Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Newager, Aug 6, 2005.

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  1. Newager

    Newager Registered Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    With a little help from Acronis support, I recently discovered a fix for a serious problem I had been experiencing when trying to run TI 8 from the full boot CD--i.e. the boot CD containing the full set of device drivers. The problem was that during its configuration phase the Linux OS, under which TI runs when loaded from the CD, was hanging when it tried to install a device driver for my Sony CD-RW drive, which is the only CD drive in my PC. The solution I found is to give a command to the Linux kernel, as described below, that tells it to exclude, from its configuration, drivers for CD drives.

    THIS FIX FOR MY SPECIFIC PROBLEM CAN PROBABLY BE GENERALIZED TO COVER BOOT CD HANGS THAT RESULT FROM THE HANGING OF DEVICE DRIVERS FOR OTHER KINDS OF DEVICES; one just need to find the proper Linux kernel commands to exclude the offending drivers. However, one should keep in mind here that even though such driver exclusions may permit the Linux OS and TI application to start up, one will not have access to the corresponding devices from the TI application.

    In order to get access to the Linux command line, in which one can enter statements to exclude device drivers, one must press the F11 key immediately after the message "starting Acronis loader" appears on the monitor screen as the TI boot CD begins to load. This action causes the Linux kernel command line to appear on the screen. The command line already contains the default command "quiet", which one should replace with the appropriate driver-exclusion command. In my case, the appropriate command is "ide-scsi=off", which excludes the "ide-scsi" driver that the TI boot CD apparently uses for CD drives. After typing in a kernel command line, one clicks the "ok" button and the Linux configuration process then begins and generates a scrolling monitor display. When the configuration ends, assuming that there was no hang in the process, one is left at the Linux prompt with a blinking cursor, at which point one should type "exit" in order to exit Linux and go to the TI application.

    The way I discovered what parameter to put on the left side of the "=" in the kernel command "ide-scsi=off" was to boot the TI CD with a completely blank command line (I just deleted the "quiet" from the command line without replacing it with anything). When the CD boot proceeds, after the removal of the "quiet" command, one sees a scrolling monitor display of the Linux configuration directives and actions taken by the Linux kernel during its system configuration. If this configuration process hangs because some driver gets stuck, then the scrolling configuration display will freeze at the point where the display is listing configuration directives and actions related to the device driver that has hung. In the case of the CD-RW driver hanging on my PC, the last several Linux configuration lines displayed were:

    $ /bin/insmod ide-scsi
    Using /lib/modules/ide-scsi.o
    hdc: attached ide-scsi driver
    hdc: DMA disabled
    hdd: attached ide-scsi driver
    hdd: DMA disabled
    scsi0 : SCSI host adapter emulation for IDE ATAPI devices

    Knowing next to nothing about Linux, I had to rely on my general computer knowledge to make some sense of these lines and I was thereby led to the speculation that the "$ /bin/insmod ide-scsi" line was some kind of directive telling the Linux kernel to attempt to install "ide-scsi" drivers and that the next line indicated the folder where the kernel could find the ide-scsi driver files. The lines prefixed by "hdc" and "hdd" apparently referred to the two hard drives on my PC, and the "scsi0"-prefixed last line apparently referred to the problematic Sony burner, since I knew it to be an "IDE ATAPI" device. This last line suggested to me that the ide-scsi driver the Linux kernel was attempting to install for the Sony CD-RW drive was hanging when it tried to emulate an ATAPI device driver in order to interface with the drive. So, I decided to experiment by substituting "ide-scsi" on the left side of the "=" in an exclusion-type kernel command which Acronis support had given me to try but which hadn't worked. (I had suggested to them that the solution to my problem might lie in using a kernel command to exclude the hanging driver, and I had provided them with a listing of the displayed configuration lines from my boot CD hang. But I don't think they paid any attention to these lines since the exclusion command they gave me ("via82cxxx=off") related to the VIA chip set of my PC's motherboard. However, I must credit them for giving me an exclusion-type kernel command I could experiment with; otherwise, I would have had no idea about the format of such a command.) To my considerable surprise and relief, this modified kernel command ("ide-scsi=off") prevented the boot CD from hanging and thereby allowed me to successfully load TI from the CD, although, as expected, the command also prevented access to my CD-RW drive from TI--a limitation I could easily live with. What especially surprised me about this driver-exclusion command was that it did not interfere with TI's access to my PC's hard drives; I had expected such interference since, as suggested by the third and fifth of the configuration lines listed above, the Linux kernel apparently had installed ide-scsi drivers for the hard drives. It remains a mystery to me why there was no interference with the hard drives, but I would guess that the Linux kernel had access to other kinds of IDE drivers it could install for the hard drives after it was prevented by the kernel command from using any ide-scsi drivers.

    So, for you other TI users who are experiencing boot CD hangs, I suggest that you try an approach similar to mine in order to come up with a kernel command that will exclude whatever device driver is hanging, assuming that this is what's causing your boot CD to hang. If it turns out that more than one device driver is hanging, there may be a kernel command format that will allow the exclusion of multiple drivers in one command-line statement or it may be possible to submit multiple driver-exclusion commands on the single kernel command line, perhaps by delimiting them with semicolons or some other punctuation. I just don't know about this, but I would think that you could get help on this from Acronis support or from this forum. There are Linux experts out there who know the answers.
  2. beenthereb4

    beenthereb4 Registered Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    Good idea! I too have been thinking we should accumulate a list of linux command line parameters that we know apply to True Image and have solved problems. One that I remember is "nousb". Users: Please post any that Acronis has given or that you have discovered in this thread.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2005
  3. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

    Jun 27, 2004
    Great post, Newager.

    ide-scsi is a driver that provides SCSI emulation, traditionally for CD burning programs like cdrecord. cdrecord originally worked only with SCSI devices, so this was necessary to have ATAPI burners work with the software.

    ide-scsi has since been deprecated, as cdrecord supports native ATAPI CD burning. ide-scsi also has some quirks, such as falling back to PIO mode when burning discs with a block size that isn't 2048, such as audio or VCDs.
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