Help! New HD; image has no MBR?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Econdoc, Jan 18, 2006.

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  1. Econdoc

    Econdoc Guest

    I have managed to get into trouble and do not understand the road to recovery. I have a large HD running under Windows XP that is partitioned into multiple drives. The C: partition contains the OS, D: contains data, E: contains Acronis Image Backups of C: and D:, while F: contains nothing of importance and can easily be reconstructed.
    As you can see, when I do an image backup, I check C: and D: as partitions to be backed up drive E:. I copy the image created from E: to a USB removable drive that I take off-site. I do have a bootable recovery CD that I made when I installed the newest build.

    Here is my question: If my hard drive dies and I need to install a new HD, how do I restore? From what I read in various places in this forum (this issue is extremely poorly documented in the manual!), I cannot just restore my images of C: and D: to a new HD because the MBR information does not exist in the image.
    What needs to be done? Does the new drive need to be partitioned and formatted first? If so, how with no Windows to do it in?
    There must be a way to do this, no? I partitioned the HD in the first place to keep image backup sizes reasonable; this is going to be ugly if I have to back up all the relatively worthless data on my F: drive.

    Thanks for sharing your expertise,
    Econdoc
     
  2. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Well, then you're left with restoring to the new hard drive and then booting from your Win XP install CD, entering the recovery console and running "fixmbr" or "bootcfg /scan" to restore the MBR. The drawback to this is you may have instabilities or failures if the replacement hard drive isn't the same model as the original. However, if you can at least then boot into Windows XP or any other file system compatible OS, even from a diskette or floppy or USB flash drive, then you can recover the data off of the restored drive to your external USB and then start from scratch on the new hard drive.

    Not very satisfying, I know. I would check into getting additional USB external storage so you can just back up the entire drive; it seems to be getting cheaper by the day.

    Another alternative is to buy an identical replacement hard drive now, clone the existing hard drive to it, and put it in an offsite or otherwise secure location.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2006
  3. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    With a new hard disk you can use the Windows XP CD or the Windows 98 start up floppy to first format the drive and this will create a main boot record so that any image you have will be restored with the partitions being correctly named. You don't need to format the drive with all of the same partitions on it that were in the original installation that you created an image of as Acronis will recreate these when the image is restored.
     
  4. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    You didn't state how big your external hard drive is, but the best solution, and the most easy to restore, is to just check the box by the whole disk and that will automatically put check marks by all your partitions, C,D,E and even the one (F) with mostly worthless data, and image the complete disk to your external hard drive. This way, if and when your original hard drive were to fail, you could just boot with the Acronis recovery CD and restore the complete image to the new drive you buy from the external H.D. without worrying about formatting, MBR's or anything. You will be up and running just as before.

    Why not just clean up the 'worthless' of worthless info on F partition to make it as small as possible, and then do the whole disk back up to your external hard drive. That is, if your external drive has the room. If so compress highly the complete disk image to make it as small as possible, and from then on make backup images of only your C & D partitions and why not just image them directly to your external hard drive instead of the extra step of going to E partition first? You have to copy then from E to the external, so you wouldn't really lose time would you? If you have a H.D. failure you can always restore from the older complete disk image you make a long time ago, and then come right back with a freshly made recent image of C & D partitions and overwrite the older C & D's on the new drive and you are fresh and with no worries about formatting, MBR's and all.

    Of course if your problem is your external drive is not big enough to hold the full complete image with all partitions, and also an extra more current image of just C and D partitions, then you have a choice to make. Take a chance with a MBR recovery, which *could* fail, or get a bigger external hard drive.

    ...Allen
     
  5. Econdoc

    Econdoc Guest

    Thank you all for your information. I guess that I understand what to do and I am glad that I know about if before disaster strikes.

    I am still full of followup questions!

    The HD is 80GB, but the partitions that I usually backup are about 40.

    Mareke: You suggest a way of formatting a new drive before trying to use Acronis...Is there a reliable way to do this that you know of? Say with a BartPE disk? Are there Linux boot disks that can run sysprep? fdisk? Can a Windows Boot CD be made? What if the Windows CD that you have is SP1 but you are running SP2?

    Allen L: Yes, copying the image from E: to the removable drive is time consuming, but there is method in my madness. I have an "onsite" image (that I can plug and restore a single file from) and I have an "offsite" image.

    Does the image backup differ in size if the HD is full or empty? That is, do sectors that are not in use take up as much space in the image backup as sectors that ARE in use?

    Thaks again. With your help, I will eventually figure this out. Isn't it interesting that we spend so much time planning for a event we hope never occurs? :)
     
  6. pepegot1

    pepegot1 Registered Member

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    I wonder how many poor souls do not realize the need to backup the entire disk and not just the OS partition? Acronis does a very poor job in making this manifest.
     
  7. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Me too. It seems to be a question very often asked and answered the same way here in the forum time after time after time... ad infinitum. I suspect it's already in the wish list thread.
     
  8. mareke

    mareke Registered Member

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    You can boot with the Windows XP CD in your CD rom drive and have 'boot from CD' before the hard disk chosen in the bios and go through the first few steps of installing Windows XP. One of these steps is creating a partition and formatting the drive. After the format turn the computer off as it begins to install Windows XP. This creates a main boot record and ensures Acronis will correctly restore the partition with the operating system as C drive. If however you format the drive in another computer within Windows XP and then put the drive back in the computer it is intended for Acronis will call the drive D or E or whatever the 1st unused letter is when you attempt to restore an image. Presumably this is because when it was formatted in the other computer the main boot record created has on it that there already was a C drive. The other way to format the drive is use the Windows 98 start up floppy and format it in Fat 32 and when Acronis restores the image it will change the file system to whatever the file system is in the Acronis image.
     
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It is as if nobody with any clout goes through the trouble calls and identifies the areas that would reduce the support burden. Unfortunately, this is typical in too many companies. If they fixed up the MBR issue and the burning the recovery CD issue a lot of problem calls would be eliminated.
     
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