Bootable system backup

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jmk94903, Feb 4, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    I have a new Dell desktop. There are three partitions on the 40GB hard drive as it was delivered: 32MB FAT-16, 4GB FAT-32, and 34GB NTFS partition, C:, with Windows. I believe the FAT-16 is for Dell diagnostics and the FAT-32 has a recovery image provided by Dell.

    I am using TrueImage 8 Build 791 to backup the C: partition only since I don't need the Dell image or diagnostics and including them in each backup would double the size of my backup file.

    I am concerned about two emergency recovery situations:

    1. If the C: partition is corrupted by a virus, spyware or a bad program installation, and I restore just the C: partition from my backup, will my system be fully functional. Will it boot properly into Windows XP and will all the programs work, etc.

    2. If my hard drive fails, and I replace it with a new hard drive and restore the only image of C:, will my system be fully functional? That is will it boot and have all the programs working and all the data?

    John
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    Thank you for choosing Acronis True Image (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/).

    In the first case if you do not resize other partitions and just restore the image of the system partition you will need to perform the MBR fixing after the restore.

    In the second case the disk will not boot if you restore the single partition.

    I can recommend that you create the image of the whole disk. If you restore it to another disk (or to the disk you use now) you will be able to boot from it and you won't have to perform any additional operations.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  3. hgratt

    hgratt Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Posts:
    113
    I have a similar setup. Could you elaborate as to why in case 1 the MBR would have to be fixed?

    Is it because that a backup of only the C: partition does not create a "partition boot sector" (PBS) for the original MBR to link to when the C: partition is restored? Does the fixing of the MBR then also create a PBS on the newly restored C: partition?

    Thanks,
    Harvey
     
  4. wishyou

    wishyou Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    6
    From my experience, neither True Image nor Disk director is able to handle boot sectors/MBR.

    I tried to clone my linux system disk using TI and had to reinstall grub to get it working. Iv seen other posts with the same issue on WinXX machines too.

    Disk Director gives med a warnig when resizing/moving partitions: If this is a boot partition you will need to repair the MBR after the operation. Well, at least it gives a warning.

    Actually, it no biggie, as long as one knows what to do. Still, from my experience MBR/boot sector repair is mandatory after most Acronis Tool disk operations.

    Wish
     
  5. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    First of all please note that when you create the image of the whole disk and then restore this image (not a single partition of it) the MBR is copied to the new disk along with the data.

    In the first case mentioned above you obtain the exact copy of the old disk because you do not move other partitions and all the sectors for the old C partition are restored the same for the new one. In this case fixmbr may help.

    To be absolutely sure you will be able to boot from the new disk I can recommend that you create and restore the image of the whole disk. Otherwise I cannot guarantee that you will be able to boot from the new disk even after you fix MBR.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  6. hgratt

    hgratt Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Posts:
    113
    Well, if, as you say, you get an EXACT copy of the original disk (other partitions remain intact and at same location) after restoring the C: partition, then why would you have to fix the MBR? The one on the "original disk" should still be usable? If not, why not?

    I would still think that the issue is that the PBS is NOT copied when making a partition image and thus cannot be restored. Is this not the way the boot process works - i.e, MBR refers to the PBS of the active partition (in this case C: ) which then loads the OS by looking at the boot.ini file for the location of the system files.

    Harvey
     
  7. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    I appreciate all the input on this thread. Thanks.

    One clarification I'd like is the procedure for fixing the MBR if that is needed. Is this just the FDISK /MBR command?

    John
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    When you restore the image of the whole disk (even resizing partition on the destination disk) you don't need to fix MBR because it is copied from the original disk. If you restore the single partition it is not the case and even after you fix MBR the disk may not boot.

    As for the MBR restore you can do it either booting from Windows Installation CD into Recovery Console and typing fixmbr or you may use one of the tools created by Acronis (it is much easier and designed both for CD and for floppy). If you want to use Acronis tool please let me know which one you want to use (CD or floppy) and I will provide you with the instructions. They were posted somewhere on this forum several times but if you wish I can repeat them.

    Please note that we do NOT guarantee that after you restore single partition (not the whole disk) and even fix MBR you will be able to boot from the new disk.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  9. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Hi Ilya,

    Yes, I'd like the Acronis tools to fix the MBR. A CD would be best.

    Thanks,

    John
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    Please use the following ISO image to create a special CD:

    http://www.acronis.com/files/support/mbrautowrite_en.iso

    You can read how to record a CD with an ISO image at the following links:

    http://trb.org/publications/burning_iso.html
    (Nero Burning ROM and Roxio Easy CD Creator)

    http://members.home.nl/lsnoek/iso.htm
    http://www.petri.co.il/how_to_write_iso_files_to_cd.htm
    (other applications)

    Once the CD is written, boot the computer from it and confirm that you want to fix the master boot record.
     
  11. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Thanks, I burned the fix mbr utility to a CD and checked it just in case I need it.

    I also did a test restore. I made an image of only the C partition (WinXP Pro SP2) on a drive that had two partitions, C (NTFS) and a data partition (FAT32). I then removed this drive.

    I swapped to another hard drive, not new, but all previous partitions had been removed and restored the image of the C partition. Since the second drive was smaller than the C partition, I let TI 8 resize the partition. I rebooted and Windows XP came up just fine with new hardware (the new hard disk size) found. One more reboot and everything is working normally. ErrorChecking showed no problems.

    I'm glad this worked because it was far more convenient that having to make an image of both partitions.

    Do you have any comments?

    Thanks,

    John
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    We are glad you managed to perform the operation successfully. However please note that this behaviour is not guaranteed by Acronis that is why we recommend that you create the full disk image instead of partition image.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  13. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Suppose I don't have any other partitions on my hard drive except C: and then I create a SecureZone with IT 8.

    After making a couple of backups to the Secure Zone, I want to backup the drive to an external drive or DVDs. Do I have to backup the C: partition and the SecureZone to ensure that the backup will restore and be bootable?

    If so the backup will be three times the size of a backup of just the C: partition. (The C: backup plus the two full backups in the SecureZone). That's not very convenient. Or, is the SecureZone special and can it be ignored and still ensure a bootable disk upon restore?

    Sorry to be a pest, but other people ask me about how to use TrueImage.

    John
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    In your case you don't need to back up Acronis Secure Zone. When you restore the image of the single C partition even to a new disk. When Acronis True Image writes the partition table during the restoration process it fixes MBR in the standard way so your new disk will be bootable.

    If you have any further questions please feel free to ask them.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  15. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Ilya,

    Thanks, that's a relief. I have several clients who have a C partition and a Secure Zone. I have them backing up only C, and I'm glad to know that is the correct procedure.

    The only problem now is that new Dell computers (and other OEMs) have a FAT16 partition (~7MB) with diagnostics, a FAT32 partition (~3GB) with an image of the OEM installation, a C: NTFS partition and a Secure Zone made with TI. Including the two Dell partitions adds ~3GB to each backup and than means that one DVD is not large enough, so the backups require 2 DVDs. Frustrating!

    By being too cheap to provide one DVD backup disk, the OEMs are requiring me and my clients to use an extra DVD for every single backup. Cheap is bad every time.

    Thank you for your help.

    John
     
  16. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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

    Why not archive the FAT16 diagnostic partition to CD and then delete it along with the FAT32 OEM partition? The diagnostic partition could then be restored if ever needed and, having created a TI image of your current setup, I doubt that you would ever want to return your system to OEM "state zero".

    Regards
     
  17. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Posts:
    455
    Hi Ilya,
    From what you say about using TrueImage to restore a single partition to a multipartition disk I'm guessing but it appears to me that TrueImage does not modify the partition table in the MBR, the partition boot sector of the restored partition or the boot.ini file in the restored partition. If this is the case then the result for an average user (me included) could be disasterous.
    The same problems would occur if a single partition was "restored" to another disk.
    I imagine it would be OK to restore a single data partition (not bootable OS) although it would still be necessary to fix the MBR (hence correcting the partition table).
    I hate to think what disk corruption might occur if a boot manager such as BootMagic was in use.
    So Ilya, am I essentially right in my comments?
    Perhaps you could explain the problem of single partition restoration better than I.
    Is it too hard to overcome the problem?
     
  18. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Hi Menorcaman,

    You raise an excellent point, and that's what I'd do if the Dell computers belonged to me. However, these are client owned computers. If they call Dell for free tech support, the missing FAT16 diagnostic and FAT32 OEM image partitions would cause Dell Techs all sorts of trouble and probably prevent them from helping. I wouldn't be very popular for having destroyed their warranty support.
     
  19. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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

    Your point is understood.

    Regards
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.