Trying to Understand Acronis TrueImage

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Bob.Adkins, Jan 1, 2006.

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  1. Bob.Adkins

    Bob.Adkins Guest


    When installed, does Acronis TrueImage make a small bootable partition on your primary drive like Ghost?

    Does ATI have to drop to a DOS-like mode to copy running OS files, does it skip them, or can it even be done?

    Is it possible for ATI to _copy_ the OS and all program files from the boot drive, and then restore them back to the same freshly formatted drive at a later date?

    To phrase the above question another way, is it possible for ATI to create and store a disk image of the boot drive OS and programs to a file? (This reminds me of what WinImage does for FDD's.)

    Many thanks,,,

  2. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    Brandon, Florida, USA
    Can't answer your first question about the small partition.

    ATI drops to Linux to do its work.

    Third ... that's the whole idea of backup software ... to enable you to get back your entire system in the event of hard drive failure. So, yes, TI does that.
  3. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    ATI calls it a Secure Zone and it is not created by default during installation. it is available for creation from the main window.
  4. Bob.Adkins

    Bob.Adkins Guest


    Thanks for the reply.

    That sounds too good to be true! Before I purchase ATI, I want to be dead certain that it will do exactly what I want it to do. My goal is to have an image of my boot disk stored on DVD or an old HDD.

    Here's what I need:

    *After a clean install of Windows XP, I would install a half dozen small programs and do a few Windows tweaks.

    *I would then image the HDD, and copy the image to DVD and/or an old HDD. The image file should only be about 2gb.

    *When my Windows installation gets bloated (or virused, or the HDD damaged), I would format it.

    *I would then boot ATI from CD or DVD, and restore the bootable disk image.

    If ATI will indeed do the above, I will certainly purchase it! Will it?

    Many thanks,,,

  5. Mike_Bailey

    Mike_Bailey Registered Member

    Nov 26, 2005

    WSFuser and Chutsman answered it, but to clarify: when True Image is installed you have the option of creating a secure zone, which is a separate partition not directly accessible from Windows. An entry is put in the boot manager so that you are given the option of booting into the secure zone, aka a Linux partition. If you do nothing, then after a few seconds the normal boot sequence happens. Otherwise since Windows isn't running, all files can be backed up and restored.

    Myself, I don't use a secure zone, but depend on a bootable CD that can be created after you install TI. All you need to do is change the BIOS setting to allow the CD drive to be the first boot drive. If you've the TI bootable CD, then you're off and running. It works fine. I fiddle a lot with stuff and have restored Windows any number of times without a hitch. You can restore from another hard drive partition, or from a CD or DVD backup. Obviously for a 2 gig backup a writable DVD drive is the most flexible, but TI allows you to create a set from CDs. Once it's loaded into memory when you boot, you can remove the bootable CD and start feeding the CDs as prompted.

    You probably noticed that you can download and install the latest version on a trial
    basis to make sure it works for you. After that all you need to do is buy it to get a
    serial number and enter it (I think, but am not sure) in your trial version.

    As for the running program under Windows being able to back up and restore active system files, that's another thing. Seems unlikely, so maybe someone who has done or tried to do that can answer?

  6. dld

    dld Registered Member

    May 6, 2005
  7. Bob.Adkins

    Bob.Adkins Guest


    Thanks so much for the detailed reply.

    I'm quite familiar with dual booting. I've set up and used dual boot many times. I do not trust partitions, especially with an alien OS such as Linux on it. :)

    In all seriousness, it looks like ATI will do what I need it to do. I was hoping to do it in a Windows environment, but I fully understand why this is not possible.

    I just D/L ATI and took a peek at it. I really like what I see so far!

    Thanks again Mike!
  8. rharris270

    rharris270 Guest

    To clarify a few thing, I hope:

    In its simplest usage, TrueImage does NOT require a special/secret partition on the hard drive. The "secure zone" is completely optional, and if you have a second hard drive, or a USB drive, I would strongly advise against the secure zone, in favor of the separate physical drive. Saving an image in the secure zone is intended for people with only one hard drive and no USB or firewire drives. It also offers zero protection in the case of a hardware failure of that single disk.

    TI does not "drop to DOS". It can save an image from within windows, while windows is operating. It saves all system files, except for the page file and the hibernation file, which are automatically recreated by windows, if they do not exist. I have restored my C: partition several times, suing the images created by TI from within windows, and never had any problems.

    TI can restore partitions from within windows, except for the partition with the operating system. TI can restore the partition with the operating system (or any other for that matter) from the bootable CD it makes for you. [Of course, you must have a CD writer attached to the PC.] The bootable CD must be made before you get into trouble (i.e., virus, crash, etc). But one bootable CD will work will all images made by the same version of TI (really same build, or related builds).

    Optionally, you can make an image using the bootable CD, although that is rarely more convenient than making an image from within windows. However, this does enable you to make an image of a non-windows partition, in case you have any of those.

    TI can make images of one or several partitions, or the entire drive. If the whole drive, it also copies the boot record. That is important when migrating to a new hard drive, otherwise it is not. TI can restore individual partitions, when made as a partition image, even if the image cointains multiple partitions.

    The bootable CD runs LINUX. But, do not be scared of that. Acronis has made the TI program look the same under LINUX as under windows. The users never needs to know anything about LINUX. The advantage of using LINUX is that it has good drvies for USB and firewire, and requires no special license (i.e., is open source). TI's bootable CD can also restore a file >>from<< an NTFS formatted partition. GHOST, up to at least 2003, could not read/ write to/from an NTFS partition, since it used DOS. TI has been able to do this for years. TI supports many serial ATA hard drive controllers.

    TI has other good features, such as optionally saving images in multiple pieces (spans, chunks). I save all images in 650 Meg pieces, so I have the option of copying them to CDs. I have had good luck with image-to-disk-copy-to-CD (or DVD). Others have had mixed results with direct writes to CDs ot DVDs. Besides, for frequent backups, CD and DVDs are too slow for my liking.

    I suggest that you download a copy of the manual and read over the detailed features. You might also want to download a demo copy, which I recall can make images, but not restore them.

    One caution: avoid "snap restore", unless you are restoring an image of the entire hard drive.
  9. Bob.Adkins

    Bob.Adkins Guest


    Thanks for the info.

    So,,, it appears that I don't even need to use the AT boot CD except for restoring, right?

    If I am understanding correctly, I can do everything I need to do from the Windows environment. If TI can copy everything except pagefile.sys and the hybernation file, that means I should be able to restore my disk from a stored file that was made in real mode. AWESOME!

    Here's my methodology. Do you see any traps or have any warnings?

    1. Do a clean install of XP on my 74gb "C" drive, which is the "primary master".

    2. Spend a few days installing a few programs I always need, and a few favorite tweaks.

    3. Make a Windows-based AT backup of my 74gb "C" drive. The drive is 1 big partition, and will probably contain only 3 or 4 GB of OS and files.

    4. Instruct the AT backup to store the image file on an extra 120gb HDD ("D" drive) . This drive is the "secondary master", and is has 1 large partition.

    5. When my Windows installation is about 4-5 months old and getting dodgy and bloated, format the 74gb "C" drive.

    6. Boot from the TI boot CD, point it to the backup file on my "D" drive, and restore my original partition described in step 1.

    7. Boot from the 74gb and find it really is bootable, and is exactly as it was after step 2. (providing I did not make any hardware changes, of course)

    Is that possible?

    If TI will do the above, I will be amazed. It takes powerful technology to copy running system files, including firewall, AV program Etc. in real mode!

    Thanks again,,,
  10. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    actually u can skip step 5, since ATI will just overwrite the partition with ur image. otherwise, it looks alright. good luck
  11. Bob.Adkins

    Bob.Adkins Guest


    Understood, and thanks!
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