Corrupt image using TI8. Problem with file splitting?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by KillrBuckeye, May 10, 2006.

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  1. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I have been using Acronis True Image 8.0 (latest build, 937) for about 9 months now, and it has worked flawlessly when restoring images of my OS partition. I have always stored the images of my OS partition on a separate internal physical drive and didn't use any type of file splitting.

    However, a few days ago I decided that I wanted to dual boot Windows and Linux, so I had to change the partition structure of the hard drive I use for data storage. To do this, I had to delete my primary data storage partition and replace it with several logical partitions within an extended partition. I backed up all data on this partition to DVD, and I also created an image of this partition for good measure. I used the file splitting option for DVD media, and these files were written to another partition on the same hard drive (this partition was not touched by any partitioning operations). When I finished creating the new logical partitions, I decided to restore the image using the .tib files that were recently created. Roughly 30% through the restoration process, I received the "Image is corrupt" message. :cautious:

    This has significantly shaken my confidence in the TI software. I'm wondering if someone could offer some explanation as to why this might have happened. I have read through some of the threads regarding corrupt images, and invariably people will start to question hardware stability. Well, I take my hardware stability very seriously, and I can assure you that everything is fine in that department. Prime95 "blend" torture test can run for 24+ hours without errors, Memtest86+ runs without errors, SuperPi 32M runs to completion, all the 3DMark tests can loop infinitely, not a single BSOD since I've put this system together. Additionally, I have run Western Digital Diagnostics Extended Tests on both my 74GB Raptor and my WD320KS, and all is fine.

    The only things that were different during this backup/restore process compared to previous successful operations are the following:

    - I split the backup archive into multiple files to fit on DVDs (though the files were still on the internal hard drive when I invoked the restore operation)
    - A "non-active" partition was imaged (previously I have only used TI to image my OS partition). As such, the restore process was invoked from within Windows rather than from the bootable CD.
    - The image was restored to a smaller partition than the one it was created from (though there was only about 40GB worth of data on the partition, and the resized partition was 140GB)

    Any suggestions you could provide would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2006
  2. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    When you changed the partition structure you would have changed the main boot record on the drive. Since your image was only of a partition and not the whole drive Acronis may not be able to restore the image to a drive with a different MBR to the one that existed when the image was made. If you formatted the drive and recreated the old partition structure the image would most likely restore. Given that you are expecting Acronis to restore an image of a partition to a different sized partition on a drive that has a completely different partition structure to the one that existed when you made the image you are expecting too much from Acronis. It is a good program but like any program there are limits to what it can do.

    Acronis probably does not image the main boot record when imaging a partition because if it did it would cause problems when the restored main boot record was not consistent with any new partition structure that you created after the image was made. This would be the case with your computer because you created new partitions after the image was made and if Acronis included the main boot record in the image the computer would not be able to boot up even if the image was restored because the old now restored main boot record would clash with your now changed partition structure. I'm only guessing but to avoid such a clash occurring Acronis probably only backs up the main boot record when the entire drive is imaged.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2006
  3. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    Interesting theory mareke. I'd appreciate it if someone from Acronis could verify (or deny) this. The way I see it, the partition table should have nothing to do with how images are created or restored. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing within Acronis' documentation about the program's inability to restore images to resized/recreated partitions, whereas other imaging programs will specifically mention this if it is a limitation. Also, if what you say is true, users of TI would not be able to restore OS images to new HDDs after experiencing failure of the old HDD, unless they create a partition table that is identical to the old one. I find this a bit hard to believe, but maybe you are right.
     
  4. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    Ver 8 only backed up the MBR with a full disk image, not a partition only image. The new version does back up the MBR with a partition only image. It will not restore the MBR however, unless told to do so in a separate restore step.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If there is any problem along those lines I think it would manifest itself in a "unable to boot" symptom rather than a corrupt image message.

    Have you tried to validate your images independently of doing a restore using the TI validate (or whatever it's called in V8 ) command?

    Even though you have run various diagnostics on your disk system along with Memtest, I would still run chkdsk X: /r where X: is the drive letter of the partition being checked.

    I wonder if the disk structure might have been damaged prior to making the backup and now TI is getting confused? You might try downloading V9, B3567 trial and making the rescue CD which will let you restore and existing image. It uses a different engine and is backwards compatible with previous versions.
     
  6. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I don't think I performed validation because as I said, I had never had a problem restoring an image before. I will check this when I get home though. I will also try running chkdsk to see if there are any errors.

    Good tip about the trial of V9. It's worth a shot, but it seems to me that the most important aspects of the engine deal with the imaging process and not the restoration process.
     
  7. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    I disagree. I believe Acronis routinely gives the corrupt image message when any problem likely to lead to failure of the image to restore and achieve boot up occurs. The corrupt image error message seems to be a ‘catch all’ error message that comes up when a restore is likely to fail for any reason so the message can be misleading and the image data not corrupt. Acronis most likely does some sort of check and on seeing the potential problem with the main boot record and the image it gives the corrupt image message. In a sense the message is correct in that if the image on restoration will lead to a clash with the main boot record that does not allow the computer to boot up then the image is 'corrupt' in the sense that it cannot be restored as intended without causing a serious conflict that stops the computer from booting into Windows.

    I believe they would fail if the image of the OS was only of a partition as in your case. Images of an OS restored to a different hard drive are usually images of a whole drive. However in the case of a new unformatted hard drive with no main boot record if the image was successfully restored and a new main boot record written as part of the image restoration process it would not cause problems because there would be no valuable data destroyed in the process as no partitions existed on the drive prior to the image being restored.

    Since in the case of a new unformatted hard drive there would be no valuable data that might be destroyed Acronis may be programmed to write a new main boot record when only a partition is restored only if no main boot record already exists prior to the image being restored as this would cause no problems with loss of important data. Acronis may also be programmed to bring up the corrupt image message when a main boot record already exists to stop any valuable data being destroyed. This would explain why your image will not restore but images of partitions only may be able to be restored (in my opinion they most likely can't be) to new hard disks with no main boot record.

    This confirms the first part of my initial response and I have already outlined my theory as to why the main boot record is not imaged when only a partition rather than the whole drive is imaged. If it did image the main boot record and restored it and you could boot up you would presumably lose the partitions you created after the image was made (and any important data on them) and be jumping up and down and cursing Acronis for destroying your precious data!

    In essence your 'confidence in Acronis has been shaken' because it won't do something that would destroy the other partitions on your drive when it restored the single partition you imaged. Surely your confidence in Acronis should be strengthened rather than weakened for not allowing your other partitions to be destroyed if your image of the single partition was restored! Acronis is in effect protecting you from doing something you would potentially regret and would give you every reason to really lose confidence in Acronis!

    My guess is therefore that Acronis does not image the main boot record when only a partition is imaged instead of the whole drive to avoid the problems I have outlined that would result when a restored main boot record conflicted with partitions created after the image was made. I could be wrong but it is a good reason not to image the main boot record except when the whole drive is imaged.

    Since Acronis version 9.0 apparently does image the main boot record when a single partition is imaged restoring the main boot record along with the partition would presumably be accompanied by some sort of warning message to ensure the user knew the consequences (possible loss of existing partitions) of restoring the main boot record with the partition (or perhaps a warning message comes up only when the current mbr and old mbr are different).

    It would explain why according to TheWeaz version 9 of Acronis which does image the main boot record when a single partition is imaged 'will not restore the MBR however, unless told to do so in a separate restore step'. The seperate restore step would presumably outline the consequences (loss of existing partions if they are different from those in the main boot record you are about to restore) of restoring the old main boot record.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2006
  8. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    I've used TI to restore partition images to both new and used (with exsting MBRs) hard drives. The partition tables on the hard drives to which the image is being restored don't have to match those of the hard drives from which the images were created.

    I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense to me. I agree--the MBR is not included with a partition image. So if the MBR is not part of the image, then how it would it affect the other partitions on the hard drive when restored? When one restores the image of a partition, TI asks to which partition the image should be restored. You are also given the option of resizing the partition. Acronis then writes the changes to the MBR. I fail to see how the original MBR (or lack thereof) has anything to do with the restore process.

    At this point I'm leaning toward errors on the disk as the cause of the failure. I haven't had a chance to run "chkdsk" on all my partitions yet, but when I started up TI yesterday it gave me a warning about detecting "bad blocks" on the drive. That can't be a good sign.

    One question that I still want answered is whether or not Acronis can restore images to partitions smaller than the ones from which they were created. For example, if I make an image of a 140GB partition that is only 30% full, can I restore that image to a 100GB partition?
     
  9. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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  10. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    Thanks Menorcaman. This quote sort of backs up some of what I have been saying:

    Another quote from the thread Menorcaman pointed to is interesting:

    This confirms my theory that version 8.0 of Acronis does not image the main boot record when a single partition is imaged because unless the current partition structure and the imaged partition structure were the same it would lead to a conflict and the computer would not be able to boot into Windows.

    I can however see your argument KillrBuckeye that if you restored the image of your C partition it should just replace the existing C partition and shouldn't cause a problem. I'm wandering if the old imaged C partition is the same size as the current one and if the new partitions you created were on a separate drive? Since you are just wanting to replace the current C partition with the old imaged one it should work. Have you done a check of the image to check that it's sound? Perhaps disconnecting the data drive (with the new partitions on it) may be worth trying provided you have another drive the image is on from which it can be restored.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2006
  11. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    Thanks for the links Menorcaman. There is a wealth of information in those threads, but I still think my problem is related to actual image corruption rather than a MBR conflict. Mareke is right when he says that TI should be able to do what I was attempting: simply restore the image of a single partition (with no MBR information) to another existing partition. I performed an image check on this "corrupt" image yesterday, and sure enough it failed the check. I then deleted the image files and recreated them. Performing the check on the newly created image files went smoothly. I'm thinking that something just went wrong during the initial imaging process. I only wish I knew the reason.
     
  12. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    What happenned to you KillrBuckeye is the very reason I keep several Acronis images made at different times on 2 internal drives and back these up to an external drive as well as having an image burned onto DVD. Relying on one backup to get you out of trouble is not a good idea as images can become corrupt for various reasons e.g. your hard drive developing a bad sector which holds part of an Acronis image. With all my images I once had to rely on the images on my external hard drive to save me as the images on the 2 internal drives were lost when a program turned my internal drives into dynamic disks which Acronis does not work on.
     
  13. KillrBuckeye

    KillrBuckeye Registered Member

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    Yeah, I wish I had an easy way to store backups in multiple locations, but I don't own an external HDD at the moment. I will be getting one within the next few months though, so I will feel much more secure. In the mean time I could try the DVD splitting method, but it's kind of a PITA, if you know what I mean. ;)
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello KillrBuckeye,

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    "Image corrupted" error message means that the image is not consistent and can't be restored. If the image is verified successfully it can be restored.

    Acronis True Image 8.0 saves MBR only if you back up entire hard drive, Acronis True Image 9.0 Home includes MBR in image even if you back up a single partition. However the issue is not related to the issue you experience.

    Most likely the image was corrupted due to file system corruption or a bad block.
    Please note that such error might occur if not all archive volumes reside in one folder.

    Thank you.
    --
    Anton Sherkhonov
     
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