Can't Login To Recovered OS

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by seekermeister, Nov 2, 2007.

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  1. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I've been going round and around with this today. The reason for the circles is because after creating a new .tib of MCE with TI 10, all seemed to go smoothly, until reaching the screen for logging in. The OS seemed to be totally hung, and the login windows never appearred.

    Thinking that it may have had something to do with the fact that I changed TI's defaults to not preserve permissions, I created a second, which at first had the same result. Then I used TI function to write the MBR and track 0, and I was able to login. I rebooted two or three times without any incidents.

    Then after reconnecting the other drives, the drive letters became jumbled, and the MCE partition that I just made became D: instead of C:, and the drive that I had copied MCE from became C: and was parenthetically labeled "page file". I tried to delete the partition but the system wouldn't let me. Thinking that somehow the two OSs had become tied together, I disabled the page file, but I still couldn't delete the old partition.

    I rebooted into x64 and then deleted the old MCE partition, but when going back to MCE, it hung at the login screen like before. Even trying to go into Safe Mode doesn't work. At first it looks like it will, but after reaching the black screen marking it as Safe Mode, it continues to the same blue Windows login screen and freezes.

    Has anyone any inkling of what is going wrong?
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    I'm pretty sure it's a drive letter issue related to your procedure. Would you mind describing in detail how you created the image and where the HDs were installed during image creation and restoring. Also, how were your HDs partitioned at the time of image creation.
     
  3. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    Hmm, how to give sufficient detail without writing a book? I have 5 harddrives, so each OS has it own HD. This causes each of them to be C: when they are operating. As things were, Windows were at the head of three different drives...x64, MCE and MCE test. Without going into detail that would require at least a chapter to convey, I used TI installed on x64 to copy the MCE test, using the wizard for backing up partitions.

    Most of this procedure is quite black and white, so I can see no benefit in attempting to spell it out, except to say that the reason that I even had to creat these images today, is because that the .tib that I had created the MCE test system with had become corrupt...for reasons unknown, and the next .tib failed to work at all, and the last .tib finally did work. Apparently, the reason that the last succeeded was because I used the function to write the MBR and track 0 after writing the partition itself. I feel that if I had left things as they were, that there would have been no problems, but of course, that would not have been satisfactory.

    During the recovery, the new harddrive was the only one connected. When the other drives were reconnected, the new installation still worked the same. The problem began when I used x64 to delete the MCE test partition, which should have been totally separate from the new MCE partition. When running the new MCE OS, it should have shown itself as C:, which it did until the MCE and x64 harddrives were connected. then it became and remained D: before and after I removed the MCE partition...at least when viewed from x64.

    I would tend to agree that drive letters would be the issue, except that when booting to the new MCE, it should still have identified itself as C: as it did originally, and apparently did, because if otherwise, it probably wouldn't have even began booting at all.

    I doubt that this provides much more detail than my OP, but perhaps I may have conveyed it more clearly. If this is insufficient, then you shall need to tell me specifically what detail is needed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    Thanks for trying but with 5 HDs the details get out of hand. I understand.

    I really want to know about the image. Which partition was imaged and did you restore the image to the same partition? Or did you restore the image to another partition on another HD?
     
  5. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    In an around about fashion, I gave those facts, but to make it more clear, there have been 3 .tibs, but only two of those in the current situation. However, the first of the three was created with TI installed on the MCE drive itself, and that one did not have this problem. When the harddrive failed, I tried to use the same .tib again, but it had become corrupt, so I used TI installed on x64 to creat the latter two .tibs. Therefore, 3 OSs were involved. x64 for the master, WDC MCE for the source and Maxtor MCE as the target. So no, it was not recovered to the same harddrive or partition.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    That's your problem. The destination partition was seen at the time you created your image. So when you restored the image to that partition, the OS became confused as to which drive letter it should use. C: drive or the drive letter of the destination partition.

    The way around this is to have unallocated space in the destination area when the image is created. This way the restored image will become C: drive.

    Don't be confused by the word "clone". You were in effect cloning a partition.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm

    See Method #3 for a recovery of your present situation.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm#method3
     
  7. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I just understood enough of your last link to think that it contains the solution, but I'm not sure about the most applicable choice for this situation. Thinking that letting TI write the MBR and track 0 again, did not work as I hoped that it might.

    I then started looking at the other options, first...the idea of deleting the section assigning drive letters. I can access MCE's registry files, but not by using regedit, because it would only find the registry for x64.

    I thought about using DDS because it does have specific functions for this purpose, but I'm reluctant to experiment, because misusing it in the past, caused me to lose x64. Since I can't use DDS installed on MCE due to the situation, I could only use it by booting to it. This would mean that it would see all of the partitions, not just the MCE partition.

    From the beginning, I have designed my system for each OS to be totally indenpendent of each other, not even using a boot menu, for I do not want a critical situation on one to effect all OSs alike. Currently I use the F11 key to select the harddrive to boot to. This means that all Windows OSs should be designated C:, but if I use DDS to designate drive letters it won't allow multiple uses of the same drive letter...will it?

    Ideally, each OS will see itself as C: when it is operating, and other OSs by what ever designation that it chooses. This has been working in this fashion, until now.

    Can you shine any further light on this so that I better understand?

    EDIT:
    On the first attempt to do this today (I guess that is now yesterday), I located a 200mb partion ahead of MCE, which caused MCE to become D:. So, on the second attempt I left 200MBs unallocated and placed it after the MCE partition in hopes of preventing any further confusion. This not only left the 200MBs of unallocated space, but another of about 8MBs which seems to be standard SOP. It seems strange that Computer Manage doesn't see the 8MB space at all, and TI sees both spaces separately. In any case, this unallocated space did not prevent the problem at hand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    I multi-boot too and when one OS is in use, the other OSs are hidden. I don't think this is the case with your system. Can you see the other OSs (with different drive letters) from your chosen C: drive? Are there any hidden partitions?

    When you look in Disk Manager, is the System drive your C: drive from each OS.

    Let's say you are trying to boot to that OS that is hanging on the blue screen. The partition is active and there is nothing wrong with the MBR. We want Windows to forget the incorrect drive letter and this can be done by using fdisk /mbr. We aren't interested in changing the boot code, we just want to zero the DiskID. fdisk /mbr does this. If you don't have a Win98 boot floppy try this...

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

    and burn it (as an image, not as data) to a CD. eg use ImgBurn
    Boot to the CD. You will see "Press any key to rewrite MBR". Press a key and you will be instructed to "Press ENTER to reboot" so remove the CD and press ENTER. Your computer should boot to WinXP.

    Again, we are doing this to zero the DiskID so WinXP will recalculate drive letters on first boot.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    By this I meant to delete the destination partition before you create the image. You don't want the image to know about the destination partition. Knowing about unallocated space is OK.

    If you plan to restore the image to the same partition from which the image was created, there is no problem with drive letters. It's only when you restore to a different partition on the same or another HD.
     
  10. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I just awoke and haven't had my coffee yet, so I'm still absorting what you said in the past two posts. In regards to the question of whether other OSs are visible to Disk Management or not, the answer is yes...at least that is true for Windows OSs. Linux partitions are visible, but not accessible or labeled. I like the idea of the OSs being visible to one another, because it is then sometimes possible to repair one from another.

    I think that before messing with the MBR further, I shall try installing the OS again, modifying the procedure in accordance with your statement about deleting the OS partition entirely. I kind of had a hunch that it might be wrong to creat the partitions in advance. I may delete all of the partitions on that harddrive...if I do, what will TI do...creat the new partition exactly the same size as the original? If so, that would be good, because that is what I want.
     
  11. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    My recommendation to everyone who uses windows xp and acronis is to have a utility that can change drive letters from the registry of a non-booting hard drive. It's not a MBR problem. It's a simple drive letter problem. Change the drive letter and reboot and it's fixed, I've done it a couple of times and it always worked without messing with the fixmbr/fixboot etc.

    Download the demo of "paragon justboot corrector" used that to bootup your computer, analyze your non-booting hard drive. As long as you remember what the original drive letters where you can change them back in the registry. I've used the full version a couple of times to repair a restoration that wouldn't bootup, everytime I've used it, it was able to get the new hard drive to bootup. To me it's the easy and fast way to fix the problem.

    From my expierence fixmber/fixboot/repair installation etc won't fix the problem. I don't even bother doing the restoration over again. I always fix the problem afterwards. As long as your restored hard drive starts to bootup but hangs at the logon screen "to me that's a good sign that the restoration was almost succesful" you just need to change that drive letter a simple 5 minute fix with the right utility.

    Below is the link to other ways to change drive letters


    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=174958
     
  12. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I shall take the your advice to heart...at least if this becomes a problem again, but for the time being, everything seems to be okay. I don't know if it was writing the partition to unallocated space, or the fact that I had deleted the partition where the MCE test OS that I copied from was deleted, but whichever the case, I can boot to either MCE or x64 properly.

    One thing that still confuses me is that TI doesn't see the same drive letters as either the OSs or the BIOS. It's as though it simply makes up it's own. It would be far less confusing if it consistently used a standard, such as those in the BIOS.

    In any case, I'm now quite pleased to have everything running again. The only casualty of my groping around is the contents of my Files partition, which I thoughtlessly deleted. I know that there are programs to restore deleted data, but is there one that stands out above the others?
     
  13. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    When you have time, you might want to check out the "Assign Drive Names" link below.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    And also have one corrupt another.

    What you are doing is not independent multi-booting. Please read this link on multi-booting. Take your time, it's not easy but if you master the concept it will have been time well spent.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/index.htm

    I'm pleased you can boot into your OSs again. Any questions? Just ask.
     
  15. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    After a quick scan of the page in your link, I get the impression that the primary reason for your remark about one OS corrupting another in my setup, is that the Windows OSs are visible to each other. I have been around computers long enough to understand that Murphy's Law tends to prevail, and what ever can go wrong will. Yet, I have never had the experience of one OS corrupting another, except when using a boot loader like Grub. That is why I'm staying away from it's ilk. Obviously, having one OS's files visible to another could cause problems if a person wasn't careful in managing things...but when the OSs are not sharing any of the resources of the other, I can't understand how cross corruption could occur...please explain.
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    I have no personal experience with the Microsoft way of multi-booting but this is how the cross contamination (corruption is a strong word) issue is explained. A typical Microsoft multi-boot has the boot files in one partition, the System partition. The other OS boot via this partition. Let's consider what happens when you run a program like Microsoft Word from a non System OS. The Office programs, like numerous third-party programs, record some configuration changes in the registry of the current OS and some in your user profile in the 'Documents and Settings' folder. Guess what D&S folder is used? The one in the System partition. And the more you use that OS the worse it gets. Files being saved in an OS you didn't think you were using.

    Not good in the long run. The OSs are certainly not independent.
     
  17. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi Seekermeister,

    You already have five seperate hardrives for your various OSs. To make them truly independent with no possiblity of any cross contamination I suggest a hardware based solution rather than the complications of software methods.
    If you have room for an internal drive rack place each of the hardrives in removable drawers and away you go.

    This way of working opens up many other improvements in flexibility, security and speed. It can do far more than just swap over operating systems.

    Xpilot
     
  18. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    The way that you described it, I can understand the potential for problems, but the only things that any of the OSs share in any fashion on my machine are items from the Archive partition, which contains nothing except software downloads, i.e. zip, .exe, etc, Media partition for music and video storage and the File partition, which contains documents. The only installed program that I have that accesses another partition is my email client, and I never operate any software in the reverse direction. I still get a feeling that any problems that might arise from this configuration would be due to user error, rather than either corruption or contamination. Still, it is something that I shall keep in mind.
     
  19. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I do not understand, as things are, all of the harddrives have their own drivebay already. if what you are saying is that one should only install one drive at a time, and swap them out when desired, that would seem to be a worthy procedure, but also somewhat of a hassle.

    I have thought about building and installing a harddrive selector switch, which would essentially accomplish the same thing, without moving harddrives around, I just have not gotten around to it.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekermeister,

    I think you are correct. If you have your OSs on different HDs then the scenario I described doesn't apply. I missed your HD setup. My scenario refers to multiple OSs on the same HD.
     
  21. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    It was precisely to avoid any hassle when changing over hard drives that I was convinced that an internal rack taking swappable drives was the way to go.
    In practice changing a hard drive takes only a little more effort than swapping a CD.. close down..swap drives..reboot..job done.

    Ther would be some additional one-off hassle in reversing your currrent multiboot arrangements and installing the equipment but from there on you would be home free.

    Xpilot
     
  22. lesbriggs

    lesbriggs Registered Member

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    I had a similar problem and found an easy solution elsewhere on this forum: Boot from a Windows 98 boot floppy, and at the A: prompt run "FDISK /MBR" (without the quotes of course!), this will re-build the Master Boot Record and it will fix the problem of Windows XP "hanging" or restarting at the logon screen. Reboot the computer (without the floppy!) and you should be in business.

    Here the link to the original thread with the fix: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/archive/index.php/t-53326.html
     
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