ATI Corrupts Drive Letter Assignment

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by bisel, Aug 23, 2006.

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  1. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    I installed ATI Home to test functions and decided to also test ATI Corporate as there are few more features in the corporate edition. Upon uninstalling ATI, I performed a reboot and discovered that two drive letters had changed. I have found that to change it back I have to change the drive letter on one drive at time, reboot, then change the other and reboot. I use the disk management utility in WinXP. So, I got things back to normal and then installed ATI Corporate Workstation and the same problem occurred upon reboot.

    I have 5 disk drives, a CDROM and DVD-RW. Two of the disk drives are SCSI. Two other drives are SATA drives that I have striped into a single logical volume using the spanning utility built in to WinXP. The fifth drive is an external drive attached to a PCI SATA controller. My normal drive letter assignements are:
    C: drive is SCSI 1
    D: drive is SCSI 2
    E: drive is spanned logical drive of the two SATA drives
    Q: drive is the external disk (used to store backups only)
    F: drive is DVD
    G: drive is CDROM

    When the involuntary renaming occurs, the CDROM becomes E and spanned SATA drives become G.

    I cannot find why this occurring, but it is related to the installation / uninstallation of ATI. I am concerned that this re-assignment of drive letters can affect the integrity of backups of my images or the ability to perform a restore of the image(s).

    Anyone seen this problem? Anyone with multiple drives want to give this a try ... uninstall the product and re-install.

    Steve B.
     
  2. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Try this and let us know the result.

    Assign letters at the lower end of the alphabet to your removeable media, e.g. R: and S: Leave F: unassigned. Assign G: to your external disk

    You will then have

    C: drive is SCSI 1
    D: drive is SCSI 2
    E: drive is spanned logical drive of the two SATA drives
    F: Not Assigned
    G: drive is the external disk (used to store backups only)
    R: drive is DVD
    S: drive is CDROM
     
  3. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Thanks for response. I did as you suggested and assigned the drives leaving F unassigned. I did a reboot, and the assignments remained as set. I then uninstalled ATI and rebooted. After reboot, the drive letters were reset as before:

    C and D drives were unchanged
    The CDROM drive was assigned drive E:
    The DVD drive remained as drive R:
    the two spanned SATA drives were assigned drive F:

    This is certainly strange, but is definitely associated with the installation / uninstallation of ATI.

    Regards,

    Steve B.
     
  4. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Can you please post:-

    1. Build of ATI (ATI > Help > About)

    2. Build of Windows (Start > Accessories > System Tools > System Information)

    Tks
     
  5. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Acronis True Image Home® Trial version 9.0 (build 3,633)

    Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600
     
  6. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    By way of a test you may want to try the following:-

    * Using Windows Computer Management assign your drives as I previously suggested
    * Physically disconnect from the Internet (pull the plug)
    * Disable your AntiVirus, Firewall and any Anti-SpyWare that is running in real-time
    * Install ATI and open and then close the program
    * Check that your drive assignments are as previously set
    * Uninstall ATI
    * Check your drive assignments again
    * Remember to re-enable your AV, Firewall and Anti-SpyWare before reconnecting to the Internet

    Let us know the result.
     
  7. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    No help ... I did however find a work around (if you want to call it that). The large SATA drive is on its own PCI Controller card. If I power off that drive, then rebooted does not change the assigned drive letters. If, however, I leave the drive powered on, then Windows reassigns the drive letter assigned to my DVD drive and the letter assigned to my spanned logical volume. This may be a Windows problems or a combination of some interaction of ATI and Windows.

    Steve B.
     
  8. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    That is not the way it should work.

    Suggest that you raise a service call with the manufacturer of the large SATA drive (assuming that the PCI controller card is supported by the same manufacturer) and explain the issue.

    You may find that the solution is as simple as putting a "tick-in-a-box" in some setup routine. Or it may be a real bug and you may need an updated driver.

    Whatever, the solution, I don't think you should just live with it because something is not working correctly which may have other less obvious consequences.
     
  9. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Thanks for suggestion ... I already did that route. I called Seagate and they use the Promise Technology controller ... both are well known. There is no set up utility or tick box. The installation is very straightforward, it is same as one would follow when you install any internal disk drive ... i.e., install the card, load the drivers, install the disk drive. I am getting ready to bite the bullet and call Microsoft and get the $35 per incident help.

    Steve B.
     
  10. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    That is interesting. I know the Promise SATA technology reasonably well and have first-hand experience of the product in a real-world installation.

    Have you installed PAM? (Promise Array Manager)
     
  11. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    I checked Promise Technology website and the PAM is not for use on my controller.
     
  12. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    OK, then this is outside my practical experience. I have only used Promise technology with PAM.

    Hope that the manufacturer can help.

    Cheers :)
     
  13. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    This is boocoo strange. Are you saying that the MERE INSTALLATION of the Acronis product changes the letters, WITHOUT you having performed any backup, restore, disk reconfig, or use of Win's Disk Management util?
     
  14. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    It is strange indeed. My configuration was stable with no problems prior to install and subsequent uninstall of Acronis. Now, that said, it is entirely possible that the installation and uninstallation of any software may have triggered Windows to hiccup and decide to swizzle my drive letters. I spent many hours diagnosing the problem and have engaged Microsoft Technical Support and we have not been able to resolve the situation ... basically, the ongoing problem is that if I reboot with my CD-RW and my External disk powered on, then Windows will re-assign drive letters. If I reboot with either of those two devices powered down, then Windows remains stable (as far as drive letters is concerned). This problem did not occur until I rebooted the PC after uninstalling ATI.

    Now, do I blame Acronis for this ... not really. Others have not experienced the problem so I have come to the conclusion that it is coincedence. I think we are all fully aware of the fragility of Windows. So I of a belief that this is more likely a problem within Windows.

    Regards,

    Steve B.
     
  15. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    Steve,
    Well, ordinarily I'd say NBL (Not Bloody Likely) -- if it weren't for the fact that TI does install some code related to drive-lettering, for the Mounted Image feature. Makes me wonder if the uninstall process is really working cleanly and comprehensively, or maybe even if Windows File Protection (the thing which is supposed to keep critical DLLs etc. from being overlaid) is hiccuping. If you're not using any other Acronis products which would obscure the issue, it would be interesting to:
    (a) scan the registry for the string "acronis"; and,
    (b) run whatever thingy XP uses in place of what they used to call SFC.exe (System File Checker), to confirm that no Acronis residue remains -- or even to do a brute-force scan of all your system folders for any files whose *contents* contain "Acronis", *either* in Unicode or "normal" text.

    I have a couple of suggestions, but first I'd like one minor clarification. Do you mean:
    (a) "I reboot, with my CD-RW powered on, and also my External disk is powered on" (which is what I think you mean), or
    (b) "I reboot FROM my CD-RW, and by the way my External disk is powered on"?

    Also, please confirm you've done NOTHING else which affects device management -- IOW, you haven't moved a PCI card to a different slot, haven't even opened the chassis or (un-)plugged a printer or digital camera or Flash stick/keyfob, haven't touched an ISO-image-mounting utility, etc., anytime since TWO re-boots before the problem first appeared or before you first touched Acronis stuff, whichever is earlier.
     
  16. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    You correct ... a. I reboot normally with both the CD-RW and the External disk powered on. Doing so causes Windows to swizzle drive letter. Turning either of these devices before booting, maintains stability with respect to drive letters.

    At the time that I first noticed this issue, I did not change anything except uninstall ATI which stated that a reboot is required following uninstall. I rebooted and Windows swizzled my drive letters and it was immediately evident that "something" happened as I had several error messages about various applications not able to find data, etc.

    Now, since this occurance, I have done some things to change device management in my problem determination quest.

    I did search the registry for occurance of Acronis, etc. My problem is, I do not know what to do with the entries. I haven't seen anything that would indicate an obvious change.

    Steve B.
     
  17. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    The first thing is to post here anything which isn't dead-stupid obvious. If TI is well & truly uninstalled, then you should only find things like entries for recently typed searches, URLs, etc.

    There are various nifty freewares you can use to make this simpler, but if there aren't too many hits, then for each potentially suspicious entry, just highlight the deepest-level enclosing "folder" icon in the left-pane of regedit, then (menu) Registry ==> Export Registry File, give the file a name and place to land, and verify that the "Selected Branch" option is set. Then post the contents of the .reg files -- or at least just a couple of them, to get us started.

    btw, from this moment on, any time you reference the string "acronis" on your system -- e.g., to name your .reg files, or use windows Find, or in your browser, it will create more registry entries which clutter your job of scanning in regedit.

    After we've vetted the registry entries, we can discuss other measures.

    btw, in order to be "merciful" to you, I'm assuming that you would be quite content to simply have your problem go away, without feeling compelled to pursue an intensive investigation driven by geekish curiosity to diagnose the ultimate cause of the problem. Which raises the question, do you have available any kind of backup or System Restore Point which is sufficiently recent so that you could roll-back to a pre-problem state without causing any problematic regression of other (desirable) changes?
     
  18. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Your assumption is quite correct ... I would be very content to make the problem just go away.

    And, I will tell you what ... I have finally decided that Windows has won this battle. I have spent many hours diagnosing the cause and even engaged Microsoft Technical Support for their $35 per incident charge (although they have refunded that amount as they could not resolve the issue).

    Microsoft techies spent at least 16 hours working the problem, some of it with me on the phone using remote PC support and some of it doing their own research. They called me today to say after extensive research, a PC configurations such as mine (2 optical drives, 5 hard disks ... configured as I have configured mine) that Windows is doing what it is supposed do ... that is, force one of the optical drives to be drive E: and reassign letter to other drives. I am not completely buying this, but decided to run up the white flag. So, I decided to accept the drive letter assignments that Windows prefers and I have used DriveMapper to map all occurances of E: drive to the new letter G:. Everything works fine, it is just an annoyance.

    A time will come in the future when I will re-install the O.S. and maybe discover that I can regain greater control over drive letter assignments, but in the mean time, I have to get back to my day job and cannot afford a lot more time dinking around with this thing.

    I appreciate your attention and trying to help.

    Kind regards,

    Steve B.
     
  19. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    OK, Steve, glad to hear that your situation is tolerable.
     
  20. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    BINGO (maybe). Steve, I'm coming back only because of something I just noticed while getting ready to install TI9.
    Check this:
    Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager
    Is there something in there called "Acronis Devices"?
     
  21. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Hmmm, why yes there is ! ... Now what would that be? I don't know why I did not notice that before.

    The main heading is called "Acronis Devices" with a sub-tree of Acronis True Image Backup Archive Explorer.

    Also, just FYI ... I decided to purchase ATI Home edition as I like the function and the ease of use. So, ATI Home is now installed and I am using it to backup images of my C: drive ...

    Anyway, what is this device? I will try to disable it and see what happens.

    Steve B.
     
  22. nusrat

    nusrat Registered Member

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    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAL!
    or perhaps I should say,
    BUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

    It's the thing which TI uses for -- as I (Ahem!) alluded to before -- the Mounted Image feature.

    But the point is, if you uninstalled TI, then it SHOULDN'T BE THERE. Please make the effort of making a formal bug report and pestering them to fix it.
     
  23. bisel

    bisel Registered Member

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    Well, maybe it should be there cuz I do have ATI installed now. I don't know if it was removed when I did do the uninstall, but since I decided to purchase ATI, I reinstalled the software. That said, I uninstalled the device driver itself but that did not change the way Windows behaves. It still wants to reserve the E: drive for the CD-RW.

    And I was so excited too.

    So no change with or without the device driver ... so re-installed the device drivers.

    Steve B.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2006
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