Corrupt Image files and Memory Timing

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by JustRight, Jun 28, 2005.

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  1. JustRight

    JustRight Registered Member

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    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Hi everyone,

    I have been reading a number of threads on this forum in regard to the infamous "Image File is Corrupt" problem.

    In my case I have been having no success in getting a good backup of my system. I would almost always get the corrupt image file message when performing a verify on the backup. This corruption problem was not limited to TrueImage either. I changed to Acronis from another image backup solution that was also failing with corrupt image files.

    Initially I concentrated my fault diagnosis on my external USB hard drives onto which the images were being written, because many of the threads on the image file corruption problem suggest that there are serious issues with some USB implementations when using external disk drives, and/or large files on external disk drives. In the end I removed the external enclosures altogether and installed a Lian-li RH-58 Drive Caddy rack which allowed me to have 'removable' drives that were directly connected to an IDE controller on the system.

    However, nothing I did fixed the problem. The backups still failed, even on the 'internal' hard drives! So I then concentrated on the memory in my system. Many threads suggest that memory can be a factor in the corrupt file problem. I ran MEMTEST86 extensively on my system and it reported NO ERRORS. However, when I looked at my BIOS settings I noticed that in the memory timings area of the BIOS there was an item called "Aggressive Timing", which was enabled. So I disabled it as a test.

    I then ran a TrueImage backup using the Resue Disk (ie from Linux) which would ALWAYS fail previously, and it worked first time. The image file verified without error! I then reset the "Aggressive Timing" option to enabled, and ran the backup again, after which the verify failed. The image file was corrupt!

    I have now disabled the "Aggressive Timing" option on my system. This has resulted in a slight drop in memory throughput, but that is a small price to pay. Clearly there is more to this than meets the eye. Whatever TrueImage is doing in its processing must stress the memory subsystem well beyond even what MEMTEST86 does, because as I have said, I have never had a failure with memtest.

    Anyway, the moral of this essay is, if you are having problems with getting a good backup where the image file is being reported as corrupt, check the memory timings on your system. It could be that you need to relax the timings even if Memtest reports no errors!

    I now get successful backups every time. TrueImage creates a 110GB backup image file using normal compression in just under two hours, and verifies the image file in just under one hour. Outstanding!


    My System:
    MSI K8N-Neo2 (nForce3-250)
    Athlon64 3500+
    2GB Corsair Low Latency (CAS2) DDR running at 200Mhz dual channel
    ATI XT800-XE Graphics Card
    40GB Western Digital Raptor SATA (System drive)
    480GB Promise SX4000 RAID5 array
    Lian-Li RH-58 removable drive caddy
    etc.


    Good Luck to you all.
     
  2. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

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    Thanks for posting your findings.

    I'm sure many of the problems posted on this forum can be tracked down to faulty hardware. If there's an underlying problem with the system itself, one cannot expect the software running on it to function properly.
     
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
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    Hello JustRight,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Thank you for all your efforts. We do appreciate your investigation and will forward your information to our Testing Lab.

    Thank you.
    --
    Irina Shirokova
     
  4. pomoxp

    pomoxp Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    Posts:
    3
    Hi,

    I have had the same problem with corrupted files that I didn't understand.
    So because I was using the bootable CD to create and restore image, it could only be an hardware fault, but the os (windows) didn't complain and works fine. So I was thinking about hardware changes : adaptec scsi 29160 card or upgrade memory (from 1 dimm 512 to 3 dimms 512 each).
    Memtest : report fault on test 5 but which dimms ?
    I removed all : scsi+ new memories added.
    -> it works
    I replace the original memory by the 2 new
    -> it works
    I added the original memory
    -> if fails
    I removed one of the news memory
    -> it works
    I replace the original memory by the new one removed and added the scsi card
    -> it works

    So
    a) either "True Image Enterprise Server 8 for Win bootable CD" does not
    support more than 1 Gb of memory :eek:
    b) or "TrueImgES8win" doesnt communicate well with the chipset of my motherboard and its dual channel (ASUS A7N8X-Deluxe with 3 dimms dual)

    Any ideas ? o_O

    Pascal
     
  5. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Pascal,

    Are all three memory modules compatible with the A7N8X Delux motherboard? <Kingston Technology>, to name but one, do not recommend using DDR400 (PC3200) memory on this board. If running DDR400 you could try reducing the memory clock via your BIOS from 200Mhz to 166Mhz, thereby underclocking to DDR333 (PC2700).

    Regards
     
  6. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

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    The more memory chips a PC has, the greater potential for timing issues it has. For this reason, registered (buffered) RAM is recommended (or even required) for systems with large amounts of RAM.

    Do you know which you have? Are the sticks identical? If you've got 3 unregistered sticks, or if you are mixing and matching sticks, you'll probably run into trouble.
     
  7. pomoxp

    pomoxp Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    First I would apologize to answer so late :doubt:

    My 3 dimms are :
    1 DDR-SDRAM 512 MB PC3200 vendor LDLC
    1 DDR-SDRAM 512 MB PC3200 vendor LDLC
    1 DDR-SDRAM 512 MB PC3200 vendor Corsair model ValueSelect

    The memory that seems to be not well good or not compatible with both others is : the Corsair.
    And I saw on Corsair web site, that this module wasn't not mentioned as fully compatible with Asus A7N8X Deluxe Motherboard.
    But it works fine 2 years before I upgrade from 512 to 1,5 Go.
    Well...
    I will try to check if I could change this module.

    And to conclude I saw on other threads that this "corrupted image problem" is frequent and point regularly on memory modules compatibility.

    So perhaps Acronis should create a FAQ on this forum or on acronis web site, that address hardware uncompatibility or risk with TI ?

    And I read very good suggestions :
    - add better to memory stick with bootable cd (and windows inside)
    - add tools to check memory in TI

    My idea, would be to prevent this corrupted image problem :
    - add an option to restore image with less stress for memory perhaps by getting TI slower or less consummer of memory ?


    Pascal
     
  8. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Location:
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    Hi again Pascal,

    Even if you change the Corsair memory for another stick of LDLC PC3200, there is no guarantee that the ASUS A7N8X-Deluxe will work with a full compliment of DIMMs whilst the memory remains clocked at 200Mhz.

    Have you tried booting into your motherboard's BIOS setup and turning your memory clock down to 166Mhz as I suggested in #5 above?

    Regards
     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello pomoxp,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We appreciate your collaboration on this matter.

    I've forwarded your suggestions to the appropriate person and he will take care of it as soon as possible.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
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