Flash Drive Bootability

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by n8chavez, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    Recently I discovered that Macrium's Reflect did not image drives. Ok. That's not a big deal since the paid version has the ability to backup files and folders. However, backing up a usb drive that way does not result in a bootable usb drive should it need to be restored. I was wondering why that was; what about imaging results in a bootable flash drive whereas backing up the individual files does not. I mean, in both cases ALL the files are backed up. And in both cases the usb drive's partition is marked as active. What else is there? Why does bootability fuction with imaging but not with simple backup (and simple restore)?
     
  2. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Hi N8! There are way more things than just "files" involved in BOOTing a device... there are structures that are not normally file-based. In the case of a Legacy-MBR disk configuration, it's a bit simpler as BOOTing requires full knowledge of the MBR (Master BOOT Record <1st block on the disk>) which gives it directions to the properly configured partition to BOOT from. In the case of Legacy-MBR, that may be either the Microsoft SRP (System Reserved Partition) or the Windows System partition itself, depending on how the system was configured. In the case of File/Folder backup, neither the HIDDEN SRP or (a guess here) the MBR is needed for a typical file/folder backup.

    In the case of an UEFI configured system there are even more structures required for successful BOOTing... not just the MBR and the SRP but the EFI (System) partition is also required which is never needed for file/folder recovery. It's really more complicated than most realize.

    If you really need BOOTability (and successful image mgmt), you need to find a UFD (USB Flash Disk) that does not allow itself to be discovered by Windows as a REMOVABLE device. Macrium's limitation is exactly that... it will not image removable devices. These devices exist but in no way known to man is that fact made available in any of their literature. I accidentally came across one while involved in another project which required great speed from a USB3 device... it's a Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0. Not only did it turn out to be very fast, it allows itself to be discovered as a FIXED (local) storage device rather than a removable device which I noticed when I began to use it. I've tested it extensively with Macrium and it images and restores exactly as expected as a FIXED disk.

    If this is important to you, you might wanna dig one of those up.
     
  3. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    Or get Macrium to fix their ****. I understand your point, but getting the consumer to find workarounds to successfully use their products is never a good idea. This is especially true when there are other (better?)alternatives.
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Depends. If they have issues, faced by 99% of their users, and this issue only affects a few, guess which gets the priority?
     
  5. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    I don't think the issue then is just a fixed versus removable thing. If that were the case then it would work fine outside of windows, since it seems to be the only variable that cares about that sort of thing.
     
  6. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Well, if there really are better alternatives, I guess I don't understand why you aren't using them to overcome this issue... or, actually, maybe you are :) I would think that if imaging UFDs is an important task for your system mgmt, an alternative imager would do the trick until Macrium comes to their senses.

    My brief discussions with Macrium Devs on this subject have yielded absolutely nothing on this issue... still no plans to add the capability in the near future... BUT, they are discussing it. I have no idea why they chose not to do it in the beginning.
     
  7. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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  8. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2016
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    USB Image Tool passes my test but ImageUSB fails.

    My test was to image a bootable UFD, "clean" it with Diskpart, restore the image and see if the UFD was bootable.

    ImageUSB couldn't see the "clean" UFD. So the image couldn't be restored.
     
  10. ambralivio

    ambralivio Registered Member

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    Brian,

    this is really strange...and I'd have 2 questions :

    1. Could you clarify what bootable image did you use in your test (WinPE, Linux or any other ...)?
    2. Why using diskpart and not the "zeroing" function proper of ImageUSB?
    ambralivio
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    ambralivio,

    I was using a WinPE made by TeraByte Unlimited software.
    I used Diskpart as I wanted each UFD prepared by the same tool. Diskpart prior to USB Image Tool and Diskpart prior to ImageUSB.
    I'm sure ImageUSB would have worked if I'd created a partition on the UFD but that wasn't the aim of my exercise. I wanted to use a UFD without a partition table as that's how I leave several of my UFDs after they have been used.

    I have software that can image and restore UFDs so I've no need to use either USB tool. The disadvantage of these tools is they image all sectors so the image/restore time is long and the image is large. For example I use a DOS like (TBOS) UFD which contains 1 MB of data. I can image it in 1 second and the image is 1 MB. The above tools take 8 minutes to create an image and the image size is 8 GB as I'm using an 8 GB UFD.
     
  12. Gaddster

    Gaddster Registered Member

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    Macrium wont fix anything because imaging usb sticks, sd cards, satnavs, ipods, mobile phones etc is so rare (according to Macrium and their defenders / non paid excuse makers etc), so its not important to allow them to be imaged.......Some even claim restoring an image back to a usb stick damages it.

    Driver Snapshot, True Image, Image for Windows, Symantec (not Norton) Ghost, Clonezilla etc have no issues imaging the above, however Macrium Reflect doesn't and it should be addressed.
     
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