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[20120114] g4u 2.5beta1 supports handling of partition tables and bad disk sectors
After some absence (job-related) and technical problems (building of NetBSD failing for me from Mac OS X), I'm very happy to release a beta version of g4u with some long-overdue changes. Those include being able to backup/restore the MBR, which includes the partition table - needed when recovering single partitions to a new disk. Also, the various commands reading disks are now adjusted to not abort when a disk sector cannot be used. Instead, the bad bytes are skipped and the rest of the disk is recovered. Please give me feedback on this feature as I didn't have a bad disk to test this! Other news include a command to wipe a disk by completely overwriting it with 0-bytes (once). Last, command line editing was enabled - finally!

Remember that this is a test release, so your feedback is wanted - either to me in person, or to the g4u-help mailing list. Thanks!

Here's a full list of changes:

  • New commands "uploadmbr" and "slurpmbr" to backup and restore the master boot record, which includes the partition table. Required to restore a partition to an empty disk.
  • New command "copymbr" to copy the MBR from one disk to another, similar to "copydisk"
  • New command "wipedisk" to write the disk full with 0-bytes once from start (sector 0) to end (last sector)
  • Enable command line history/editing by forcing /bin/sh to be built without -DSMALL (ugly hack... there be lots of dragons!)
  • When setting up a fresh compile tree, g4u patches are now applied automagically without aborting the build
  • Error detection was now enabled in the dd(1) command, which is the core of g4u (surprise!). With that, disks with broken/unreadable sectors should now be copied, skipping the unreadable sectors and copying the rest. This affects a number of programs: copydisk, copypart, uploaddisk, uploadpart. BEWARE: I wasn't able to actually test this as I do not have a disk with bad sectors here. Please report back your experiences!!!
  • Make this build with NetBSD-current sources as of 2012-01-12
  • New drivers added to the kernel:
    • RDC PMX-1000 IDE controllers
    • Intel SCH IDE controllers
    • TOSHIBA PICCOLO controllers
    • Attansic/Atheros L1C/L2C Ethernet
    • Broadcom BCM43xx wireless
    • Agere/LSI ET1310/ET1301 Gigabit Ethernet
    • RDC R6040 10/100 Ethernet
    • USB LCDs and USB-VGA adaptors, e.g.:
    • DisplayLink DL-1x0/1x5
    • Option N.V. Wireless USB WAN modems
    • Microsoft RNDIS specifications USB ethernet
    • Atheros AR9001U USB Wifi
    • Intersil PrismGT USB Wifi
    • Virtio PCI, memory balloon, disk & network devices
    • ... and many more that slipped past QA
  • ... and any driver updates, optimizations and bug fixes and other enhancements from NetBSD-current
Get g4u 2.5beta1:

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Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

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