Best method of backing up an entire HD

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by boejoe, Aug 27, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    My main HD has several partitions and op systems on it: MS DOS, Windows ME and XP. The file systems accordingly are FAT-16, FAT-32 and NTFS. I use Boot Magic to boot into any of the op systems but the default is Win XP. I'd like to be able to backup this entire HD with all its partitions, including the boot sectors, to my external USB-2/Firewire drive so if that HD goes bad, I could restore its backup to another HD with identical geometry and after the restore I want to be able to boot up with that new HD as I was able to with the old one.

    Which method of backup would give me the best assurance for being able to accomplish this? Cloning only? I'm not sure if the regular backup also saves the master boot record and sectors as it seems to be partition oriented and the MBR is really outside of any partition as I understand it.

    Also, would I be better off creating such backups with the rescue linux software or backing up in Win XP would also work. Though I wonder about the latter because some files will always be locked due to some Windows process using them. So would they be still backed up with their integrity maintained?

    Thanks for any suggestions on this from those who know what they are talking about. :D
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello Boejoe --

    I'd suggest creating an image withing WinXP. This should do the job.

    Thank you.
     
  3. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    OK, Anton, I'll try it on this weekend. My main concern is that the "snapshot" of the drive such backup takes is not going to be in the same "proper" state the HD would be after a normal shut-down (because of unflushed buffers, etc.) and then if I later restore that backup and try to boot up with it, the OS will diagnose the situation as if the system had not been shot down properly and having possible file system integrity issues because of that. This might not be the case if I had created the image backup with the rescue (linux) software. But then the backup with the rescue software might introduce some other problems. :(
     
  4. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    Well, a rescue CD restore to a different but same-size SCSI HD image created in XP worked but as I suspected, not without some problems.
    The restored HD had three different OS-s in seperate partitions that I could boot into: old MS DOS 6.2, Win ME and Win XP. After the restore I could boot into the DOS and Win ME without a hitch but when I tried to boot into XP, half way through the boot I got a message about some file system inconsistency and the system had to reboot to prevent file corruption. Then it rebooted into some old black DOS-type text mode screen giving me several options to continue, such as SAFE MODE, NORMAL, and some others. I let go with the default NORMAL. That seemed to be a good choice and XP finally came up OK after what seemed to be some file system repair. All in all, I could live with this kind of potential rescue option, but I'd feel a lot better if the XP restore went smoother. I think though that this kind of problem is inevitable if one is backing up the same HD on which the OS is running because the HD at the time of backup is not in the state that is expected during startup due to unflushed buffers, etc. So I think the best way to back up and restore a HD is with the rescue CD Linux because at least then a properly shut-down XP partition would be backed up. I think I'll try that one next time.
     
  5. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    Well, I tried that, too, and to my surprise the results were pretty similar (though somewhat milder) to the case I experienced when restoring a backup created in the XP environment. This is strange, considering that this backup was made of a drive with properly shut down XP partition. The only reason I can figure is that I ran the restored drive under different SCSI ID than it was in the backed up drive, though I think that should not make a difference as the SCSI ID is supposed to be a dynamicaly assigned value, but who knows? (I did see the "New hardware detected" message buble in both cases!) In any case, considering the low probability of having to restore an entire HD image to a different drive (and SCSI ID) I can live with the results.

    I still want to try the disk cloning method and see if I get the same problems when I first time boot with the cloned drive as with the restored drive.

    I just hope that by having these expereinces recorded here might help the TI developers, too. After all, they can't possibly test with all the hardware/software combinations that we, the end users can come up with.
    Now the question is: do the TI developers actually read this Forum? ;)
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello --

    Please, be sure that all the information that is important is forwarded to our developers, so that they may make some changes to the product to fix problems and improve it in general.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Hi,

    I always log my problems with Acronis at support@acronis.com in the first instance. This is followed by a post on this Forum, detailing the problem and quoting the Acronis Support ticket number. Subsequent updates on progress and resultant outcome are then added to the thread. If I'm not happy with the way things are going I can always choose to involve the Acronis Moderator (Anton) via this Forum.

    Personally, I've found the above method provides the best results.

    Regards
     
  8. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    That's great, Anton, and I hope nothing important gets lost in translation from English to Russian. :D
    You might also pass to them my experience about cloning my main drive to another one of the same size, though they are different 18 GB IBM SCSI models.
    I cloned both with the automatic and manual methods (in the latter case I used the "As Is" move option) and got the same results after booting up with the cloned drive: after some annoying initial "New hardware detected" bubble messages what I noticed with the Windows Explorer was that each original partition showed up with a duplicated partition to which a different drive letter was assigned. When I looked into the directory structure of the duplicate partitions, I saw the same directory structures as in the original. Perhaps only the directory entries were duplicated but they pointed to the same files. I created graphic (jpg) snapshots of what the Windows Explorer was showing on the original hard disk and on the cloned one in case the TI developers might be interested in it. This seeming "duplication" of partitions is really surprising to me as I did not see any such thing when I booted up with the new drive after restoring from a backup image, though there were some other problems with that method which I did not see with the cloning method. Given the two different methods of transferring the content of hard disks from one drive to another, it appears that the cloning method is totally useless. I wonder if anybody else was more successfull with it than I was.
     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello Boejoe --

    Please note, that if you connect two *identical* drives, it will be hard to Windows to distinguish them from each other... so in this case it might cause some mess... The "Disk clone" feature is usually used when you migrate from a smaller drive to a bigger one, so that after the procedure you take out the smaller one and use only the bigger one in the system.

    Thank you.
     
  10. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    Anton, I did not boot up XP with both drives connected. I disabled the original source drive in the SCSI BIOS and made the new HD the bootable drive. This is the same thing I was doing when I was using the image restore method which did not give me duplicate partitions.
     
  11. boejoe

    boejoe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Posts:
    28
    It just occured to me that switching the SCSI boot drive in the SCSI BIOS might not be all that needs to be done for XP because the boot drive is also set in the XP "BOOT.INI" file which I did not change. Well, I guess I better study what all those entries in "BOOT.INI" really mean before I make changes there, or I open the PC case to change the SCSI IDs of the drives which is too much of a hassle. Am I on the right track, Anton?
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello --

    Well, it's hard to say that without soem disgnostics. I'd advise you to proceed with it through our main support - support@acronis.com.

    Thank you.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.