Does TI allow me to just backup the MBR?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by truthseeker, Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    Am I able to do a backup of my C: MBR and Partiton Tables instead of having to backup the whole partition?

    Thank you
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The backup choice "Track 0/MBR" will back up the first 63 sectors on the disk. A standard Microsoft MBR is contained in part of sector 0 and so is the partition table. Usually the rest of the sectors in Track 0 are empty, but in case you are using a nonstandard MBR from a boot manager like Acronis OS Selector, LILO, GRUB, etc., some of these sectors may contain part of the boot manager code. Restoring Track 0/MBR from an Acronis backup will restore the nonstandard boot manager.

    Just be aware that although the partition table is contained in sector 0, restoring Track 0/MBR will not restore the partition table. With TrueImage, the partition table is only updated when you restore a partition or partitions.

    I believe that the only time that the whole partition table is restored from a TI backup is if you select to restore the entire disk including all partitions. If so, TI "knows" that it is safe to restore the old partition table since you are restoring all partitions to be the same number, size, and locations as in the stored image.

    If you want to back up your MBR and partition table separately then you can use a disk editor like Acronis DD to just save a copy of sector 0. Be careful if you restore sector 0 because if there have been any modifications to the partition table then they are overwritten and you could lose an entire partition. That is the underlying reason for why TI does not restore the partition table when restoring Track 0/MBR.

    More info including some nice graphics here.
     
  3. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    I am a little bit confused. Would you mind giving me clarity?

    If I install Linux on C:, where exactly does GRUB install itself? On the MBR and where else?

    And if I backed up C: partition with Acronis TI before I installed GRUB on C:, will restoring the Acronis Image file also overwrite GRUB and make Windows boot normally again?

    THanks
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    This depends on where you choose to install GRUB. It can be installed to the MBR or it can be installed into a partition's boot sector. Usually, the default is the MBR, though it may ask if you have another OS already installed.

    If GRUB were installed to the MBR and you restored the MBR (or disk image) created prior to GRUB's installation, the MBR (or disk) would return to the state saved in the backup image. If Windows was in the image, then Windows will be restored. If you have GRUB installed and then restore the MBR from a Windows disk image, GRUB will be removed from the MBR and replaced with the MBR in the image.

    I've done this kind of OS switching many times. Install Windows, create image of drive. Clear drive. Install Linux (usually Ubuntu), create image of drive. Then I can restore either Windows or Linux to the drive depending on which one I want to work with.
     
  5. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    Thanks for this info :) Its good to know that I can install Ubuntu Linux and when I want to get rid of it and get rid of Grub, I can simply restore my Windows Image using Acronis TI and it will wipe GRUB from the MBR.

    Thanks, I can now proceed installing Linux, and not have to worry about getting rid of Grub later down the track. I can simply restore my windows TI image :)
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    An alternate approach, and the one that I use, is to install Linux to a primary partition and then install GRUB to the partition boot record of this partition. I keep the MBR as-is.

    If you then make the Linux partition active, GRUB will start when you boot your PC and you can select Linux or Windows from the GRUB menu.

    To get rid of GRUB, just set the Windows partition active and then the PC will boot directly to Windows. You can then delete the Linux partition and use it for some other purpose.

    There are lots of ways to do this...
     
  7. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    Yes, thanks for sharing some ideas.

    What I did was install Linux on my external HDD. I created a 10GB partition on it and installed Ubuntu Linux on it. I then installed GRUB onto the external HDD.

    This leaves my C: and internal HDD alone and it boots as normal.

    Whenever I want to boot into Linux, I simply press ESC during POST and it gives option to boot from external HDD, which loads GRUB, and then Ubuntu Linux :)
     
  8. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    Actually I just noticed something interesting happen.

    I restored an image file that was created before I had Acronis TI create a hidden partition and before the F11 feature was installed.

    HOWEVER, after I restored the image file that was created before F11 appears, I noticed the F11 still appears as I reboot.

    So the restore doesn't overwrite that place where Acronis writes F11 in the MBR. How come?
     
  9. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Did you restore just the partition or did you also restore MBR/Track 0?
     
  10. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    I did not select the MBR option.

    So you mean if I restore an older image and select the MBR restore as well, before I created a hidden partition with F11, then it would overwrite the F11 option?
     
  11. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Yes, that is correct.

    But since you only restored the partition image, the master boot record (MBR) was left untouched and the F11 function was still left in-place.

    BTW, even if you restored the old MBR/Track 0 it would not affect the hidden partition since the partition table is not affected when you restore MBR/Track 0. This is one area of confusion with TI.
     
  12. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    Ok, good to know, thanks. But I am glad I didnt chose to restore the old MBR, because I still want the hidden rescue partition there and still want ability to press F11 in case I need to restore an image, if windows wont load, and if I am too lazy to insert the boot CD :p
     
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