Backing up partition structure - only!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Earthling, Jun 26, 2009.

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  1. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    I like to keep a backup of just the partition structure on my primary drive.

    If I use these exclusions -

    *.*
    System Volume Information}~

    it works, I think, but when I explore the backup all the folders have been backed up too. The folders appear to be empty (though System Volume Information doesn't seem to be empty), but is there an exclusion syntax that will omit the folders too?

    ATI 11 Home and ATI 2009

    EDIT - forgot to say that this 'empty' backup is 5.4GB!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Earthling,

    Thank you for using Acronis True Image

    If you want to exclude some folder it should be kept in slashes. Add the root folders to exclusions:

    Here are the examples:

    C:\Documents and Settings\
    C:\Program Files\
    C:\WINDOWS\

    Also, you can add *.* to exclude the undesired files from the root.

    I created a test backup file of my 20 GB system partition, the backup file doesn't contain any folders and is about 11 MB of size.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  3. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    Thank you for that Oleg, I didn't think anyone had an answer. I will try that out. :)
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  5. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    Brian K:

    The reason for this enquiry was because I have inferred from several posts here that it seems there are situations where, after just restoring the system partition, the machine won't boot and it is necessary to restore the entire disk partition structure. I actually doubt this would apply in my case because I use Grub4DOS to manage my booting, but being utterly paranoid about such things I do like to keep an empty image of the whole disk - empty of any files or folders, just the partitions - and although I can already do that, I'm trying to minimise its size.

    I don't think the Dell thing is applicable - this is a Medion, but MudCrab will probably pop up and tell me not to bother anyway ;)
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Earthling,

    I've seen those posts too. I don't believe it. The user has made some other mistake.
     
  7. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    Must say I'm sceptical too, but I think I've seen it from some of the most respected names here.
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    It depends on how and where the Windows partition was created and how and where it was restored. It's very easy to "corrupt" the booting process. It's also very easy to fix, if you know how.

    I think the problems you're referring to are when it's recommended to do an Entire Disk Image restore. If that's the case, it's because when TI restores an Entire Disk Image (as opposed to a partition image), TI puts everything back where it was (each partition's starting and ending sectors are the same). This allows the system to boot when it otherwise wouldn't.

    This problem ocurred more with versions of TI prior to TI 11. TI 11 and later modify the BCD file for Vista so it can boot. This seems to work fairly well on most setups, but TI can still be confused by some.

    The biggest problem is that TI does not keep the 2048 offset default for Vista. If you have that offset and then restore the partition with TI, TI will resize it and set it back to the XP (63 sector) offset.

    ---

    As for backing up a partition layout, I do that too. If I know what I want ahead of time, I create an image of the empty partitions. If not, then I usually do it later with just my clean installs.

    Understand that if you have a problem because the partition's sectors changed, you can't just restore your old layout over the top and fix it because it won't align correctly. By this, I mean that you can't just copy back the partition table's data and have the problem fixed. You would then have to restore again and TI would again move it.
     
  9. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    MudCrab:

    Thanks for the clarification. So going back to my original question, how do you create an 'empty' backup. My attempt is over 5GB, so something is wrong or missing from my exclusions.
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I have never tried to create a "empty" backup by excluding files and folders. If you mount the image you created, what is in it? Maybe that will tell you what you need to exclude. Make sure to enable viewing of hidden and system files so you can see everything.

    If you have a program that will do it (like DD), you can create a backup of Sector 0. If you later copy that back, you'll have the same structure, but you'll need to format all the partitions to make them valid.

    You could also backup your drive, use DD or another program to format every partition on the drive and then create an image. Then, restore the partitions.
     
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