February 1st, 2009

Technical assistance needed

This shouldn't be this hard.

I recently bought a new hard drive which is twice the size of my (nearly full) old one. The old drive has two partitions, one NTFS and one FAT32. My typical new drive procedure is:

- Boot partition magic
- Copy the primary partition to the new drive
- Resize it if necessary
- Copy the secondary partition to the new drive
- Resize it
- Pull the old drive from the system and use the new one

I've probably done this a dozen or more times with no problems. For a variety of reasons, it isn't working this time. First off, PartitionMagic consistently won't boot from the CD. I downloaded the gparted live CD, which looks like it should be just the thing. Unfortunately, ntfsclone thinks that the partition has errors and refuses to copy it. I've gone through quite a few cycles of booting windows, setting it up to run a disk scan, rebooting, rebooting, and then booting into gparted and trying to copy the partition. No dice through the GUI.

I did once manage to drop to the command-line and copy the partitions manually, but when I pulled the second drive and rebooted it seemed that the hard drive was G: and H: rather than C: and D:, and I couldn't find an easy way to fix that.

Anyone have a recommendation for a free or reasonably-priced commercial product that will let me do what I want? It's an XP box, if that matters.

Weird mortgage tax question

So when you refinance a mortgage, any points that you pay are tax-deductible on an amortized basis over the life of the loan. For example, if you pay $3000 in points on a 30-year loan, you can deduct $100/year over the life of the loan. (This is a slightly simplified description, but it's close enough for this discussion.)

If you pay off the loan early, you can deduct the remaining points in the year you paid off the loan. If you deducted $500 in points over five years then refinanced again, you could deduct the remaining $2500 in points that year.

However, this does not hold true if you refinance the loan with the same lender. In that case, you just keep taking $100/year in deductions for the old loan for as long as you hold the new loan.

Source: http://www.erate.com/refinance_tax_deductible_closing_costs_refinance_mortgage.htm

So the weird question: what happens if a bank got swallowed up by another bank? If I'm holding a WaMu loan and refinance it with Chase this year, do I get to accelerate the points from the old loan or do I have to keep amortizing them? For tax purposes, is the swallowing bank considered to be the same entity as the bank that it ate?

I know, I should call the IRS and ask this one, but I'm curious to know if anyone has the answer.