"Compute with confidence" - do you still trust TI ?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by bottom, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. bottom

    bottom Registered Member

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    hi

    so far i never had a corrupt *.tib archive
    (and yes, i never forget to verify them)
    but reading through this forum i ask myself
    what's it worth creating so called "images"
    if they are so fragile, if they can be corrupted so easily o_O

    let's face the facts:
    1) Despite the name TI doesn't create images,
    it rather creates backup 'archives'

    2) If a single byte of such an archive is changed/switched
    (go on, use a hex editor and try this yourself !)
    the entire archive is corrupted and gets 100% unusable !!!
    [here's (imho) the difference between an image and an archive,
    e.g. DriveImage can create images (of Partitions)
    if for some reason bytes are damaged, only a few files get destroyed !]

    3) Although byte errors will/should probably never occur when saving
    archives on an internal hd, it is much more likely to happen
    when storing on external usb drives or even optical drives...
    ...but ONE of the most essential requirements
    for creating "good" backups is to place them in a position
    possibly far away from the original data
    and for this purpose optical media and detachable drives
    are very simple and inexpensive


    Here are the problems of all current TI versions,
    and my suggestions to solve them
    (don't hesitate to answer if You disagree with me)

    a) *.tib Archives cannot be repaired !!!
    a single byte-error can destroy Your entire backup.
    e.g. WinRar offers an option to slightly increase
    the size of archives to add a so called "recovery record".
    (http://www.rarlabs.com/rar_file.htm)
    in case of archive corruption this redundant information can help
    to fully recover the original rar-file
    this is an option a software like TI
    which talks about "confident computing" definitely needs !!!

    b) *.tib Archives cannot be recovered partially !
    if an unencrypted "zip", "rar" or "7z" archive is only "slightly" damaged,
    it is still possible to extract all the files that are not
    harmed/touched by the byte error
    sounds great to me, i didn't find such a feature in TI
    but maybe i just overlooked it...

    c) it's a real pain in the *ss to manually verify *.tib archives
    which e.g. reside on dvd/ dvd-rw media
    (remember ? dvds are aging !!! just one verifcation may not be enough !)
    right now TI has to be installed, started and a rather clumsy series
    of dialogs have to be passed before the actual verification begins...
    - what's needed is a small (commandline?) tool (free of charge,
    usable without installation)
    - an explorer context menu extension for *.tib files
    would be another needful thing that would "speed up"
    archive verification tremendously

    d) stability / resources:
    although my TI has never "really" crashed,
    i don't understand why it adds/installs 3 (three !) services to my winXP ?
    there's really only need for exactly one service -> the task scheduler !
    and this doesn't need to be active either as long as no tasks are planned...

    e) automation:
    lazy users like me won't do as much backups as would be advisable
    when the process of starting them is too much clickie di clack...
    TI 9 finally has some nice features to schedule backup tasks
    but despite the fact that these features need some improvement
    it's an absolute no-no that users are NOT automatically notified
    when a planned task has failed for some reason !!!

    bye


    bottom

    ps
    http://download.acronis.com/pdf/TrueImage9.0_ug.en.pdf
    "Compute with confidence"
    look at the guy on the cover sheet...
    to me, he doesn't really look 'confident' :)
     
  2. starsfan09

    starsfan09 Registered Member

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    Considering the patience you have to make a "BLOG", you should be able to make a "Back-up" using ATI.
     
  3. crbaker

    crbaker Registered Member

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    I've been doing backups and restores for years and never had issues with them being failure prone.

    I might have lost files, but I can't recall ever having an entire archive bad.
     
  4. bottom

    bottom Registered Member

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    @crbaker
    - what software did You use ?
    - why did You switch/try TI since yesterday then ?
    - what would You do,
    when an "Error - Archive corrupt" message
    knocks at Your door ?

    that's what i'm afraid of,
    and reading in this forum here
    this fear has come true for some


    bottom
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Yes, I trust it. When I had a problem it was a bad cable, not TI. If your archive validation fails after having been good a number of times, something has gone wrong with your hardware.

    DVDs are what I consider a third-line backup for images. IMO, they have weaknessess of their own, totally unrelated to TI.

    There are things in TI that could be improved though, such as better error messages.
     
  6. bottom

    bottom Registered Member

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    agree

    the backup process (to an internal hd) itself surely IS SAVE,
    but the archive handling isn't !

    with single file archives of 10GB+
    (possibly stored on external or network drives)
    a single byte error is just a matter of time...

    of course these errors can (and should) be noticed by verification
    but my (main) complaint is, that an ENTIRE archive
    gets unusable in such a case...

    (sorry if this point was drowned
    in my gush of words...)


    bottom
     
  7. crbaker

    crbaker Registered Member

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    @crbaker
    - what software did You use ?


    I used the native system backup with a tape drive and the "cheezy" backup software that came with the DVD and EZ-CD Creator. They all worked.

    - why did You switch/try TI since yesterday then ?

    The tape drive was slow and I wore out my stock of tapes. The "cheezy" DVD software was feature challenged (but reliable). The old version of EZ-CD just made simple single data DVD's and was very feature challenged.

    True Image came very highly rated and the specs had the features I needed.

    - what would You do,
    when an "Error - Archive corrupt" message
    knocks at Your door ?


    I do backups regularly and test them. I got burned big time 20 years ago and I make redundant backups.

    I would get out my backup, backup.

    that's what i'm afraid of,
    and reading in this forum here
    this fear has come true for some


    Time will tell what my final verdict on this product is, don't ask me now.
     
  8. GroomLake

    GroomLake Registered Member

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    You cab save yourself a lot of problems by not using any compression algorithms plus the backups go faster. I would like to see the capability when creating backup images to simultaneously create a redundant image on another drive. If one of them goes bad use the other one. :thumb:
     
  9. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I have used Acronis True image for some while now since version 8. After many hundreds of of images and many restores I have only come across one failed archive. This was definitely a one off glitch and could ASAIK have been caused by an extra energetic cosmic ray passing through my computer!
    In any event I have developed a way of using TI which capitalises on its strengths and leaves out redundant bits. I won't bore with the details but even with a failed restore of a whole main HDD or any other drive failure nothing is at risk.

    Xpilot
     
  10. dobbelina

    dobbelina Registered Member

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    I can imagine that visiting the Acronis forums will give you a lot off reading
    from people with problems.
    Hence most posts are "It's corrupt", "It crashes", "what is wrong" etc..
    Do keep in mind that those that don't have a problem rarely visits ;)
    (hopefully that's a large number of users).
    I do wanna subscribe to your ideas regarding archive corruption though.
    It would be nice if one could also restore damaged archives.
    Preferrably with some loginfo on what's un-recoverable.
     
  11. bottom

    bottom Registered Member

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    till now i was mostly backing up to an internal hd,
    and have only restored images in emergency situations... (3 or 4 times)

    but with growing image sizes and for more security
    backing up to dvd (not necessarily directly using TI)
    or network drives is inevitable for me...
    and obviously for others, too !

    archive corruption may occur very seldom in real life,
    but the forum messages give the clear impression,
    that by using external storage the probability
    for data erros is rising dramatically

    so that's why i'm currently NOT really confident
    when backing up using TI...
    with NO kind of error correction
    a single backup archive is nothing to trust in !

    just for those who haven't noticed...
    > "Compute with confidence"
    is the slogan acronis advertises TI


    bottom
     
  12. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I never had any backup/restore problem with ATI, not even compatibility problems with other softwares.
    In the beginning the restorations were always a thriller for me, while backups bored me to death.
    Nowadays, even the restorations are boring, they are always successfully.
    Maybe I need another image backup software :)
     
  13. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello bottom,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    I've forwarded your suggestion to implement the ability to partially restore corrupted backup archives to our Development Team and it will certainly be taken into account.

    Please also note that generally there are two types of backup archive corruption. If information about file system or\and structure of the backed up disk\partition is corrupted then the corrupted backup archive cannot be restored in any way. In case corruption has affected those parts of the backup archive where information about backed up disk\partition sectors is stored then the corrupted backup archive can usually be mounted by means of the Mount Image tool. After it is mounted most files and folders can be copied from this backup archive, except ones affected by corruption. However, the current version of Acronis True Image cannot tell the difference between the critical and non-critical backup archive corruption. At the moment, backup archive can officially have only two states: corrupted or not corrupted. We will probably implement the differentiation between critical and non-critical corruption in the future Acronis True Image versions, but exact time frame for this is not decided yet. According to the above, it is always worth trying to mount the corrupted backup archive as it may allow one to partially recover the data. The above is just for your information.

    I've forwarded your suggestion to simplify the backup archive validation process to our Development Team and it will certainly be considered.

    First of all, please take a look at these previous threads: Registry, Startup, how to turn off?, Trueimagemonitor.exe and timountermonitor.exe?? explaining what schedul2.exe, schedhlp.exe, TrueImageMonitor.exe and TimounterMonitor.exe processes are and why it is not recommended to disable them. You may also find this thread interesting.

    Please also note that we do not plan to change this approach in the near future. However, I've forwarded your suggestion to decrease the amount of processes running in the Windows "background" and required for Acronis True Image correct functioning to our Development Team and it will certainly be taken into consideration.

    Please be aware that we have already received similar requests for other Acronis customers and they have already been forwarded to our Development Team. Some kind of a notification informing user about failed scheduled task will probably be implemented in the future Acronis True Image builds\versions. I'm afraid that the exact time frame for this improvement to be done is not decided yet.

    If you have any further questions concerning Acronis software, please feel free to submit a request for technical support or post any of them on this forum. We will certainly try to help you in resolving any issues.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  14. bottom

    bottom Registered Member

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    thx !
     
  15. Mascot

    Mascot Registered Member

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    To answer the original question "Do you still trust TI", the answer is no. Its quality control has proven to be very poor several times.

    Remember the "Oh, we'll wipe your entire 800GB volume so you can restore this 20GB image, and we won't even tell you we're doing it" issue? How can I possibly trust a product that went through development and internal testing/QA without a single person thinking this was a bad thing. Even when a warning dialog was added, it was rather poorly phrased. In a product designed to prevent loss of data, that sort of oversight will take a very long time to live down.

    I do, technically speaking, trust the basic image creation/restoration. It's proven itself as working for me several times. If I ever feel a need to try any of the more fancy functionality though, it'll be tested in a vmware session before I even consider clicking the button on my actual machine.

    I wouldn't hesitate recommending it to someone with similar needs as myself. But I would definitely warn them about the dangers as well.
     
  16. OldITGuy

    OldITGuy Registered Member

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    I understand that some users have never experienced a corrupted image, and others have never been able to successfully create a good one. I am sure that hardware plays a significant role here what with USB keys and drives, different chipsets, etc.

    I have one client using TI 9.1 Server that sort of casually mentioned they could not use TI because all the images it created were corrupt. The created ok and usually verified ok, but when they had to do a real restore the images were always corrupt. (They were not happy with the "delete the partition and then tell me the image is corrupt" feature.)

    I took a look at their system and found out they were writing the image to a NTFS disk. No problem with that, but then I saw that they had compression enabled on the folder where they were saving the image and they had high compression enabled in TI 9.1. Windows seemed to handle that ok, but when they booted into the Linux environment and tried to do a restore the TI/Linux combo lost it's mind and they got "Image is corrupt" 100% of the time. I removed compression from the NTFS folder and backup time shrunk 300% and the images were good.

    While any IT Guy would know double compression was a waste of time, a lot of inexperienced people use this software. Acronis should at the very least mention this problem in the documentation, and ideally put in some code that will turn off TI compression if they are writing to a compressed NTFS folder.
     
  17. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Interesting war-story! I wonder if the Linux CD version can understand an uncompressed (by TI) backup if it is stored in a NTFS compressed folder?
     
  18. OldITGuy

    OldITGuy Registered Member

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    Well Seekforever,

    Looks like the answer is NO! At least for Version 9.1.3677 Server. I turned off TI compression and backed up to a compressed folder. I verified the image file in Windows and it vericfied ok. Then I tried to verify the image using the recovery CD and it gave me a message "This is not the last created volume of the backup archive. Please insert the last created volume to continue working with this archive". I suspect it just choked on the first record it read because the first thing it does is check the volume sequence number and as far as TI was concerned there was garbage in that field. I wonder how many people have hit this and tried to troubleshoot it as a hardware problem?
     
  19. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Thanks for the test, OldITGuy, and I'm not surprised by the results. Indeed, it is another question to ask when somebody can't valdiate/restore from the CD but Windows is OK.
     
  20. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello OldITGuy,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Server Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    I've forwarded this issue to our Quality Assurance Team and will inform you about the results of their investigation as soon as it will be finished. As this case take some time, we apologize in advance for any delay with the response.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  21. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

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    Do I still trust TI ?

    Yes. I have been using it daily since version 1.0 and it has been rock solid - but with one caveat.

    ATI users are its beta testers whether they realise it or not. This means that when a new version comes along, it is best to treat it as beta software until it is apparent that it has matured.

    F.
     
  22. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello OldITGuy,

    I'm afraid that we are unable to reproduce the problem you have reported.

    Could you please describe the issue in more details?

    What type compression was enabled on the folder where backups are located?

    Where does this folder located exactly? Is it on a local disk or some kind of a shared drive?

    Did the problem appear for both file-based backups and disk\partition images?

    Can you confirm that your Bootable Rescue CD is created with the latest build (3677)?

    Please describe actions taken before the problem appears step-by-step.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  23. Fredd

    Fredd Registered Member

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    Having had to do a restore this week, I have to say that TI is CRAP - previously good (verified) images either showed "corrupted" or "empty". My first good image was February, so I wasn't best pleased. I'm switching to R Drive or something else.
    Fredd
     
  24. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Hi Fredd

    Sorry to hear that you have had a problem restoring your system.

    Because most visitors come to this Forum when they have a problem and need help it is always beneficial if users that have experienced problems share their experience in more detail. This helps new users to identify issues before they happen and also helps more experienced users to provide help to less experienced users when they are facing some disaster.

    If you have the time, the Forum would be grateful if you could provide more information about the problem that you have experienced. The type of information that is very useful is:

    * Your system specs? (processor, motherboard, disk controller)
    * Version of TI that you have installed? (version and build)
    * Have you updated TI between creating the image and trying to restore?
    * Your HDD configuration? (e.g. internal, external, USB, SATA, IDE...etc)
    * Where do you keep your images? (internal disk, external disk, DVD....)
    * How did you create your images? (Clone, image partition, image files & folders)
    * What type of backup did you create? (full, incremental, differential)
    * Did you try copying the images to another disk or partition and try to restore from there?
    * What is the exact error message that you are seeing?

    Thanks in advance for your time. User input like this helps everyone on the Forum (and hopefully also the Acronis developers) to understand issues.

    :)
     
  25. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I can quite understand your anger at having to go back to such an old image to be able to restore. When you have taken a few deep breaths and counted to at least ten it would be very helpful to all concerned if you could take the time to answer the questions that Tabvla posed.
    My belief is that as TI works 100% for me and many others there is a solution to your difficulties.
    It is important to remember that a backup system is not just made up of the backup software. It is a partnership that is made up from a set of hardware, the backup software and the interaction with the user. One's basic instinct, when something goes wrong, is to blame the damn software. This, in my experience, is only very rarely the case.
    So stick with it for a bit longer and avoid the frying pan and fire syndrome [​IMG]
     
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