Proper handling of MBR record

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by cranheim, Jun 14, 2009.

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  1. cranheim

    cranheim Registered Member

    Jun 5, 2009
    I am confused about how to handle the MBR (Master boot record). Without fulling understanding this, I did a full backup of my c drive selecting My Computer, directing the backup archive to an HD on a USB port. I decided to replace my existing c drive because I was getting some intermittent sector read errors during the backup. I replaced the HD, and executed a restore. If I remember correctly, under the restore file name (which was automatically selected), there was another option to check the MBR record. Not knowing what to do, I did not check the MBR option for the restore. I completed the restore with validation, and everything worked great. Was the original MBR saved during my Backup? If so, I assume it was restored along with the Restore operation. If the original MBR was not backed up, would I have been able to boot the system without this MBR? As you can see, I am a novice in my understanding the MBR, and how to handle it. I may have just lucked out with my backup / Restore to a new HD. Thanks for any information you can give me to better understand the MBR process.
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Nov 3, 2006
    TI automatically includes the MBR & Track 0 in every backup image. Normally, it's not necessary to restore it unless it becomes corrupted or you are using a non-Windows boot manager.

    If TI doesn't find MBR code on a new drive, it will use a standard MBR so the drive will boot.
  3. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

    May 1, 2007
    I never restore the MBR (using windows xp). The MBR is particular to each hard drive, it's been known to happen when you restore the MBR from drive A(100gb) to drive B(300gb), drive B will sometimes end up with the same size as drive A which can cause problems. When restoring back to same drive there is no need to restore the MBR.

    The only time you need to restore the MBR is when you have multi-boot or some "boot manager" that is stored on the MBR.

    The MBR and the "partitions" on the hard drive are all seperate from each other. If the MBR gets damaged it won't affect the Partition, if the partition gets damaged it won't affect the MBR.

    The thing to remember is that a backup of a "bootable" partition will always be "bootable" when restored whether the MBR was restored or not. If the restored drive won't boot it probably won't be MBR related, and if it is a simple Fixmbr/Fixboot will fix it.
  4. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

    May 14, 2005
    I do not understand the problems that Jonyjoe has had.
    Whenever I do a whole drive image restore I always check the disk option which includes all the partitions and the MBR.

    To me this makes logical sense. After all one has imaged a fully working system including the MBR so when restoring to the same or another replacement drive why not include the MBR. This is especially relevant if there was a viral infection of the boot records after the image was made.

    I make regular restores to three differently sized sized hard drives. Never once have there been any problems regarding booting or anything else.
    Consequently I have never had to resort to any other third party programs such as Jonyjoe's much vaunted "just boot corrector" or his latest suggestions.

    Technically MudCrab is correct (as usual) but to keep thing simple I always include the MBR in a restore whether it is need or not.

  5. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    State College, Pennsylvania
    Post #2 gives the correct advice. This statement is incorrect:
    When you restore the MBR with TrueImage, the 64-byte partition table in the first sector of the disk is not restored. It is the partition table that "is particular to each hard drive" because the partition table contains information on the size and layout of each partition. Since the partition table is not restored with an MBR restore, the size of a hard disk or the number and layout of its partitions cannot change as a result of an Acronis MBR restoration.

    For most Windows users, it doesn't matter whether you restore the MBR or not. It doesn't hurt to do so either - Xpilot's approach is also valid. This feature is mostly of interest to people who use third-party boot managers that are installed to the MBR.
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