Hard drive partitions wrong numbering!?

#1
My hard drive is currently partitioned like this:


Anyway, as you can see, I first installed Vista on the first partition in the only drive available in my laptop and then created a partition for XP and installed it there. I don't have anything on the XP drive cause I'm about to restore a image of the system due to some problems.

Before I had partitioned the drive to install XP, the properties for the Vista partition as reported by Acronis were:
First Partition (Vista):
WinNT/2000/XP Numer: d(0)p(1)
Linux Number: \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP0T0L0-01

After creating the partition for XP I got this:
First Partition (Vista):
WinNT/2000/XP Numer: d(0)p(2)
Linux Number: \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP0T0L0-02

Second Partition (XP):
WinNT/2000/XP Numer: d(0)p(1)
Linux Number: \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP0T0L0-01

How is this possible? Why Acronis displays the correct partition order (as you can see in the image but displays wrong information like that?

I don't know if this is ok and I shouldn't be worry, but I get the feeling something is not right... Can someone elaborate on the subject?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
The physical order of partitions on a hard drive isn't actually tied to their order in the MBR.

Think of the MBR as a table of contents. It has a list of partitions, where they start, where they end, what their filesystem is, their cluster size, etc.

It's like this:
Code:
PARTITION	START	STOP	TYPE	CLUSTER
p1		1000	1500	80	4kb
p2		1600	3800	53	8kb
That is a healthy MBR.

Your MBR is just out of order:
Code:
PARTITION	START	STOP	TYPE	CLUSTER
p1		1600	3800	80	4kb
p2		1000	1500	53	8kb
This isn't fatal. Any program written correctly shouldn't have a problem dealing with such a configuration.

This is most likely caused by using a non-standard partition editor at some point (Acronis is very good!) - such as the in-built Vista shrinking feature or something else. It's also caused by hard drive corruption (ever had to run chkdsk /f and found out something was wrong?) and a bunch of other reasons.

So, in the end it's not right but it's not wrong either. It's just non-standard and very different. Nothing to worry about, but definitely not something to be proud of either :smile:
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
This would do the trick, but it's a bit risky.

1. Backup your MBR.
2. Delete all partitions - NOTE: delete the partitinos, but not the data! make sure you don't press format, just delete.
3. Use the Acronis partition recovery expert. It'll recreate the MBR in the correct order.

Note that after this you'll have to reinstall the Vista bootloader to the MBR.
 
#5
As you say it, is a bit risky and I would do it if I could just backup the whole disk but I can't as I don't have where to store all that data. Maybe, some other time.

Thanks anyway!
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
Backing up the MBR should be sufficient. If the Partition Recovery Wizard canot locate the deleted partitions, restoring the MBR will bring them back.

Of course, if you aren't comfortable with this it won't kill any kittens to leave it well enough alone :smile:
 
#7
Yeah, I'm not that confortable and It's not a big issue... I'll do it whenever I have the change to backup the entire disk first just in case.

"Recovering deleted partitions" doesn't sound good to me... :X

Thanks for all your help and insight on the subject :wink:
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
You're welcome. I wouldn't personally risk it either if it wasn't getting in the way.