Clone DELL HD and inlude hidden PC Restore partitions

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by TrueImage_Help, Nov 28, 2005.

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  1. I would like to use True Image to clone a DELL HD which has hidden PC Restore partitions. How can you clone a Dimension HD using TrueImage so that all the partitions, including the PC Restore partition, move to the new drive. I would like to have the ability to use the ctrl-f11 option on the new HD after it is cloned.

    I don't want to "try" it and then lose the ctrl-f11 option on the orginal drive.

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

    There are several important considerations you must adhere to for a successful outcome:

    1) You must verify that your CTL+F11 works before you use TrueImage. Remove all external devices, shut down, restart, hold CTL+F11 until your computer beeps and shows you the Dell PC Restore screen, then cancel it.

    2) If not successful, try it several times. It frequently does not work the first time. Sometimes you must quickly tap and then hold the CTL+F11 keys for it to work.

    3) If still not successful, you may have resized partitions or removed or disabled the Dell PC Restore software or done something to alter the mbr of your hard drive and the function is broken. In some rare cases, functionality can be restored by following Goodell's advice at but it's not a sure thing.

    4) If you have success, restart and press F12 and boot to the Dell diagnostics partition. Run the entire test suite. If all tests pass, go on. If not, deal with what needs correction/repair.

    5) Restart and go to My Computer and right click Local Disk. Click properties->Tools->Check Now and select both tests/repair. Restart and allow completion of the tests. If the results indicate your disk is clean, proceed to step 6. If dirty, you'll probably need to replace your hard drive.

    6) Use TrueImage as detailed below.

    If you got this far, you have to let me know what you're going to clone to - an external USB hard drive or what? If all you want to do is create a reliable back up for your drive you can create an image using CD's. Depending on what you plan to do the instructions will change so post back what you have in the way of equipment (external drive, second internal drive, CD burner, etc.)

    By being meticulous and following these precautions you can dramatically raise the likelihood of successful and fully functional restores using TrueImage.

    By the way, your hard drive has one visible C partition, one small (50MB) hidden diagnostic partition and the all-important 3GB hidden Dell PC Restore partition if its a newer Dimension (after 7/04). You can see all the partitions using XP's Disk Management console view.
  3. Tests are all OK. Basically - I just want to add a second SATA, make an exact clone of the original drive (including the PC Restore and diagnostic partitions), remove the original drive and use the cloned drive. That way I will have a "known good" replacement HD if the cloned drive ever fails.

    Thanks again for your help.
  4. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

    1) Install TrueImage on your hard drive and restart.
    2) Burn an Acronis Recovery CD and shut down.
    3) Install your second drive (properly cabled).
    4) Boot and press F12 for a one-time setup.
    5) Insert the Acronis Recovery CD and select CD Drive as boot device.
    6) After TrueImage appears select Clone Disk. Follow the prompts. Be careful!
    7) Source drive is the original drive - destination drive is the new empty drive.
    8 ) Do not choose to verify image. Do not choose manual options.
    10) After cloning is complete, shut down and immediately swap drives. Do not try to start with both drives installed or drive corruption will occur.

    Store your original drive in an antistatic bag and you should be ready to go.

    Good luck and let us know if everything went okay.
  5. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Hello TrueImage_Help,

    Good luck with the cloning.

    Just to add to what bobdat has said in his reply at #2 above. If you ever intend to create an Acronis Secure Zone and want to retain the capability to Ctrl+F11 into your Dell Recovery Partition then DO NOT not accept TI's default option to also activate the Startup Recovery Manager (SRM). Activating the SRM will cause TI to overwrite Dell's proprietary Master Boot Record (MBR) and hence prevent you booting into the Dell Recovery Partition.

    Also, worth stating that in order to ensure the existing MBR is included in any image you may choose to create, you must backup the whole disk by checking the tickbox next to the disk number (Screenshot 1). The same applies if you ever need to restore this image to a replacement drive, namely, ensure you check the tickbox next to the disk number (Screenshot 2).


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  6. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

    Outstanding follow-up. Very important points, thanks MenorcaMan.

    Now, all that we have to worry about is whether TI does its job. ;)
  7. Thanks to everyone for the great posts. One problem, the PC does not have a burner. Is there a way you can make Recovery CD on a floppy disk(s).

    Thanks again.
  8. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Hi TrueImage_Help

    No but you can create the bootable rescue media to floppy disks :D. Just make sure you have a stack of formatted floppies to hand!!

  9. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

    An alternate method would be to boot to your hard drive with TI installed and set up the clone operation from within Windows. There will be a mandatory reboot and you'll have to set up for the cloning again after rebooting into TI.

    You won't need either a floppy or a CD that way. Although it's not my favorite way to run TI in cloning, it should work under your limited situation.
  10. trescat

    trescat Registered Member

    You stated that to activate the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager in the Secure Zone will overwrite the Dell Recovery Partitions MBR, Iwas wondering wouldn;t they both be able to co exist since one uses Ctrl+F11 and the Acronis boot uses just F11 to activate ?? If it does infact overwrite the Dell MBR , is there any way that you can re-activate the dell MBR so as to have both the Acronis and Dell functions work ?? thanks in advance;)

  11. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Hi Trevor,

    There can only be one MBR on a disk at a time. Therefore the Acronis code to boot the Startup Recovery Manager will overwrite the Dell code that boots their hidden Restore partition. It doesn't matter whether the MBR code is called via F11 or Ctrl+F11.

    As for reactivating/repairing the Dell MBR, check out this Dan Goodell's article titled <Inside the Dell PC Restore Partition> and follow his link to the section on "Troubleshooting the Restore Process".

    Hope the above helps.

  12. bobat,

    You wrote

    2) Burn an Acronis Recovery CD and shut down.
    3) Install your second drive (properly cabled).
    4) Boot and press F12 for a one-time setup.

    What does the F12 on step 4 do? What am I setting up?

    Thanks again.
  13. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

    All that does is boot you into your one-time setup menu and allow you to boot from the CD drive which is where you'd have the Acronis Recovery CD if you burned one.

    The reason you'd want to go to the one-time menu with F12 is that you don't want to change your permanent boot order in F2 BIOS. After all, you'd only boot with the Acronis CD when you need to, not each time you start or restart your computer, right?.

    After you use the one-time selection, your computer reverts to the permanent boot order set up in BIOS, F2.
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