  6. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Hi DoubleHelix,

    Yes, indeed, and thank you for responding. The trouble is not really the user data, they have been backed up, but files or data required for Windows or applications. Apart from the work involved, the laptop has some applications I don't know if can be replaced.

    Isak O
     
  7. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    I would suggest using an imaging backup program such as Acronis to make a full system backup. This should allow you to return the system to it's pre-partitioned state if something fails in that process. Then if the system works after the partition change, make another full system backup. Perform these on a regular basis. This is the only way you can restore the system and applications without having original installation CDs or executables.
     
  8. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Yes, I'm going to have to do that after all. It's a pain ... the image will all but fill up the second partition, and then there's not much scope for resizing them! So I'll have to transfer the image and hope I won't need to restore it ... And as the machine has no optical writer, that's going to have to be via USB1 to external disk ... slow, but no other options, short of getting the harddrive out, but I hesitate to do that, although I'm now being told that it sits under the keyboard, which should come off easily ...

    Thanks a lot, both of you who took time to respond, it is very much appreciated, and I'll let you know how things progress.
     
  9. Isak O

    Isak O Thread Starter

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    Well, here we are. The HEAD.ZIP utility worked just fine. Luckily Windows booted again without the removed bits, whatever they were, and replacing those bits also worked. Job done, one partition achieved, thank you to you both for your help.

    Isak O
     
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