Can't Defrag External Hard Drive After Backup

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by MrDada, May 6, 2006.

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  1. MrDada

    MrDada Registered Member

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    I just purchased the latest version of Acronis TI 9.0 Home. After studying the manual and reading various posts on this forum, I decided to create a full archive backup to my external firewire harddrive on my laptop. I use this external hd to store all my music recording related files.

    The full backup and validation were successful. However, when I went to defrag this drive, the backup archive showed up as a large fragmented (mostly red) file. When I tried to defrag my external drive, the process totally hung and I wasn't able to complete the defrag. I eventually deleted the archive and was able to defrag again.

    I've read on this forum that many people place their full backup on their external drive. Is their anyway for me to make this work?

    My last option is creating a secure zone on the internal drive. I'm a bit nervous about doing this for fear that I might not be able to get rid of this secure zone and not being able to defrag if it doesn't work out.

    Any help would be appreciated. I'd like to make this software work.
    Thanks...
     
  2. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    Reading your posting I believe you are doing your homework. I am certainly no expert here but I will say that I have successfully created and restored total system images from a Maxtor 60GB USB external drive without problems. With that said, I would like to add that I routinely defrag the C: drive (source) before creating an image. In my case this is a full image of a single partition. Having created the image on an external drive I no longer run a defragmenter utility on this drive as I believe this can manipulate the image (I use Diskeeper 10 Pro). You might try creating a fresh image without defragmenting the external drive and see how that works out for you.

    As far as creating a secure zone on the internal drive, if I understad correctly (C: drive I suspect), I would think that through before doing it. Storing an image on the source drive, if that is the intent, will not offer any benefit in the event of a drive failure.

    True Image Home 9, (build 9,3567) has appeared to be a very successful product for me. At present I use it in a very simplistic way (backup to a second internal PATA hard drive). A full backup of 11 GB takes me 6 minutes which is not a significant issue. Users report problems with some USB and Firewire devices so they need to be tested for functionality on an individual basis as every system is different.

    In summary I would ask yourself if its important to do the defragmentation. I personally don't see the need but I do understand the potential risk of manipulating the data when doing so.

    Good luck
    Bruce
     
  3. MrDada

    MrDada Registered Member

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    I did defrag my C drive prior to doing the full backup. For that backup, I checked all boxes to basically back up all NTFS and FAT partitions. Maybe there are some nuances I don't quite understand yet. You said you backed up only one partition and it worked fine.

    Thought backing up to my external drive would be the best approach with my present knowledge. While tryng to defrag, I was worried I might be messing with the backup. I defrag all drives as a habit. It seems weird that the only way to make it work is to treat this external drive with kid gloves.

    Thanks for the response...
     
  4. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “When I tried to defrag my external drive, the process totally hung and I wasn't able to complete the defrag. I eventually deleted the archive and was able to defrag again.”

    Defrag requires a certain amount of free space. How much of the drive was free when the image file was still there?
     
  5. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    Perhaps I wasn't totally clear in what I wrote. I have two internal parallel ATA drives. These are designated as C: and D: as one might expect. In addition I have a Maxtor 60 GB external drive that I use for a variety of things, for one testing these things out for functionality.

    The C: and D; drives on my system each have a single partition (this works for me) and I don't deal with music files etc., just data. As such I don't have the option to back up any other partitions which may not be your situation.

    I believe what you are doing is correct. Image everything on your source drive to wherever you want it to be stored. This can be an internal or external drive providing it is properly recognized by the software. Once the file is there do not defragment the drive as this will change the 'configuration/properties' so to speak and may create a problem with restoration if necessary - don't know. Yes, I believe backup files files have to be handled somewhat differently.

    BHM
     
  6. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “Once the file is there do not defragment the drive as this will change the 'configuration/properties' so to speak and may create a problem with restoration if necessary - don't know.”

    Defragging the target drive should have no effect or cause any problem with a restore.
    Defragging the source drive after a FULL and before an INC or DIFF is not recommended because this will cause the INC/DIFF to create a larger than expected image file.
     
  7. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    Perhaps what the Weaz and I are saying, correct me if I'm wrong Weaz, is once you have created an image save it as is. Don't manipulate it in an way. This includes defragmentation.

    BHm
     
  8. MrDada

    MrDada Registered Member

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    The external drive had 67+ gigs available. There was plenty of space to move around. With the backup loaded, it would not defrag at all. I'm thinking about the secure zone and trying to figure out if this would give me some peace of mind if something crashes. If I put a full backup into this secure zone, doesn't that mean the OS would be loaded twice into the same internal drive? Still trying to sort this all out. It's sort of like having a fire extinguisher and hoping it works when you need it.
     
  9. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    What defrag software are you using?

    What makes you think the defrag hung?

    You would be better off having the backup files on a separate drive.
     
  10. MrDada

    MrDada Registered Member

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    I'm using the defrag software that came with windows. I've never had any problems defragging my internal or external drive. When I tried to defrag the external drive with the backup, it got stuck at 3%. Wouldn't advance and the light on the harddrive was flickering with activity. The defrag GUI showed large block of red indicating fragmented files. I had to turn off the drive to quit. I guess what you're suggesting is to buy a second external drive for my laptop that is totally dedicated to holding the backup. I'm not sure I want to do that. Thanks for responding.
     
  11. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    The built-in windoze defragger is brain dead compared to the commercial products.

    If you do not have enough free disk space, you'll have problems.

    Both your backup files and game files are likely largish, that's an added burden for less capable defrag program.

    Buy Perfect Disk, as I recall, PD claims to be effective with as little as 5% (or maybe 7%, I ferget which) free space.
     
  12. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I can think of no valid reason at all to defrag a backup archive. Indeed doing so could by its intrusive nature actually invalidate the image. If you want to use the external drive in addition to backups I suggest you partition it accordingly. These new partitions could be defragged by your method of choice.

    Xpilot
     
  13. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    There is NO way a defrag can break a backup file, unless the defrag itself fails for some reason.
     
  14. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Exactly . So why do it ?

    Xpilot
     
  15. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I agree, the image file is just another file. However, I would never defrag the backup drive with the images on it because I am one of those people who don't believe in moving data around for no good reason; particularly files in the GB range. So you may add a few seconds onto a multi-minute restore done once in a while, who cares, it isn't like a backup is being accessed a hundred times a day like some files on C.
     
  16. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “Perhaps what the Weaz and I are saying, correct me if I'm wrong Weaz, is once you have created an image save it as is. Don't manipulate it in an way. This includes defragmentation.”
    Although I see no benefit in defragging the image file, doing so should have no adverse effects.

    “Wouldn't advance and the light on the harddrive was flickering with activity”
    Doesn’t sound hung, sounds busy.

    “I had to turn off the drive to quit”
    I had a similar problem. Perhaps when you select to cancel, it waits to finish the file it’s working on. If it was moving a large backup image, that could be awhile.

    “If you do not have enough free disk space, you'll have problems”
    Microsoft lists 15% free space needed to run its defragger.

    “There is NO way a defrag can break a backup file, unless the defrag itself fails for some reason”
    Agreed.

    Defrag can be painfully slow and with a large image file, even more so.
     
  17. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello MrDada,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are very sorry for the delay with the response.

    First of all, please make sure that you use the latest build (3567) of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home which is available at: http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/support/updates/

    You can find the full version name and build number by going to Help -> About... menu in the main program window.

    To get access to updates you should create an account at:
    http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/my/
    then log in and use your serial number to register your software.

    Please uninstall any previously installed build by following Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Acronis True Image, prior to installing build 3567.

    Note that you should create new Bootable Rescue CD after installing the update.

    If the problem still persists with the latest build (3567) of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home then please do the following:

    - Delete all backups from your external FireWire hard drive;

    - Check each partition of your external FireWire hard drive by Windows utility: use Windows menu Start\Run, then enter the command "chkdsk [drive letter]: /r" for every partition of your external FireWire hard drive;

    - Create Acronis Report as it is described in Acronis Help Post;

    - Rename the report collected to report_before.txt;

    - Create new backup saving it to your external FireWire hard drive;

    - Create Acronis Report once more;

    - Rename the report collected to report_after.txt;

    - Check each partition of your external FireWire hard drive by Windows utility once more;

    - Try defragmenting your external FireWire hard drive and inform us about the result;

    - If the defragmentation can be done then please create Acronis Report once more and rename the file collected to report_checked.txt.

    Please keep your external FireWire hard drive connected while creating all reports.

    Please also provide us with the following information:

    - Try creating an image saving it to your external FireWire hard drive when your computer is booted from Bootable Rescue CD created using the latest build (3567) of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home and see if the problem persists. Inform us about the result;

    - Does the problem appear both when you create disk\partition images and file-based backups?

    - What is the exact size of the resulting backup?

    - How long did you wait before cancelling the defragmentation stalled on three percents?

    - Make a screen shot of Windows Disk Defragmenter showing your external FireWire hard drive structure right after you created an image.

    Please submit a request for technical support. Provide the files and information collected in 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.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
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