Strategic Informatics

A blog about the strategic application of technology

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Recovering a hard driving using SpinRite on a Mac using VMWare Fusion

I recently found myself faced with a 2.5″ NTFS formatted laptop hard drive from a 5 year old laptop that wouldn’t cooperate and would constantly fail so I decided to try and recover what I could from the drive by running SpinRite, a great application from Steve Gibson of Gibson Research that I have used successfully many times in the past to recover damaged or unreadable magnetic based media.  The last time I actually used it was about 12 years ago over the course of several days to recover a failing HD.  Computing and hard drive technology has changed a lot since then but they are still very much part of our day-to-day IT lives.  When I encounter a problem that needs extensive evaluation I would just run SpinRite on the x86 based PC from which the hard drive came.  However, after creating a bootable CD and USB key with SpinRite for use on the 5 yo laptop neither one would work so I decided to take a different route.  Without another PC handy I decided to assess my options…  My daily laptop is a MacBook Pro, doesn’t (thankfully) have an internal 2.5″ SATA bay and is sealed tighter than the sub in the Hunt for Red October…  So what’s a Mac user to do with an NTFS formatted magnetic HD that can’t be read, an old Laptop that won’t boot SpinRite, and no other PC’s within easy reach?  Try to run SpinRite from a Virtual Machine on a Mac of course….

Now for those of you who don’t know SpinRite was written in assembly and does very low level reads and writes against a computers magnetic mass storage drives.  FreeDOS has been incorporated into SpinRite distribution to allow it to boot to a bare-metal PC and mount any connected drives so you can exercise the individual bits of 1’s and 0’s stored on the drive, exercising it enough to get a magnetic drive in as good a working condition as the physical hardware will allow.  With any luck it will operate just well enough to get your information to a readable state and backed up before you have complete hardware failure…   Running SpinRite from a VM was a bit more involved to configure via VMWare Fusion on a Mac and I wasn’t completely sure it would work… so I thought I would share my experiences.

 

I created a spinrite.iso file from another Windows VM I use.  I then created a new MS-DOS based VM mounting the SpinRite.iso created from the SpinRite.exe file.  It booted to a familiar screen without any issues.

SpinRite_and_Blank_website__Blank_site__Nothing_to_see_here_

SpinRite_and_Blank_website__Blank_site__Nothing_to_see_here_

Now the challenge was to get the physical hard drive mounted to the VM…  Looking through the settings there was no way to get RAW access to a physical HD.  I used a SATA to USB adapter and had to connect the drive to my Macbook Pro ensuring it was mounted to the Mac not the VM.

I needed to create a Raw Disk vmdk to make the RawDisk accessible to the VM so I did the following:

From a Mac terminal (I prefer iTerm) type:

diskutil list

In my case the 160GB HD came up as /dev/disk2 but your particular configuration may be different.

1__bash

 

Next from the terminal run the following command to list the partitions that rawdiskCreator can see:

/Applications/VMware Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmware-rawdiskCreator print /dev/disk#

Note: Ensure that the last entry /dev/disk# is changed to the drive you are targeting for raw access.  In my case it was /dev/disk2

1__bash

What you should see next is your drive partitions…  My particular drive was split into two partitions (#1 was very small and #2 made up the bulk of my 160G HD)

With your partitions known and visible by the rawdiskCreator tool you can create the vmdk file that refers to the physical hard disk you are trying to mount and make it available to the existing SpinRite VM you created earlier.  You will need to know the location of the Disk and the partitions you want to mount from the previous command, which in my case is /dev/disk2 1,2 which says it’s disk2 and both partitions 1 & 2.  You will also need the path to the actual SpinRite .vmwarevm Virtual Machine that you created earlier (in my case ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/SpinRite.vmwarevm/rawDiskFile).  Now I used rawDiskfile but this is the name of your vmdk file and can be called whatever you like.  Make sure to include the ide designator at the end so the VM knows how to mount the drive.

/Applications/VMware Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk2 1,2 ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/SpinRite.vmwarevm/rawDiskFile ide

After you execute this command successfully you can option click the SpinRite.vmwarevm file and choose Show Contents.  Here you should see the files that makeup the .vmwarevm file including the new .vmdk file (if that’s what you named it) for each partition you listed above (1,2).  In my case it was rawDiskFile.vmdk & rawDiskFile-pt.vmdk

If you boot the VM now you won’t see the additional drive so you have to manually edit the configuration file for the VM to recognize the drive.  With the VMWare file contents still being displayed in finder you need to edit the .vmx virtual machine configuration file.  In my case it was called SpinRite.vmx because SpinRite is what I named my VM…  You should probably back up this file incase there is a problem and you need to start over.  Use your favorite editor (BBEdit, TextWranger, TextEdit, etc…) to edit the .vmx configuration file.  You want to insert the following lines to your configuration file being careful not to duplicate an existing ide#:# entry:

ide0:1.present = “TRUE”
ide0:1.fileName = “rawDiskFile.vmdk”
ide0:1.deviceType = “rawDisk”
suspend.disabled = “TRUE”

If the VM already has in its .vmx configuration ide0:1, use another port such as ide1:1.  It is also possible to use scsi#:# or sata#:# if the VM is somehow configured to use a SATA or SCSI controller.   The suspend.disabled=”TRUE” entry prevents the VM from suspending and being out of sync with the attached HD.  Important since most of SpinRite’s scans can take a long time to run.

The last step is to power on the VM and select your HD…  You may be prompted to enter your administrators password to get RAW access to the HD as the VM powers up.

Screenshot_4_30_15__4_12_PM

If you run into trouble it may be necessary to unmount the HD from your Mac by ejecting or un-mounting from Disk Utility prior to turning the VM on.

I won’t go into detail on how to use SpinRite as the tool is pretty self explanatory but the 160GB HD partition did appear in the interface ready to begin SpinRite’s operations.

SpinRite

SpinRite_and_Blank_website__Blank_site__Nothing_to_see_here_

SpinRite

 

Again this certainly isn’t an ideal setup as SMART access to the HD wasn’t available from within SpinRite menu options because, and I’m guessing here, of the SATA to USB setup but it might work in a pinch.  Hopefully it proves useful to your IT Toolkit and helps you extend the life of your SpinRite license which is worth every penny…

Update:  I tried a couple of drives and while it worked for one drive there was an error that completely stopped SpinRite and the VM in it’s tracks…   It only occurred on a specific section of the hard drive where there was clearly an issue…

SpinRite

SpinRite

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Performance issues with VMWare Fusion 6.01

I’ve had relatively great success with running Apple’s OS X Maverick since I installed a developer release on a second generation MacBook Air in June while at WWDC 2013.  No issues.  None.  Never-the-less, I hesitated updating my primary Mac with developer pre-release software.

When VMWare announced during this beta that VMWare Fusion for OS X was upgraded to version 6 with specific focus on compatibility with Mavericks and Windows 8 I promptly upgraded.  Running Windows on OS X 10.8 was every bit as fast as if it was running on native hardware.  No complaints…

When Apple announced the general release of OS X Maverick’s I upgraded my primary machine a 2 monitor setup to which I was looking forward to with the additional options available.  I upgraded, again, without issue.  When I started to run Windows 8 VM inside of VMWare Fusion I noticed a performance hit…  Ugh…  I knew it was too good to be true.  I can accommodate a lot in order to help satisfy my inquisitive mind however when it comes to daily workflow I have much smaller levels of tolerance.  I knew the performance issue probably had something to do with Maverick’s so I dug a little deeper and looked at the newly  refreshed Activity Monitor in OS X.  Nothing exceptional in the CPU and Memory tabs.   CPU was at a reasonable level before and after running a virtual machine in VMWare Fusion and I have plenty of room with 16GB of memory.  Nothing seemed to be pegging either metric.  I looked at Disk and Network… again nothing out of the ordinary.  Knowing that Energy was a new tab I haven’t seen before in Activity Monitor I selected it and noticed the “App Nap” column was listed and indicated “Yes” in the row defining VMWare Fusion.   App Nap is the new feature in Mavericks that allows users, thankfully, to allow OSX to put to sleep applications consuming excessive amounts of your limited battery power.  A great feature for laptop users but I’m using a desktop and plugged into AC.  Not as big of an issue at my desk.  Activity_Monitor__Applications_in_last_8_hours_

 

 

A quick scan of Apple’s support site led me to how to disable this feature on an app-by-app basis…  Here’s what I did:

1.  Open a Finder window and navigate to your Applications Folder

2.  Locate VMware Fusion, right click and select “Get Info”

3.  In the “General:” section of the dialog box you will see a checkbox for “Prevent App Nap”.  Make sure this is unchecked.

VMware Fusion

 

 

I terminated and restarted VMWare Fusion and launched my Windows 8 virtual machine and so far so good.  Performance picked up and I’m back to my original daily workflow.   Hope this helps other VMWare fusion users who might have similar issues.

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San Antonio HIMSS January Meeting A Success

Our January San Antonio HIMSS Chapter Lunch-And-Learn was a great success and we had another great turnout.  The board is always looking to improve your chapter so please let us know your feedback by e-mailing us your comments and suggestions.  Our contact information can be found on www.sahimss.org.  I would like to extend a special thanks to  Andrew Wilson and Robert Ross for speaking at this months engagement. I would also like to thank Dell for their sponsorship which helped feed our participants.

The SAHIMSS chapter has a lot planned for the coming months so I would encourage anyone with an interest in Healthcare and IT in San Antonio follow us on Twitter @sahimss or check our website for new opportunities to network and learn more about what HIMSS is all about.  There is a lot of potential for improving and facilitating healthcare IT in the Alamo City so let’s come together to make it happen.  Our next meeting is scheduled for February 16th so save the date and stay tuned for future updates.

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Synergy How To For Mac and PC

Working in an environment with multiple OS’s can be challenging when you have to shuffle between multiple keyboards and mice. A KVM only offers a single view of one device at a time, which is challenging when you need to switch between them frequently. I’m a huge advocate of virtual machines but you are still often limited by the available screen real estate of a single workstation. I’ve toyed with the idea of using the open source application Synergy for a while but have never taken the plunge until recently. What is Synergy? Synergy is an application that allows you to setup individual workstations, either Mac, PC, or Linux with their own dedicated monitors and utilize a single workstation’s keyboard and mouse to move among as many different Operating Systems as you need. You still need dedicated monitors for each of your individuals PC’s but a single mouse and keyboard will allow you to easily operate each OS on their respective monitor(s).

Synergy consists of a client application that runs on the workstations you want to control and an application that functions as a server to which you have a keyboard and mouse you want to use. In the scenario I’m going to present I have a MacBook Pro and and a Desktop PC running Vista. I will show how you can use the keyboard and mouse of the Mac to control the PC. I’ve also configured the Vista as a server which required a little additional effort. If you are interested in seeing this configuration then leave a note in the comments.

Using the Mac to Control the PC.

On the PC
You need to install Synergy on the Windows workstation you want to control.  You can get a copy from Sourceforge.net.  When you start Synergy just make sure you select “Use another computers’ shared keyboard and mouse (client)”, and in the “Other Computer’s Host Name” field enter in the IP address of Mac which we will configure as the server in the next step. Note if you need to find the IP address of your Mac click on the Apple icon in the upper right corer of your screen and select System Preferences…

Note: if you need to find the IP address of your Mac click on the Apple icon in the upper right corer of your screen and select System Preferences… Select the network card from the list on the left and you will see the IP address listed under “Status:”

On the Mac
You can download the latest SynergyKM binaries (.dmg) file for the Mac from Sourceforge.net. The one used here is 1.0 Beta 6.

The installation installs a configuration icon in your System Preferences folder. Open your System Preferences folder and select “Share my keyboard and mouse” radio button.

Now we need to configure the clients that will connect to the Mac’s keyboard and mouse. Click the + button to add another client to the list. In the Name: field enter the actual name of the workstation that will be connecting to your Mac. In my case, my Vista workstation was aptly called “VistaDesktop”. If you have other PC’s in your configuration you simply repeat this process. Now the beauty of the SynergyKM on the Mac is the ability to move the icons of the clients you have added to mimic the physical location of the monitors on your desk. If you have a monitor with one on top of another then you simply arrange the icons in the Server Configuration tool in a similar fashion. In my simple configuration my laptop was to the left of my Windows monitor.

Select the General Tab again and select the “Turn Synergy On” button.

When you start the Synergy server on your Mac you will see an Green and Blue circular Synergy Icon appear in the Menu Bar.


Now you should be able to control use your mouse to switch between both desktops in the order you configured them. If this was helpful then leave a comment or if you are interested in using Vista as a server then leave a comment.


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Running Citrix ICA client on Linux – Ubuntu 8.10

As fate would have it I have the need to access Citrix applications again so as a matter of convenience I wanted to install the ICA client on my Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. After way too much effort I was finally able to get the client installed and launch application from within the SSL web interface via Firefox.

To install the ICA client on Linux go to the Citrix website and click Download to find the Linux client or click here http://www.citrix.com/English/SS/downloads/details.asp?downloadID=3323&productID=-1 for the tar.gz version

Note: You will have to turn scripting on to view the download link.

Extract the en.linuxx86.tar.gz file to your desktop

gunzip linuxx86.tar.gz

tar -xf linuxx86.tar

In the extracted directory type the following from a terminal window:

sudo ./setupwfc

Follow the prompts to install the application and install the linux for your Gnome or KDE installation.

After installing this successfully I tried to run the ICA client from within Gnome but the application would not run. After a little searching I discovered I needed a missing library. From the desktop open System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

Search for libmotif3 and click the checkbox and select Mark for Installation then click the Apply button.

After installing this missing library I was able to see the application and spawn the ICA client from within Firefox when visiting our Metaframe server. However after launching an application I received an “SSL Error 61: You have not chosen to trust the issuer of the server’s security certificate” message. A little more research indicated I needed to copy the ca-certs in the mozilla directory to the cacerts directory in the ICA client installation. So open a terminal window again and type the following:

sudo cp /usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/* /usr/lib/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/

There you have it…another wonderful installation on Linux that is horribly more complex than it has to be. As much as I love Linux it is installs like this that make me appreciate my Windows and OS X systems.

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VMWare Fusion 2.0 for the Mac

About two weeks ago VMWare released the 2.0 version of their Fusion VM software for the Mac.  It is certainly worthy of a full point release with the level of integration between the host OS and the virtualized OS increased tremendously.

It is interesting to note that VMWare Fusion offers the option to install McAffee VirusScan Plus on windows virtual machines (even BootCamp) by mounting an install ISO on the virtualized Windows system.  This is interesting to note especially with increased integration and ability to access or share files from virtual to host as virus infected files can pass from one VM to the host without much effort by the user.  While it does not seem viable this could occur in a scripted way through the hypervisor from VM to the host it does have to be a consious effort by the user to move the files over so this provieds another layer of protection for the user who might not otherwise use this software on a freshly created Windows VM.

The visuals on the 2.0 version have also increased with a rather handy screen snapshot of the running VM provided in the Virtual Machine Library window.  This window is updated approximately every 10 seconds with a current view of the guest VM.

One other suprise with this upgrade occured when I tried to unzip a file on OS X and was prompted with the abilty to utilize WinZip within BootCamp to open the file.  This really starts to blur the line between the two OS’s and enables the end-user to utilize the best application for the job.  So far performance has been snappy and very responsive.  With the integration of optimized video drivers for the VM’s I tried to run Compiz 3D effects on my Ubuntu Hardy VM but unfortunately wasn’t able to get the visuals running as they do on my dedicated Ubuntu PC’s.

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Virtualization on the Mac with VMware Beta 2

I am a big proponent of virtualization in the enterprise and it has come in quite handy on my primary PC for virtualizing development environments for some of my .Net development as well as hosting several LAMP stacks running atop of Linux.  VMware is my application of choice on the desktop and on the server.  I’ve run VMWare for well over 6 years now on XP, Windows Servers, Linux, and now OS X and have had solid performance with consistent updates from what is now a property of EMC.

The first release of VMware fusion left a bit to be desired but I jumped on it none-the-less because of the portability of existing VMware appliances and machines.  Within a few months another point release was issued that made it an almost daily utility for me.  Now with the upcoming release of 2.0 VMware has added several features I think feature-for-feature will give other competitors, even the open source Zen, a run for it’s money.

Here is a snapshot of what is anticipated in the 2.0 release:

  • Multiple Snapshots
    • Save your virtual machine in any number of states, and return to those states at any time
    • Automatically take snapshots at regular intervals with AutoProtect
  • File and URL Sharing
    • Share applications between your Mac and your virtual machines
    • Finder can now open your Mac’s files directly in Windows applications like Microsoft Word and Windows Media Player
    • VMware Fusion can configure virtual machines to open their files in Mac applications like Preview and iTunes
    • Click on a URL in a virtual machine and open it in your favorite Mac browser, or configure your Mac to open its links in a virtual machine
    • Map key folders in Windows Vista and Windows XP (Desktop, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures) to their corresponding Mac folders (Desktop, Documents, Music, and Pictures)
    • Greatly improved reliability of shared folders—now compatible with Microsoft Office and Visual Studio
  • Experimental Support for Mac OS X Server Virtual Machines
    • You can create Mac OS X Server 10.5 virtual machines (experimental support). Due to Apple licensing restrictions, the standard edition of Mac OS X 10.5 is not supported in a virtual machine
  • Display Improvement
    • Improved 3D support
    • Use 1080p full high definition video in Windows XP or Windows Vista
    • Freely resize your virtual machine’s window and enter and exit Full Screen view while playing games
    • Run Linux applications directly on your Mac’s desktop under Unity view
  • UI Improvements
    • The New Virtual Machine Assistant has Linux Easy Install in addition to Windows Easy Install
    • Cut and paste files up to 4 MB, including graphics and styled text
    • Status icons glow when there is activity
    • A screen shot of the last suspended state of a virtual machine is displayed in Quick Look and Cover Flow
    • You can remap keyboard and mouse input
    • Keyboard compatibility between the Mac and the virtual machine is improved
    • The vmrun command line interface is available for scripting
  • Broader Hardware and Software Support
    • VMware Fusion supports Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron
    • VMware Fusion supports 64-bit Vista Boot Camp; handles activation for Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007
    • Experimental support for 4-way SMP (note: Windows Vista and Windows XP limit themselves to two CPUs)
  • Support for Virtual Hard Disks
    • You can mount the virtual disk of a powered-off Windows virtual machine using VMDKMounter (Mac OS X 10.5 or higher)
    • You now have the ability to re-size virtual disks

All of these features are worthy of an upgrade in and of itself but VMware is offering this as a free upgrade to current Fusion customers – even better.

Source: VMware

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Moving OS X and Boot Camp partitions to a new higher capacity hard drive

The original HD that came with my Macbook Pro was a 160G 7200RPM Segate and suited my needs well. I had two partitions split about 50/50 between OSX and Vista via Boot Camp (~74GB-Vista) and 75GB-OS X). The solution was great as I was able to access my Vista partition through VMWare Fusion when running OS X and was able to boot straight into Vista when I needed to. I’ve had my Macbook Pro for about a year and have purchased and configured a variety of software for both Vista and OS X and was quickly running out of space to the point I couldn’t boot my boot camp partition via VMWare Fusion because I didn’t have more than 2G of available hard drive space. This quickly became a problem and moving files to and from my HD became too much of a chore so I decided to upgrade my hard drive rather than repartition OS X and take additional space from the Windows partition. There were several examples of how to backup and restore OS X HFS formatted partitions but only some untested suggestions on how to accomplish moving a boot camp NTFS formatted partition, so I thought I would share with you what I did to successfully upgrade the HD in my Macbook Pro and migrate the partitions to the new drive.

I’ll be making a separate post of what I did to upgrade the Hardware but below are the steps I took to backup and restore my system to the new hard drive:

What you need:

  1. Carbon Copy or SuperDuper for Backing up and restoring OS X volumes. Both work great!
  2. Winclone for backing up and restoring your Windows NTFS partition.
  3. Boot Camp Assistant for partitioning your new hard drive.
  4. A new higher capacity SATA hard drive and enclosure that you can put it in. I bought the Thermaltake BlacX hard drive dock which allows me to slip in any 3.5″ or 2.5″ Serial ATA Hard Drive for approx. $34.  My drive of choice for my 17″ Macbook Pro was the 500GB Hatachi 5K500 which I got for about $230.

First Step:

Connect your new hard drive to your existing Mac. We will be erasing all data on this drive so be sure you don’t have anything you want to keep on this drive. I had already formatted it in Mac OS Extended (journaled) using Disk Utility but this may be an unnecessary step but for consistency sake this is what I did.

Open SuperDuper! and in the first drop down list next to Copy choose your source volume or your existing Macintosh HD. In the next drop down choose your backup hard drive.

SuperDuper!.jpg

Make sure that the “Backup – all files” option is selected next to using. This will erase your external drive and begin to backup your current OS X volume and make the external drive bootable.  Note that the entire drive or partition is used for this step.  So at this point I had a single 465GB OS X partition after everything was said and done.

After this is complete I would ensure that you can boot to your newly cloned OS X drive by rebooting and holding down the “option” key on your keyboard during the boot process. When you are presented with the available boot device options choose the external drive you just cloned.  Make sure the drive boots up successfully before moving forward otherwise you may have trouble getting your system working when you physically install this new drive into your Mac.

Second Step:

Open Winclone and choose your current boot camp partition from the drop down list. My boot camp drive  was titled “UNTITLED” (Note the image below shows new HD not my old 75GB partition…I upgraded my windows partition for more storage but we’ll get to that in a bit).

WincloneHD_Resize.jpg

Click on the “Image…” Button to start the backup process. You will be prompted for a location. I chose to store this file on the external drive formatted as HFS (Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from earlier.  What Winclone does is creates a single file consisting of all the data in your NTFS partition. (Note: Winclone now backups NTFS and FAT according to their site so backing up either should work for you). So, you need to make sure that the drive you are backing up to supports file sizes greater than 4GB which HFS+ does so we are in good shape. Once you have chosen the name and location for your backup file let this application work through your partition and create the single image of your Windows parition. The larger your partition the longer it will take.  For my 75G (60 Used) it took about 2 hours over a USB 2 connection.

Third Step:

With a copy of both your OS X partitions and Windows partitions you can shutdown and replace your current HD with your cloned HD. There are several sources that describe how to do this, like ifixit.com, but I’ll post my own efforts in another post.

With your new replacement hard drive installed and your Macbook all buttoned up your system should boot as it did before the upgrade.  If your Windows backup image from Winclone is on the same drive you just replaced then you are free to move to the next step.  Otherwise just connect a different drive with your Winclone image we performed in the previous step to prepare the next step of restoring your boot camp partition.

Fourth Step:

With your new drive installed and working properly with OS X you now need to re-partition your new drive using boot camp as you did initially when you first installed boot camp on your Mac.
Launch the Boot Camp Assistant and proceed to create your new boot camp partition.

2-Boot Camp AssistantHD_Resize.jpg

I decided that I would give my Windows volume a little more space so I expanded it from the original ~74G to 101G.  I simply moved the slider in the middle of these two drives to the left until I felt I had a big enough partion for both OS X and Vista.  My original boot camp share was ~74G with 15G available.  I work a lot in Windows sometimes for work so I wanted to ensure I gave myself enough room to install other software and keep files in this partition if I needed to so I increased the portion from my original 74GB to 101GB.  When you are ready just click on the “Partition” button.  The partitioning is fairly quick.  When you are done you will see the dialog box below…

3-Boot Camp Assistant-1HD_Resize.jpg

Since we are restoring and not re-installing Windows choose the Quit & Install Later button.  You now have a complete boot camp ready partition to restore your old boot camp partition to.

Fifth Step:

Now we are ready to restore your Windows partition you backed-up earlier using Winclone.

Open Winclone and choose Restore at the top of the application screen.

6-Winclone-1HD_Resize.jpg

Select where your Restore Image is located by clicking on the “Select Image” button. Remember this can be local on your newly installed HD or come from a different external HD you put your backup image on.

The Destination location will be the newly created BOOTCAMP partion we just created.  Click on the Restore Button and be patient as the data gets restored back to your new Boot Camp partition.

After this is finished you are almost done… If you are like me an use VMWare to run your Windows partition as a virtual machine in OS X you need to make another step to get things working properly. If you try to boot your newly restored windows partition VMWare fusion will give you an error stating it can’t find the boot camp volume; least this is what happed to me.   After checking that everything worked by booting into Windows directly by holding down the option key during a reboot and choosing Windows I looked for another solution.  I found that if I removed the directory “Boot Camp” in Documents/Virtual Machines/ within OS X I was then able to boot into the new partition.

Overall the entire process took 4 hours to do the backups of OS X and boot camp partitions, about :30 minutes to do the hard drive replacement, and another four hours for the repartitioning and restore to complete but given the additional hard drive space 160GB -> 500GB it was well worth the effort considering I didn’t have to reinstall any operating systems or software and I let most of the backups and restores run while I was off playing with the kids or sleeping.  The best part was not having to go through the long process of re-authorizing my Vista OS or Office software on my windows partition. I picked up right where I left off on both systems.

I’ve finally got the space I need to keep my media and applications flowing smoothly and will probably move my Linux virtual machines back to my laptop instead of keeping them on a separate hard drive. Good luck with your installation!

Update:  I was experiencing a considerable slowdown when running the virtualized boot camp partition after this was finished however after a little digging I discovered that my virtual session was only allocating 512MB of RAM not the typical 2GB I had originally assigned before the transfer.  This occured when I deleted and re-added the boot camp profile.  VMWare uses this as a default value for new virtual machines.  So just be sure that you assign the proper amount of RAM back to your Virtual Machine when everything is said and done.

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VMware exec says Windows days are numbered


Seriously, and what will replace it? Would you believe a VMware exec saying it will be virtual applications running on… Linux? Believe it.

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Sun offers Free alternative to VMWare Fusion and Parallels


Virtualization continues to be a big topic among Mac users with Intel-powered Macs. Products from Parallels and VMware allow you to easily run many different operating systems on your Mac, each within its own protected virtual environment. Recently, a third player entered the market—Sun, with its VirtualBox product.