Restoring a System Partition to a Different Partition

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jon1, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    May 9, 2007
    Final solution
    Because I cannot edit my earlier posts, I have summarised the procedure in this new thread.
    I also like to thank other forum members for their good help and suggestions as they are the real authors.
    A special thank to MudCrab as a good helper and architect.

    To restore a system partition to a different partition can be quite a bit of gambling.
    Just check out these 2 links and you know why.

    TI Restore Changes Partition Order in Partition Table

    Problems Restoring Bootable Partition To Two Different Partitions On Same Disk

    It is important that a solution should be safe and always working with all releases when dealing with restore.
    Because ATI lacks certain parameters we need a solution which does not destroy anything of what is already on our disks. In this solution we try to avoid the limitations in ATI and combine it with Disk Director. Be aware that both ATI and DD changes Boot.ini files as you will see in the guide.

    If you only want to copy and existing partition you would use Disk Director directly, but here we assume that you only have an ATI backup image and do not want to destroy your original Primary System Partition. Also we assume that you do not want to use a boot manager like Boot-US which can boot a Logical Partition.

    This solution has been tested out on ATI 10.0 build 4942 and DD 10.0 build 2160.

    Guide - How to restore a system partition to a different partition
    You can do this inside Windows or use an ATI(Acronis True Image)/DD(Disk Director) CD.
    When you want to edit use Disk Director by going to Click Partition=>Explore=>Right click file.
    Using Windows it is possible to edit by assigning drive letters after some operations, but using Disk Director is cleaner and better.
    If you follow the suggestion about Microsoft under point 2, you will be safe.
    You do not need to take a backup of the MBR but if you want to be safe you could either take a backup of MBR using a tool like MBRTOOL or just print out a list of the partition table using DD (Click beginning of disk=>Right click and select Advanced-Edit). A list of the partition table is always handy.

    These partition operations are designed to be data-safe, but sometimes things go wrong. It is recommended that you create an Entire Disk image backup (check the Disk # checkbox) with TI before you begin the procedure.
    1. Take Restore from the True Image backup to a temporary Logical partition.
      The temporary Logical partition can exist before or be unallocated.
      Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.
      It is probably best to store it on another disk than where you would like to place your new primary system partition.

      The reason for not assigning a drive letter is so that the boot.ini file on the original partition remains unchanged – do not trust ATI.
      The boot.ini in the target will be changed by ATI, so this we will check/edit later on.
    2. Make enough unallocated space to where you would like to have your new primary system partition. The safest place would be behind the others primary system partitions. If not you might have to call Microsoft to activate your old partitions. Remember Microsoft is Microsoft.
    3. Now start Disk Director and Copy Partition from the Logical partition to the new Primary System Partition.
      Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.

      Disk Director is kind and will not do anything wrong with the target partition even if you assign a drive letter.
      But for safety you can leave it out during copy and you never need a drive letter anyway.
    4. You should now check all the boot.ini files on the disk and compare it with the partition table in the MBR.
      All boot.ini files should point to the correct entry in the partition table.
      If the entries in the partition table is sorted so that each entry match the order of the disk, then the boot.ini files should also point in the same order like 1,2,3,4 and then everything is easy. Then the first boot.ini would be pointing to the first entry in the partition table and so on.

      The following table is sorted as you can see from the order of ‘Relative sectors’.

      The following table is unsorted as you can see from the order of ‘Relative sectors’.
      The first boot.ini on disk should point to the second partition => multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)
      The second boot.ini on disk should point to the first partition => multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)
      The third boot.ini on disk should point to the third partition => multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)
      The Extended partition is never accounted for and its place in the table should be ignored.
      DD will try to change boot.ini files but we need to check them.
      If the partition table is not sorted it is best to let it remain unsorted and check to see if the boot.ini files is reflecting the order of the partition table. Windows Disk Management and some utilities are able to sort them automatically.
    5. You can start the new partition with help of Boot Manager or by setting the new one Primary, Active and hiding the other system partitions. Always do this the first time from a floppy or a CD. Also, if the new partition doesn't boot, then it is most likely an incorrect boot.ini partition setting and should be verified/double-checked before any other "repair" type methods are tried.
    6. Drive Letters.
      If Disk Director has to resize or move a partition in order to make room for the new partition, Windows will as a result of the operation reassign drive letters everywhere on the disk and most of the time you will not see any difference. This is the way Windows operate and very different from Linux.
      However, you should check that your logical partitions has the correct drive letters and change them in Windows Disk Management if they are not correct. For instance you might have separate logical partitions for My Documents, Outlook Express, Videos and so on and that should always be the same drive letters as before.
    7. If everything works then you can delete the temporary Logical Partition.
    Thanks and good luck.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2007
  2. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Aug 19, 2004
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    The above post is a summary of the information contained in jon1's previous thread titled How to restore a system partition to a different partition. Thank you to everyone who provided an input to that thread, which, in order to prevent cofusion, has now been closed.


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