Giving up on Acronis ... sorry

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Lee James, Jul 23, 2008.

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  1. Lee James

    Lee James Registered Member

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    Hello there,

    First post in this forum - mainly because there seems to be no way to contact Acronis Support unless you use CHAT or fill out the web form on the home page.

    Just wanted to let others know of my experiences using Acronis True Image for backup purposes. I am going to have to look elsewhere for something better I'm afraid.

    For some time now I have used Acronis True Image (started with version 10 and upgraded to version 11) and I have been happily backing up my C: drive and the contents of my F: drive (second internal HDD) onto an IOmega 320GB and 500GB USB2 desktop drive. The backups have been fine and only one backup became corrupted.

    Not so long ago, I wanted to let the software take the strain and have it automatically back up each night. After several attempts to set this up, I found it just would not work. I discussed this with Acronis Support, who have been exemplory with me, I must mention - but ultimately it seems that this automatic function would only work if there is a password set against a user account (I use Windows XP Pro by the way). I was not really impressed by this because I do not have any need to password the PC and there were other reasons why I did not want to do this. So, I let it go and just decided to accept that I would not be able to back up automatically.

    Just four days ago, we had a power failure at the house. We have them from time to time and even with four PCs and a laptop, I have not really suffered any serious problems. We live in a small village, which despite its size, still has the telephone exchange about 100 feet away and so my ADSL is fast (2MB with downloads often exceeding that speed).

    However, this power failure resulted in me finding the PC rebooted into a new configuration the next morning. I spent most of the day using all the usual methods to attempt to recover the profile but no luck. This happened on the 18th July and I had a full mirror image backup of both the C: and F: drives on the IOmega anyway, so I began the process of doing a full recovery. Booting from the Acronis Boot CD that I had created, I found that the process hung up each time I tried it. After some investigation, I discovered that the C: drive had errors on it and despite a diagnostic check that said it was ok, we could not get the restore process to work. A full reformat of the C: drive still would not allow the restore to work. Next, I swapped out the C: drive and installed a new identical drive (different manufacturer), set it up and tried the restore. Again, it hung up.

    By now, things were getting bad. I took the IOmega upstairs to the other PC and used that version of Acronis to validate the backups stored on it - all were ok and passed the validation. After several conversations with Acronis via CHAT, I decided last night to reinstall windows, copy the backup archive off the IOmega and onto the newly formatted F: drive and then install a copy of Acronis TI 11 Home also onto the F: drive. I then ran the restore again.

    Great News! It began the restore process as it had done the last time I had mounted a partial restore some time ago so I knew that this time the process had begun.

    After, 1 and a half hours and with 12 minutes left to go (reported by the restore process) the restore quit and rebooted. All seemed well - except that Windows got to the point where the blue screen comes up and it says loading Windows - but it got no further! By now my head was in my hands.

    I thought of running the Windows CD to use the Windows Repair/Recovery option but again, this is unavailable unless you have an Administrator password :rolleyes:

    I am now in the process of building the PC manually with a new Windows installation and all my software - something I had hoped to avoid by using Acronis .....

    *************

    What I have discovered is that Acronis is very good at some tasks. Despite not being able to restore my PC, I can still mount the C: and F: drive backups and so will still get access to my data, email etc. so rebuilding will be easier. But the disaster recovery using the boot CD does not work!

    I should say that the PC is new - 6 months old - and is an Intel Core Duo PCI-E system with 2GBs of RAM, two SATA II hard drives and an ASUS mobo - no slouch! There is nothing unusual about its configuration. The two drives are normal set up - not RAID.

    Its a pity that the software does not do the very thing that I needed it to do yesterday..... so now I have to look for a better solution which is a pity because I like the software (infinately easier to use than Norton Ghost which I cannot understand at all!) and also the support I got was good quality. There should be the option to contact Customer support by email though and not via the website. I also could not find the manual for the software (it is not installed when you install Acronis) and had to be pointed to it by the guy in CHAT.

    Anyway, far too long a post and I'm sorry - but I wanted to show my experience with the programme. Its just a pity that I now find myself looking for a different solution.

    Thanks for indulging me,

    Kind regards,

    Lee James
     
  2. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    Just a couple of things, is it possible that your computer motherboard has suffered some damage in the power drop out? As it is only 6 months old, it will almost certainly be 'always on' even if not booted, so it is possibly that as the power came back up something hiccuped.

    As far as your XP CD, you ought to be able to run a repair install without an Admin password, as it is an option that can under normal circumstances be got to via the standard installation manual.

    Now as for TI, I would recommend actually mounting the images on your other machine, this would give confidence that the images really are in tact if this works. This leaves us with the rescue CD, now here this could be a problem if the Linux drivers are not happy with your chipset (being a new machine and all).

    If this is the case, then it might be worth choosing the Safe Mode option, this will then use BIOS settings rather than trying to use software drivers, and everything may work.

    If the brown/blackout, caused strange things to be written to the hard drive, it is possible that TI is not able to boot the PC. I've had this when something weird happened and my 200GB drive reported itself as 600GB in each of it's 3 partitions, even XP install CD wouldn't run, I had to use (in this case) Disk Director to do some disk parameter fiddling.

    I'm not sure that even suggesting a Vista PE boot CD would work in the instance that I've just described.

    Colin
     
  3. Lee James

    Lee James Registered Member

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    Hello Colin,

    Thanks for your kind reply,

    Thats possible - but I am now running the PC under a new Windows install with no problems.....

    Nope. In order to recover the PC, you need to use the Windows Recovery Console; In order to effect a repair, you also need to activate the Recovery Console - both options require an Admin password (checked with MS last night) so this option is not available to me.

    I successfully mounted both the C: and F: drives stored in the backup archive - my wife is actually working on a copy of the F: drive copied across to my other PC from the backup archive after mounting - so I know they are ok.

    For some reason, there is no way to access safe mode! F8 brings up the boot menu (no safe mode) and DEL brings up the BIOS - thats it!

    Yes, that may be correct. Right now, the rebuild is going well, so we'll see what happens.

    Thanks again for posting,

    cheers,

    Lee
     
  4. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Safe Mode is a plug-in that you have to down load from the Acronis registered programs download page and install before you build the boot CD. Prior versions had the Safe MOde automatically included but not ATI11
    .
     
  5. Lee James

    Lee James Registered Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm talking about normal PC operation here though. Even when I got the PC delivered from the manufacturer, there appeared to be no option during startup to access Safe Mode.

    But thanks for that - I'll note that for the future.

    Cheers,

    Lee
     
  6. bob1711

    bob1711 Registered Member

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    Hello Lee James,

    I don't know of a better way to put it except honestly tell you about my experience with another software that I have been using flawlessly for last 3 years. It is called XACT copy by Duocor.

    It has never failed me for following tasks if that helps you.

    I live in a small town & we have power outages at least 3 to 5 times a week. I do use UPS but that lasts only 20 minutes & most of the time I keep on working till it runs out & shuts the system but it has never damaged anything in past 7 years with that many power outages. I work on my PC between 12 to 16 hours a day.

    I use Win XP PRO & have used it with & without passwords.

    I have two SATA Hard disks 250 GB each. I first make the exact copy of my first HDD on the second one with everything including OS, Settings & data. 250 GB HDD ( with 180 GB Data ) takes 4 to 6 hours the first time to make an identical copy & it does automatically usually at night.

    After that I back up 3 to 5 times a day while I am working in the background so my work is never affected or slowed down.

    If something goes wrong, I just switch the cables to the second hard disk & i am ready to go in less than a minute with a brand new HDD as good as old except few files that I worked on between backups but that has never happened in 3 years. I do check the second hard drive 2 to 3 times a week to make sure I have a working back up.

    So it has a flawless record. No imaging & restoring, mounting & unmounting & other fancy Jazz. Just switch it & that is all it takes. Quick format the first one & put it back to get copied again.

    But unfortunately I am forced to look for a new software because XACT copy does not work with Vista & despite my several requests they have not come up with a version for Vista.

    While searching I got recommendations for Acronis.

    So I started reading some threads of TI with a Dual boot systems & I started having doubts about TI. Those posts are not encouraging & I am not the technical person who can go thru what others & have.

    So I myself just posted asking for opinions of people on TI as a dual boot just before I read your post.

    I am not a fan of Vista & kept putting it off for over a year & half but MS will force me to learn Vista sooner or later so I might as well get started now.

    But after reading several posts on this board I don't think I can go thru what you guys are going thru.

    Hope this helps.

    They do have 30 day trial.

    I am not advertising for the company but I felt so better by telling you my experience with that product & hoping that it will help you.

    It is strange that I never heard much about that product from others or net.

    Wishing you a pleasant surprise.

    I would also like to hear from people who might have used that product.
     
  7. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    We're talking about ATI Safe Mode, not Windows Safe Mode. It's not part of windows, normal or otherwise. It would only show up if it was installed and it's not automatically installed with ATI11, it's a seperate plug-in.

     
  8. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    Ah Lee, I think we might be at cross purposes here, though as you are now back up and running it is a bit moot.

    I wasn't talking about the recovery console, there is another option which is found by, slinging in the XP install CD, choosing Install at the first option, then the installer will chunk around for a bit, and ought to tell you it has found remnants of a previous XP install, and will list them for you.

    At this point it will now offer you the choice of an Install over the original or as an additional install or as a Repair install. If you choose the repair option here, it attempts to re-install all it's system files and rewrites the boot sector of the hardrive. This has the advantage that all your previously installed programs will be recognised (assuming they are intact). The disadvantage is that any or all your service pack updates will have been wiped, and you have to have access to your licence number.

    If the MBR or the MFT of the drive are severely 'buggered' then the XP installer may not recognise a previous install. In that instance you can't choose the second Repair option as it won't exist, and the Recovery Console even if you had an admin password, probably wouldn't be of much help. As an aside, you can actually install the recovery console on your drive, and it will become an option in the boot menu at switch on.

    Colin
     
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