GRUB problem with TI9.1 under OpenSuse9.1 and 10.2

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by cjventer, Apr 2, 2008.

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  1. cjventer

    cjventer Registered Member

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    I am currently using Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation to make clones of disks for linux machines some of which run OpenSuse9.1 and others OpenSuse10.2. Some of the machines are dual-boot with Windows XP installed in other parititions on the same physical harddrive. In most cases drives of equal size were used to perform the cloning with the options to clone all the partitions on the drives "As is" in other words not doing resizing of any kind. Destination drives that were slightly bigger than the source drives have also been used.

    The results have always been the same where when trying to boot from the clone the bootloader would only display "GRUB _" with a flashing cursor indefinately. I have been able to re-install the GRUB bootloader by booting from a OpenSuse installation cd via the Rescue Console in order to get the drive bootable again although I don't necessarily want to have to go through this process each time. Is there a way to get the cloning to work each time without having to re-install the GRUB bootloader or a simpler cure for the GRUB problem? Could I boot from the Acronis Bootable Media maybe and use some commands from the linux shell there when pressing F11 during the loading after "Starting Acronis Loader.." has been displayed? I have read something about a UUID which is a unique ID for the harddrive that is embedded somewhere in the grub.conf file which could cause this problem since its a different drive and someone has suggested that if the drives are not identical in size that this problem will always occur as well.

    The support request I logged with Acronis provided me with an .iso to burn to a CD which made it bootable and which performs "fixmbr" for a drive which should cure this problem although it seems like does not work for linux. After booting from this CD and executing the utility the error message "Invalid Operating System!" was prompted instead of the normal "GRUB _" prompt obtained previously. The partition table was also destroyed in the process.

    Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello cjventer,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Remote Workstation Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    Please notice that Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation does not support Linux operating systems, so it won't adapt GRUB bootloader to new drive layout. Currently Acronis True Image versions that support Linux operating systems are Acronis True Image Echo Server for Linux and Acronis True Image Echo Enterprise Server. You can find lists of supported operating systems in the respective User's Guides.

    Could you please let us know your Acronis request number (e.g. [Acronis #123456]) which was sent to you in autoreply to your letter? We will find out the reason for the answer you received. If you have not received an autoreply then please send us a Private Message containing your e-mail address.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  3. cjventer

    cjventer Registered Member

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    Hi Marat

    Thanks for the response. The Acronis request number that I received initially for the request was [Acronis #1355533].

    I see from the User's Guide for Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation that linux is not listed as a supported operating system as you indicated. Initially when procuring the product though I was under the impression that this only applied to the actual Workstation application that runs from Windows. I noticed that it does support the linux file systems and assumed that it would be possible to clone drives with linux installations using Acronis True Image Workstation by booting from the Bootable Rescue Media which it does do except for adjusting the bootloader as you suggested. I am interested to know what causes the need for the bootloader to be adapted after cloning though as I was under the impression that an exact copy of the disk would suffice as long as the file systems for the partitions were supported. I've always cloned all partitions on the drive "As is" to another drive which was exactly the same size in most cases which should not affect the drive layout. The only other variable that I can think of that could affect the bootloader is the disk serial number.

    For the time being we will continue to perform the cloning as is with the product we have and re-install the bootloaders for the linux machines. I have not tested this method of re-installation the GRUB bootloader after cloning with a dual-boot system yet. Do you foresee problems if we attempt to use this method or is it a viable procedure to use in the long-run in your opinion?

    Thanks for the feedback so far.
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello cjventer,

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    As I can see, the "fixmbr" suggestion was made in regards to the problem with booting Windows XP SP2 machine you described in your request. The bootable .iso image you received recreates default Windows XP MBR. That's why using it on a machine with GRUB caused "invalid operating system" message.

    The reason for GRUB failing to fully load is that when cloning the data doesn't end in the exact same sector layout it was on original drive (for performance purposes). Since GRUB uses physical addressing to locate it's main components, it fails to find it in the new layout.

    If you do not mind reactivating GRUB every time you clone a disk where it is located, that procedure should be viable for you.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  5. cjventer

    cjventer Registered Member

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    Hi Marat

    Thanks again for the response. We are using TI9.1 successfully for cloning the Linux machines where we reinstall GRUB in the cases where the layout on the destination drive differs from the layout on the original drives.

    Even though this topic is related to GRUB there is something else worth mentioning that I found while doing cloning, more specifically on Windows machines. The machine that I was using to perform backups for the other Windows systems was not the same machine that the disks normally run on. The hardware is identical although there was a difference in a setting in the BIOS which presumably caused some of the problems indicated in the original support request. The machines are have all Intel Server Mainboards and there is an option under Advanced in the BIOS to the extent of "Large Disk Access Mode" which can be set to either "DOS" or "Other". The description in the BIOS doesn't go into to much detail about what the setting does, but only indicates that certain OSs require specific "drive geometries" which can be adjusted by this setting. At any rate the machine that was used to make the backups was set to "Other" and the target machines were set to "DOS". The clones made of Windows disks on this machine would actually boot fine on this machine, but not at all on the target machines. A cursor would merely flash on a blank screen after POST was performed, which led me to believe that a MBR issue was at hand, although XFDisk and fixmbr did not cure the problem or change the symptoms at all. When the setting on the target machine was changed to "Other", the disk booted fine. When the original disk for the target machine was tried on this setting that used to boot the clone, the same symptoms were exibited where it would not boot. The setting needed to be changed back to "DOS" as it were for the original disk.

    It seemed as if clones that were made on a mainboard with a certain setting for this option would only manage to boot on machines with the same setting. I have verified this with two different Windows installations, without performing any sort of XFDisk or fixmbr cure. Maybe this helps someone.

    Regards,
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello cjventer,

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, it is very much appreciated. We are glad to hear that your issue has been solved and you can use Acronis True Image successfully.

    If you have any further questions concerning Acronis software, please feel free to submit a request for technical support or post any of them on this forum. We will certainly try to help you in resolving any issues.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
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