Basic Use Question

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by hc6700, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    I just purchased Acronis True Image 11 and have never used backup software before, so I'm a beginner with this.
    I have a Desktop that I built myself and a Dell laptop. The desktop has 2 WD 250GB HDDs in a Raid 0 Array with 2 partitions (one a 15GB partition for just the OS/XP and drivers, the other is for everything else). I also just put a new Seagate 500GB HDD in a Vantec Enclosure. I have a small home network with a Linksys Cable Modem and a Linksys 802-11n router. My desktop is hard wired to the router and my laptop connects wirelessly.
    I recently had some spyware issues, so I'm doing system reinstalls on both my desktop and laptop. I want to use Acronis to backup the reinstalls.

    Presently, I'm working on reinstalling XP on my desktop. I installed Acronis on it. I want to back up the installation at different stages. So I made a system backup immediately after I installed XP and Acronis. (I actually did 2 of them, one to DVD and one to the external HDD). When I did this backup, I chose to backup both partitions of the Raid 0 array by 'checking' both drives. I'll then do a backup after I add drivers, another after I install other utilities, another after I install all of my software, and then a final one after I install and setup my network.

    A few questions:

    1 - When I do a system backup to DVD or the External HDD, what does Acronis image? I know it makes an image of the partitions, but does it (or can it) image the raid array?

    2-I'm assuming it doesn't/can't image the BIOS settings, is that correct?

    3-Acronis literature says it images and copies user settings. What settings exactly?

    4 - Since I installed Acronis on my PC, can I also install it on my laptop? If not, how can I backup both my PC and Laptop with one copy of the software? Can I share it via my home network shared files? Can I install it on my external HDD and use it from there?

    5 - Also, if my PC should crash, how do I reinstall XP using the images? If I make a system backup to DVD, is that then a bootable CD? I'm assuming that the backups on the External HDD would be of no use if I can't boot to the desktop. Is that correct?

    6- If I do a system backup after installing the router drivers and setting up my network, will Acronis make a copy of this? If so, if my system should crash and I have to reinstall using this image, what else will I have to do to get my network up and going again?

    Lots of basic questions. Hope you can help.

    Thanks
    HC
     
  2. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    I emailed Acronis tech support days ago and didn't receive a response. I posted this thread 24 hours ago and still no response. Is there anyone from Acronis that moderates this forum and answers questions?

    Thanks
    HC
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Imaging the partitions on a RAID array is no different than on a single drive. If TI sees the RAID array as a "drive" then it can be imaged.

    Correct. TI can't backup BIOS settings. If you need to keep track of them, write them out or keep a file with any custom settings you've made.

    TI can image a drive as a backup. This includes everything on the drive/partition(s) backed up (user settings, etc.). TI can also backup user settings for some specific programs. This isn't really necessary if you're using image backup.

    You need to buy a copy of TI for each computer on which it will be used. If you want to use it on your desktop and your laptop, you'll need to buy two copies.

    If you included the Rescue Media on the DVD backup when it was created, then you can boot from the DVD. In any other case, you'll need to create a TI rescue CD using Acronis Media Builder. When you need to restore, boot from that CD. Once booted into TI, you can restore from either your DVD backup or the backup on your USB hard drive. If your computer supports booting from a USB flashdrive, you can also create a bootable flashdrive and use that instead of a CD.

    The system should be restored to the same state as when the backup image was created. If your network was setup in the computer, then all that will be restored as well. Any particular settings that are saved in the router will not be saved and will not be restored.

    -----

    If you haven't already done so, you should use Media Builder to create a bootable TI CD and then boot from it and make sure it can see all your drives correctly (this includes your DVD drive, RAID drive, USB drives, etc.).
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Yes. Acronis does answer questions in this forum. However, basic questions such as these will usually get a "read the manual" response, if any response at all.
     
  5. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks Mud for the reply.
    A few follow up questions:

    1 - You said, "create a TI rescue CD using Acronis Media Builder." I clicked on Disk Utilities and on the top left it said 'Create Bootable Rescue Media.' Is this what you're talking about?

    2 - I bought a boxed version of TI 11. Will the included TI CD suffice as a bootable CD, or should I still create the one above?

    3 - Also, I read about the Secure Zone but I'm still a little confused about what that is. Is that something I create on my Raid drive? If so, should I set up a specific partition on my Raid for that purpose? Is it a hidden partition on my Raid array that hackers can't see?

    4 - If I create TI images on a DVD, is that just as good as creating a Secure Zone?

    Thanks
    HC
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Yes. It's also available in the Start Menu under the True Image folder.

    If the build on the purchased CD is the latest build (8,053), then it will work for now (make sure you can boot from it). If it's not the latest build, then log into your Acronis Account and download the latest build. Once it's installed, create a new CD.

    There are many threads on using the SZ. I don't personally use it, but there are other regular posters here that do. In my opinion, if you can backup to a USB drive or another internal drive, it's really not necessary. It is a hidden partition, but a "hacker" could very easily get into it.

    A lot of TI users would not trust DVDs as a backup medium. If you are backing up to DVDs, make several backups (or keep the previous ones) or make duplicate backups to USB hard drives, etc. Don't only have one backup.
     
  7. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Read all about the Secure Zone before deciding whether to use and where to locate.

    Suggested reading for info about the Secure Zone (SZ) is:
    Xpilot is one who uses the SZ to his advantage. You can search his postings.

    Security zone - where to create?
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1149756

    I do suggest that you read about SZ features--which includes both advantages and disadvantages. The topic Secure Zone & Startup Recovery Manager can be found inside the "Useful Forum Threads" link within my signature.

    Deletion of a Secure Zone is performed within the True Image program and its space can be re-assigned back to its former drive.
     
  8. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Unless you are compelled by some specific reason to create a Secure Zone, a reason you are aware of already, skip it and save yourself a headache. You don't need it to make backups and be able to restore so it's a needless complication for most users and a source of problems for others. A few folks use it successfully and have specific needs for it.
     
  9. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks folks, that's good info. I have build 8.022. I want to get my system completely loaded (XP, drivers, software, network, etc.) and backed up using TI before I go online. Once online, I'll update XP, update TI and then do a final TI image of my system up to that point.

    A few questions:
    1 - Since I'll be making a few TI system images before I update my 8.022 build, will those images still be ok, even though they weren't made with build 8.053?

    2 - I'll stay away from creating a Secure Zone. I just want my initial TI system backups to be pristine and uneffected by any internet activities. I'll make TI backups to my external HDD, but since that can also get infected with spyware, I'll make copies of the same TI system backups to a USB data key.
    Since I've never done a reinstall with a TI image, how will that work with a USB date key? If I get a BSOD and can't boot back into my desktop (even in Safe Mode) what do I do? Do I go into my BIOS, make the DVD drive 1st in the boot order, put in the TI bootable rescue CD I made and boot to that? If so, what do I see at that point? Will it show me the drives on my system (even my USB data key) and then I can choose which one of the images I want to use to reinstall my raid array and XP? I read through the user guide and I still wasn't sure what I'd see after booting from the TI rescue CD.

    3 - Mud said to make sure I can boot from the rescue CD I make. How do I do that. Do I go into BIOS, make the optical drive 1st in boot order, then put the CD in and see if it boots? It won't change anything on my system right?

    Thanks
    HC
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The images should still be valid. If you want to rerun a validation on them after you install 8,053, go ahead.

    Set the CD/DVD drive to boot before the hard drive in the BIOS boot order list. Put in the TI CD and boot the computer. The CD will boot to the Acronis menu and you can select to start TI. (If you have installed the Safe Mode version and included it when you created the TI CD, it will also be available in this menu.) Start TI. It functions the same as the Windows version. As long as you don't hit the final Proceed button on any process wizards, you can look around and try things without bothering your system.

    Check that the Backup option shows your drives. Check the Restore option shows your drives and your restore source (USB drive, or whatever you're using).
     
  11. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks Mud,
    I think I'm following this.
    Just few quick follow up questions to make sure I have this right:

    1 - Since I'm making a Bootable Rescue CD, I won't be making the USB Flash Drive bootable, right?

    2 - It's okay to have more than one TI image on the USB Flash Drive, right?

    3 - Can I also have other none TI files on the USB drive, or do you suggest that I just use a separate drive. I'm only asking because if I have to order a separate USB drive from Newegg, just for the TI images, I'll have to delay this until mid next week. I can always use the USB drive I have now and transfer the TI images to the new USB flash drive when I get it, if you think a separate USB drive is necessary.

    Thanks again. Your help is much appreciated.
    HC
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    This is entirely up to you. You can make just the CD or just the flashdrive or both.

    You can have as many as will fit on the drive, just like a USB hard drive. The only thing to check is to make sure that TI can read the images okay when booted to the TI CD/Flashdrive.

    The TIB image files are just standard files (though usually very large). You can have any other files on the drive that you want. TI doesn't care.
     
  13. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Mud,
    You said, "You can have as many as will fit on the drive, just like a USB hard drive. The only thing to check is to make sure that TI can read the images okay when booted to the TI CD/Flashdrive."
    The TI system backup images that I make need to be on media (ie: a USB flash drive) that is separate from the Bootable CD right? In other words, I will make a bootable CD, as we discussed before, and then the TI image files will be on a USB flash drive (which won't be bootable). Is that correct?
    Or am I misunderstanding this. Could you make a bootable rescue USB flash drive and then put the TI system backup images on the same USB flash drive?

    Thanks
    HC
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The media you use to boot into TI is your choice. As I said before, you can create a TI CD and boot from that. You can also create a TI Flashdrive and boot from that.

    If you boot from the CD, make sure that TI can see your Flashdrive (where the backup images are saved).

    If you boot from the Flashdrive, also make sure TI can see the image files.

    These steps are just because every computer is different. It's just a test step to make sure that your restore media is seen properly. Don't wait until you need your backup image to find out something doesn't work the way you think it should.

    If you create a TI Flashdrive and want to also save images on it, it will need to be in the FAT32 format. This means all the images saved on it will need to be 4GB or smaller or split into 4GB parts. You can place images on the bootable Flashdrive and restore from them.

    --------

    For example: I have created a bootable 4GB Flashdrive with Media Builder. Then I copied an image file to it. Then I booted to the Flashdrive. In TI, the Flashdrive is shown as the A: drive (no Floppy drive in computer) and the image file is accessible.

    Another example: I plugged in the Flashdrive with the backup image. Then I booted from a TI CD created with Media Builder. The Flashdrive was detected as drive B: (this computer had a Floppy drive) and the image file was accessible.

    I say to test because it doesn't always work. For example: When I tried to boot the first computer with the CD and the Flashdrive plugged in, TI gave a kernel panic and locked up. When I tried the Safe Mode, the screen went to text characters that changed when I moved the mouse. So, on this computer, booting with the CD and trying to restore from images saved on a Flashdrive may require some troubleshooting or may not even be possible. However, booting directly from the Flashdrive worked just fine.
     
  15. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks Mud,
    That's really helpful. It sounds that there is a history of more success using USB Flash Drives. So if I get a 8GB Corsair Voyager Flash, I need to partition it into 2 4GB partitions using FAT. I can use one partition to create the rescue disk, then the rest of that partition and the other partition to save TI system backup images. Does that sound like a good approach? Of course, if I take this approach, I'll make a secondary bootable rescue CD disk and save duplicate system backups on DVD as well, just to be safe. Of course, I'll also be making copies of all of this on my external HDD.
    Thanks
    HC
     
  16. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Don't create multiple partitions on the Flashdrive. Leave it as one large FAT32 partition that uses the entire Flashdrive space (8GB in your example). If you create multiple partitions on a Flashdrive, Windows will only see the first partition. The 4GB limit only refers to the maximum file size you can save to a FAT32 partition and not the size of the partition.

    If you create a bootable USB hard drive, then you can create separate partitions as you want and Windows won't have a problem with it. Also, the "backup" partition can be NTFS so you don't have file size limitations. You can see the Guide in my signature for more information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  17. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks Mud,

    Five follow up questions:

    1 - I used the TI bootable rescue CD I created. My PC booted to the rescue CD and it gave me 2 choices, Acronis DriveCleanser and Windows. I figured Acronis DriveCleanser is used to wipe my HDDs clean, so I chose Windows.
    Is that correct?

    2 - My rig booted to my desktop and my desktop looked like it normally does.
    Is that how it should be?

    3 - I started TI and chose Backup and Restore, then I chose Restore. In restore, it showed the flash drive (as Drive F) and the TI system backup image I had created on it. I clicked on that file and it showed in the 'Folder' line as F:\MyBackup.tib.
    Is that correct?

    4 - I clicked next, and selected the 'Restore disks or paritions' option. I clicked next and it showed three ptions: both of the partitions on my Raid array {NTFS (C:) and Local Disk D (D:)} and it also showed something called 'MBR and Track 0.' It would only let my choose/check one of them.
    I checked the C partition and selected to restore it to the C partition as 'Active'. I then did the same for the D partition and selected to restore it as 'Logical.' It asked me if I wanted to restore another partition and I said no. I chose to restore in the 'Use default options.' It then asked me if I was ready to restore everything?

    Does all of this sound right and do I ever have to actually chose the 'MBR and Track 0' option?

    5 - The bootable rescue CD is working but I'd also like to make the USB flash drive bootable, as well as have TI system backup images on it. Per your suggestions, I'll keep the USB Flash FAT32.
    My only question about this is, do I have to make the USB Flash drive bootable first, before I put any TI system backup images on it, or can I save some TI images on it first and then later make it a bootable USB flash rescue drive?

    Thanks
    HC
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  18. thecreator

    thecreator Registered Member

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    Hi HC,

    When creating a Bootable Rescue CD, you pick and choose what would be included on the Rescue CD. A Checkmark means that it would be included on the CD. And there is a Safe Version of TI 11, which is free, but needs to be downloaded from the site, after you are registered.
     
  19. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    No. You should have an menu entry for True Image. As thecreator said, make sure TI is checked in Media Builder when you create the CD (or Flashdrive). If you had it checked or do the process again with it checked and the TI menu entry still doesn't show up, then something is wrong. If you have installed the Safe Mode (SafeMedia) addon, then you should also include that on the CD/Flashdrive.

    Yes. When you select the Windows option, it should boot as normal into Windows. This is the same as if you didn't boot from the CD.

    Yes. However, you were actually in your regular Windows.

    This is normally how you would proceed. Select what you want to restore (the partitions, etc.) and then finish. If you want to restore the Entire Disk Image, then you'd check the Disk # checkbox to select all the items at the same time.

    Normally, you won't need to restore the MBR and Track 0 item. You can always go back and restore it if you need to. In most cases, people are restoring a partition that got corrupted or they need files back, etc. and there were no changes made to the MBR.

    TI does not reformat or erase any existing files on the Flashdrive when you run Media Builder on it. However, you should verify if you can successfully boot from the Flashdrive. If you can't, and need to use any of my "empty" images to make the Flashdrive bootable, it will erase the Flashdrive partition and anything on it (although you should be able to just restore the MBR from the image to the Flashdrive and preserve the partition and its data).
     
  20. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Sorry guys, my bad. I booted to the rescue CD and there was an option for True Image Home. The first time I clicked on the option, the screen went black and nothing happened. I rebooted and clicked on TI Home again and this time got a big blue Acronis TI Home window. On the right I had several options:

    Backup
    Recovery

    or Pick a Tool

    Validate Backup Archive
    Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager
    Manage Acronis SZ
    Clone Disk
    Add New Disk

    I clicked on Recovery and my USB Flash showed as Drive B, with the backup file underneath. I chose that file, chose to Restore disks or partitions, picked partition C, chose the C partition as the target partition and then did the same thing for the D partition.

    Three questions:

    1 - Does that all sound right?

    2 - Should I be concerned that the first time I clicked on TI Home I got a black screen and nothing happened?

    3 - On the bootable rescue CD, the MyBackup file is 1.1GB. Again, that system backup file is just XP and Acronis - nothing else is installed. I checked in my computer and the C partition (where XP is installed) shows 3.1GBs of used space. Is the 1.1GB MyBackup file size about right? Can it be compressed more and if so, how?

    Thanks
    HC
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  21. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    It sounds good that you could see and select the backup image on the Flashdrive. Did you at least Validate it?

    Validate your image and see if it goes okay. This can happen on some systems. If it only happens rarely, then I wouldn't really worry about it. If it happens every time or every other time, then you may need a custom ISO or start trying different Linux parameters to find the problem.

    That size is pretty normal for a clean install of XP. I doubt it will compress much more. I'd leave the compression on the "Normal" setting.
     
  22. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Mud said: "Validate your image and see if it goes okay. This can happen on some systems. If it only happens rarely, then I wouldn't really worry about it. If it happens every time or every other time, then you may need a custom ISO or start trying different Linux parameters to find the problem."

    I'm a little confused with that Mud. When the screen went blank, I was just engaged with the bootable rescue CD (there are no images on that other than the Recovery Manager file). Again, I booted to the CD, and I chose Acronis TI Home (full version), that's when the screen went black. My system backup image file wasn't on that CD, it was on my USB flash drive.
    Today I booted to my rescue CD and tried to validate the Recovery Manager file, but it wouldn't let me. I did this by choosing TI Home, then 'Validate Backup Archive, then choosing the Recovery Manager file. The recovery manager file went to the 'File Name' box, but the 'Next' button wouldn't highlight, so I couldn't validate that recovery manger file, probably because it's not a backup archive.
    Am I misunderstanding you Mud?

    I did validate mybackup file in the USB flash and it was fine.

    Thanks
    HC

    Also, I've tried booting to the rescue CD several other times and it's worked fine, without the screen going blank when I click on TI Home, so hopefully things are ok.
     
  23. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Linux doesn't play nice with all computers. Sometimes it will cause a reboot or other problem and when you start again it will work fine. This is just the way Linux is on some systems. On others it won't work at all or it works perfectly (in some cases, even better than Windows).

    When you validated the image on your Flashdrive, were you booted from the Flashdrive?

    If the system boots and runs TI better when booted from the Flashdrive, then use it that way. As I said in Post #14, I have tested on a computer that has fits when booted from the TI CD, but work just fine when booted from the Flashdrive.
     
  24. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Thanks Mud,
    You said: "When you validated the image on your Flashdrive, were you booted from the Flashdrive?"

    No, I wasn't. I haven't made the Flash drive bootable yet, I just saved my first system backup file to the Flash drive. Again, I haven't connected my desktop to the internet yet, I want to make my initial system backup files before going online. After I go online, I'll update my copy of TI 11 to the latest build. Then I'll make the Flash Drive bootable, with the system backup files already on there.

    The good news is that so far the CD rescue disk is working fine.

    Thanks
    HC
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  25. hc6700

    hc6700 Registered Member

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    Mud,
    Everything has gone fine. I've made a bunch of backups. I went to update Acronis to the latest build (build 8053 - I have build 8022). The site said you can install updates on top of the current version on your pc. I downloaded the update and clicked on Run. I got the Acronis blue screen and clicked on install. I got the following message:

    "The installation was interrupted before Acronis TI could be installed. You need to restart the installer to try again."

    Under that it said: "The following products could not be removed automatically since they were installed on the per user basis (the products are available for only one user of this computer). Uninstall these products manually and then restart installation.
    Acronis True Image Home 11.0.8022."

    Two questions:

    1 - Do I go to add/remove programs and uninstall TI?

    2 - If so, when I make a new updated bootable rescue CD with build 8053, will that CD be compatible with the backups I made and saved with build 8022?

    Thanks
    HC
     
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