Work around for stubborn Advanced Format Drives

  • Developer

    [CENTER][B]As always, By using this guide you agree that you as the user have taken full responsibility for lost data, corrupted partition tables, or the like. I can not, and will not be held responsible for your actions or any damage that comes to you or your equipment by use of this guide.[/B][/CENTER]
    [CENTER][B]You also agree not to replicate or reproduce this information without giving proper credit to the FOG project and it’s forums.[/B][/CENTER]
    [CENTER][B]This information is subject to change without notice.[/B][/CENTER]

    Do you have an Advanced Format drive? Are you unable to image it with FOG? Does your installation not boot after completion of the deploy task? Does your cursor indicator blink but never boot? Then have I got a treat for you!

    As always you should verify that your drive is in fact Advanced Format, if not, try my guide to format the drive using the FOG debug menu option and see if your image works. If that doesn’t work, come back and I will show you another trick!

    [CENTER][U][B]Quick NTFS guide[/B][/U] -[/CENTER]

    So all of the options I listed above about the blinky cursor and the failing to boot, they are not direct indicators of Advanced format, and the issue may lie with the image, but trying the steps below will not injure your image or any of your machines, so long as the drive does not have any important data on it.


    Through some diligent troubleshoot/serious face bashing against the proverbial wall, I have managed to get an Advanced Format drive to work with older versions of FOG that may not exactly support them.

    I even have trouble with the recent versions of FOG and my crappy old images being pushed to these new format drives, and I had to find a way to use them so I didn’t have to rebuild all my images (we move to active directory soon and I plan to build new images for them, but I’ll be d@mned if I’m going to build new Novell images!!! Grumble).

    [CENTER][U][B]The Procedure[/B][/U][/CENTER]

    The quickest, easiest way I have found to deal with Advanced Format drives is to put the hard drive in a External USB HDD caddy/case.

    Now attach the usb hard drive to a currently working Windows installation (sorry I haven’t fool proofed the plan yet and I’m not sure how many passes the configuration will stay through, but I will be testing further).

    You can plug the drive in to the SATA ports on the mother board too, but The USB case is quicker to access and to get the drive back. Using a USB caddy also prevents damage to internal working equipment for any reason, but to each his own.)

    I right mouse click “[B]My Computer[/B]” and select [B]Manage[/B], and then under [B]Storage[/B] select the [B]Disk Manager[/B] on the left hand pane. Your ultimate goal is to get to the [B]Disk Manager[/B] so you can modify the partitions and the allocation.

    Next you will find your hard drives listed in the disk manager pane on the right. In my case I have two drives, my windows drive (partitioned and working) and my new drive (which may or may not have partitions, if it does, we will Delete them and remove them all). My hard drive for windows is Disk 0, and my Advanced Format drive that I want to use with FOG is Disk 1. Select your Advanced Format drive in question, and make sure to delete any partitions, they will have a blue bar across the top. Select the partitions one at a time and Press the [B]Delete[/B] button. You may right mouse click the partition and remove it if you’d like. If the bar is black, the space is unallocated and does not need to be touched… yet.

    Now that the Advanced Format drive is blank, right mouse click the unallocated space and select “[B]New Simple Volume[/B]”, this will start the wizard. The first screen is the welcome page, Click Next at the bottom right. Decide how big the partition should be, FOG will handle the reset for us so creating 1 partition is enough, I use the entire disk space. Click next. Assign a drive letter to the drive and click Next. Finally, make sure that the “format” button is selected and change the “[B]Allocation Unit Size[/B]” to 512 and click [B]Format[/B].

    Depending on the size of your disk, Formatting could take some time to complete. After the disk is formatted, you may disconnect the drive from the machine and put it back into the FOG host. You may now image your Advanced Format drives through FOG 🙂

    Please keep in mind my production servers are still FOG 0.32, this process may not be required in future iterations of FOG.