Few questions about MBR, original pc recovery partitions, and bad sectors

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jjbtnc, Jan 27, 2007.

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  1. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Bit of info first

    laptop has one hard drive - windows only sees a c: but there is in fact a hidden partition placed there by the pc manufacturer which includes a recovery image. This works in conjunction with a reload cd that returns the laptop to it's factory state.

    Having a few problems so i am considering either a reload to factory settings or a fresh install of XP.

    Before i attempt any messing about i would like to make an image of the current c: and then if all my messing goes awry at least i have the last known working setup - i will also back up important data just as plain jane files on to a cd/dvd.

    I was going to download the trial of TI10 and install it on the laptop and see how it works in making an image.
    There is one thing concerning me though after reading this from another thread

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/show...light=undocumented drive-shrinking#post807469

    "As for having to create an image and restore it while resizing partitions to overcome an undocumented drive-shrinking performance fault of TrueImage, it can't be done in certain cases:

    1) Create an image of a Dell drive, which depends upon an unmodified MBR in order to function after a TI restore, and you cannot restore the MBR and resize the partitions separately or the Dell PC Restore functionality is broken"


    I'm concerned that after installing the TI10 trial it may alter the MBR and this may break the laptop's return to factory settings recovery procedure.
    Browsing through the forums i found this

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=715588&highlight=alters MBR (AFAIK)#post715588

    "The only time TI alters the MBR (AFAIK) is if you opt to use the Startup Recovery Manager."

    Question 1 - I just wanted to check how the Startup recovery manager gets enabled. I'm hoping it's not enabled by default but during installation of TI10 do you get the option of enabling it? Or do you install TI10 and then have to enable it by selecting it from a menu? I just wanted to check that i don't inadvertently enable it - and to confirm that if i do not enable it, the MBR or any part of my disk structure will not get altered in a way that could effect the laptops recovery feature?

    I realise this is a acronis true image forum but does anybody know if partition magic 8 alters the MBR or disk structure just by installing the program? Especially in any way that may break the laptop's recovery procedure? Perhaps PM8 has a feature (the boot loader) that is not enabled by default but i should make sure that i don't enable?

    Question 2 - unfortunately the drive has bad sectors - 192k - these were identified by windows chkdsk and are marked as such and don't cause any problems. There's nothing i can do about it as far as i can see. I realise it is recommended to not image a drive with bad sectors but i don't really have any other option. I want to make a backup image of the drive in it's present state before using the in built manufacturer's recovery process just in case something goes wrong with the recovery process - for all i know the reload cd is damaged or there may be bad sectors in the area where the recovery partition is located. If this proves to be the case and i haven't initially made a backup of the C: then i would have an empty drive with no windows XP or the programs that came preinstalled with the laptop.

    Anyway getting back to the point i saw this reply from acronis support about this issue

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/show... size partitions image restoration#post815165

    "In order to avoid restoring sectors marked as bad you should simply change the size of partitions during the image restoration."

    and from another user in that thread

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=807242&highlight=resized image restore#post807242

    "tell TI that it needs to resized the image when you restore it. That way TI knows that it is not being restored to the same drive space and forgets the bad sector info as far as I know"

    I've checked section 5.7 of the user manual as advised by the acronis support reply but i wanted to be clear on how this can be used to remove the bad sectors in a disk image?
    For example (completely made up figures by the way) say i had a 60gb hard drive with 1meg of bad sectors and i then format the 60gb disk and recover the bad sectors - in the 'Restored Partition Size' window would it show the backup image size as 59gb (60gb disk image minus the 1mb bad sectors) and i would then drag the slider to fill the disk, TI would then realise that the only way to fill the drive with the image is to discard the bad sectors?

    As you can see i'm really confused how the resizing partition window is a work around for stopping the bad sectors being copied back? especially in the info i quoted before "That way TI knows that it is not being restored to the same drive space and forgets the bad sector info"
    I just wanted to gather as much info as i can before trying TI10 and get it clear in my head how it works with losing the bad sectors.

    Hope somebody can help.

    Thanks
     
  2. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    i suppose my worries on the first question are detailed in this link by fred Langa

    http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2003/2003-02-06.htm#1

    i haven't actually browsed the hidden partition yet - i just presumed that it had a disk image on it, but it seems possible that a recovery partition can effect the way a pc boots.

    The hidden partition is at the end of the drive and the laptop is not a Dell - it's a Tome/Tiny (now gone bust) G900 - a rebadged ECS G900
     
  3. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    from what i've read it should be fine so i'll give it a go

    still unsure how the partition resize gets rid of bad sectors copied in an image though?
     
  4. mfabien

    mfabien Registered Member

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    If I were you, my first action would be to create a floppy with your MBR. Use the following procedure by Microsoft:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314079

    Booting from the floppy opens up Windows seamlessly. Could be a good rescue at one point...
     
  5. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Will do - thanks for that!
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    jjbtnc,

    In addition to your imaging plans it would be a good idea to get a copy of that backup image off your current HD in case the HD fails. Then you can use the copy to restore your OS to a new HD.

    See "Saving a Copy of the Ghost Image". Hopefully it's a Ghost image and I note you don't have a Dell.

    http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/recover.htm
     
  7. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Cheers for that - that website is a wealth of info. Not sure what the recovery partition is yet. I've had to convert some floppy tools (part magic) to bootable cds so i can unhide it and have a look and back it up.

    I tried a few linux live cds and rescue cds but couldn't find a way to browse this hidden partition.

    Only thing that is concerning me is there's 192k of bad sectors on the drive. It hasn't been getting steadily worse they were designated bad a year ago and there has been none since.
    Not really happy about using partition magic, ghost, manufacturers recovery cd on a hard drive with bad sectors.
    p.s. it's a friends laptop!!!

    with the bad sectors not sure whether i should image from the bootable cd (will it know about them if it is not in windows? ) - image from windows, if i have to restore that image won't it just be copying the bas sectors back to where they exactly are on the hard drive so all good and dandy?

    I have an older version of ghost which has a ignore bad sectors option - should i use that, but then if i restore that image will it copy good data back to a bad sector?

    If i use TI in windows, and then format the drive and find the bad sectors aren't physically defective and i can recover them, i wouldn't want TI to copy back the bad sectors so....?

    Apparently you can use the resize the restore partition to stop this but i don't know how? or what to do when i get to that dialog window? Can i just make it any different size which makes TI think it's a different hard drive and dump the bad sectors? So i could resize it by 1 meg or 10 meg or 5gig as long as it is resized?
     
  8. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Does that actually back up the MBR - i couldn't actually find any reference to MBR ot Master boot record on that page?
     
  9. mfabien

    mfabien Registered Member

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    It's not a download page... it tells you what to find and how to find the following files in your root directory:

    Those files on a floppy will start Windows.
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for the delayed response.

    Please notice that when restoring an image without resizing it, Acronis True Image 10.0 Home remembers bad sectors layout, and no data gets lost. It does not matter if you use Acronis Bootable Rescue Media or initiate recovery from under Windows (when restoring system partition it will reboot into the same Linux environment the bootable media version uses).
    If you are restoring to a hard drive with no bad sectors, resizing is the solution for “forgetting” bad sectors and restoring to full size (refer to the thread mentioned in post #1 for details).
    As for MBR, please notice that latest builds of Acronis True Image version 9 and higher automatically back up MBR when doing partition backups. Please refer to this thread for more details on how Acronis True Image handles MBR during restoration.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
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