BartPE to the rescue

Problem:

My mirrored RAID array died on a Dell Precision 380.  The hard drives were 80 GB each, and I wanted to create a new array that was bigger, and move everything to the new array.

Tools used:

BartPE (PEBuilder)

–  Microsoft DiskPart

–  DriveImage XML

–  Dell Support (for Drivers)

REGEDIT and SC (Windows command-line tools)

Solution:

I created a new RAID array using Intel’s Matrix Storage menu, which doesn’t give a lot of options.  The new drives are both 160GB, so I made a RAID 1 with them, and kept the good RAID 1 drive from the old setup.  I had to integrate the Intel Matrix storage drivers and DriveImageXML into BartPE, then create the disk so that I could boot from it.  I booted into BartPE and ran DriveImageXML to copy the old partition to the new partition. Then I marked the partition as Active in Diskpart by typing:

NET START DMSERVER
NET START DMADMIN
DISKPART
SEL DISK 0
SEL PART 1
ACTIVE

After that was complete, I shut off the computer, removed the old drive, and started it up again.

When I booted up, I got a strange result: Windows logs me on, and then immediately logs me off.  The problem, as it turned out, was that Windows wanted to assign the new partition a new drive letter instead of C:  After some research, I discovered that this is hidden in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices\
\DosDevices\C:
\DosDevices\L:

So after browsing the hidden paths \\systemname\c$ and \\systemname\L$ I was sure that there was no C: drive and that L: should have been C:.  Keep in mind that I cannot log into the system, but I know it is on the network.  I had to find some way to access the registry remotely, rename these entries, and restart the computer.

Enter SC and REGEDIT.  With Regedit, you can go to File – Connect Network Registry… and open a registry file remotely, provided that you have access and the service “RemoteRegistry” is started.  But that program was not started, so I had to start it manually from another connected computer:

C:\> SC \\sysname START RemoteRegistry

This started the service, and I was able to connect to it and make the necessary changes.  Whew.

2 Replies to “BartPE to the rescue”

  1. Nice post. But BartPE could potentially also fix your registry:

    Instead of going thorugh the (potential) trouble of accessing the system through the network – which sometimes also wont be possible – its easier to use regedit.exe while booted into BartPE and load the hive from your boot partiton while its “offline” ..

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