Ghost user with questions about ATI Home 2009

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by roughneck, Aug 11, 2009.

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  1. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    I've used Norton Ghost for several years but had a few incidents with it that made me decide to check out other recovery apps on the market. That led me to ATI Home 2009.

    I installed trial versions on two new laptops--one for my still-at-home son and one for my married daughter. I then purchased one copy of the software and used the product serial number to register the trial version on my son's laptop. I'm hoping to clarify a few things before relying on ATI too much, and decided to try posting my questions here in a single thread.

    Here are my questions. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    1) RECOVERY MANAGER
    ATI wants to use the F11 key to activate Recovery Manager at startup. But that's the same function key reserved by the laptop manufacturer to start it's own recovery program at startup. Is there a way to change the key used in ATI?


    2) ONE-CLICK RESTORE vs RESTORE DISKS and PARTITIONS
    I understand using ONE-CLICK restore will restore the entire physical drive, so in my case where the laptop's one physical drive has two partitions (C: for the OS and D: for Recovery) and I want back them up and restore them separately, I should stay away from ONE-CLICK when doing a restore because when finished, the internal drive would have only the one partition restored by ONE-CLICK.

    But, I understand there's another restore option where I can select the partition to be restored, in which case the partition not being restored would be unaffected.

    Have I got that straight?


    3) RESTORE DESTINATION SELECTION
    The Help manual distinguishes between restoring to the same folder structure vs the same file structure, depending on whether you're restoring to the original location or a new location, and I don't understand the difference. i.e. The manual says:

    You can restore data to its original location, to another folder or disk.
    • Original location - backup files will be restored to their original location with the same folder structure
    • New location - backup files will be restored to the new location with the same file structure. When you choose a new location, the selected items by default will be restored without recreating their absolute paths. You may also wish to restore the items with their entire folder hierarchy. If such is the case, check the Restore absolute paths parameter.

    What kind of folder structure would ATI build during a restore if not duplicating the structure used in the backup?


    4) TRIAL VERSION on my DAUGHTERS LAPTOP
    I don't know if my daughter will make a decision about purchasing ATI before the trial period is up. She works almost full-time, is a mother of two, is mentoring an unmarried teen, and preparing for a 3-day 60 mile walk to raise funds for cancer research. If the trial expires before she decides, would I be able to use the ATI Bootable Media I created for her laptop to at least restore her machine to the backup image I made for her laptop with the ATI trial version?
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I don't know of any way of changing F11 to something else but it isn't essential that you use it.

    One-click Restore:
    Acronis says it always restores the complete disk so if the archive doesn't have all the current partitions included in it then there will be a missing partition or partitions after the restore. Too dangerous for me.

    Just run through the regular restore wizard and you can selectively restore partitions. No need for F11 either.

    Can't help you with the files and folders data restoration question - I only use TI for images.

    The boot CD, assuming it is happy with your daughter's computer, will restore any archive even if created with the trial version.
     
  3. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    Thanks, seekforever--you helped with the majority of my questions and I really appreciate it. :)

    My main reason for interest in the F11 key (Recovery Manager), is that Norton Ghost always provided a commercial quality (stamped) bootable Recovery CD in the box, so I didn't have to rely on home-burned media. I figured Recovery Manager might help me out if there was a problem reading the Acronis Boot Media I had to burn. I suppose I can just burn a couple of CDs on different brand media and/or get a flash drive and dedicate it to that purpose, provided the laptop will boot from one.

    Again, much thanks for your response!
     
  4. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    You could buy the TI boxed version at a store - I believe it is bootable but when a later build comes out you would have to burn a recovery CD or make a flash drive anyway. Often the boxed versions sold aren't the latest build.

    I find it strange that they use the same key that a lot of vendors use for their recovery environment. I know that installing the Recovery manager modifies the MBR but I don't know what happens if you install TI over the vendor's modified MBR.
     
  5. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    As a matter of fact, I got a boxed copy when I converted from the trial version so I do have an install CD if that's what you're referring to as being bootable. I was thinking about booting with that in the CD drive but hadn't read anything yet about that being an option.

    As far as what happens if you implement TI's Recovery Manager on a laptop where the manufacturer is already using F11 for their recovery feature, all I can say is you probably won't be a happy camper. :doubt: Unfortunately, I opted to activate TI's Recovery Manager before realizing it conflicted with the laptop's use of F11 for recovery--and to make matters worse, I selected what I recall was some kind of Recovery Manager autostart option in TI.

    It put me in a boot loop that had me moanin and groanin for a while. A text line would come up indicating TI's Recovery Manager was going to kick in--but it it wouldn't. Neither would the laptop's recovery manager. Neither would Windows. The system just kept restarting, booting up to that point, hanging, and restarting. I couldn't get out of it to get back into windows. I have no idea what magical combination of timing and keystrokes my little fat-fingers finally performed, but after numerous attempts to break out of the loop, windows suddenly displayed it's beautiful logo and I was in. First thing I did was go back into TI and de-activate Recovery Manager. Then I rebooted and tested F11 to make sure the laptops recovery function came up again. At this point, everything seems OK.

    It's my own fault though. I've been around long enough to know I should have had a handle on the new laptop's recovery process before activating something like Recovery Manager for an application I wasn't familiar with yet. But I was hard pressed for time so I took the gamble. My bad! :doubt:
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    roughneck:

    This post from Acronis Support explains how you can reassign the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager to a different function key other than F11.
     
  7. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    Thanks K0LO--that was a good lead!

    I checked out the thread and although it was dealing with a different problem than I had, it still seemed like a possible work-around for the issue of the F11 key being in conflict with the laptop's reserved use of it. So I made the changes to the f11.cfg file as noted in the thread, rebooted, tried the F12 key (the new one I assigned to TI's Recovery Manager) and sure enough--no looping--TI's Recovery Manager popped up. :cool: Unfortunately, things fell apart after that. :gack:

    True...I could get into something at startup vs the old looping problem where nothing would start when TI was trying to use the F11 key--but TI's Recovery Manager was the only thing I could get into. I couldn't get to Windows from there and if I rebooted without using the F12 key I'd just go into a loop of booting, followed by messages that Windows couldn't start and giving me the choice of trying to start Windows normally again, or attempt a repair. And using the F11 key in an effort to start the laptop manufacturer's Recovery Manager failed--it's like the key was being ignored.

    After several failed repair attempts I was finally offered the option of using Windows System Restore, which I accepted and am back on my feet again as far as I can tell. I have had a couple of quirky messages telling me Windows Explorer had a problem and had to be restarted so I'm keeping an eye on that, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    At this point, TI has definitely caused me more trouble than comfort, but my hunch is that if I stay away from all the peripheral "features" like Recovery Manager and just use it for backup images and restores, that things will go better. I'll try it for a while on one of our machines. If it behaves and I'm able to develop some trust in it, I'll definitely consider it again when it comes time to upgrade again, otherwise I guess I'll be back to Ghost.

    I think it's pretty bad form though that a backup and recovery process app like TI doesn't have more smarts and safeguards built into it for features like Recovery Manager. The cardinal rule of recovery apps should be "Do no harm".

    Once again though, I want to thank everyone who's been trying to help me out. The forum is a great place!
     
  8. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    I've been doing a little more research on backup and recovery apps and just finished reading a review of ATI Home 2009, by PC Magazine. They came down on it pretty hard. There were a number of reasons but I got the impression that one of the bigger contributing factors was that their attempt to activate Recovery Manager on their XP machine took the machine down for the count. It go hosed and they couldn't recover it. Per my prior posts, I feel like I came close to that twice on my VISTA machine. Scary. :doubt:

    Bottom line is they said they couldn't recommend it. :(
     
  9. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    There are a number of backup/imaging progs and they each provide for free trials. Each has some probs and not others. One even uses VistaPE for the OS druing restores so tit doesnt' have the driver issues that plague the others, which us linux for the restore OS (including ATI). Shop around; you can find something to fit your needs.
     
  10. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    Yes, I'll probably be doing a bit more research, but I haven't ruled ATI out yet. The only thing that seriously concerns me so far is Recovery Manager. With two major problems caused by it on my own machine and then reading in a software review that it took out the reviewer's machine, it does cast a pretty dark shadow over the product as a whole--at least for a new user.

    But I'm not looking for any bells and whistles--I just want a solid image backup app that will consistently and successfully backup and restore entire drives or individual partitions. Ghost used to be that product for me. When I first got it years ago I tested the britches off of it and it always came through with flying colors. But as noted in my original post, I've experienced a couple of concerns with Ghost as of late and have read posts from other long-time Ghost users who've had failures with more recent versions. That's why I started looking at other options.

    I have successfully done a system backup to an external drive with ATI (at least it told me it was successful) but have not yet attempted to do a restore from it. I expect I'll first try restoring to a second external drive to make sure I don't encounter any wrinkles in the process. But the real test will come when attempting to restore the system partition C: without mucking up the laptop manufacturer's recovery partition D:.

    If anyone has warnings or tips, I'm all ears. *puppy*
     
  11. como

    como Registered Member

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    As you have a fully licensed copy of TI you should register it on the Acronis web site (if you haven't already done so) and check that you have the latest build. If you haven’t down load the latest build and install it, then make a new cd recovery disk.

    Boot from the cd and check that you can “see” all your drives. If you can see the tib file you created you should validate it from the cd. You can also try a dummy restore by going through the restore process again from the cd all the way until you get to the screen that asks you to proceed at this stage cancel out.

    You should be aware that the recovery manager boots into the same Linux environment that is on the cd and it is too late if you find that the Linux drivers don’t work with your system when your system drive is hosed. This is common to all backup software that uses Linux as the recovery environment.

    If you restore to a second drive you should remove your system disk first and install the second drive as the bootable drive, this is the only sure way to be sure that TI works with your system. Be aware TI will format the drive before it restores the image!

    Many of the regular posters suggest that you don’t install the recovery manager or the secure zone and make backups and restores only from the cd
    Search this forum for any post by GroverH and download the guides contained in his signature, alternatively find them under Product Links, FAQs & Useful Threads (updated Feb 26, 2009) at the top of the forum but be quick as they may not be available when the forum moves.
     
  12. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Your best chance of success is to remove the old drive and place the new drive in its place before restoring your image to a brand new drive. The guide on line 3 of my signature discusses this.

    Likewise, your best chance of success in moving to a new drive would be to have a "disk" option backup which includes all partitions on the disk including any hidden or diagnostic. The disk option backup archive can be used to restore single partition and/or move to a new drive.

    Sorry for the duplication. Como was posting while I was composing the text.

    As I understand the move, all current threads can still be used as reference links into the new forum. The forum will be designated as archived but the links can still be referenced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  13. como

    como Registered Member

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    No problems

    Yes I have just re read the post "Upcoming Closure of Acronis Forum Sections" where LowWaterMark states

     
  14. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys--I'll be taking all suggestions seriously.

    Pretty sure I'm good to go there--I did register the product and have build 9.796 but got there in a pretty quirky way, so even though I'm pretty sure my original recovery cd was created from the lastest build, I'll create a new one just the same. i.e. I reached the latest version through the following gyrations.

    1) Downloaded the trial version from the Acronis web site and created the recovery CD. The trial version looked to me to be the same as build 9.796.
    2) Purchased ATI but left the trial version installed and when the trial message came up with the option to register the product, I simply entered the serial # from the purchased install CD and registered it. That eliminated the trial version messages that popped up previously when starting ATI.
    3) Had problems with Recovery Manager so decided to uninstall the trial version and install from the purchased install CD, which prompted me to created a new recovery CD, which I did.
    4) I then realized I had what looked like an older build than the trial version, so I checked the Aronis web site and verified. So I downloaded build 9.796 and ran the update process. I thought it would prompt me to create another recovery cd, but it never did, so even though I "think" I have a useable cd from the trial version, I'm going to create another from the current build.

    I'm not sure if I can do that in this situation--at least not without getting another drive first. The internal drive is in a laptop and the external drive that contains the backup is a 3.5" (desktop size), so I can't actually install it in the laptop. Besides, the laptop is SATA and the backup drive isn't.

    But even if I get a laptop sized drive and install it in the laptop, I'm not sure how to make it the boot drive unless that's just a matter of the jumper settings on the drive.

    I guess that would be a way to approach an initial test, but I was hoping to do it the way I'd like to the backups going forward. i.e. The laptop comes with two partitions--C: for the OS and apps and D: for recovering the laptop to it original state. For now, I'd like to leave the D: partition on the drive and back it up just once via ATI or some othe backup and recovery app. Then I'll make full backups of C: of a regular calendar basis. So from the get-go, I was hoping to backup individual partitions rather than the entire disk. This has never been a problem with Ghost, but are there "ghosts" that will come to haunt me if I follow this approach with ATI?

    Thanks again, guys. Really appreciate the valuable input.

    PS: I have two questions regarding backup validation. With Ghost, I have the option to have it "verify" the backup as soon as the backup has been created. I always do that and see it as a separate step in the backup process. I don't "see" that as a backup option with ATI or see any messages indicating the backup is being verified. Does ATI just automatically verify and not count/display that as a separate step. And is the Ghost verification process basically the same as the validation step Como is referring to when he says "Boot from the cd and check that you can “see” all your drives. If you can see the tib file you created you should validate it from the cd."
     
  15. como

    como Registered Member

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    I use the cd-RW to burn the rescue cd, it saves on coasters. I don't have 2009 but in previous trial versions the cd was crippled in that you could restore but not backup from the cd. Also in previous versions it has always been necessary to uninstall the trial version, it looks like Acronis has made an improvement at last.


    I hadn't picked up that it was a laptop all I was suggesting was that you change the jumper to master if necessary.

    To restore to a drive and boot the drive is the only 100% sure way to make sure that TI will work on your system.

    I go along with GroverH and agree you should make a full disk backup.

    TI does not automatically validate images but you can set an option to ensure it does. Press Alt and you should see the same menu items previous versions have, Go to Tools/Options here you can set the backup and restore options one of which is to set TI to validate the image automatically after a backup. Also you can validate the image as a separate step at any time.
     
  16. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    Thanks, guys--you've been bucu help and I'm in your debt.

    Just one final clarification regarding the backup and restore method your recommending. You've both said I should make a full disk backup rather than using the individual partition approach. Do you mean just for the initial testing or also every time I want to backup any partition going forward?

    The reason I ask is that for years I have split all my hard drives into multiple partitions, making it easy to backup entire partitions (categories of data) independently of one another. e.g. I typically split my primary internal drive into at least two partitions--one for the OS and Apps and one for my data. On a secondary internal drive I'll have one partition for video projects and another that I use as a temporary and quick place to make backups of the data on my primary drive. So once my initial testing with ATI is done, do you see the partition backup approach I want to use as being a problem--or at least potentially more risky than doing full disk (physical drive) backups?
     
  17. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    An Entire Disk Image backup is nice to have, if you have the room. For one thing, it can be restored as an Entire Disk Image (which partition images can't).

    I like to have some Entire Disk Images (especially "base" images) and then I usually just backup the partitions. I like this because I can always restore the "base" image and have everthing setup exactly how it was and then I can restore the "updated" partitions as desired.

    One of the reasons it's recommended is because there are many cases where a user doesn't backup a "special" or "hidden" partition and then they run into problems later.
     
  18. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I usually try to have one entire disk image available for the reason above but it doesn't always happen. I normally only make C partition images.

    Create a handy referenceby bringing up your drive's structure in Windows Disk Management and then use your favorite method for making a screen print/capture of the layout.
     
  19. roughneck

    roughneck Registered Member

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    It looks like I'm going to be booked solid for the next couple of weeks and I doubt I'll be able to do any more testing with ATI until after that. So... my hunch is the next time we chat it will be on the new forum.

    Thanks again everyone for all the help. It's a treasure.
     
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