A lesson for computer novices thinking of buying and a request for help

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Fozzy, May 5, 2006.

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  1. Fozzy

    Fozzy Registered Member

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    Some years ago on my first computer my HD crashed and I lost some data. Since then I have sought to ensure all data is backed up on a regular basis.

    More recently and on my latest computer I had acquired lots of data/programs. In addition to all the family photographs, I had put on a number of home videos. Previously I had backed up the key data to DVD but the sheer size of the data now made that difficult.

    Accordingly, I surfed the web and read computer magazine reviews which led me to buy TI9. At the same time I bought an external USB HDD. I particularly liked the thought of imaging the entire disk so I would not have to reinstall non essential data (such as games etc) if there was a crash. As with many people, I am not really a computer expert and was attracted by what seemed to be the ease of use and reliability of the product.

    Anyway, I installed the software, created the emergency disk and then proceeded to create a full image of my c drive. I have 2 200gb HDs in RAID 0 and the total image was of some 170GB. I was pleased that the software provided for verification, and it indicated that the image was fine.

    About 3 weeks ago my graphics card failed. The system was RMAd and it was discovered that the o/s had also been corrupted. Thats not the end of the world I thought as I have the complete image.

    The system was returned earlier this week with HDDs refomatted and with windows Xp installed. First thing I do is to install TI9, plug in the external HDD and seek to recover the latest differential which I had made just before the crash and which had been verified. I do not seek to verify before installation as I perceive that will take time and, in any event, I have just recently verified it.

    12 hours or so later the message comes up that the image is corrupted. I try to recover the full image without differential and again the image is corrupted. Not only that, but the process has in the meantime wiped the c drive so I no longer have any working system at all. I am currently trying to proceed by reinstall all the files and folders (through booting from the recovery disk) which looks like it is going to take 24 hours. I dont know if this will restore the operating system and perhaps soemone would be kind enough to tell me whether it could work in principle.

    If this doesnt work, i intend to try to reinstall windows through the recovery disk (last time I tried it said it could not find a HD) and then install files/folders individually in the hope that some are not corrupt. Any thoughts on this would be most appreciated.

    It is a real shame that I did not find these forums before which seem to confirm my experience that the product appears to be defective. What particularly annoys me (and yes I am annoyed) is that I verified the image. I now read, and my experience demonstrates, that this facility is not accurate.

    Any thoughts generally on what I should do (before going to a disk recovery company) would be appreciated. I should add for the sake of completeness taht I do have a wireless mouse which I note someone has suggested may be a reason for these issues.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  2. mark3

    mark3 Registered Member

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    I have empathy for you re your loss of data as I went through that process awhile back when a third party program corrupted and I lost a month's work. I do not hold much hope for you in recovering your data after a format and an installation of OS on the hard disk. However you might come across some software that will be able to do it.

    It IS unfortunate that you did not find this forum earlier otherwise your view of the product would most probably have been one of caution.

    Before you attempt to restore the image again, you might want to try it to another disk so that your original disk is not further disturbed (for data recovery purpose).

    Trying to recover through Windows is not a very good idea. You should be using the recovery CD. In one of the threads, the poster tried four times before he was able to restore his image. So you might be in luck.

    Also Acronis Support might be able to shed light on why TI cannot find the HD.

    By the way, is the TI the same or has it been updated? If you have updated TI then you should be using the recovery CD corresponding to the TI that created the image.

    One other suggestion, see if you can mount the image. Try the recovery CD first before attempting it through Windows. If you can, then at least you will be able to recover all your files.

    Hope things go well for you.
     
  3. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    You MUST use more than one external drive, alternating their use, and never have more than one connected at the same time.

    In a footnote, Moses had the following on the tablets:

    "Thou shalt not have just one backup."
     
  4. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    On also needs to be cognizant of what must be backed up versus what is nice to have backed up since that can often control how many backup are possible.

    You don't need to backup that which can or should be readily reproduced on demand (OS, downloadable exe's, etc.). You do need to backup personal files, program key files/serial numbers/invoice data, mailboxes, etc.. This may make a reinstall a tad longer, with the flexibility that multiple backups are feasible.

    Blue
     
  5. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Most folkes should be encouraged to do FULL backups, with regular INCREMENTAL backups.
     
  6. Fozzy

    Fozzy Registered Member

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    Mark - thanks for your comments. In response to your points:

    1. same version of TI9 from the box

    2. I am working on the basis i will not be able to recover from the original disk as it has been formatted. I am hoping I can recover something from the TIB files on the backup hd either by mounting it or through files/folder recovery

    3. i dont seem to have an option to mount when i boot into ti9 from the rescue disk (for some reason i dont get the f11 option but have to boot from the disk after pushing fEIGHT).


    Howard - I don't really appreciate a lecture from you on backups. I do have most of the material on original media (eg digital tapes for the videos) and most photos are backed up to a couple of months ago at least. I was more relaxed about this however for the reasons set out in my original post.
     
  7. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Fozzy, you may still be able to recover your data files from the drive that has been formatted and with the OS and TI reinstalled. Just don't write (install) anything else on the drive. One good piece of software in that category is R-Studio. You have to have another system to put the drive in though.
     
  8. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Fozzy, in fairness I don't think Howard Kaikow was directing his comment to you, I think his comment was in response to the post by BlueZannetti.

    And in this regard I must disagree with BlueZannetti.

    It is obvious that having current and, if possible, multiple verified backups (which could include copies, images and regular backups) of your data is just plain common sense. However, in my view, making full backups of an entire system is just as important - especially in a productive environment. There is absolutely nothing worse than having a deadline to meet and your OS won't wake up in the morning :gack: If you work in a Windows environment then you will know that to reinstall XP and then to reinstate all your software and fix the Registry and deal with licensing issues and and and..... Its enough to make any sane person want to become a beach-bum :D

    I know that this does not help your problem. But there are many non-technical people that use this Forum and it is important that the information is correctly interpreted by all - professionals and amateurs alike.

    So I will support Howard's post. Do regular (monthly) FULL system backups with daily or weekly incremental or differential backups. Personnally I don't like incremental backups and always do differential.
     
  9. smallpotato

    smallpotato Registered Member

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    I read somewhere that data cannot truly be wiped completely out on modern HDDs even with low level formats. I think the source was GRC's SpinRite. Though being able to recover whatever traces of magnetic resonance off platters is probably like magic -and can be expensive. Good luck -hope you can get your data back.
     
  10. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I would first try and find out why a previously verified backup now doesn't work or verify. It may be hardware so I would run Memtest86+ (www.memtest.org) overnight for a start.

    I would run chkdsk X: /r on all partitions (replace X with the partition's letter).

    Have you restored an image from the external drive before?

    Try the latest version of TI9, it does have various fixes in it.
     
  11. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Fozzy,

    If you find the memory to be good and the recovery service turns out to be too expensive, there will be no harm done if you just try the restoration some more times. I once had an USB drive that was on the verge of compatibility with TI and run into the same problem, but after several trials the restore succeeded. My restoration runs were faster ones, though.

    And, no, the files and folders restore will not give you a working OS, I'm afraid.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  12. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    I'd agree here, and Howard's comment is fine by me. Different perspective.
    Just so I'm clear, a full backup is preferred and I generally size external drives to carry a pair of images. So I understand the preference. However, it is important to appreciate that personal and/or unique files are intrinsically more critical to backup since one cannot casually download them again on-demand from a single or multiple sources on the net. That is a concept that is critical to convey since many folks have limited resources and have to make choices within sizeable constraints. The simple fact of the matter is that a quick backup of XP's Documents and Settings folder covers the fragile content that most folks need, or would like to have, and would be unable to replicate in the event of a disk failure.
    I'm not talking about a production environment here, perhaps some are, and I agree that's a different beast since uptime is critical.

    Blue
     
  13. urie

    urie Registered Member

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    If your using raid then you will have spare ide connector if not allready used up, why not take hd out of usb case and connect it to ide worth a shot in case it is compatibility problems with usb.
     
  14. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    It may be too late.

    But one way to try to recover the TI files would be to paty a data recovery service to see what they can get off the drive.

    Most will charge an evaluation fee.

    Best may be http://www.ontrack.com/
     
  15. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    OT post removed. This is the Acronis support forum, not the "plug your favorite competitor" forum.
     
  16. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    If I were you I would try installing the external drive that the image is on internally and seeing if the image restores as reporting the image as corrupt is probably a standard message you get when a restoration process fails but does not necessarily mean the image is not restorable from a quicker more reliable source such as an internal drive. I have several Acronis images on internal drives and on an external drive and the image on the external drive is the last one I would try to restore only if the others failed as restoring from an external drive through a USB or firewire port is the one most likely to fail especially when the image is large and takes a long time to restore. You may also be able to explore the image and recover any important data.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  17. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    If windows explorer can see the external drive and files on the drive, there will be no difference if the drive is used internally.

    And, if the external drive is still under warranty, th edrive's warranty would be voided if the case were opened to remove the drive.

    Speed plays no role in determining whether one can read an ordinary data file, which is all a backup file is.
     
  18. mark3

    mark3 Registered Member

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    Fozzy, some of the posters have given you some food for thought. The consensus of opinion is that you do not use your original disk for the time being.

    As a last resort, you may need to seek help to recover data off that disk and you cannot afford using it in the meantime.

    I think you are talking about something different to what I was suggesting. The F11 is when you boot into Windows (I might be wrong as I have not used it). When you mentioned F8, I can only presume that you are talking about the booting order eg. CD-ROM being first.

    What I was talking about, re mounting image, is that once you have launched TI, either through the CD or Windows itself, click on Operations, Mount Image and then follow the instructions and see if the image can be mounted either through the CD or Windows.

    Finally, I would suggest that you follow one of the poster's advice and take the HD out of the USB housing and attach it to another computer as a slave and see if you are able to retrieve the image.
     
  19. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I wouldn't go that far, Howard. The standard IDE interface and drivers have been around a long time and being the backbone of PC storage they have been pretty well checked-out.

    Putting the drive in an external box introduces another chipset and drivers into the picture. Imaging programs have been working with internal drives since day 1, the addition of USB support is relatively new.

    As I've said before, my primary backup storage is a second internal drive. I know a lot of USB drives work well for people but there are enough posts indicating it is not a flawless media.
     
  20. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    I agree. I've had numerous write error messages when using my external drive both through USB and Firewire even though most times the drive works properly. In fact it seems to me that since all the service packs and updates have come out for Windows XP and hard drives have become faster external drives are more error prone than ever. I’ve lost all the data on an external drive a couple of times because of a read or write error to do with large files (like an Acronis image) on the external drive. Connecting the drive internally is less likely to result in a read or write error and since the restore would be quicker less time for something to go wrong. You may find that the image restores correctly or can be explored to copy the data you don't want to lose if you mount the drive internally. It is worth a try and is the first thing I would try in the situation described by Fozzy.
     
  21. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    The USB-IDE bridge can be checked out in Windows. It's got nothing to do with the particular app used.

    If one has ANY Seagate drives on the system, then one can run the SEagate Online Tools for testing USB drives. If those, or similar, tests pass, and windows can see the file and you can open the file, say, witha hex dumpo program, then no additional info will be garnered on a direct IDE connection.
     
  22. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    My experience is far from that.

    My external could work with Win Explorer normally, but at first it wouldn't bee seen from rescue environment.

    After disconnecting all other USB devices and plugging the USB drive into one of the back ports, the external would be seen from the rescue environment too and read from, but it wouln't show up in the list of target drives, even being more than big enogh for the image selected. That's as far as I succeeded to push the little devil.

    From within BartPE, the external works well again. So, the chipset responds normally to Windows drivers, but it's marginal against Linux drivers.
     
  23. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Fozzy,

    You have gotten a mixture of advice here. I can assure you that USB drives may be a problem, especially in the Recovery CD (Linux) environment, but also in Windows. It's true that many work flawlessly, but that is dependent upon the chipset on the computer motherboard and the chipset in the external drive. The fact that your attempted restore took so long is evidence that there is a problem in the Linux environment for your hardware.

    The best suggestion you have gotten is to remove the hard drive from the external case and mount it internally as an IDE drive. If you are concerned about this, call the external drive manufacturer's tech support. I doubt that you will damage the drive, but that should assure you. It will void the warranty, but that's a small price unless this is an exotic external drive.

    Since you created and validated the image in Windows, the image is most likely good and restorable. However, if there is a problem with the USB support under Linux, you may never get it to restore that way. Moving the drive to an IDE connector will probably solve the problem.

    If you don't want to do that, here's an alternative. Partition the internal hard drive so that there is a second partition. Reinstall Windows on the first partition. In Windows, copy the image from the USB drive to the second partition. Install TrueImage 9.3567 and verify the image on the second partition.

    Restore the image from the second partition.

    I believe one of the two options outlined will have you up and running again.
     
  24. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    I've had to do this again - including one just like the post I removed earlier. This was from the same poster as well. Sorry to the posters who responded to that one this time.
     
  25. Fozzy

    Fozzy Registered Member

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    Many thanks for the time and trouble taken by everyone to give me help.

    By way of update, further attempts to restore the partition have failed - acronis seems to hang. However, while attempts to restore all files and folders failed as did attempts to restore big chunks of them, it appears that I can restore my key data eg photos/videos. By this I mean that it says the restore is successful and when I look on the c drive in the recovery manager afterwards, i can see the documents there and that the disk space is down by x gigs.

    So I though the next thing I should is restore XP to check (this was wiped when I tried teh first full image restore). Plan then is to restore all the key data/drivers. The problem is that the rescue disk doesnt work as it doesnt recognise the HDD - this is because I dont have the SATA/RAID drivers. So now I am going back to the company (MESH) to try to get them on a floppy.
     
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