"a disk read error occurred" on restore

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by noisyjazzman, Jan 30, 2007.

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  1. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    Using TrueImage Home 9, I've tried restoring a variety of Win XP (SP2) active partitions, and every time, in whatever configuration I use, I get the error "a disk read error occurred".

    I'm very confident that my hardware is OK, having run a gamut of diagnostics, chkdisks, etc. etc. I can freshly install Win XP (or Ubuntu) on the same blank HD. Restoring an Ubuntu TrueImage backup to the same drive works flawlessly. It's just XP that is the problem.

    I have tried, from the XP recovery console, doing fixboot, fixmbr etc. I've run other utilities that rebuild the mbr and active partition boot sector. But I always get the same error.

    Anyone have any ideas? I'm pulling my hair out.
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    This is a READ error. That means that the Source drive with the image has the problem.

    Where is your backup image stored?

    Have you done diagnostics on that drive/disk?

    Can you validate the image with TI when booting from the TI Recovery CD?
     
  3. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    Sorry, I misdescribed slightly. The *restore* succeeded. I'm talking about what happens when I then try to boot into the restored system.

    The image was validated and appeared to be restored successfully. The partitions are visible if I boot into a CD-based OS. The files are all there (I've mounted the partitions under Knoppix etc). Running the Recovery Console and doing a chkdsk is all OK. The HD itself checks out perfectly with multiple diagnostics. I can do a *fresh* install of XP or Ubuntu onto the drive and everything is perfect. I can restore a TrueImage backup of Ubuntu, and that's fine. The problem seems to be restricted to TrueImage images of Windows XP, which apparently restore perfectly, but get the disk read error on every boot. I'm puzzled and frustrated!
     
  4. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    OK, that's very different, but I understand now.

    What was the configuration of the drive when the Windows TI image was made?
    One partition?
    Clean install of XP?

    Have you reinstalled XP and made a second image of the new installation to the same place as the Linux images?

    It seems like Windows is looking for the wrong drive letter or partition.

    Have you examined BOOT.INI to be sure it is pointed to the correct partition?

    Have you tried deleting the existion partition, repartitioning and reformatting the partition. Then restore only the C partition from the XP image rather than the C image including the MBR.
     
  5. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    1 Primary active (NTFS) partition (c:\). 1 extended partition with 1 Logical NTFS partition (d:\, my 'data' drive). XP SP2, clean installed quite some time ago. I didn't dual-boot at all.

    I haven't tried that. Given that the machine's a laptop, there are quite a few drivers etc to install, and I was hoping not to have to do that again (hence the backups).

    Yes, it had the line 'default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS', which should be right for the first primary partition on the drive.

    I did try deleting all partitions, and restoring the entire gamut (C:\, D:\, MBR) which didn't work.

    But I haven't tried restoring over a newly-created formatted partition. I might give that a go.

    It's all a bit puzzling. I almost wonder if there's something wrong with the way Acronis is setting up the partition table. Unfortunately I can't use the latest build as Acronis won't supply a version of it that supports my laptop keyboard (a long and unsatisfactory support saga). So maybe my slightly old build is a bit buggy.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  6. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    You may want to Google the error message. Its apparently quite common and not necessarily related to TI. I had this issue on my Desktop machine and finally resolved by flashing the BIOS to a newer level. This error occurs during the BIOS phase of the boot.
     
  7. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    Yes, I did see similar references, but I think it's unlikely in my case. The BIOS is the newest available, and the problem seems to amazingly specific to TI restores. I can successfully boot a new install of XP (tried this morning), a new install of Ubuntu, a restore of Ubuntu, and even a restore of a very old non-TI Win XP image.

    I'm not totally convinced that it's a TI issue, but I'm heading in that direction. I had already decided that I wouldn't buy another Acronis product due to so-called "support" stuffing me around, but this may be the final straw. Dozens of useless TI backups sitting in the can ...
     
  8. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    jmk94903: your suggestions stimulated me doing the following, which worked:

    1. deleted all partitions
    2. did a new fresh install of XP
    3. restored my TI XP image to the partition created in 2.

    This booted. Hooray -- I have a working laptop again!

    It's not a convenient general solution, however, as one of the whole points of using TI is so I don't have to reinstall when there's a problem. Have you (jmk94903) or anyone else got any idea what might be causing this, what I might do about it in future? I ask this because, critical of Acronis though I am, I haven't been able to find any software which has just the perfect balance of features and simplicity that TI offers. I'd like to stick with it, but it's looking at the moment that I'll have to look for a better solution as it's really just not working for me (and I can't rely on Acronis' indifferent support).

    Alternatively, does anyone have suggestions regarding other similar imaging/backup software for Win XP? But not Norton Ghost!
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  9. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    That's really good news.

    My guess is that the deletion and repartitioning and reformatting at the very beginning of the reinstall corrected the problem. I'd be willing to bet that you could make another image and restore that uneventfully without having to go through the reinstall of XP.
    When you did the restore of your image after reinstalling XP, what did you restore? Just the C partition, the D partition also, the MBR too?

    If you didn't restore the MBR this time, then that's where the problem may have been. Now that you have a good system, a new image should restore properly even to a new, blank drive.

    Are you sure that the hard drive didn't originally have any hidden partitions such as Dell puts on their systems for Diagnostics or OEM backups? Did the system originally have any special functions such as "Press F11 to enter diagnostics" when you were booting up that are gone now?
     
  10. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    I hope so! In a day or two I'll try a backup and then restore onto bare-metal, secure in the knowledge that I know how to recover from disaster. But I've temporarily lost my appetite for computer-twiddling ..

    I restored just the C partition, avoiding the MBR. I added my data partition (D:\) after I was sure things were working.

    I'm sure there was nothing there. From a linux boot disk I had deleted all partitions, and had even paranoically zeroed out the drive. No hidden partitions or anything, as the original install was mine on a (at the time) new drive, not the factory one.

    Anyway, all's good for now even if I'm not yet sure I have a permanent restore solution. Appreciate your help.
     
  11. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I can't imagine why. Did the Captain of the Titanic give up?
    Well, that's consistent with a problem in the MBR in the original backup. When you restore just C, the new MBR that you created was still there to boot correctly.
    It should have been the same as the new one, but perhaps some program modified it.

    I'll be interested to hear if the new backup you are going to make and restore to another disk does indeed restore and boot normally as I predict.

    Good luck.
     
  12. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I don't think the install of XP itself had anything to do with fixing the problem most likely something to do with the partitions.

    When I start with a baremetal drive, I get out the XP install disk and set up the partitions on the disk they way I want and then do a full format on each partition. Yes, I know that TI will overwrite the format but the included surface scan gives me confidence my new drive is working OK. I then abort the XP installation before it copies any files and I then restore the image of my C drive and copy my data files to the other partitions if necessary.
     
  13. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    Re: "a disk read error occurred" on restore -- an Acronis stuff-up!

    I spoke too soon! Had a bit of time this arvo and couldn't resist trying ... and ..

    I would have predicted this too. But we were both wrong.

    I did this:
    - made an Acronis backup of C:\
    - deleted all partitions.
    - tried a restore of C:\ + MBR onto the bare drive

    Same problem! Then:

    -overwrote the MBR with a boot manager
    - tried to boot from partition 1 using that

    Same problem.

    From this I conclude that (a) it's nothing to do with the MBR restored by TI, but rather the way it is creating or formatting the active partition.

    So I tried this:
    - jumped into the XP Recovery Consol
    - used diskpart to delete C:\ and create a new empty partition
    - formatted this as NTFS
    - ran 'fixboot' on C: to make it XP-bootable
    - did the Acronis restore again, but without MBR and sector 0

    Bingo. Booted first time.

    The upshot is that if I allow TI to create the partition, it stuffs up; but it's fine if I manually create and restore into an NTFS partition. TI is doing something wrong either with the partition table or the active partition boot sector. I wish I knew enough to poke around and see exactly what.

    Time to submit all this to Acronis support; though I expect the corporate stonewall I've had from them in the past.
     
  14. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    You're dead right! Have a glance at my most recent response to John, and you'll see that's functionally the same as the approach that has worked for me.
     
  15. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Re: "a disk read error occurred" on restore -- an Acronis stuff-up!

    Well, I'm surprised but your evidence is conclusive. TI is restoring the boot sector or partition table incorrectly.

    I haven't seen this myself, but from the number of problems reported on this fourm about boot problems after restoring, it's probably not that infrequent.

    I usually partition and format a drive before restoring an image to it as seekforever does. It's just my way of testing the drive before putting it into service. As a result, I may miss the problem you are having.

    Fortunately, the added preparation isn't that bad. It may be adequate to just partition the drive before restoring the C partition. Partitioning creates both an MBR and a partition table. So, you may not need to format the partitions or to run fix boot or do anything else.

    I think it would be interesting to test that if you have the time.
     
  16. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    Most interesting. When I had this problem it was TI 9 B3677 that allowed me to completely restore my disk each day until I resolved the issue. I was restoring the whole disk not partitions though.
     
  17. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    OK. Tom, just to be clear, are you saying that you had this problem prior to build 3677, and it was that build which resolved things?

    I'm using the latest build (3854) to create images, but an earlier one (3666) to restore. I use the latter because Acronis haven't been able to supply me with a more recent bootable TI that supports my laptop keyboard.

    Acronis' TI version history doesn't go back to 3677, so I can't confirm 'officially' that they fixed a related bug with that build, but if you confirm it I can try and push Acronis' support to supply me with a version that works for me. Though I'm galled to have to bother contacting them again -- after their last bland non-answer to a question I had half promised myself not to bother with them again. I'm not a very happy Acronis customer right now.
     
  18. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    No, I'm not saying that the build(3677) resolved the issue. I've never had a problem restoring a complete disk image with TI. I had had the error you report before and replaced a hard drive before I started using TI9. The problem returned several months later on the new drive. Flashing the BIOS has resolved it so far. The message "a disk read error occurred", would show up when the machine was cold started after being off at night. I used TI9 B3677 to restore the machine and it would work OK until it was shutdown again.
     
  19. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    I see, thanks. Clearly a different situation. I've never had this problem spontaneously: only from a fresh TI image.
     
  20. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    I was a never able to find a definitive solution although I could find lots of possible fixes.
     
  21. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I've never liked restoring an image made with a later build (3854) with an older Recovery CD (3666).

    Have you tried restoring with the Build 3666 Recovery CD instead?

    Is there any reason on this machine to use anything later than Build 3666?
     
  22. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    No compelling reason other than a desire to use later builds that should be more bug-free. On the face of it, looking at TI's (not very detailed) change history, I don't think the actual compressed image format changed, so I can't see that using a later build to create the images should matter. But I can see it's another variable to look at.

    For the moment, I'm going to continue pursuing Acronis to supply me with a working build 3854.
     
  23. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    Read the thread Testing Build 3854 before you pursue this too far. Build 3677 might be a better choice.
     
  24. noisyjazzman

    noisyjazzman Registered Member

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    OK, thanks for the heads-up.
     
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