FDISR & IFD Test

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by dallen, May 29, 2006.

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  1. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    There seems to be a lot of discussion in this forum about how FDISR works and what happens when FDISR is used with imaging software. One question that comes up from time to time is, "Should I disable the pre-boot screen when taking an image?" (General consensus is YES, it cannot hurt).

    I decided, under the advice of my good friend Peter2150 to run a test. The test went as follows:

    TEST 1

    Fresh installation of Windows XP Pro, not from image, but rather the old fashioned hard way.

    Update and patch windows.

    Install FDISR (most updated version), but do not create secondary snapshot.

    Use Image for DOS to create and verify image onto external drive via USB 2.0 [pre-boot was enabled during the creation of the image].

    Restored the image from Image for DOS.

    During the initial reboot after restoration, the pre-boot screen was present.

    Rebooted one more time to ensure that the pre-boot screen remained and it did.

    Created a secondary snapshot using FDISR.

    Booted to secondary snapshot to verify that it functioned normally and it did.

    Booted back into the primary snapshot.

    TEST 2

    Disabled the Pre-boot

    Uninstalled FDISR and all of its components

    Restored the original image using FDISR (which had FDISR installed with pre-boot enabled).

    Upon initial reboot after restoration, the pre-boot screen was NOT present.

    I was able to simply enable pre-boot while in Windows and reboot.

    I will let the experts haggle over what the results of my test mean, but what it means to me is that Image for DOS does not mess with the MBR.
     
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    My guess is that IFD recovers the MBR inside the backup file automatically.

    Acronis True Image, does NOT recover the MBR inside the backup file automatically, you have to include the restore of MBR inside the backup file MANUALLY in ATI, when you recover a .tib-file.
    So ATI has a wizard to restore the partition and allows you to loop back in order to restore the MBR as well and then it doesn't matter if FDISR is installed or not installed.
    That's why I had problems with the FDISR Preboot Screen. It wasn't ATI, it was ME, who didn't know that ATI doesn't recover the MBR automatically.
    Keep in mind that ATI separates the partition and MBR on purpose to make other things possible.

    Another and shorter method is enable/disable the preboot in FDISR at the right moment when you restore a partition without the MBR, using ATI, which means that FDISR will take care of its Preboot screen.
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It is interesting because according to what I was told by Image for Dos folks the mbr should have been reset to standard which means in Dallens 1st test Preboot wasn't there. I agree with Dallen's conclusion, it would appear in the case of image for Dos/windows, they don't mess with the MBR.

    So there are fairly easy solutions for both Acronis and Terabyte products. Cool.

    Thanks Dallen, and Erik for the testing.
     
  4. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    It is my understanding that with older versions of FD-ISR the location of some $ISRBIN file was hardcoded in the MBR.
    And this file contains the executable for the preboot screen.
    For that reason trouble was guaranteed when imaging software was restoring the image, but not exactly at the same disk sectors.
    The suggested workaround was to disable the preboot, and enabling it after a restore from image. That way the MBR would contain the current location of $ISRBIN.

    So, the problem had nothing to do with the MBR itself, but with the location of that important $ISRBIN file, measured in sectors.
    Unless the imaging software also needed the MBR for it's own code, then there is a conflict.

    The latest FD-ISR release has a workaround for this, so, basically the problem is still there, but the user won't notice anymore.
     
  5. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Good work, dallen.

    As I've said before, I've backed up and successfully restored system partitions with FD-ISR installed, including snapshots, with BING, IFW/IFD, and ATI.

    The most I've ever had to do in these case was to run fixmbr from the recovery console. I can't recall with certainty in which case I had to, probably with ATI, but I don't consider that a particularly onerous or exotic fix.
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Thanks crofttk. Probably for most of us no, but for someo_O. In any case it appears now, just reenabling Preboot does the trick. Everyone should be able to handle that.

    Pete
     
  7. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Good, happy to see this.
    Thanks dallen.

    Now for the boot cd and archive restore, keep nudging you guys. :)
     
  8. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    There are a lot of people in these forums that help me practically every day. So, it is my pleasure to contribute. Thanks everyone for the kind words and Peter2150 deserves credit for giving me the idea to run these tests.

    I do not use ATI, but I'm sure that it is a great piece of sortware. IFW/IFD and FDISR are my softwares of choice, again thanks to Peter2150. He was the one that turned me on to both. You can all imagine where I would be had he not opened my eyes. Just in case you cannot, let me tell you. I would be afraid to try anything new for fear that it might mess up my system and, despite my paranoia, I would spend an entire weekend doing a complete reinstallation of Windows/Programs all to often. Instead of controlling my system, my system would be controlling me.

    Now, rather than simply relying on research and other users' opinions about which anti-virus software is the best, I am able to trial all of the top candidates and learn for myself which one fits my style and is compatible with my systems. One reboot later using FDISR all traces of the AV are gone. This allows not only for a perfect uninstallation, but it offers the last candidate to be evaluated the identical oppotunity as the first. I love First Defense ISR!!!

    Image for Windows/DOS has also saved me an enormous amount of time. I am sure that most of the people in this forum are in the same boat as me. I am the computer expert in my circle of friends and family and the price for holding this title is that I get called when someone's system is trashed. After having spend a second weekend rebuilding a particular individual's system, I decided that steps needed to be taken to make this process easier and faster. Now when I rebuild a system, before I turn the system back to its rightfull owner for certain death I create an image using Image for DOS and store it on CDs or DVDs. The owner is given their system and their "Restoration Disks" and told to keep the disks in a safe location. Next time I get a call from the same person to fix their system, I simply walk them through the restoration process over the phone and it saves me a trip and an enormous amount of time. I love Image for Windows!!!

    I will always buy software from both Terabyte Unlimited and Raxco for as long as I'm alive, or until Symantec acquires them, whichever comes first.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  9. silver0066

    silver0066 Registered Member

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    The new ATI program (Workstation 9.1 v3633 has a pre/post command on the Options menu where you can automatically diable b4 backup and enable right after. It works very well
     
  10. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I'm not going to discuss the differences between ATI and IFW/IFD, because I never tried IFW/IFD for real, because I couldn't figure out how to do a backup/restore with IFW/IFD immediately as I did with ATI.
    ATI is an userfriendly software, IFW/IFD is NOT and every softwares becomes userfriendly, when you use it for awhile.

    But the very first contact without any help or advice is what a software really makes userfriendly. ATI was able to do this for me and IFW/IFD failed.

    ATI is working perfect for me, with or without FDISR installed and backup/recovery are working fine.
    There was a problem in the past, but ATI wasn't the problem, ErikAlbert was the problem. :D
     
  11. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    ErikAlbert,
    I've been following your postings and have been impressed with what you have done lately. That being said, I completely disagree with your last posting.

    First, you begin by claiming not to be discussing the differences between ATI and IFW/IFD stating that you have not "tried IFW/IFD for real." Then, you dive right in and explain why IFD/IFW is NOT userfriendly, but insist that ATI is.

    My experience with IFW/IFD is a polar opposite of yours. In my opinion IFD/IFD is very userfriendly. The simplicity of the menues in IFD makes for an almost fool proof experience. I have not used ATI, but I did read through their forum a while back. It seemed that some people had significant problems with ATI's functionality. One thing about IFD is that it works. It may be simple and without all of the bells and whistles, but it also seems to be without user complaints of images failing.

    As intelligent as you seem based on your recent postings, I find it difficult to believe that you "immmediately figured out how to do a backup/restore with ATI" without any "help or advice," but had difficulty doing the same with IFW/IFD. It simply is not plausible that you make these claims after having actually tried Image for DOS and Image for Windows.

    After having read and re-read your last posting, it is my belief that your words serve only to mislead people and give potential users a false impression of Terabyte's products. A retraction would be appropriate.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  12. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I tried BootItNG and IFW and I couldn't do a backup immediately.
    With ATI however, I could do a backup immediately with the backup wizard.
    Maybe I'm not that intelligent. :D
    I never said Terabyte is bad, ATI is IMO more userfriendly.
     
  13. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    Fair enough. After having re-read my own posting, I believe that I was in error. In all fairness, I did not know much about ATI. I have since read over the user guide for ATI and talked to a current user of the program and it seems quite user friendly.

    ErikAlbert,
    Please accept my apologies if you feel that I was too harsh. I acknowledge that I was premature in my conclusion and have opened up to the posibility that you may be right about your userfriendly assessment. I think I will find out by trying ATI.
     
  14. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Don't worry about it, it's just software. :D
    I didn't mention this, but it was the very first time, I used a real backup software on my computer.
    In the past I always copy/pasted my personal files on CD using packet writing : DirectCD (Roxio) and when I was in real trouble, I re-installed my computer from scratch manually.
    So it was really NEW to me in many ways and maybe that was the reason why I didn't understand IFW immediately. :)
     
  15. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    Then you were probably amazed, as I was, when you first discovered the time and effort that an imaging program can save you when things go bad.
     
  16. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I'm still amazed, but I'm getting used to it. :D
    I just didn't have the right hardware to make it possible.
     
  17. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    Right hardware?

    Were you missing an external drive?
     
  18. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    My old computer had only one 17gb harddisk, no second harddisk, no external harddisk and just a CD-writer.
    That's not the right hardware, if you want :
    - a system and data partition
    - each partition on a separate physical harddisk
    - a backup on an external harddisk
    This is for me the best and safest way to store and backup data. Also the minimum for hardware.
    I still don't have my external harddisk, but that is just a matter of time.

    I have of course a CD/DVD-writer, but not for harddisk backup, that is asking for trouble although not everybody agrees with me. Sometimes I listen to members, sometimes not.
    I can use my CD/DVD-writer as a second backup for my personal data, but nothing more than that.
     
  19. Rilla927

    Rilla927 Registered Member

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    Hi Dallen,

    I have tried this, but was unsuccessful. I would like to know how you did it. I prefer this method over the disks.

    I know this is the FD part of the forum and not Terabyte, maybe we can take it to another part of the forum. I sure would appreciate it.

    Thanks very much

    Rilla927
     
  20. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    Rilla927,
    My first question is whether or not you have USB2.0 or USB1.1?

    If you only have USB1.1, then you will not be able to use Image for DOS to backup to external hard drive via USB, to the best of my knowledge.

    If you do have USB2.0, then you would simply select the drive you want to backup as the source. Select as the destination USB2.0 and your external hard drive should be there. I will admit that on occasion the drive did not show up. In that case, I simply rebooted and voila it was there.

    If you only have USB1.1, you can still backup your system, but the only way that I've found to do that is with Image for Windows.

    Let me know more about your setup and I will let you know how I would procede if I had your setup.
     
  21. Rilla927

    Rilla927 Registered Member

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    Yes, I have a Hi Speed 2.0 200gig Buslink.

    I tried it a couple of times, selected the source and destination etc. Do you make a folder for your back up first on your external? I thought I remember reading that in the help file.

    After the image was done I checked it and there were funny looking objects that were supposed to be the image files broke up into 2gig in size each.

    I have read the help file, researched the knowledge based for anything related to restoring from an external with IFD. I don't know what I'm doing wrong/ misunderstanding what I read.

    I sure appreciate you offering to help! The Wilders Bunch has a wealth of knowledge to offer to folks if they want to learn and I think that's what makes Wilders #1! All you guys & gals are always willing to help others:thumb:

    Thanks Rilla927
     
  22. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Hello Rilla

    I have not had your problems (yet!)
    WHere exactly is the process breaking down?

    FWIW here are a couple fo things: you probably know this already:

    IFD has some specific settings related to naming conventions for image files that must be used.

    DOS and FAT32 partitions have some file size limitations for image size which is the rationale behind the 2g image files sequence. CD and DVD backups are created in apprpriate size automatically.

    I make a folder called "IMAGES" and subfolders with dates to store images using IFW. Probably works with IFD also
    Did you validate the images? Byte for Byte?

    I'm sure you are not doing this but you cannot/must not restore an image to the partition your OS is in while it is operating.

    Look here:
    http://www.heffy.com/image.htm
    and here
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/examples.html
    for useful video tutorials.


    Out of interest why IFD rather that IFW?
    If all else fails e-mail to support@terabyteunlimited.com or go here:
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/webnews.html
    and click on your news group of interest. No registration req.

    There is I believe a support group on Yahoo, but I have not visited there.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bootitng/ (needs some sort of registration)

    Regards
    Lbd.
     
  23. dallen

    dallen Registered Member

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    To be clear, I now understand that you have a USB2.0 enabled external drive, but I want to ensure that you have it plugged into a USB2.0 port on your system.

    Assuming that to be the case, you do not have to create a folder on the destination drive, although I find it helpful for organizational purposes.

    Here is the order of selection from the initial screen:
    >>Create Image
    >>BIOS HD (direct)
    >>Select appropriate drive (usually Hard Drive 0)
    >>Select appropriate partition (usually Partition (01))
    This may be the confusing point. When asked for the "Save to" selection:
    >>Partition
    >>USB2 HD
    You should see your external HD. If you do, then select it, if you do not, there is a problem (This is where I had earlier stated that a restart usually remedies the issue.
    >>Select appropriate partition
    >>Name the file (you can hit Tab and use the arrow keys to navigate to the appropriate sub directory if you desire)
    >>I usually select 2 GB (you may decide either other option if you plan to create CDs at a later point)
    >>I usually select Y for "Do you want to validate the image after it is created (Y/N)?
    >>I usually select Y for Byte-for-Byte comparison (Y/N)?

    The process should begin and when finished you should notice that there are multiple 2 GB files created depending on the size of your source hard disk.

    I find this page to be particularly helful:

    Heffy's Image Tutorials

    If you scroll down to the "Using IFD (Image for DOS)" section, there are two tutorials that I reference occassionally.

    Thanks for the kind words. Wilders forum users help me learn everyday, so the least I can do is return the favor.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2006
  24. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    LOL, Yeah: what he said :D

    Or DVD size files if you want DVDs later

    That might be important for you.

    (would be too many discs foe me)
     
  25. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Just to supplement the explanation of that step a little bit, after selecting "USB2 HD", you will see a green box come up with a count down from 5 seconds, looking for your USB2 HDs, then the list of found drives will pop up. dallen covered it well -- I just thought I'd throw in that detail as it's a critical juncture for what Rilla927 should be seeing.

    dallen, FYI, since I have only done these kind of tests on my home desktops and, as I am stuck in Texas on business and have nothing better to do, I went ahead and performed your Test 2 on my Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop, using an external USB2 120 GB WD Passport Drive.

    However, just for giggles (and to elbow Peter2150;) ), I did not disable the FD-ISR pre-boot before imaging with IFD.

    I did 4 image sessions:
    1. The Dell Utility partition, 39MB, about 6 MB occupied (a primary partition)
    2. My System Partition, 28.9 GB, about 10 GB occupied (a primary partition)
    3. My extended partition, containing 3 logical drives, a total of 59.2 GB, about 49 GB occupied
    4. The Dell Restore partition, 3.6 GB, about 3 GB occupied (a primary partition)

    Then I booted from a copy of my WinXPSP2 CD (Dell OEM) and went into its Recovery Console where I deleted all partitions on my hard drive.

    I just completed the 4 restores a little bit ago and everything went as it did for you. Everything turned out flawless except that the FD-ISR preboot splash was missing. After entering the FD-ISR management console and re-activating the pre-boot, everything is back the way it was before.

    So, I always sweat a little when I do these kinds of tests but, now that it's done on my laptop, I'm glad I did it !

    I guess next I will have to catch up with ErikAlbert and vet ATI 9 on my laptop.;)
     
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