Corrupt/Can't Verify Corrupt Archives: Let's uncover the problem!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by johnmeyer, Sep 11, 2007.

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  1. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    This thread has really brought a lot of interest. I never used to "validate" a backup until I read this thread. I have done many restores. I have become so sure of TI 9.0 that I don't even try to fix a problem anymore, I simply restore to my last "Image". I have been validating ever since I read this thread, from both windows and the Rescue CD and no problems. I have an internal backup drive and two external USB HHD drives ( different makes) and everything validates. My motherboard, cpu and bios are closing in on 4 years old. Maybe this has something to do with my excellant results?
    I have approimately 14gigs used on my "C" drive and this backups in about 7 minutes ( from windows and the rescue CD) and restores in about the same time.
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I would say it does in terms that it is not on the bleeding edge and therefore and good drivers obviously exist for it.

    You have demonstrated that once you determine that TI works well on your machine it continues to work well on the machine - it is not flakey, prone to errors or any other weird stuff. I have the same experience but I validate anyway because you don't really know when RAM or some other necessary HW is going to develop a problem. If you do frequent restores this is less of a problem because you will catch it before too much is lost unlike the people who make many backups over many months without doing a restore. Then when they find they have a problem it can be a major one.
     
  3. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Registered Member

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    But should I really have to do that?? Why should I have to do all that additional work, just because the software isn't solid and trustworthy?

    As to the comments about an older motherboard being more reliable, I have tested this on four different computers, two of which are older than four years. The biggest problem is on my Polywell P4 2.8 GHz which uses an old Intel SE440BX-2 with a single-thread processor. Very old stuff.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Xpilot,

    You have the most foolproof way of backing up that I've seen and I'm impressed. I don't do it that way and I doubt many others do. We shouldn't have to. I believe Acronis TI is unique amongst backup software in its contrariness. It works perfectly for many but pity help those in the other group.
     
  5. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    The importance of validation (checking the file remains as it was written) is a step one probalby wouldn't take with most files -- if a byte is wrong in a spreadsheet, word proc doc, music file, photo, etc., it might show up but it usually wouldn't jeopharidze the whole file. But a bad byte is a bigger risk when it's your backup and the bad byte could be, within the backup image, in a program, driver, system file or other critical component. Afterall, one wants to be assured that backups can restore. And that holds for any image backup program.

    Each individual has to assess the work and time involved with vaildation versus the security gained by doing them, especially after you have confirmed that ATI works on your hardware setup, and decide which way to go.

     
  6. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I have been reading this (and the many other) threads on corrupt archives with some interest over the past few days as I have recently had problems in validating my full backups. Things worked great until I installed some additional software on my PC and the backup size grew to 60GB (from 40GB). My "data drive" file backup validates fine (at about 30GB).

    I am running the backup over the LAN to a Buffalo Terastation Pro II running a flavour of Linux and XFS on a RAID5 array (so, an interesting setup for troubleshooting purposes!).

    So - here's a question for you learned people - if I validate as part of the backup job (ie. tick the box to validate in the backup task) the validation fails everytime. HOWEVER - and here's the question/query - if I validate as a seperate task - everything works fine EVERY TIME.

    So - beyond getting into the detailed troubleshooting already in this thread (which is very enlightening BTW), is there any reason why this would work as a seperate validation rather than a validation immediately after the backup?? The validation fails about 75% of the way in. As I said, the problem appeared after the image size grew to about 60GB - I haven't done any checks on splitting the archive yet.

    I am running the job on a local disk now just to check out what happens and will repost with results.

    Any similar experiences?

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  7. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    So - backup to local drive validates okay. Yet again, backup to NAS doesn't validate if done as part of the backup, but works without a problem if done as a seperate job - very confusing.

    Furthermore - there appear to be two entries in the failure log which is even more confusing:

    17 Information 14/10/2007 14:33:18 Backup Archive Validation Location: \\192.168.1.60\FullBackups\
    18 Information 14/10/2007 14:33:18 Pending operation 3 started: "Verifying backup archive"
    19 Information 14/10/2007 15:55:14 Pending operation 3 started: "Verifying backup archive"

    20 Error 14/10/2007 16:50:28
    The archive is corrupted: None
    21 Information 14/10/2007 17:17:36
    The archive is corrupted: None: User replied: oK
    22 Error 14/10/2007 17:17:36 Operation with partition "0-0" was terminated.
    Details:
    Image corrupted (0x70020)
    Tag = 0x82DB9339B70C3AFC
    23 Error 14/10/2007 17:17:38 Operation has completed with errors.

    And only one in the successful log:

    17 Information 15/10/2007 22:27:18 Backup Archive Validation Location: E:\Backups\
    18 Information 15/10/2007 22:27:18 Pending operation 3 started: "Verifying backup archive"
    19 Information 15/10/2007 22:59:19 Operation has succeeded.
     
  8. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    For what it's worth, I'm using backup locations for my backups - all are "full" backups and I think that the errors may be related to problems with backup locations themselves. I looked back at some previous logs and it seems that not only could ATI 10 not delete the archives that breached the "no more than 4 backups" rule, it also then initiated a validation job for all six exisiting full backups in the backup location. There's a whole other thread on the problems with backup locations that I won't bore you all with - needless to say "archive corruption" is just one of a few "issues".

    This is certainly very strange software. I just re-created the backup location and am testing again - I'll be able to report more in the morning UK time... sleep time now (while hopefully getting a decent backup that I "might" be able to rely on!) - tomorrow night is the bigger test of validation in the Linux environment!
     
  9. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I don't use the backup "location" feature myself but I believe that where a validation is included in the image creation task all the archives in the location will be verified along with the one that has just been created. It follows that if any of the previous archives appear as corrupt the latest one, even though good, will fail.
    A validation of a single archive can be done if it is done as a seperate task. I have not checked this out myself but it should be apparent from the much reduced validation time taken.

    These multiple validations have been complained about many times and Acronis are supposed to be coming up with a solution.

    Xpilot
     
  10. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply - it would certainly seem that's what's happening - unfortunately it's not deleting the archives once they exceed the number of backup quotas either - but let's leave that for another thread!

    I've got up this morning and the archive in the new backup location has failed validation after the backup with a "archive corrupted" error message again.

    I clicked OK and then proceed to do a manual validation of the newly creasted archive under Windows - it worked without any errors! It also validates okay under the Linux environment. Needless to say this is quite confusing, but I'm reasonably confident (until I get a 2nd hard disk to restore to) that the archives are actually okay - this might be a timing issue somewhere in the way ATI is talking to the NAS and perhaps XFS doing some weird locking of files or something.

    A bit strange considering the data backup validates okay - although it's half the size of course.

    Not sure I've solved anything here - just another observation on these issues that I at least appear to resolve by not validating after the backup and simply running a manual validate when convenient. Irriating to say the least!
     
  11. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    Even stranger. The error message was on the screen this morning and I clicked OK to clear it, BUT the log says this:

    17 Information 16/10/2007 02:55:51 Backup Archive Validation
    Location: \\ts-one\FullBackups\
    18 Information 16/10/2007 02:55:51 Pending operation 3 started: "Verifying
    backup archive"
    19 Information 16/10/2007 03:48:57 Operation has succeeded.

    Oh dear - now I am more than a little confused

    As they say - back to the drawing board!
     
  12. HobbitRock5150

    HobbitRock5150 Registered Member

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    Unnfortunately Xpilot's routine wouldn't work for me, since some of the music software I use gets awfully picky if the "hardware fingerprint" changes, which it would swapping drives.
    I haven't had TI for that long, but my longtime method for making sure I have valid images is to validate the image and write it to DVD before defragging or moving it anywhere. The nuisance factor with that in TI is that I have to recopy it to HDD to make sure the image wrote to DVD correctly, and then validate that. But once that's done, I put the DVD away and should the image on HDD get corrupted or the HDD with the images fail, I still have a good copy.
    It may not last forever, but probably will last until I need it.
    Perhaps no disk imaging program is foolproof.
    I got TI 10 because I had reason to doubt the validity of some of my images in Ghost 2003, even though Ghost said they were valid. I didn't just get the newer Ghost because of features that were held over from Drive Image, which Symantec had bought out. I'm not crazy about the idea of going back to Ghost should TI prove unreliable.
    I hope they can get to the bottom of this corrupted-images issue for the sake of all users.
     
  13. whocrazy

    whocrazy Registered Member

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    Oh my! I can't believe this. you guys are still willing to play russian roulette with your backups? pardon the pun!)
    My last visit here was on october 15 2006, and here we are 12 months down the track and hardly a thing has changed, well apart from the version number. After months and months of non stop troubles
    I've switched to a competing product and am beta testing another one, No I will not tell you what they are as it's not allowed on here, suffice to say that the downloads and rescue media doesn't eat up gobs and gobs of space, and the user interface is nothing to get yourself all excited about, but it does the job and does it well because the developers took the time to iron out all the kinks, instead of concentrating half the time on jazzing up the gui.
    I know ATI will do a couple of nifty things that the other 2 products cannot do, but stability is the most important feature of all in any program, and nothing beats stability.
    Getting back on topic, please dont tell me that using the rescue media will magically eliminate all the problems with corrupted images. the rescue cd might as well be blank because I am totally blind and unable to see the gui that boots up.
    ATI should be accessible to everybody.
     
  14. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Registered Member

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    Well I, for one, would definitely like to know what product to switch to. In the several weeks since starting this thread, TI has gone downhill and now, even with all external drives turned off and disconnected, and when doing a simple archive of my C: drive (about a 3.5 GByte image) to a second IDE internal drive, the image fails to validate.

    Thus, I no longer have any method to back up my computer using True Image. The product has become completely non-functional.

    I tried uninstalling and then re-installing, but this did no good.

    This is now a completely non-functional, useless product for me.
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  16. aussiegtc

    aussiegtc Registered Member

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    So - I think I've solved the problem now. Fingers crossed.

    Updated Firmware on the NAS, dropped the Appletalk protocol support on the NAS, reverted to smaller jumbo frames on the box, recreated all the backup locations - and it "appears" to be working now! Backups run and validate. Also, my "backup of the backup" validates too on the 2nd NAS box.

    This probably goes to show that the problems aren't really in the software itself, but in what it does to your hardware and how marginal things can upset it. Admit it can be frustrating and may not be ideal - but I'm yet to see software that works "for everyone, everytime" - there's just too much variation out there.

    As far as playing russian roulette with backup software (from a previous post) is concerned I think that whatever software you ultimately choose to do your backups is only any good if it works when you want to restore. Sure, there are other products out there that do imaging, but they also have forums where people discuss issues! The world of software ain't perfect! Just choose what works for you is my motto. I am in no way promoting ATI as particularly "user-friendly" for non-IT people of course (it's not - troubleshooting can be a nightmare if things go wrong) - I'm just saying that you'll always find people have problems with all sorts of software.

    For me, I image with ATI, I use AllWay Sync on documents, I use NTBackup for my laptop files and I use an offsite internet backup service for photos and videos I can't afford to ever lose if there's a fire/flood....

    Once the ATI software works - it works well. Better to solve a problem IMHO than simply throw it away and try yet another solution. YMMV of course!

    Cheers - and best of luck in resolving your own corruption problems. I would concur with the frequent posters that ATI will expose any flaws in your setup and to please not ignore the suggestions on checking your memory/cabling/etc....

    /Andrew
     
  17. edvinmass

    edvinmass Registered Member

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    Well, add my name to the list of former TI users. Here’s my story for what it’s worth.

    For quite a few years I had been using a well know backup system from one of the biggest names in software. But from time to time I had a number of issues with that system, none of which were show stoppers, but annoying none the less.

    About a month ago, we purchased a new Dell PowerEdge 1900 dual quad core server with 4gb of ECC memory, and a pair of 15k Serial Attached SCSI drives, running Windows 2003 Server as a Domain Controller. The backups are done to a set of external USB 2.0 disk drives that have been used successfully for several years now (with the previous backup software).

    For what it’s worth, I decided to purchase a license for Acronis TI 9.1 Server for Windows ($700 List plus $300 for Universal Restore) mainly for the Secure Zone feature that hides the backup partition from the OS and malware as well as the automatic purging of older backups to make room for new backups as necessary. What a mistake that was. It wasn’t long before I encountered many of the problems reported here and in other threads:

    1. After a few days worth of backups, I noticed that the backup job was taking all night to complete because it verifies the entire Secure Zone instead of the just the newly created backup image(s). Since that was starting to interfere with several other maintenance jobs that run in the wee hours, I temporarily disabled the verify pass.
    2. I then took the backup disk to the old server that was replaced by the new one and began to test the disaster recovery bootable CD that I had made. But I encounter a freezing up during the restore selection procedure. I opened a support ticket with Acronis and after several days of back and forth, they provided me with a special ISO image to burn which corrected that problem.
    3. Then when I went to restore the image onto the old server, I realized that it was not offering to perform the Universal Restore function. After much research, I found out that the UR functionality doesn’t work with images stored in the Secure Zone. What a shocker that was. My confidence in TI was beginning to wane.
    4. But I pushed on, after all, this was a pretty sizeable outlay of money for backup software. I deleted the Secure Zone and reconfigured the new server to do individual disk bakups to the USB drive.
    5. Now I was finally ready to do a restore to the old server from a 30gb backup of the new server. But the restore of the system disk alone took over 4 hours to complete, another big disappointment.
    6. But the straw that broke my back was that shortly thereafter, I began experiencing the random verification errors during the backups that have been documented here. And after reading through much of this thread, I decided it was time for me to bail on TI. It’s just been too much and I switched back to using the backup software that I had used successfully for several years.

    Since reverting back to the other backup system two weeks ago, I’ve had no verification errors and I have successfully done a bare metal restore to the old server (with dissimilar hardware/processors) and it came up successfully as a fully functioning W2k3 Domain Controller.

    Having been in software development for many years, I really don’t like to dis a product just because it lacks a few features that I think are important. But this goes beyond that. Acronis should have identified these problems, especially the random verification errors by now. But they didn’t and they exist in the v10 and v11 versions as far as I can see.
     
  18. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    and version 8 and version 9.
     
  19. Peter Holbrook

    Peter Holbrook Registered Member

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    I've also experienced several TIB corruptions myself. The only thing I've discovered is this: When a bad TIB is reported on my system, I simply open the huge file with xcsc (eXpress CheckSum Calculator). After this calculator has done its business of figuring out the MD5, SHA-1 and CRC32 of the TIB (which is consistently the same for one given TIB), I can double-click on the TIB and Windows Explorer will show its content. Similarly, Acronis True Image will be able to restore from it. I'm not sure about Emergency Rescue, as I haven't tried that scenario. But there's definitely something very fishy here. Many reportedly corrupt TIBs will prove NOT to be corrupt at all if a program other than TI opens them immediately before Aconis verification or recovery. From this I conclude that there's something wrong in the way True Image opens a file that is not in the cache.

    Please, fix this and let your users know. Thanks.
     
  20. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Did you do a TI validate on the tib that was reported as corrupt after opening and processing with XCSC or did you just examine it with Explorer and pull a few files out of it?

    The image validation scheme is a very stringent method of checking the archive is the same as was written by TI. 4000 checksums per gigabyte of data are included in the file and compared in the validation process and they all must match perfectly. Opening a file for exploring and extracting files does not run this process and it is known that files can often be extracted from a corrupt archive.
     
  21. Peter Holbrook

    Peter Holbrook Registered Member

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    Both. Actually, this was only a test which I've run several times without extracting anything. Only once did I have to extract anything from the TIB. In my experience, double-clicking on the TIB usually fails, but the situation solves itself after running xcsc on the TIB. Then, if TI is run immediately afterwards, chances are the TIB won't be corrupted after all. However, if you do nothing and Windows puts the disk to sleep or you log out or reboot, the TIB will appear corrupt again. The situation solves itself if you run xcsc again.
     
  22. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Interesting. It would be enlighening to know what the rescue CD thinks of such an archive since it doesn't use the Windows environment.

    What device is the archive stored on?

    If it is an external:
    Does the same thing happen on an internal drive?
    Are there any settings to change under Device Manager. For example, I had a write-caching setting that turning off eliminated a "delayed-write failure" problem. This is a not uncommon problem and is not specific to TI.
     
  23. Peter Holbrook

    Peter Holbrook Registered Member

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    My external device is a LaCie FireWire 500Gb disk. Except for minor tests, I've never backed up to internal hard drives. I did back up a FAT32 partition to my internal NTFS partition, though, and there were no corruption issues. But the FAT32 partition was only 30Gb or so, and my data therein was about 3 or 4Gb worth.

    I've never tweaked any settings in Device Manager, so I can't comment on that.
     
  24. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Registered Member

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    FWIW, I am now getting 100% bad (corrupt image) backups, even when backing up to an internal IDE drive.

    I tried memtest; I did scandisk with error correction; I did a defrag (of the target drive). Everything tests fine. I renabled all sorts of Windows services that I had disabled. I have unplugged all USB and Firewire cables (even though I am now trying to do backups to the internal drives). I uninstalled True Image 9 and installed True Image 11. Nothing fixes the problem.

    The good news is that I think I have now created the perfect test system for this problem, because it now fails 100% of the time. The bad news, of course, is that I can no longer create image backups.
     
  25. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I recall that you said, way back, that your computer performance was " Off the scale" when you did some benchmarking. Maybe that is the root of the problem, it could be just too fast for TI to keep up sucessfully.
    Have you tried reducing the processor speed and even reducing some of the installed RAM?
    Perhaps this thread and the Microsoft article may also be of some relevance,
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=189594


    Xpilot
     
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