Can't boot restored image

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by AJewell, May 11, 2005.

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  1. AJewell

    AJewell Guest


    First let me apologize in advance for this long post, but I want to give a detailed accounting of what I did so that anyone reading can see if I did anything wrong.

    I just bought Acronis True Image 8.0 and am trying to do a test run but I'm running into difficulty. I've read the FAQs, downloaded and read the Guide but I'm still not finding clear instructions on what to do in the event I need to restore an image containing my WinXP system should the HDD fail.

    I have 3 HDDs
    C: 120Gb Samsung containing WinXP SP2 - this is what I normally boot and also the drive that will "fail" in my simulation.
    D: 80Gb Samsung - empty but will be the restore target.
    E: 80Gb WD over USB 2.0 - this is where I store my backups

    For my test, I will image drive C:, save the image on E:, disconnect C:, then restore the image onto drive D. Drive C: is a clean install with only about 7 Gigs of data after all the drivers, updates, and core software has been installed so it should feasily fit onto D:

    1. Created full of drive c: onto D:
    2. Moved the image from D: to E: (I didn't want to save the image directly to E: because I didn't want any potential USB problems at this stage)
    3. Opened the case and physically disconnected C: (simulate the fail) and rejumpered D: to be master.
    4. Rebooted into BIOS and ensured that D: will now be the HDD first in the boot sequence.
    5. Rebooted into Acronis via a bootable CD-RW.
    6. Choose the Restore Image option...

    At this point things get confusing... do I restore the whole disk, or just the primary partition?

    7. I choose to restore the partition only because that's what's described in the Guide.
    8. Select drive D: (now listed as C:, but we'll keep calling it D: for clarity) as the target, yada yada
    9. Here I know I make a mistake and select "Logical" as the restored partition type...
    10. After chugging away for 15 minutes or more it reports successful restore.
    11. Remove CD and reboot into BIOS to confirm I am booting from the restored drive...good.
    12. Exit BIOS and continue on to boot... no dice. A screen full of 99's
    13 Ok... I realize that selecting "Logical" was wrong so I prepare to reformat D: using PartitionMagic 8 from a bootable CD. Yikes! PM complains about the D: having invalid disk geometry and warns of impending doom - I exit quickly without doing anything, but now I'm nervous.
    14. I reconnect and rejumper C: making it master and set it back to the boot HDD in BIOS - log back into WinXP, Use native Windows format to reformat D: to blow away the restored image. Yes - everything was there, a duplicate of C: except not bootable.
    15. I repeat steps 3 through to 8. This time I select "active" as the restored partition type, and again the restore is reported as a success.
    16. Again, I confirm the BIOS is set to boot from D: where the restore active partition resides. Again, no dice... a screen full of 99's.
    17. Boot into PM and this time use the BootMagic tool to put a BootLoader onto D: to see if that was the problem.
    18. Reboot and again a screen full of 99's.

    So... I'm not getting anywhere and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Elsewhere in the forums I've read that restoring onto a smaller harddrive shouldn't be a problem nor should restoring an image on a USB drive. Obviously I don't want to restore over my perfectly good WinXP because I don't want to go through another 4 hour friggin nightmare of setting up WinXP for the fourth time in a week (long story - but it's the reason I bought Acronis True Image).

    Can anyone shed light on what I'm doing wrong or point me to the right documentation. Also, does anyone know what's up with the geometry warnings?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. AJewell

    AJewell Guest


    I tried restoring the image again, this time selecting the Disk rather than just the partition. Again, no luck. The drive with the restored image simply will not boot.
  3. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    San Rafael, CA
    Did you create an image of the entire disk or just the C partition? You must select the whole drive to ensure that it is bootable.
    Did you verify that the image was good on the USB drive with the CheckImage function in TrueImage?
    You must restore the whole disk to ensuere that it is bootable.
    Yes, a boot drive partition must be Active and that requires that it be Primary as well.
    You don't want to have Boot Loader installed, that changes where Windows looks to load, and it definitely won't boot.

    At this point it would be great if you have a Win98 boot disk. Use FDISK to remove all partitions on D and then run FDISK /MBR to create a standard Master Boot Record.

    Restore an image of the entire 120GB "C" drive that has been verified on the USB drive. That should boot nicely into Windows.

    I have assumed that you didn't create a Secure Zone or activate the Recovery Manager in True Image on "C." If that's not correct, use the Manage Secure Zone to remove the Secure Zone before doing anything else.
  4. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    You can also:
    1. Boot from your Windows CD.
    2. Format D:.
    3. Install Windows - very basic, no need to configure any.

      This dummy install ensures that all the necessary boot information is created on the disk (MBR's, partition loaders, etc, etc).
    4. Boot from your True Image Recovery CD.
    5. Restore the Windows partition onto D:.
    6. Reboot.
    (I haven't tried this but it should work, provided that your original Windows install and the restored Windows install are in the same partition number - usually partition 0).
  5. AJewell

    AJewell Guest

    Thanks for the replies!

    Yes, the image is of the full disk, though I think I'll redo it just to make sure. I don't have Window98 but I'm sure a look on the internet will find the utilities I need and barring that I'll try MiniMax's suggestion.

    Thanks! Can't wait to get home now to try it out.
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Apr 28, 2004
    Hello AJewell,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    After you restore the image please try to fix MBR with one of the ways proposed in Acronis Help Post. If this doesn't help please plug the drive with the restored image (that doesn't boot) and do the following:

    - Download Acronis Report utility from;
    - Run Acronis Report utility and select the "Create bootable floppy" option;
    - Insert a blank floppy disk in the floppy drive and proceed with creating the bootable diskette;
    - Boot the computer under consideration from this diskette and wait for report creation process to complete;
    - Send the report.txt file from the floppy disk to along with the link to this thread.

    We will certainly help you with the solution.

    Thank you.
    Ilya Toytman
  7. AJewell

    AJewell Guest

    Holy wicked smurf burgers!!
    It's working!! Woohooo!!

    Wouldn't you it know though - the "solution" is at the top of the forums in a sticky titled "PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST"...
    heh heh.. *embarrased grin*

    The first time I rebooted and logged into WinXP a couple of dialogs popped up complaining about some kernel thingy not loading.. then the new hardware found message flashed in the corner another dialog popped up asking me to reboot to enable new hardware. I did that and now everything seems fine. Awesome.

    I only have one concern/suggestion.. the fact that the solution to my problem is in a big sticky at the top of a forum seems to suggest a few of things:
    a) many many people have my initial problem
    b) the instructions for making making a bootable harddrive should be in the guide...and/or...
    c) the process of adding the MBR to a drive should be an option as part of the image restore when appropriate.

    Aside from that, I'm a very very satisfied customer. This tool fits my needs perfectly! Thanks everyone!
  8. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    As in you used the Acronis MBR-fixer ??
    Hmm o_O
    I see the same "New hardware found .. Please reboot" after a full restore. I am not sure what this new hardware is. My guess is that the hard disk gets a new Volume ID during the formatting process and that Windows see thats as a new disk. Someday I am going to 1) Write down the ID before imaging, 2 )Restore, 3) Boot from The Ultimate Boot CD, 4) Check the (new?) ID, 5) If possible, change it back, 6) Boot Windows again.
    I like that! Put it in the Wish List thread?
  9. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Aug 19, 2004
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Ah, but that then begs the question as to which MBR!! The Windows standard, an Acronis Startup Recovery Manager modified one or certain PC manufacturers proprietary versions to name but a few :doubt:.

    Me thinks there could be even greater scope for error (read c..k up) in the hands of some of the less experienced users.

    Personally, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the Wish List doesn't result in True Image becoming a bloated "Jack Of All Trades But Master Of None". A classic example is ACDSee, which started out as a simple but very effective image viewer and cataloguer. After Version 3 things started to go downhill and a quick peek at their User Forum shows that ACDSee seems to have lost sight of the ball.

    There is clearly scope for enhancing True Image but let's hope it's not to the detriment of its usability, reliability and basic functionality as a sector based image/restore and cloning tool.

    Last edited: May 14, 2005
  10. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    I don't necessary disagree with you Menorcaman, but still... It is a bit cumbersome to have to create a Fix-MBR CD when the system is dead. It would be nice if the functionality was available on some kind of Tools menu in the True Image Rescue CD.

    At the end of the restore process, True Image could check if the boot code in the MBR on the current drive matches some well-known loaders (Microsoft, Acronis OS Selector, Acronis Secure Zone Manager, LILO, GRUB, System Commander, Partition Magic, etc, etc). If the MBR was not recognized, inform the user about the porential problem and offer 2-3 choices, e.g.:
    • Scan the partition table for a Acronis Secure Zone with an image. If found, ask if the SZM boot loader should be installed.
    • Scan the partition table for ext2/ext3/RFS. If found ask the user to install a Linux loader.
    • If none of the above, offer to install a standard, Microsoft loader.
    • Or leave the MBR as-is and inform the user that s/he can reboot with the TI Rescue CD and return to the MBR menu, if the system will not boot.
    For in-experienced users (and experienced users), this would be an easy way to bring the system back to life.
  11. AJewell

    AJewell Guest

    Aye, and there's the rub... having these tools available as separate downloads and the know-how in forum postings is of little help to someone who has a dead system and consequently no internet.

    Luckily, my problems occurred during a test run of the backup with little at stake. I may well have been singing a different tune if a real emergency occurred and I had no easy access to the tools I thought I'd paid for.

    But I do think Menorcaman is right about the dangers of bloat. I work as a software developer myself, and boy I tell you - once you give users the impression that their input matters more than it does, do you ever get the wackiest requests. Ultimately, I guess it depends upon what Acronis perceives True Image's purpose to be: "backup" or "backup AND recovery". Personally I don't think backup makes sense without the recovery part and the tools to support that aspect of it, but if it is simply the backup part of the equation, then I'd have to say it's very good at what it does. Either way though, the documentation could be better.

    Someone posted elsewhere about the idea of updating the guide to describe a range of common "scenarios" with walkthroughs for each one. I like that idea. Though, for now perhaps a new scenarios sticky in the forums could be used. This way, once a problem discussed in the forum has been brought to a satifying conclusion, the sticky could be updated with a brief description of the scenario conditions, and the steps taken to avoid/fix any problems (or even a link to the appropriate thread).

    That's just my $1.56 (damned inflation).
  12. mangray

    mangray Registered Member

    Mar 15, 2005

    Please can you tell me what for a tool can change the ID
    from The Ultimate Boot CD.

    nice day
  13. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Sorry - I said 'Someday I am going to ...'. I don't even know IF it is possible, but since we are talking software ANYTHING is possible - it is just a matter of will.
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