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FAQ

Last update: March 29th 2015

Index:

Q  1- Can I split a backup file into several smaller files that will each fit onto a CD (700 MB), even if use compression?

Q  2- Can Partition-Saving copy only the occupied sectors of a partition?

Q  3- Do you plan to provide such an option in the future?

Q  4- If I want to restore a partition, do I need to use an identical disc having the same format as the original?

Q  5- Sometimes it takes a long time to switch from the maximum file size window to the save window. Why?

Q  6- Using compression takes a long time. Would not it be quicker to save an uncompressed image file and use an archive utility to compress it later?

Q  7- Can I save NTFS partitions?

Q  8- Will Partition-Saving preserve the long filenames on Windows partitions?

Q  9- Is Partition-Saving compatible with Windows NT, 2000 or XP?

Q 10- How do I create a boot floppy?

Q 11- Why does it take such a long time to create a backup file?

Q 12- I cannot manage to create backup file on CD.

Q 13- Are files created using a prior version compatible with the current one?

Q 14- What can be done in case of error?

Q 15- Drive letter seems to not be correct. How can I know which is the partition I want to save?

Q 16- When I run program, nothing appears.

Q 17- What can be done when I get the error message "A sector containing parameters for filesystem cannot be read"?

Q 18- Can I save my partition on an USB storage device?

Q 19- Can I perform incremental backup?

Q 20- Can I extract only some files from backup?

Q 21- Will my SATA/RAID/... disk be recognised?

Q 22- There is no disk, displayed partition table is empty or has only one partition when I know there are several, what is wrong?

Q 23- How can I reach the "mount partition/use automatic naming" window without mouse?

Q 24- I cannot create files on NTFS partition.

Q 25- My computer does not have a floppy drive. How can I start with DOS?

Q 26- Why do I get a message telling me a file cannot be created/written?

Q 27- Why not allowing creation of file of more than 2047 MB (to fill up a DVD)?

Q 28- I can no more create backup file on saved partition even with choosing to save it on itself?

Q 29- With Windows version, I do not see my system partition or program tells me it cannot protect access to support?

Q 30- Can I change drive letter of my Windows installation from X: to C:?

Q 31- Can Partition-Saving be used with 512e disks (4k sectors disks emulating 512 bytes sectors)?


1 Can I split a backup file into several smaller files that will each fit onto a CD (700 MB), even if use compression?
Yes. The total size of the file is as it is written (even after compression is used).
Be aware that for this program 1 MB is equal to 1024*1024 bytes (standard notation for this should be MiB as everybody does not agree on MB size, it is sometimes 1000*1000 or 1000*1024 bytes, but MB is kept for backward compatibility and to reduce display length in some cases).
2 Can Partition-Saving copy only the occupied sectors of a partition?
3 Do you plan to provide such an option in the future?
Since V2.20 you can save occupied sectors only for FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and ext2 partitions (also for NTFS partition since V2.30).
I depend on OS information to determine which sections of a partition are occupied. Since I do not have this information for other partition types, occupied sectors only cannot be done for those.
If you want to save place when saving partitions different from FAT, ext2 and NTFS one, you can use a program that set all bytes of unoccupied sectors of a partition to the same value such as with compression this will reduce amount of space needed. If you do not have such a program, you can use the advice from Mr Lumir Mik: write a program that creates a file and fills it with the same value. Then erase this file.
4 If I want to restore a partition, do I need to use an identical disc having the same format as the original?
Yes if you have saved all sectors of the partition (that was the only option for versions prior to V2.20). Furthermore you can only restore a partition on an identical one and to the same disk location. It is a significant limitation but data can be dependent on the location of the partition on the hard disk. The limitation relating to the type of the partition can be resolved by writing the partition table when restoring, but it is a feature that I have not incorporated yet.
Since version 2.20, if you saved only occupied sectors of a FAT or ext2 partition (or NTFS for V2.30), you can restore it on a partition with a different format if certain size constraints are regarded. Nevertheless, the disk must have the same sector size as the saved partition, and the partition type must be the same (or must be compatible since V2.30).
5 Sometimes it takes a long time to switch from the maximum file size window to the save window. Why?
This happens when you save your partition over an existing file. If this file is large (e.g. result of a previous backup), it takes DOS some time to delete it. Note that from version 2.10, the file is deleted between the file name window and the maximum file size one (or before the save window in the case of batch mode).
6 Using compression takes a long time. Would not it be quicker to save an uncompressed image file and use an archive utility to compress it later?
It depends on the level of compression that you use with your archiver. If you use the maximum level you will waste time since you have to access the drive two more times. If you reduce the level of compression, you will save time but use more space. Note that starting from version 2.10, you can choose a level of compression that will allow you to make a compromise between time required to save and disk space needed (for V2.00, the only level of compression was maximum).
7 Can I save NTFS partitions?
Yes, you can. From version 2.30, you can even save occupied sectors only. However since Microsoft have never published specifications on NTFS structure, this was done with using some incomplete information and some rare features that appear in only a few instances are not supported.
DOS being not able to access NTFS partitions, you need to have a FAT partition that can be read/write by DOS (either another partition on hard drive, or using network mount, ZIP disk, ...) or use the internal NTFS partition mounting in order to create backup files. Some programs allow DOS to use NTFS partitions (see http://www.cgsecurity.org or http://www.sysinternals.com, but be aware that last one is not compatible with Partition-Saving) but in this case you should not use the saving a partition on itself feature.
8 Will Partition-Saving preserve the long filenames on Windows partitions?
Yes, it is one of the main goal of the program. Indeed, it is not possible to save/restore all files under Windows as some are protected because they are in use. Consequently they must be saved under DOS (or another OS that allows access to Windows partitions). But since DOS cannot recognize long filenames, either saving or restoring must be done at level where file notion does not exist, by physically saving the partition. Moreover this preserves the relative order of sectors, which may have an influence on the operation of some programs.
9 Is Partition-Saving compatible with Windows NT, 2000 or XP?
Yes, but you need to boot from a DOS floppy disk or CDROM and have access to a FAT partition (please read also question 7). From version 3.00 you can also create saving files on NTFS partition, but for this you have first to create files from Windows with the dedicated option then boot to DOS to perform saving.
10 How do I create a boot floppy?
You can use the bootable floppy disk based on FreeDOS that contains Partition-Saving (see spartbdk documentation). You can also create your own floppy disk with MS-DOS.
For Windows 9x, click: Start->Settings->Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs, choose the "Startup disk" tab. Insert an empty floppy disk into drive, and click on the "Create Disk" button.
If this method is not available for Windows XP, you can choose the "Format" option by right-clicking on floppy drive in Windows Explorer and choose the "Copy system files" option. However in the case the floppy disk is not configured, you have to configure the floppy disk manually. For this purpose you have to create two text files CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT on the floppy disk. In CONFIG.sys you have to install:
  • The CDROM driver file if you wish to use the CDROM drive. Its name is usually ATAPICD.SYS, CDROM.SYS or <your CDROM mark>.SYS (there are also some generic drivers that come with Windows). For the driver to be loader, you have to write "DEVICE=<file name> /D:<name>" where <file name> is the CDROM driver filename and <name> is any name of you choice that is less than 8 characters (ex: CD0001).
  • The driver file for the monitor. The one delivered by Windows is called DISPLAY.SYS. For it to be loaded you must write "DEVICE=DISPLAY.SYS CON=(EGA,,1)" (I doubt whether anybody does not have an EGA compatible monitor).
  • Finally you must configure the country (this is not needed for English people). To do that to must use COUNTRY.SYS file and write to CONFIG.SYS "COUNTRY=<number1>,<number2>,COUNTRY.SYS". The first number is the country code (033 for France) and the second one is the codepage that will be used (850 for France).
In the second file (AUTOEXEC.BAT) you have to put:
  • The program providing access to the CDROM. This is provided by Windows and is called MSCDEX.EXE. To use it, you have to write "MSCDEX.EXE /D:<name>" where <name> is the same <name> written for the CDROM driver line in CONFIG.SYS.
  • The program that configures the codepage you use (it will allow you to configure your keyboard) (this is not needed for English people). For this purpose you need two lines, one to prepare the codepage and the second to select it: "MODE CON CODEPAGE PREPARE=((<number>) EGA.CPI)" is the first line and "MODE CON CODEPAGE SELECT=<number>" is the second one. Each <number> must be the same and must be equal to second number in the "COUNTRY" line of the CONFIG.SYS file (therefore 850 for France).
  • Finally the instruction to configure your keyboard correctly (e.g. for French people it will access AZERTY mode in place of QWERTY). To do this you have to write "KEYB FR,,KEYBOARD.SYS" FR that is the country code (for France, so you have to insert a different code for other languages, or omitting this line can work).
To make sure all this works, you have to check that all files are on the floppy disk (CDROM driver, DISPLAY.SYS, COUNTRY.SYS, MSCDEX.EXE, EGA.CPI, KEYB.COM, MODE.COM, KEYBOARD.SYS). This is a minimal generic configuration (e.g. you can add mouse by adding a MOUSE.COM or MOUSE.EXE line (depends of file name) into AUTOEXEC.BAT file (and checking for the existence of this file on the floppy). For some countries instead of using KEYBOARD.SYS you may have to use KEYBRD2.SYS for certain keyboards).
For others versions of Windows, or if what is described above does not work, search the Windows help files (search for something like "boot disk").
You can also use the ready-made floppy disk published with Partition-Saving that is based on FreeDOS or any other ready-made floppy disk you can find.
Note: if you have a Windows 9X boot disk, you can use it to save a Windows XP partition (you have to use at least a Windows 95 OSR2 boot disk if you want to access a FAT32 partition).
Once the boot disk is created, copy the savepart.exe on it (use another floppy disk if there is insufficient free space, or a DOS accessible partition on hard drive). Then restart your computer with keeping floppy disk into drive. This floppy will boot. Once you have "A:\>" prompt, type <program directory>\savepart.exe (where <program directory> is where you put the savepart.exe (ex: C:\savepart\savepart.exe)) or change disk if you have written it to a separate floppy and run it.
In case your computer does not boot from the floppy drive but still boots from the hard disk, you have to change boot sequence in the BIOS (consult BIOS documentation to learn how to do this).
11 Why does it take such a long time to create a backup file?
Time required to write an image depends on 4 factors:
  • partition contents.
  • choosing to save only occupied sectors or all sectors.
  • compression level used.
  • whether you write the backup file to a hard-drive other than the one that contains the source partition.
You also can speed up saving/restoring time by using -nvd and -nvf options. These options can really improve performances, but in case your disk begins to be damaged, some errors can be not found and that will result in a bad save or restoration. These options are on as default beginning from version 3.80.
Note: I get a 30% speed improvement using these options, but it seems it is very dependent on motherboard and disk, as some users report me getting a great speed improvement (up to 90%) when using these options.

You can also use partition mounting instead of DOS access because it goes faster, but it needs you reboot computer at end of execution.

Some people use also successfully DOS UDMA drivers, but you have first to find them and read how to use them.

Regarding the compression level, here are some figures I obtained doing some trials (these depend on the computer and partition contents, but they are provided to give some idea), a standard figure of 100 has been adopted for uncompressed files:

Compression level
Time required VS. CPU speed (MHz)
File size
33
700
1700
Ave.
0
100 100 100 100 100.00
1
371 127 82 194 54.15
2
384 130 83 199 53.53
3
419 137 84 213 53.06
4
449 142 85 225 52.33
5
525 156 88 256 51.86
6
644 179 94 306 51.64
7
729 194 99 341 51.57
8
1065 255 118 479 51.53
9
1595 348 150 697 51.51
Graphical representation:
speed chart
Execution time VS. compression level
CPU speed:
  • yellow: 33 MHz
  • blue: 700 MHz
  • green: 1700 MHz
  • red: mean average
size chart Filesize VS. compression level.
As you can see the higher the deflating level, the greatest the time required. Also very little space is gained beyond the first setting (in some rare case (not shown here), you can even loose space). So choosing the maximum compression level is not the best option (even more for a slow processor).
Worthy of note is in case where you have a powerful processor, it takes less time to compress the data (low level) than to write it uncompressed.
Remark: restoration time is not really dependent upon compression level (disregarding the case of zero compression).
12 I cannot manage to create the backup file on CD.
CD burner manufacturers rarely provide DOS driver for their hardware. So you must first save backup files to your hard drive. Then when you boot into an OS from where you can burn CDs, you can create a CD with these files on. Be aware to not use a too high burning speed because some people get problems to read CD from DOS because of a too high burning speed.
13 Are files created using a prior version compatible with the current one?
This information is in the changes.txt file. As a general rule, files created with an older version can be used by a more recent version. The converse is often true, but not in the case of a new type of filesystem.
14 What can be done in case of error?
As a general rule you can contact me by mail <> and I will try to answer you as soon as possible. I will need all details on what happens (what you want to do, what options you choose, ...). Moreover if error message has a "Call tree:" or "Call frame traceback:" appears, you have to send me following values (at least the 10 first). It will allow me to find easily where error occurs. In answer, I can ask you more details (as downloading diskinfo/partinfo/fileinfo program) or to do some tries to better understand what happens.
15 Drive letter seems not to be correct. How can I know which is the partition I want to save?
This problem can occur by example when you have NTFS partitions. As DOS is not able to recognize them, a drive letter will not be assigned to it and those assigned to FAT partitions are shifted. The simplest way to know which drive a partition is, is to give to each partition a different name. As this name is displayed, you just have to choose the one that has the name of those to save. But for FAT partition, partition name can be stored into two places, and depending on those that is taken, it can seem to be wrong. In the same way if a FAT partition has "NO NAME" as name, it is because it has no name (and not because it has the name "NO NAME"). In this case, another way to know which partition to choose, is to look at the size of the partition.
From version 3.80, a new method allows finding the partitions to use: -fp and -ff options do program searches for a partition with relying on some marking file you created on it from your usual OS. You only need to be sure this file does not appear at the same place on two drives.
16 When I run program, nothing appears.
This can be a problem with screen display. Try using program with -bui option (savepart -bui). If nothing appears again, try -cui option (savepart -cui). If there is still nothing on screen, problem is certainly not with screen display and so it is better to contact me.
17 What can be done when I get the error message "A sector containing parameters for filesystem cannot be read"?
This message is displayed when program has found incoherence into filesystem or when a filesystem sector is damaged. One thing that can be done is to try to repair it with corresponding program ("scandisk <drive letter>:" for Windows 9x/ME, "chkdsk /f <drive letter>:" for Windows NT/(2000 ?), "chkdsk /p <drive letter>:" for Windows XP/(2000 ?), "fsck <device name>" for Linux). If error is due to a bad sector you have to do surface test to try to correct it. Once it is done, you can try saving partition again. If it still does not work and that is not due to a bad sector you can contact me.
18 Can I save my partition on an USB storage device?
Yes, you can as there was now some USB drivers for DOS. So you can download one, add it into CONFIG.SYS file and use the newly created drive to write saving file on. To find an USB driver for DOS and get more help on it, you can search on Internet or take a look at http://www.stefan2000.com/darkehorse/PC/DOS/Drivers/USB/ (the one I try without any problem is the Motto Hairu one, but I did not try the CD-writer feature as I do not have an USB one). Please notice that some people get an error message telling that file cannot be created or written. In this case, if it is not because file already exists and has read-only flag, you have to use the "-nvf" option for program to work (note: in case you access your USB storage device through mount, you have to use the "-nvd" option).
From version 3.80, -nvf and -nvd becomes default options, so you should no more encounter this problem.
19 Can I perform incremental backup?
Incremental backup is not available and will certainly never be. Partition Saving saves sectors and not files. So to know if a sector shall be saved again, it would have to compare each sector one by one, that can be very long and do that a lot of sectors are saved again in case of operation that modify a lot of sectors (as defragmenting).
20 Can I extract only some files from backup?
From version 3.30, this can be done with using "Explore a backup" option and can also be used with files created with previous versions. This needs that all backup files can be read simultaneously.
Before this version, this was available but only with FAT partition with using driver mechanism. As it can be run only from DOS, this allows only extracting short name files.
21 Will my SATA/RAID/... disk be recognised?
I cannot answer you, as I cannot test all disks and controller types. As a generalisation, if it is natively supported into your BIOS, you will certainly not have problem. You can perhaps need to get some DOS drivers for it to work. The simplest way is to try: if disk appears into disk list with a correct size, then displayed partition table is correct and for a known type partition, saving occupied sectors only is available, there will certainly be no problem. For information I got some people telling me that they have no problem with their SATA or RAID disk (thanks to them for information).
A good way to know if your disk is supported by your BIOS: if you can boot on it, there shall be no problem (less a potential size problem if your BIOS cannot access more than 128 GB).
From 3.50 version, you can use the Windows version of Partition-Saving if you cannot access your disk from DOS and you have the Windows drivers.
22 There is no disk, displayed partition table is empty or has only one partition when I know there are several, what is wrong?
If there is no disk or partition table is empty, this can be because of several reasons:
  • Program found an incoherence in partition table (some partitions overlap, end after disk end, ...). You can download partinfo.zip to display it and see what is wrong. If this one does not see any disk, you can check with diskinfo.zip or look for another reason below.
  • You are running on Linux or Windows and you did not launch program with administrative rights. On Linux you have to login as "root" or execute program through "su" or "sudo" command. On Windows you have to use the "Run as administrator" option with right clicking on program. For partinfo, diskinfo and drivinfo utilities, you have to launch the command tool in administrator mode.
  • If you are on DOS, or Linux or Windows with administrative rights and that is not the OS that is installed on the computer, it could be some driver, BIOS or UEFI incompatibility. In that case, you have to launch program from the same OS than the one installed on the computer. Recent OSes have live-CD or their installation CD allows running some repair mode from which Partition-Saving can be launched. Recent versions of Windows provide also a way to create such a repair CD or USB key (see your OS documentation). Once you have such a CD or USB key, you can look at "Use of Windows version with Windows installation DVD" document to know how to use it. In Linux case, it depends on the distribution, but it is often called "rescue mode" from where you get a prompt. From there you have to mount the partition where Partition-Saving program is and launch it.
If you get only one partition when several are defined, this can be because of dynamic disk usage (new partitioning scheme that is not supported in DOS version) or because of using some security program as Norton GoBack. In first case, you can use the Windows version with using Windows devices (do not save the whole disk as dynamic disk allows putting information on several disks and so some data will be missing). In second case, you have to deactivate the corresponding program (refer to this program documentation to know how to perform it).
23 How can I reach the "mount partition/use automatic naming" window without mouse?
This window can be reached with using Alt+Tab (twice in case window giving free space on drives is displayed) or Ctrl+Tab keys. To come back to window to enter filename, you have to use one of these keys combinations again.
Note: from version 3.20, mount partition button is into the window requesting for filename, so changing window is no more needed to reach it.
24 I cannot create files on NTFS partition.
This is standard program behaviour: from DOS it is not able to create files on a NTFS partition. You have to create files from Windows with the corresponding program option (or with creating empty files with Windows explorer), then boot back to DOS to be able to use these files as backup files with mounting the corresponding partition.
25 My computer does not have a floppy drive. How can I start with DOS?
You have to create a bootable CD. For this:
  • either you have another computer with a floppy drive that allows you creating this CD. In this case, you have to create the bootable floppy disk as described into question 10, then with your burning CD software you have to create a bootable CD: it will request you this floppy disk when it needs it to perform an image and burn it onto CD.
  • or you do not have any other computer. In this case you have to use an existing image of a bootable floppy disk or CD that you can use with your burning software. You can either use image provided with Partition-Saving bootdisk (see chapter 2.b of spartbdk documentation), or some burning programs provide their own bootdisk image or others images can be found on Internet.
Another way is to not use the DOS version, but a Windows version with creating a WinPE or BartPE CD.
A last way is to use a bootable USB disk or key if your computer allows booting from it.
26 Why do I get a message telling me a file cannot be created/written?
There can be several reasons for this error:
  • Support cannot be written (write protected disk).
  • File or directory is write protected.
  • Mount is read-only: when you mount a partition, you get a message giving the mount number and if it is writable with or without file creation or if it is read-only.
    If mount is read-only, it can be because it was badly unmounted last time it was used. In this case you have to check the filesystem (with scandisk, chkdsk, e2fsck, ...). It shall be noticed that in all cases, mounting a NTFS partition does not allow creating files (only changing size of existing ones).
  • You try to write an USB support. Some BIOS and drivers does not allow using file writing check, in this case you have to use the "-nvf" option (or "-nvd" if you access it through mount) when running program (savepart -nvf).
27 Why not allowing creation of file of more than 2047 MB (to fill up a DVD)?
This limitation comes from a filesystem that does not allow having bigger file and it will remain to ensure compatibility. For the specific case of a DVD, you can fill it up with choosing a file size compatible with the DVD maximum size. As an example, with creating files of 1550 MB, you can fill a DVD with three files per DVD.
28 I can no more create backup file on saved partition even with choosing to save it on itself?
This was modified with V3.50. From this version when saving a partition on itself you have to use the mount mechanism to access saved partition, you can no more use DOS drive. When choosing option to save partition on itself, it is automatically mounted (if you do not mount another partition before, it is 0: drive).
29 With Windows version, I do not see my system partition or program tells me it cannot protect access to support?
With Windows version, program needs to disallow other programs to access to saved partition, else it can lead to some incoherence into backup. But this cannot be done if some files are already opened on this saved partition. This is always the case for system partition. So either it does not appear into list of partition to select or its use is not authorised.
In order to save your system partition, you have to do it either from another Windows installation, or with a WinPE or BartPE CD, or from Windows Vista recovery console.
30 Can I change drive letter of my Windows installation from X: to C:?
Once Windows is installed with a given drive letter, you can no more change this drive letter (unless reinstalling it). Option provided by Partition-Saving is to treat case where you save your Windows system and restore it on another partition than this origin partition. It allows you to change drive letter of this new partition for it to get the same drive letter than the origin one such as Windows appears to not have been moved.
31 Can Partition-Saving be used with 512e disks (4 kB sectors disks emulating 512 bytes sectors)?
There is no problem using Partition-Saving with these disks. It is recommended that partitions get 4 kB aligned to improve performance, but as Partition-Saving does not create partitions, this is not a problem for it but for program used to create partitions. The only case where Partition-Saving "creates" partitions is when restoring partitions table, but as in this case aim is to get the same partitions table than origin one, it will not try to modify it.

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