Acronis 11 - Question about Secure Zone

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Mediaman, Feb 19, 2008.

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  1. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    I've been 'successfully' ( a word not used too frequency on this forum) using Acronoic True Iamge 11 for:

    a) routine weekly image backups on my main machine
    b) cloning a hard drive on a spare machine.

    One feature I have never used is Secure Zone. which I just set up on the spare machine - ie I had it create a hidden partition.

    I've read a few posts here , and I thought I understood how this worked, but I dont quite yet. (My first reaction was how do I now create /schedule backup images to this hidden partition).

    1) Am I to understand that the purpose of the SZ hidden partition is NOT to store backup images (any partition could do that), but rather it is only there in case one needs to recreate a bootable drive from it ( ie for use in a 'cant boot' emergency, where one invokes the SZ via F11 or via CD). Is that correct??

    2) So based on the above, one would store actual backups elsewhere - correct?

    3) Once created, is any other action needed?? Does SZ create what it needs to automaticallyo_O In first creating the SZ, all its asked me was to pick a size. I was waiting it for it to prompt to 'create; something but it never did. So I dont need to do anything??

    4) I have a 500 GB fdrive , and it promted me to for a 170 GB for the SZ. Why so big if its not a backup??

    5) I think only 66 GB is being used ( forgot where I saw that from) - so is it safe to resize the SZ to a smaller value? I have a lot of mp3s and jpg files on the drive, but as the SZ is not a backup , its not storing images of these files in the partition - correct?

    Many thanks
     
  2. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    IIRC, the ASZ was created for those who had no removable or external media on which to store the backup images. Storing your backups on the drive which you were backing up just isn’t very wise. If the drive fails, your backups are toast. While the ASZ could not help in that case, it at least provided a place that was a little more “secure”.
     
  3. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Yes I realize that ...which is why I want to better understand what SZ is....hence my 5 questions above...
     
  4. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    1. The secure zone is designed to store backup images in a safer environment than any other location. It is safer as it is hidden from all normal OS processes and virus infections.
    When it was first conceived its purpose was to provide a simple automatically managed archive storage area for users with only a single hard drive. There is obviously no protection from a total physical hard drive "meltdown".
    In a computer that can support more than one hard drive the secure zone can be installed on a secondary drive to great effect.

    1a. The F11 Startup Recovery Manager is IMHO a poor tool. In the case of a total drive failure it would not be available and the rescue CD would have to be used. I use one on a regular basis. It is kept to hand, with another "just in case" copy.

    2. A single storage area for backup images, whether in a secure zone or not, is certainly poor practice.
    As a secure zone does not permit full archive images to be copied elsewhere another way has to be found to provide seperate extra backups.
    My own solution is to routinely restore backup images to a rotation of three main hard drives.

    3. Once created a secure zone can be used to store backup images by setting up a backup schedule. Provided the schedule/s allow for more then one full backup image FIFO management will kick in and one has a real "fit and forget" imaging system.

    4. My own secure zone on a secondary drive is actually big enough to hold nine full un-compressed images of my main hard drive. This gives plenty of depth to my backups with room for growth.

    5. If you just want use of the SRM you could shrink the SZ to a few MB. 35 should be sufficient. Use the manage secure zone wizard for all SZ changes.
    Wherever you decide to store your backup images it is worthwhile separating,by partitioning your drive, your data from the programs and operating system. As your collection of compressed data grows it may be a better idea to copy them to another place in their native format rather than grinding them through the Acronis mill.

    Xpilot
     
  5. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Hmmm . so I gather SZ is simply a hidden partition and that when created for the first time, is empty .. correct? Ie creating the partition does not put anything in it - correct?

    So I still dont see how I can schedule a backup and select it as a destination, given it is not selecatable ( ie its hidden).

    My whole purposein exploring SZ is that I was having issues with my HD booting. Rather that rebuilding from scratch everything, I thought there might be a way to store a working copy of the drive as an image, in the SZ. This is not my main machine, and the onyl data on the drive is mirrored data from another machine. But the pc has a lot of software on it, that I wanted to capture as an image and store in the SZ.
     
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Where the Secure Zone is located, It's contents and the use to which it is put is up to each individual user. They also have the option not create one at all.

    A SZ is designed to hold and manage backup images. These can be created manually or automatically by setting up a schedule in the TI program. Whilst the zone is hidden from Windows it can be acessed via the TI program while in Windows or when booted into the TI recovery environment from the TI rescue CD.

    I do not see a SZ or indeed any other part of of TI being of use to repair pre-existing boot problems.
    Once you have cleared up these problems then of course TI would enable recovery to a good working state should any further difficulties arise. This could be done with or without invoking the secure zone. Use of the optional start up recovery manager could introduce further booting problems on some OEM computers and multi-booting situations. It modifies the MBR which can in fact introduce further difficulties for some users.

    Xpilot
     
  7. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Thank you for a clear and patient explanation. Initially I could not even see the option to select the SZ as a target for a backup, I do now.

    OKAY, in my case, I have a spare PC sitting on a network. I've had to rebuild it a few times (almost from scratch - ended up cloning an older smaller OEM drive). There is no local data on it, but it is configured of course a certain way. I have no external or addtional drives for it (and want to keep the orgiinal OEM drive in tact for emergencies). The use of a network drive as a target, while possible, was very slow. So I thought I would store an image on a separate partition, just for conveniece - recognizing that ANYthing stored locally is not really a backup....but it does have some merits for limited recovery.

    So the question then came down to, what's the easiest way to setup/resize a partition. When I discovered SZ, I thought ok, thats cool, nice and easy, and also thought this might assist with any Windos corrption problems in that if I got into trouble, I could boot with the CD and tell Acronis to recover my C drive using the image in SZ. I assume I can still do this - correct?

    I suppose there is no other advantage to a 'hidden' SZ partition vs a normal partition...in fact I would prefer being able to see the partition, but did not have an tools to create one easily on Win XP SP2 ( like I do on other Vista machines).
     
  8. Kimberlito

    Kimberlito Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Just one more little known detail about creating a new SZ. Acronis can create it from the "free space" on the disk, if you have any left. You don't need to create a new partition beforehand or let TI resize one of existing partitions.
     
  9. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Of course, storing the backups of partiton x in a sz if both x and the sz are on the same harddisk is a lot like locking the combination in the safe. If the disk goes bad, you can't restore to a new drive.
     
  10. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    I am not looking to protect against a bad disk - I already have a seperate full image on another computer ( took 9 hours to get there).

    I am more cocnerend about a corrupt windows configuration. Want to be able to quickly restore is from a image...eg... an image 'safely' stored in an SD partition.
     
  11. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    In that case it would be faster to restore from another disk, whether with an SZ or not; a disk can't read while it's writing and vice versa, but one disk can read while another writes, at least it they're SATA or IDE on diff IDE controller slots.
     
  12. darcya

    darcya Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Hi, Whilst on the subject of Secure Zone ; I have been using it on a slave drive formatted as NTFS in Windows XP using Acronis V11. I have now tried to re install SZ on the secondary drive. On reboot I get the message' Operation Error: Invalid Partition size' no matter what size I set the partition. Anybody have any ideas?
     
  13. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Just for information, when sucessfully set up TI will have formatted the secure zone to FAT 32. That is the way it works.

    I have never seen the invalid partition size error so I can't help there.

    Xpilot
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Hello darcya,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please make sure you have removed the previous Acronis Secure Zone before trying to create a new one.
    It's possible that there are some errors on the drive. We recommend you to run "chkdsk /r" on all partitions of the drive.

    If the issue persists, please collect some information to let us investigate it thoroughly:

    Please create Acronis Report as it is described in Acronis Help Post.

    Then submit a request for technical support. Attach all the collected files and information to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with a solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  15. Wydo

    Wydo Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Ok, I just downloaded and installed ATI Home 11. The first thing I did was install secure zone on the same hard drive. Then I read this thread and I am wondering if I did the wrong thing.

    The computer I did this on is going to be for kids to use, my nephews. The idea was to do an easy restore if they screwed it up. Was this a bad idea?

    I would like to know if I can keep it this way and still back up the hard drive to another hard drive without SZ on that drive? This would be so that I can do easy restores and if I need to do a full restore from a second hard drive to a new hard drive if it ever came to my new 500 mb hard drive taking a dive. In other words I want to have a sz partion on the same drive to do quik restores if nessary and also have a back up on another hard drive drive in the case of hard drive failure.

    Thank you for your comments
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  16. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    It is always a good idea to have backups on more than one physical drive. Using a seperate hardrive in addition to a secure zone on the primary drive should not present any problems.
    It is a while since I backed up in this manner but if my recollection is correct a whole image of the source drive to a second drive will not include the contents of the secure zone. If it were otherwise there would be unnecessary duplication.

    You will have three possible restore methods. From the TI GUI in Windows, Booted from the TI rescue CD, or using the TI Startup Recovery Manager. I have never used the TI SRM. I always restore from the rescue CD because that is what would be needed in a worst case breakdown and practice makes perfect. Whichever method is chosen they all take about the same time in total for a whole drive restore unless the second drive is mounted internally which could speed things up.

    I would not activate the SRM as this feature modifies the Master Boot Records. These modifications would be included in the image on the second drive. This could make a restoration from this drive unbootable should the original drive be replaced.

    They way to remove an activated SRM and restore the MBR to its original state is to start over with the secure zone using the Manage the Secure Zone Wizard.

    Xpilot
     
  17. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Some folks, including myself, think the best way to use the SZ is not at all. Save your backups to other disks (and if you want automated file management to Backup Locations). The security the SZ provides is minimal at best and the problems it can present make it hardly worth the trouble. It would probably be better called the Stiff Zone, since it is so inflexibile -- you can't copy, delete files, control the mfile management rules, etc.
     
  18. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    This is where shieber and I must agree to differ.
    I have used a secure zone with perfect results since I first encountered TI with version 8 a few years ago.
    By definition it is more secure than an "open" backup file folder or drive. The automatic FIFO management of backups actually works without fail and is far less complex and accident prone than the new backup locations feature.
    Secure zone images can be mounted and copied from as well as be restored just like any other image. Once realised they cannot be copied in "toto" it is simple enough to provide secondary backups by other means. I see no need at all to be able to delete secure zone images. They will be automatically recycled in due course with no user intervention.

    Potential problems with a SRM can be avoided by not activating the SRM in the first place. However there are ways to recover a modified MBR without any undue difficulty.

    Xpilot
     
  19. Wydo

    Wydo Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Can you shrink the sz partition's size after you put a file in it? Will using the SZ prevent other methods of backup to be preformed?

    I have a fresh install of Windows XP on a new hard drive. I was planning to use the sz for just minor repairs that children might provide a need for. I have them using an older PC and some how they managed to make it so that when the PC goes to sleep and when it is awakened it comes back frozen so it has to be reset to bring it back to an active OS. This is the kind of thing I wanted to use the SZ for and nothing major.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
  20. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Using the manage secure zone wizard the zone can be shrunk with an image in it. It would be a good idea to leave some headroom for expansion that may be needed. For example the Windows security updates have come round again so a more up to date image may need more space.
    Restoring a whole drive image is a complete repair for a hard drive.
    System restore points started from safe mode might be a faster alternative in some minor instances.


    Xpilot
     
  21. Wydo

    Wydo Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Hi,
    So as a newbie question, what level of an image is best for the SZ (system state or whole disk) and what would be a good partition size for SZ?
     
  22. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    I personally would not waste my time considering a system state backup in preference to a whole disk backup image. A whole disk image enables recovery to be made from all possible hardrive corruptions or breakdowns. A system state backup is by definition far more limited which would not suit my purposes at all.

    The size of a backup location whether a SZ or not depends again on personal choice. How far back in time would you ever want to go? As a workable minimum I would suggest setting the zone at three times the size of the used space on the partition/s that are being secured.
    That way there would be room for at least two or more full backups with no chance of being left with none at all should a backup creation fail.

    Xpilot
     
  23. cwetherington

    cwetherington Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    Mediaman,

    when you get a moment, please email me at cwetherington@hotmail.com. I have a question about ATI for you, as Im sure you would know the answer.

    Sincerly,

    Chad
     
  24. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Re: Acronos 11 - Question about Secure Zone

    I left you a Private Message...
     
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