Computer wont boot after creating a secure zone

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by wwat, Feb 3, 2009.

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  1. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    Hi,

    For the first time I tired to create a secure zone using ATI Home 2009.

    Steps:
    First created a rescue disk
    Then left the wizard to create the secure zone over night.
    Click the option to shut down computer are creating secure zone.
    Note: secure zone was created on USB external Hard drive F

    I have 3 physcial hard disks and 1 external USB hard drive which is where I create the secure zone.
    Disk1 - standard IDE 250Gig drive (Drive C)
    Disk2 and 3 are seagate scsi disks (Drive D,E)
    Disk4 External hard drive used for backup (Drive F)

    In the morning I tried booting, and see the drives but after the scsi drives start all I see is a kind of prompt (top left) in a black screen, no windows startup logo.

    Windows xp SP2
    ATI home 2009

    Really appreciate any suggestions as to what might have gone wrong.
    Many thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Power up and connect up the external usb drive. Then start or re-start the computer. Your computer should then boot normally into Windows.

    I wonder if you have activated the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager. It is not recommended to enable the ASRM if the secure zone is on an external drive.
    Indeed Acronis says one should not have a SZ on an external drive period.

    The proper way to remove the ASRM after activation is to use the manage secure zone wizard to delete the SZ and then start over without activation.

    Xpilot
     
  3. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    I don't think your boot-up issue is necessarily related to having the Secure Zone on an external drive, though I agree that the Secure Zone should be on the internal drive.

    I recently had this problem.

    For background, I run Vista x64. Normally, after the original blue screen (allowing safe mode,etc), the screen goes black for a second (with the white prompt blinking in the top left), before it reads "Starting Acronis Loader" and "Press F11 for Acronis Recovery Startup Manager." After just a couple of seconds, it proceeds to the normal Windows startup screens.

    The problem I had, it kept "locking" at the black screen with the blinking cursor -- it wouldn't proceed any further. I ended up restoring my entire image from the Recovery Disk. Luckily, I had just made a fresh image a few days prior.

    In retrospect, when restoring, Acronis gave the option of only restoring the Master Boot Record (MBR). I suspect this would have fixed it, too . . . I believe the MBR had just gotten corrupted somehow and caused this problem.

    Upon restore, I tried to bring this problem to the attention of Tech Support (via the chat line), but couldn't make the guy understand exactly what I was seeing. He accused me of altering the MBR with a third party software (something I wouldn't even have the expertise to do).
     
  4. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    Xpilot, thank you for that response.

    Actually that is what I tried but it wont boot.

    I didn't get to that stage so no not activated.

    Wish I knew this beforehand. I also just read that I probably dont even need to use securezone for what I'm trying to do which is to create a bootable backup on my external USB drive. I can't give Acronis any marks for good documentation because its terrible. Anyway this is for another day I need to get my computer to boot again....

    Any other ideas.
     
  5. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    It may not be the SZ itself I'm almost certain that the Acronis program caused this becasue my computer has been booting perfectly for years, and right after doing this the computer failed to boot. I wonder if the boot.ini is altered in any way?
     
  6. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    I have no doubt Acronis caused it, but I believe an Image Restore (if only the MBR) would fix it . . . at least it did for me.

    I jokingly told my wife that the Acronis Image Restore saved us . . . from an Acronis caused problem.:rolleyes:
     
  7. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    I wish I could joke about this to my wife but unfortuntely I hadn't made it to the point of making my first backup. Its kind of ironical that I finally decided to take the leap and get the system backup and now it could be dead. I have alot of stuff on that drive...
     
  8. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    So, you can't get to any of the drives -- and you have done no back-ups to this point? The computer is dead in the water?
     
  9. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    At this point all I have tried is to boot the computer. I see the drive information during start up but then the flashing prompt appears top left and it stops booting.
     
  10. Vlad V

    Vlad V Registered Member

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    Hello wwat,

    While creating SZ, ATI 2009 by default activates Startup Recovery Manger and activation results in modifying the MBR. Creating SZ on an external drive may lead to problems with booting and this is why Acronis does not recommend doimg so. To make your computer bootable again, you need to fix the MBR. This can be done by downloading Acronis utility for fixing the MBR using the link provided in the PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST thread. Download the iso file, burn a CD, than boot from it and fix the MBR.

    Vlad
     
  11. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    Vlad V -- that's good information to have. Just to confirm: When you create a SecureZone on the internal drive, ATI 2009 automatically modifies the MBR?
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Activating the ASRM is what modifies the MBR. Just creating a SZ doesn't.
     
  13. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    Ever since first downloading Acronis, my boot-up was changed as such:

    " . . .after the original blue screen (allowing safe mode,etc), the screen goes black for a second (with the white prompt blinking in the top left), before it reads "Starting Acronis Loader" and "Press F11 for Acronis Recovery Startup Manager." After just a couple of seconds, it proceeds to the normal Windows startup screens."

    I never activated the ASRM.
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Does pressing F11 load TI?

    If you're getting that message, the ASRM is activated. I always ignore/abort the "auto" stuff when I install TI and run it for the first time. It's possible that the ASRM got activated by TI during its "auto-setup" phase.
     
  15. wwat

    wwat Registered Member

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    okay we are back up and running.

    For the record I tried the bootable CD ISO imagine procedure at the "PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST" thread and it didn't boot so I couldn not use that program to modify the MBR.

    However, I was able to boot up using the following procedure.

    1. boot from the Acronis rescue disk
    2. remove the secure zone from the external hard drive using the Acronis
    interface.
    3. Remove CD and Reboot

    Why in the hell don't they fix it, this is way too easy to do. This program suppose to help you get more secure and has the potential of blowing your whole system so easily. And I did read the help file so dont be telling me I should have read the help... the help file is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Thanks for your replies, it got me thinking in the right direction anyway.

    wwat
     
  16. Vlad V

    Vlad V Registered Member

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    Hello cidsamuth,

    I think that you used One-click protection during the first start of ATI. If you didn't have an external drive connected at that time and your PC has only a single hard drive, this feature creates SZ on that drive for storing an image of your system partition and activates Startup Recovery Manager. If your PC still displays the prompt about pressing F11, then the Manager is still activated and you have the SZ as well. If you do not intend to use Startup Recovery Manager, remove the SZ. Removing the SZ will automatically deactivate the Manager.

    Vlad
     
  17. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    I do want to be able to restore from the "protected partition" on my hard drive, which I back up to almost nightly (I also backup to an external drive occasionally). Are you saying it is working like it is supposed to if I want the Secure Zone on my internal drive?

    Are you saying that I could remove the SZ (which would disable the Recovery Manager) and simply save my image back-ups to the hard drive (and recover from the disk)?
     
  18. Vlad V

    Vlad V Registered Member

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    cidsamuth,

    What is the "hidden partition" you mention in your post? Do you mean the SZ or did you have it on your computer before ATI installation?

    Vlad
     
  19. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    cidsamuth,

    One resident expert on using the Secure zone is forum contributor Xpilot. Look for recent postings by him on this topic. One place to start would be to click on the sticky link in the first line of my signature below and find the thread on Secure Zone and Startup Recovery Manager.

    As you know, if your backup archives reside on the same disk as your system disk and your disk fails, your backup files will be gone. Your external disk can play an important part in your protection. The external disk should have up-to-date backup archives for the best recovery options. If your external is connected if and when your computer should get jolted by an electrical shock, all your backups are gone so additional backup storage is recommended. Some alternate their backups between other externals or network or recorded medial. Don't let your backup archives be venurable to destruction by one event.

    Your system can be restored from the external drive backup files when booted from the TI Rescue CD. For best protection, you need to test and prove that your TI rescue CD can see all your drives and perform test testore before you have a problem. There has been many posts of people performing regular backups but never testing to see whether they can recover. Some have badly disappointed when they were unable to recover. Testing removes that uncertainty.

    Some of your backups of your entire disk is recommended. This backup should contain all partitions (both diagnostic or recovery). This option will provide the most recovery options.
     
  20. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    The partition I'm talking about is the SZ.
     
  21. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    10-4, got it. I back up on the SZ on my internal drive routinely, allowing me to restore when I get a corrupted file (as happened to my MBR -- see my original post).

    I also back-up to an external drive. I do this less frequently for logistical reasons . . . I keep it at my office so that I have it if my computer is lost to flood/fire/theft.
     
  22. Vlad V

    Vlad V Registered Member

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    cidsamuth

    It's OK to keep your backups on the SZ, but remember that if your internal hard drive physically dies, the zone will die too. So your really important backups will be much safer when stored on your external drive.

    Vlad
     
  23. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    Agreed. One last question, since I've inadvertently hijacked this thread anyway:

    My original MBR failure occurred at the loading of the ASRM. I'm nervous it will happen again.

    I know its been discussed a bunch, but as it applies to Vista x64, my only options for removing/deactivating ASRM is to: erase the SZ and startover (while not reactivating the ASRM), or to attempt to repair the MBR with the Vista Retore CD. Is this right? If I go with the first option, I'm not actually repairing the MBR, only hiding the problem, right?
     
  24. Vlad V

    Vlad V Registered Member

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    ATI 2009 allows to deactivate ASRM without erasing the SZ. Just select "Tools -> Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager" in the main menu. If ASRM is activated, you will be offered to deactivate it. Deactivating ASRM will not remove the SZ and the backups you've stored in it will not be affected. You will be able to restore using those backups, as well as add new ones into SZ. But if Windows refuses to boot, you will need to use the rescue CD to access the SZ. BTW, deactivating ASRM will automatically restore your MBR, so repairing is not necessary.

    Vlad
     
  25. cidsamuth

    cidsamuth Registered Member

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    This last line was what I was looking for --- that the MBR would actually be restored to its original state.

    Thank you very much for this info, Vlad.
     
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