Booting from USB hard drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by hyslopc, Sep 1, 2006.

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

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    I have many identical PCs (airline self-service kiosks), and one has a corrupt hard drive. It's very difficult to access the case on these PCs (they are packed away in an enclosure), so removing the corrupt hard drive and putting it into another PC isn't a very attractive option. Instead I planned on booting from an Acronis 8 boot CD, but these PCs don't have built-in CD-ROMs or floppy drives, so I tried with a USB CD-ROM drive without success. I then talked to the PC manufacturer, who strongly recommended that I use a USB hard drive instead of a USB CD-ROM.

    I then bought a LaCie 100GB USB hard drive, which appears to work fine with these PCs, although since the hard drive is empty, I get the "No system disk" message if I try and boot from it. I then fired up Acronis 8 and tried to make a "boot disk" on the USB hard drive, but that didn't work. What to do?

    Will upgrading to Acronis 9 allow me to turn a USB hard drive into an Acronis boot disk? Or do I have to install XP on the USB hard drive - if so, how do I go about that?
     
  2. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Posts:
    2,405
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    1. Whether you can boot from the usb drive is controlled by your Bios.
    Attach your usb drive and Reboot.

    Access you BIOS. Check if you have something like this
    • Within my Bios, I have a Menu "advanced Bios Features"
      This menu has an option "Hard Disk Priority"
      Within this "hard disk priority" menu, there is a listing of drives.
    Is the usb Lacie drive one of those listed?
    Exit from the bios without making any changes.

    2. If answer is yes in the above, then the next step would be to either
    ...a. install Windows from the very beginning onto the usb drive.
    ...b. or, If you have a good workable current TruImage backup of the failed drive (when it was working), then you could restore the backup onto the Lacie. (see note-1)
    3. Once you have completed either a or b of the step 2, then go back into the BIOS and change the boot order from the corrupt drive to the Lacie drive.
    4. Then reboot and hope for success.

    Note-1: . If you have your backups on CD-Rom, then you could attach the usb_CD-Rom and use the Acronis Bootable REcovery CD and restore the TrueImage backup from the CD's to the Lacie.

    If the usb-cdrom and lacie drives are not visible when booting with the Acronis Version 8 user created bootable CD, then you may need version 9 to get your devices visible.

    It would help if you would read the TrueImage user manual about restoring a system drive.

    Another option would be to take a hard drive from another kiosh (assuming the computers are identical) and insert the drive into a empty USB hard drive enclosure. Change the bios as stated above and see if your system can boot from the new usb drive enclosure.

    Perhaps you might want to consider having future installation for your computers to have "swappable" removable hard drives so inserting a replacment hard drive would be much simpler.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2006
  3. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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

    I'm afraid not.

    It's my understanding that Windows XP will refuse to boot from an external USB hard drive, no matter what the BIOS boot order is set to.

    Regards
     
  4. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Thanks, Menorcaman - both for the good info and for taking the time to read my post. What you posted verifies my experience - I cannot get the PC to boot from this thing.

    So is there any way to boot from a USB hard drive? For example, will Win2k, WinNT, or Win98 boot from a USB hard drive? DOS? What to do? As I posted before, these PCs have no built-in CD-ROM and refuse to boot from a USB CD-ROM, even though the BIOS says it supports it. The BIOS supports booting from USB hard drive, but how to get a bootable image onto the hard drive?
     
  5. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Posts:
    1,389
    Location:
    Leeds, Great Britain
    Why can't you boot from a USB Stick and then restore from an image stored on the USB hard drive. I do this whenever things get really bad :)

    Note that you can't absolutely guarantee to be able to find compatibility between a particular USB stick's ability to boot and the MoBo you are using it on - but there are plenty of success stories.
     
  6. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    When booting from the True Image rescue media the external USB hard drive would need to be connected and powered up, so it would be difficult to do unless hyslopc's PCs each has more than 1 USB socket. However, if they do have more than on USB socket (or he might get away with using a USB hub) then, yes, it would be worth creating the bootable rescue media onto a USB flash drive and seeing if it can boot into TI's Linux-based rescue environment.

    The flash drive must be formatted as FAT not FAT32 and hyslopc may need to try different BIOS USB boot device settings. Also, the USB hard drive mustn't be powered up until after he sees the "Starting Acronis loader...." message otherwise the PC would probably try to boot from the USB hard drive instead of the bootable flash drive.

    Regards
     
  7. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Sounds like a great idea - thanks! Can TI 8 create a "rescue disk" onto a USB stick, or do I need TI 9?
     
  8. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Posts:
    1,389
    Location:
    Leeds, Great Britain
    I can't remember and I don't have V8 installed any more. Assuming you do have it installed it should be very quick to find out. The USB stick will be shown as a removable drive when you get to the point where you select your media.

    F.
     
  9. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Tried it, and it seemed to work fine (referred to the USB stick as a floppy, but that's OK). Will try and boot from it now.
     
  10. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Unfortunately I cannot boot from the USB stick. I get "Starting Acronis Loader..." followed by "Acronis Loader fatal error: Boot drive (partition) not found." and then on the next line, "Press <Enter> to try and boot your OS". If I press Enter, then after a slight pause, I get all three lines of text again. I've searched for "boot drive (partition) not found" in this forum without success. Help!
     
  11. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    PS: A bit more info. I get this problem on a working PC. I installed TI8 on the PC, made the boot disk, rebooted, changed BIOS boot order to USB stick, and then I get the error.
     
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Sounds like some of the Linux device drivers in the rescue media aren't compatible with your hardware. Update your TI 8.0 to Build 937 if not already done and create the bootable rescue media on flash drive again. If you are already using Build 937 then I would try creating the bootable flash drive via the free trial version of True Image 9.0 Home and see if it's any better. The Windows version of the trial software is fully functional but has a 15 days trial period limitation. The Linux-based bootable rescue media isn't time limited but can only be used to recover images created in Windows mode.

    You should uninstall TI 8.0 as per these <Acronis Support manual uninstall instructions> prior to installing the latest version/build of TI 9.0.

    Regards
     
  13. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Thanks. I uninstalled TI8 (latest build) and downloaded the latest TI9 trial build. Unfortunately I get "Failed to register the product. Please try again later" after filling out the registration form. Hopefully it's not some sort of firewall problem - I'm inside a corporate network. I will give it another go tomorrow morning.
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    I have send you the instruction on how to install the trial version of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home via Private Message. Please check your inbox.

    Please note that as Menorcaman said Acronis True Image Bootable Media can not be created on the USB hard drive. If you would like to boot standalone mode of Acronis True Image from USB device this device should be recognized as a removable media and not as a hard drive.

    Please install install Acronis True Image 9.0 Home trial version and try to create Acronis True Image Bootable Media on the USB stick you use. Please format the flash drive to FAT before creating Acronis True Image Bootable Media on this flash drive. Please also have a look at this thread.

    If the issue persists, please create Acronis Report and Windows System Information as it is described in Acronis Help Post. Please create this information on the computer that you mentioned in the post #11.

    Then please submit a request for technical support. Attach all the collected files and information to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    Please have a look at this article by Microsoft and they recommendations for booting Windows from USB Storage Devices.

    Thank you.
    --
    Aleksandr Isakov
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2006
  15. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    TI9 gave exactly the same problem - the rescue media boots, but the Acronis Loader can't find the boot partition. As advised, I have opened a support case with Acronis Support.
     
  16. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Acronis Support case number is 704130.
     
  17. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    Turns out that the problem was the USB stick itself, not TI. We tried with another brand of USB stick, and the TI9 rescue was able to boot fine. Will try TI8 again now, to see if there's any difference there.
     
  18. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    TI8 worked fine from the new USB stick, too. So the problem was the stick itself, not TI.
     
  19. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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

    Glad you finally managed to create a good bootable pen drive :thumb:. I've successfully used three different makes to date. The first was a cheepo which died after 6 months or so, the second was not quite so cheepo but is still going strong, the third is a Sony MicroVault, which occassionaly refuses to boot with a similar error to that which you reported. I can fix this (until the next time it occurs) by reformatting the MicroVault and recreating the bootable rescue media on it. Might be worth bearing this in mind if your pen drive suddenly refuses to boot into TI.

    Regards
     
  20. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    OK that's good to know - thanks!
     
  21. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    OK so now we managed to restore the image from the "good" PC to the "bad" PC (they have identical hardware). Big step forward, however unfortunately the bad PC still won't boot - we now get "Operating System not found" after reimaging the hard drive. Before we imaged it, it would start to boot, the Windows XP logo would show, and then we got an error message.

    When restoring the image, we did choose to make the partition active, but it seems like it's not, or else there's a problem with the MBR. https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=55317 describes how to fix the MBR by booting from floppy or CD. This PC has neither, and we have not been able to get it to boot from a USB CD-ROM. We tried to get the floppy MBR utility to make a USB stick, but that didn't work (even if we changed the USB stick's drive letter to A:). So we're stuck (again).
     
  22. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    A quick question. When you created the image of the "good" PC did you tick the checkbox next to Disk 1 in order to capture the MBR and Track 0 data? Ditto when you restored the "good" image to the "bad" PC, you needed to tick the checkbox next to Disk 1 in order to restore the MBR and Track 0.

    Regards
     
  23. hyslopc

    hyslopc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Posts:
    19
    We thought we did, but maybe we didn't - now when we tried again, it worked! THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR HELP!!!!!
     
  24. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Excellent!! :thumb:.

    Regards
     
  25. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Posts:
    1,389
    Location:
    Leeds, Great Britain
    Brilliant.

    F.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.