Help using TI 9!!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mikeyatease, Dec 5, 2006.

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  1. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    Early this morning, I was busy reading email when I decided to launch another program. I received a message that the shortcut did not work and would I like to delete it. Odd. First I said no and tried again. Same thing. Then I found that no program in the Start menu would launch. Windows gave me the message that my disk may be corrupt and I should check it with Chkdsk. I rebooted, got the blue screen, tried again, same thing. Then I chose the Windows boot option to use the last good know Windows configuration. That too failed.

    It was then I decided I would try to restore my configuration using the free Acronis version that came installed on my computer when I bought it last July (I think it must be Version 9). I had been semi-religiously making backup Acronis images of my C drive and storing them on my D hard drive. In my mind, I was thinking, gee, wouldn't it have been nice had I made a backup yesterday: I was thinking how many days might have gone by since my last one and what that meant in terms of lost work.

    So, here I go. I reboot and during bootup press F11 to bring up Acronis. Surprisingly, I am offered only the option to "Restore original configuration" or to proceed with a normal Windows bootup. I was expecting Acronis to present me with a list of the existing backup images I had saved to drive D. Shouldn't it have stored this information for use in situations just like this?

    To be on the safe side, I chose to proceed with the normal Windows bootup, hoping there might be some kind of pleasant surprise, but no, it resulted in just another failed boot attempt. So I try again, pressing F11 and this time select "Restore Original Configuration" expecting (hoping) that Acronis would now in the next screen give me a list of saved archives. But no, I am now being taken through a Windows XP setup process and being asked for my license key. Gee, now where did I put that? And why should this be necessary? Doesn't Acronis exist to prevent having to start from scratch?

    It occurred to me at this point that perhaps I was going about this incorrectly and that maybe I needed the benefit of a little knowledge about recovering one's Acronis backups, which is why I'm entering this post.

    I discovered that I had made an Acronis boot CD but I have not tried this yet because I am thinking that pressing F11 should somehow (if I only knew how) enable me to choose one of my Acronis backups to restore.

    I would greatly appreciate some advice and guidance. I am dead in the water right now.

    Thanks much in advance,
    Michael
     
  2. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    I would guess that pressing F11 is bringing up something that is built into your computer. ( some computers use F11 to do recovery etc. does it look like you are in the Acronis environment ) I would put in the rescue disk you made and let it boot up from your CD, select the "full" mode and then try recovering. ( only if you have tried evrey thing else,TI will erase your hard drive before recovering and this is your first try ie: TI hasn't been proven to work for you yet ) I suspect though that it is possible your hard drive is toast and you will need to purchase another. All is not lost though as you can then restore your image to the new drive.
    Are you using another computer to access this forum? ( just curious)
    GOOD LUCK !! I have recovered my system many times, the first time was scary, but I was ready to reinstall windows from scratch. Remember also that if things don't go well you still have the ability to "mount" your image and access files, so all is not lost.
    Also remember that there are some really smart people on this forum, so wait for a few more posts and see if they agree with me or not.
     
  3. Volatile

    Volatile Registered Member

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    You have to specify within Acronis to "Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager". If this was not -installed- or turned on, then you will not get the option to restore on boot as it will not write the necessary lines to the boot file. F11 is most likely your recovery for the manufactorer of your computer or the option allowing you to specify a different boot device other than what is in slot "1".
     
  4. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    dbknox,
    Thanks so much for responding so quickly. As you guessed, I am at another computer, the older one I replaced with the now disabled new one.

    When I first pressed F11 during boot, Acronis was launched; so it was no other backup/recovery program.

    When you say I should "try everything else" before putting in the CD rescue media, what did you have in mind? I can't think of anything else myself, as right now the system is not bootable.

    I have been reading the Acronis documentation just now (before trying the CD rescue media) and there seems to be some important relationship between the Secure Zone Wizard and the Startup Recovery Wizard. From the documentation: "In order for the Startup Recovery Manager to be active on your system, you must set aside some available disk space to install the Secure Zone — a special, protected partition where you can store Acronis True Image backup sets."

    Now, when I created my backups, I specified they be stored on drive D, my second internal hard drive. I do not recall running a Secure Zone Wizard, though it's possible I did. Do you think Acronis, when it launches after I press F11, cannot find my backups because I did not run the Secure Zone Wizard? If so, why did it let me create those backups without warning me they needed to be in a secure zone?

    And I guess, here's the crux of the matter, how is the bootable Acronis rescue CD any different from pressing F11 as I did? Will the bootable CD "know something" that the Acronis which was activated by F11 not know?

    Thanks so much for any further suggestions (and for trying to get me to relax).
    Michael
     
  5. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    Volatile,
    Thanks for that. What you say sounds likely, namely, that I might not have installed or turned on the Startup Recovery Manager.
    Do you think I will be given the option to get to my backups if I were to boot from the Acronis rescue CD?
    I find it very user unfriendly that Acronis should by default assume that I am creating backups of my C drive for some purpose other than to access them via F11 during a disk disaster. And even if I were, why should these backups be made inaccessible via the F11 operation? I know, my frustration is showing.
    -Michael
     
  6. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    Hi mikeyatease What I meant was restoring your registry etc. But it sounds like you are dead in the water. I never use "secure zone" I am not sure but I think it is for use on the same drive ( creates a partition) I also think that is what Volatile meant by "Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager" I only use exactly what it sounds like you have and that is an image on a 2nd ( and in my case a third ext) drive and yes you can use the rescue cd to recover your full image, simply ( if all your drives show up) by going into "full" and clicking okay. Then follow the recovery wizard. If you have trouble seeing your drives or your mouse etc. post back and we'll cross that bridge when it comes and hopefully your drive isn't "toast". Do not give up,like I said there are a lot of very smart people on this forum, some of them know windows and some of them seem to know even more then the support people.
     
  7. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    mikeyatease,

    The Secure Zone is mandatory if you want to activate the Startup Recovery Manager (the F11 access to the Linux version of TI).

    As far as storing the image files, you may store them either into the SZ (if created) or on a normal partition, as you did.

    It may be that the TI program you receved bundled with the computer is some special "basic" edition. Namely, version 9 was still the current one last summer, selling at regular price. That might explain the strange behaviour of F11.

    Anyway, I'd suggest you just boot from the Rescue CD, invoke Validate (Check Image, in previous versions) and find and select the image you created to validate it. Mind that the drive letters may be different from those you are used to see in Windows. If the image validates, you then run the Recovery (Restore, in previous versions) wizard and restore partition C: or the entire system drive (if D:, where the image is stored, represents a different physical drive, not just the second partition on the system drive). If at any point you are unsure, you can still Cancel the operation, exit TI and return here. Until you click on Proceed at the end of the wizard, nothing happens. So you may have a good look around (perhaps using the Back button as well) and remember the spots where you were unsure about what to select.

    Edit:: Better restore only partition C: for the moment - regardless of where D: is located.

    More:: When in TI, go to Help>About and take a note of the version/build. We may need that info to help you cross the bridge, as dbknox says. :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  8. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    Thank you both Dbnox and bVolk. Here is the latest status and it's not looking pretty. First, let me say that I am running an OEM version of Acronis, as you, bVolk surmised.
    Yesterday, I used the Acronis Rescue CD and upon boot had full access to Acronis. I proceeded to Validate all of my backup archives on D. I have five archives: one in Nov, two in Sep, and two in July. The earliest July archive validated successfully twice with no "Corrupt" messages. The other archives, each of them, validated as both corrupt and okay. I ran validation at least twice on each archive. Once I saw that Acronis produced different statuses for the same archive I totally lost confidence in the Validation function.
    So I figured I'd try to restore the Nov archive, it being the most recent. I selected Validate before Restore, just for the heck of it, figuring that it would produce a Corrupt message and not restore. Much to my surprise, it restored the archive.
    I then rebooted and Windows tried but failed to come up. I was thrown back to the black MSDOS boot options. I tried use the Last Known Good Windows Configuration option and the Windows option. After messing around in this way, wonder of wonders, XP booted and I was able to work. I remember noticing that Windows ran CHKDSK automatically. I thought I was back in business. Right here, I should have made an immediate new archive, but I did not. I think I was too excited that I had saved myself and wanted to get on with fixing the small things I had lost. Alas.
    I ran Add/Remove programs to uninstall a security suite. This required a reboot, and the reboot failed. So the system was still unstable.

    Early this morning, I ran CHKDSK from MSDOS, remembering that this seemed to have had a positive effect the day before, and it found a bunch of things that it fixed, but Windows did not come up. Using the Acronis Rescue CD, I decided to restore once again. Acronis comes up but my mouse does not work. I realize I can use the TAB key to get around in Acronis. But I'm wondering what you guys would recommend at this time? Try restoring each archive sequentially, starting from most recent to oldest?

    I should mention that at this time, F11 no longer displays upon boot. The only way I can access Acronis is to use the Rescue CD. I spoke to my system builder who thinks that my running CHKDSK is responsible for this. Because F11 no longer displays, this means that I no longer have access to the Restore Initial Configuration option, which as I mentioned earlier, I had first seen when I first pressed F11.

    I'd be grateful for your best recommendation as this point.

    -Michael
     
  9. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    Good news. My system builder asked Acronis support to help me. They sent me and ISO file which I burned to create what I believe is Acronis True Image Home 9.0, and not the inferior OEM version I had been using. When I booted from this CD, an init error was repaired and Acronis loaded.

    I selected an archive to restore, but am unsure as to whether to restore this archive to the entire Disk (selecting this option puts check marks in the two partitions C and MBR) or to select the partition C (which puts a check mark in the C partition but not in the MBR).

    My computer configuration uses two disks, C and D. C is my boot and system disk and D is used only for backup. My Acronis archives are stored on D.

    Thanks in advance. This is a great forum with truly helpful people.

    -Michael
     
  10. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Michael,

    As I understand, partition D: is on a second physical drive. Therefore, placing the checkmark in Disk 1 you also get the checkmarks in partition C: and the 'MBR and Track 0' (the latter is not a partition) - but not in D:.

    If that is so, then go ahead with Disk 1, C: and MBR, all three of them checked.
     
  11. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    bVolk,
    Yes, that was my understanding too.I attempted to restore each of my three most recent archives in this way. In each case, I received a message that the archive was corrupt. There are two more to go.
    thanks, Michael
     
  12. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Michael,

    I've been trying to put toghether all the bits of information you gave us. If the images validated upon creation and now they do or do not, you may have a failing D: drive. The restore of a corrupted image also corrupted the system drive (although I would expect TI restore to terminate within the process with an error message, leaving the system drive completely unusable, which at one time obviously did not quite happen).

    Anyway, if my suspicion is correct, you should now protect your image files from further corruption that may develop if you continue to restore the images from D:. Namely, they may still be usable for mounting, to let you copy you data files from them. Have you any means of copying the image files from D: to another drive and then continuing with that one? And, after the images are secured, of running chkdsk /r on D: and making another copy to a new directory on the spare drive?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2006
  13. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    mikeyatease if these problems keep up you may have to change your "login" name. One of the things that helped me learn a lot was to read the threads in this forum, sometimes something turns on the little "light bulb".
    I have heard so many times that the image is safer on an external drive that is unplugged from the computer when not in use. Whatever causes harm to one drive can harm another. I don't know if this is true or not. So like bVolk says maybe try to figure a way to get your images off that drive just in case. If you can possibly install your second drive in the other computer and copy them to the main hard drive for now or even burn them with a third party software to DVD. I have heard even corrupt images can be mounted. I don't know if this is right or not but, if so, then all the data is not lost. Believe me somebody will correct me if I am wrong ( we both learn then)
    Version 10 has just recently come out so the forum is busy, hang tough! I know easy for me to say.
     
  14. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    The advantage of using an external drive for backups/imaging is twofold. If the computer dies completely or the harddrives die, in the worst case, you have an image that can be used on another system (with some fiddling with XP).

    As most external drives have their own power supply and in most home and small business situations not connected and running to the main PC all the time, if the main PC suffers a power surge or other problem, if one harddrive is affected the likelihood of the second (or more) hardrives to be affected is great. Especially if the drives are on the same controller on the MB. This is similar to the arguments ' to have a multifunction printer or seperates.

    I was going to suggest try mounting these 'dodgy' archives in the Windows version of TI - if they mount and you can navigate and select files etc, then the archive is unlikely to be corrupted.

    Colin
     
  15. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    As of now, I know that none of my five archives will restore to C; each fails with a "corrupt" message, and this was attempted using the regular TI Home Version 9, not the OEM version used to create these archives. It was done having selected the Restore to Disk1, which includes both C and the MBR. And it was done without having checked the "Validate archive before restore" option.

    As far as Acronis support, they have provided me an Report Utility exe that when run on another computer will produce a bootable floppy, which I am instructed to then use as a boot media in the disabled PC. I am told to send to them the report produced and stored on the floppy. Unfortunately, I have not been able to create this bootable floppy; the exe just does not seem to work. I am attempting to do this on a Windows 98 machine.

    Regarding your comments, which provide both insights into possible next steps forward and some level of comfort, I have these further questions:

    bodgy: You said "I was going to suggest try mounting these 'dodgy' archives in the Windows version of TI - if they mount and you can navigate and select files etc, then the archive is unlikely to be corrupted."
    I am unsure what you are suggesting here and what steps might be involved in doing this. Are you saying to select the option within TI to Restore Files or Folders? And then to check if I can see any file structure? And if so, I should draw the conclusion that the archives are probably not corrupt? And so the problem is more likely the C drive having failed? What do you mean by "mount" these archives? And aren't we always talking about the Windows version of TI?

    dbknox: Yes, my username is a reflection of times past, no longer the present. I like your idea of getting the images off the D drive, but TI does not give me the option to do so on the disabled computer (the CD/DVD location is grayed out -- must be I don't have a fancier edition of TI). So, you are suggesting to remove the D drive from the disabled computer and mount it in another computer in order to copy the archives, and then to install the D drive back to the disabled computer afterward? This brings up the question of disk space on the computer I am using now, as it has only 25 GB of free space. I assume that if I bought an external hard drive, I might be able to use my currently working computer by (1) mounting the D drive into it, and (2) mounting an external hard drive on it, and (3) copying the archives to the external drive. Do you know if the TI archives are compressed? If an archive is storing 65 GB of C drive data, how big will that archive be?

    bvolk: You say: "If the images validated upon creation and now they do or do not, you may have a failing D: drive." I don't know if the images validated on creation. I think I simply assumed that if TI created them, they must be good. I see what you are saying, like what I said in my above comment to dbknox.
    You say:"Have you any means of copying the image files from D: to another drive and then continuing with that one? And, after the images are secured, of running chkdsk /r on D: and making another copy to a new directory on the spare drive?" What do you mean by "continuing with that one"? I am understanding you as saying (1) remove the D drive and mount it in a working computer, (2) copy the archives on D to another drive (call it E, which might be an external drive), (3) run CHKDSK on the D drive from the same computer I mounted it to, which is not the same as the disabled computer, (4) if CHKDSK finds no errors or fixes the ones it finds, then copy the archives again to the drive E in a new folder, (5) reinstall the D drive to the disabled computer, and (5) attempt to get a restore from D to C. Is this what you mean?

    Thanks all,
    Michael
     
  16. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Yes, except that in (6) the restore would be from the healthy E: to C:.

    The purpose is to first secure the image files that may be going progressively worse on the original location right now. Only after that would I run checkdisk on D: because it may repair the files or render them definitely unusable.

    About mounting. If also the checkdisked files will not restore, you may still be able to mount them. When you mount an image, it shows up in Win Explorer as an added (virtual) drive you can browse and copy files from it to a real drive. When the image is mounted you are in fact directly accessing its contents. You may be able to rescue your personal files this way.

    Unfortunately, the Mount feature is only available when TI is running in Windows. If unsuccesful with the restores, you will probably have to reinstall Windows and the programs. Then you could also install a trial version of TI an run Mount.

    Also, your system builder may be able to provide you with some bootable CD (like BartPE) which would enable you to copy files from the unbootable C:. There are many threads on this forum about BartPE, but I would believe you are not in the right mood now to start creating one yourself.
     
  17. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    In v10 Acronis have moved the mount an image option, to the manage backup archives

    One thing to note is that if your images are split across DVD's, the files will need to be copied into one place so that they can be mounted.

    Colin
     
  18. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    The latest:
    Yesterday I spoke to an Acronis support tech who told me that the most common reason for corrupt archives was found to be bad sectors on the disk from which the archive was created, in my case, this would be the C drive.

    This comment affirmed in my mind what I had been thinking I needed to do, which was to reinstall XP on the C drive, thus loosing all data on it; get up and running; and then see if I can use Acronis to recover individual files and folders within the archives stored on my D drive.

    This morning I began this process. I went through the XP installation screens, entering required data and settings, and then watched as it proceeded to copy files and so on, displaying flash screens of all the great new features of XP. I momentarily left to get something downstairs and when I returned the screen was very deep dark blue, almost black, and nothing was happening. Oh, I said to myself, I should have never left; this is not right, something ought to be displayed or the disk should be whirring.

    I removed the XP CD and rebooted. Brief flash of an XP logo and then the deep blue/black. I figured now I'll have to restart the installation from scratch, and this time sit until it completes. So, I boot from the XP setup disk, and watch as the installation proceeds, and never really completes, ending fnally with a deep blue/black screen.

    So, my conclusion at this point is that I have a defective disk, which is to say that one or more sectors are corrupt. I think this would explain the fact that XP almost nearly completes an installation, but cannot finish successfully. What do you think about this conclusion? Any other ideas?

    The only other tidbit I can add to my description above is that on the second XP installation, at the step where you select which disk you wish to boot to, in my case Disk0, beneath Disk0 were two entries, the first being a partition of roughly 70 GB and the second being an Unpartitioned entry of roughly 5 GB. I mention this because at the time I found this puzzling, thinking to myself why, on the first XP installation, did XP setup not create one partition using the entire space on the disk. Did it find something it didn't like about 5 GB on the disk? Beyond me.

    Anyway, that's it. Not looking too rosy right now. I'm thinking about having to buy another C drive disk. Or, I'm just now thinking, why not make my D disk the system disk, and buy an external drive, which many say is a safer way to backup. If I were to go the latter route, I would want to try to copy the Acronis archives now resident on D to the new backup media before reformatting D for the installation of XP. Do you think I could use a USB connection to make this copy from D, and would I be able to get into DOS safe mode to make the copy? Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
    -Thanks in advance, Michael
     
  19. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Hi Michael,

    One symptom does not match the assumption the system drive to be bad. Why then the image files, once created and stored on D:, happened to validate/not validate? If the cause of the invalid image were the corrupted C: the repetitive validation of the image should have always given the same (negative) virdict. I would suggest you check both drives with the vendor's utility before you take the final decision about the future use of your current drives.

    Anyway, if you do not mind the expense too much, a second internal drive as the first storage of images (fastest and never fussy) plus an external as an additional level of security (from lightnings) is what works best. I'm now on my second external that sometimes has second thoughts about working properly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2006
  20. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    bVolk,
    You bring up a good point, how to explain the validation issues. Could be the Acronis Validation function stumbles when there is a defective sector, that is, that its results are not reliable.

    I would turn around the question, however, and ask you, What could make XP fail to install except a defective disk? especially considering that this installation process is totally independent of Acronis. After all, XP performed a full format before the install.

    I am attempting to be logical here. When you remove Acronis from the discussion, we are left with a failing XP setup. What, other than a defective disk, could cause this?

    Glad to know you are out there,
    Michael
     
  21. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    I was hoping while I was gone you would be up and running and back at being mikeyatease But, as I suspected from the beginning it is looking more and more like a defective drive and alas have probably imaged from this bad drive and now you have some issues with the image. If you where nearby, it would be a simple job to prove your image good or bad by having you come over and installing your second drive in my computer and doing a recovery. We wouldn't be able to run your XP but, we would know if the image is corrupt or not by the actions of the recovery. Usually it will boot up, but because of the difference in hardware, probably would ask for a reactivation.
    Then I would simply image back to my system. I have done this and it worked fine. My friend had windows XP pro and I have win98se because he would be using NTSF and I am using FAT32 I couldn't mount his image, so I tried restoring his image. If you have a friend with TI and a known tested good image you could try this route. If you both have the same file system type NTSF you could even try mounting your image, this would tell you a lot. I am fairly certain that you will be able to reclaim some data from your image even if it is possibly corrupt.
    If you do purchase a new drive and install it try recovering your Images first ( before reinstalling XP) just in case. If you are unsucessful and have to install XP, once you have your main programs ( such as anti virus etc) installed do a nice clean image to keep forever, just in case and then do a full image every once in a while. I keep two on my second internal drive and four on my external usb drive, usually deleting older ones as I go along.
    Good luck!!
     
  22. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Michael,

    Your point seems valid too. Perhaps the check I proposed above would clear things up. You don't want to rebuild your system only to find out that your estimates were incorrect.
     
  23. mikeyatease

    mikeyatease Registered Member

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    bVolk,
    Yes, your suggestion is a good one, and I did try something related, maybe it was what you meant. I had a Western Digital Data Lifeguard CD. I ran it to create a bootable diagnostic floppy. This floppy failed to boot.

    One more thing, when I bought a new disk yesterday, I talked to an informed tech at Circuit City who told me that a lot of viruses get into the MBR and so he will usually run FIXMBR from the Recovery Console. I had been into the Recovery Console previously but did nothing because I did not feel confident as to what to do. So I thought last evening that I'd try again. (Remember that I have already attempted a clean XP setup.) What happened when I pressed R or whatever the key was to get into the console was a C:\ prompt asking "Which Windows Installation". I went to the MS web site to research FIXMBR and there is no mention of what is supposed to be entered here or where one can find out what to enter, no mention that one might even see such a prompt. Of course entering nothing is not an option, so I was screwed. I called that tech and he told me there's nothing you can do but put in the new disk. Anyway, the lingering doubt remaining in my mind is that I might have a virus resident in the MBR. I wonder whether the MBR gets removed and then recreated when an XP installation is performed? Anyone know? If not, then a lingering virus in the MBR could be the reason for my problems, since that could explain why a clean XP install fails, that is, at the end fails to reboot.

    dbknox,
    How kind of you to make a gracious offer such as the one you did. As you described what you did, I was thinking that, gee, that guy at Circuit City could do just what you say, as he has Acronis, and obviously plenty of machines to work with. This gives him the best chance to recover the most data.

    Thanks guys. Have a pleasant weekend. I'll let you know what happens next.
    Michael
     
  24. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

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    Mikeyatease, Here is a link to an excellent article on using the Recovery Console. http://www.short-media.com/review.php?r=313
     
  25. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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