How to Create an Acronis Bootable USB Hard Disk

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by MudCrab, Jun 7, 2007.

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  1. lautamas

    lautamas Registered Member

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    Anybody can explain me what's the difference between Secure Zone and Bootable Rescue Disk..if both are put in my external HDD?
     
  2. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Chamiltn,
    1. Create a new Rescue CD whenever you install a new build or new version on your computer. It is always a good practice to use a "Sharpie" marker and write the version; and build number; and serial number of current (& even serial of old versions if you installed an upgrade rather than full version); and retain any Rescue CD's that you create.

    2. Secure zone: Do NOT place a secure zone on a removable drive. If placed on a removable drive and the drive is removed, you could loose your backups--and possibly not be able to bootup.
     
  3. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    lautamas:
    For info about the merits of the secure zone, click the Useful Forum Threads and check out the Secure zone threads listed at the bottom of the page.

    The Rescue CD has almost all the functions of the installed version. You can perform most important functions from the Rescue CD. Should your drive fail or become non-bootable, or want to restore your system partition, the Rescue CD can be used to perform this function plus backups or restores, etc. In fact, many choose to use the CD exclusively.

    The secure zone should not be placed on your external drive otherwise you can loose your backups when disconnected. Having a usb bootable rescue disk makes the Rescue CD un-necessary or adds another option to your recovery choices; plus you can store your archives on the same disk--one device does it all. It's a matter of personal choices.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You only need to use Acronis Media Builder to create a new flashdrive (so you have the updated files) when they release a new build of the program and you've installed it. This may be six months or more depending on when updated builds are released. Or you may decide to stick with the current build if it's working okay for you and the new build has too many reported bugs.

    I don't recommend installing the SecureZone on an external drive (and absolutely don't if you plan on activating the Recovery Manager). If you don't have a pressing need for the SZ, then don't use it. Manage your backups manually for the most control.
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Having problems getting your Acronis USB Flashdrive or USB Hard Disk to boot?

    Further testing of the procedure detailed in the Guide has found that Acronis Media Builder does not always write the MBR to the flashdrive during its creation. This results in a flashdrive that will not boot and any image created from it and restored to a USB hard disk will also not boot.

    To try and rectify this problem, I have created two "empty" images that can be restored directly to either a USB Flashdrive or a USB Hard Disk. The images contain the MBR, the boot sector and an empty ACRONIS partition.

    Details on the procedure can be found here.

    ----

    Many thanks to Menorcaman for adding this information and link in the first post of this thread.
     
  6. BooII

    BooII Registered Member

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    MudCrab,

    In your post titled 'How to Create an Acronis Bootable USB Hard Disk', dated 'June 7th, 2007, 03:04 PM', do you mean True Image 9 build 3,677? The latest build available for True Image 9 is 3,854. This typo is on page 52 of your 53 page PDF titled 'A Guide To Creating A Bootable USB Hard Drive' (v1.0 - Initial release, June 7th, 2007) and also on your webpage 'http://www.purviancecs.com/acronis.htm'.

    Please excuse if I'm mistaken about this. Possibly the build your referring to (9,677) is for one of the True Image 9.x corporate products instead of True Image 9.0 Home which I'm referring to. I would have PM'd this message but new 'Wilders Securtity Forums' posters apparently can't PM until a certain minimum number of posts have been made.

    BooII
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2007
  7. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    BooII,

    Yes. Sorry about that. It is a typo. I just blurred it into 3,677. It should be 3,677 and not 9,677. I'll send a PM to have it corrected.

    ---

    TI 9 Home build 3,677 was/is a good stable build and a lot of people still use it even though there was another build (3,854) released later (after TI 10 was released). The procedure would be the same for the later build. The main difference is that TI 9 versions won't normally let you image your flashdrive from Windows.

    I did not test with any builds before 3,677 as that was the first build of TI that I have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2007
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    For users with Flashdrives larger than 2GB, Acronis Media Builder may have a problem (according to Acronis Support). I have successfully used the TI 10 and TI 11 Media Builder programs on a 4GB FAT32 Flashdrive.

    However, it seems that users of TI 9 won't be able to use a Flashdrive larger than 2GB because Media Builder returns with a "Disk Full" error and won't copy the files. I have not tested a Flashdrive larger than 4GB as that's the largest I currently have, but I assume the same problem would exist for 8GB and 16GB Flashdrives.

    To work around this, you can do several things:

    1) Restore the 125MB FAT "Empty" image from my website to the 4GB flashdrive. It is important that you use the FAT image. The FAT32 image will not work. Normally, you'll need to boot to the Safe Mode version of TI to restore the image. If you select to restore the Entire Disk Image, TI will expand the image to 1.99GB. If you want (or need) the partition smaller, you can select just the partition and resize how you want, then go back and select to restore the MBR and Track 0.

    2) Use Acronis Disk Director (or another partitioning program that works with Flashdrives) to remove the existing partition (usually FAT32) from the Flashdrive. Then create a small Primary FAT partition (125MB or so). I would recommend doing this while booted to the Safe Mode version of DD. --- Note: Using Windows Disk Management, XP and Vista will only allow one partition to be created on a Flashdrive. XP can't create a 4GB FAT partition and forces you to use FAT32 (at least, this is what it did on my computer). Vista will create a 4GB FAT partition, but it uses a larger cluster size and Media Builder gives the same error message.

    Once the 4GB Flashdrive has a Primary FAT partition with a size under 2GB on it, reboot into Windows and plug in the Flashdrive. If Windows doesn't automatically assign a drive letter, go into Windows Disk Management and assign one. You should now be able to use Media Builder to create a bootable USB Flashdrive.
     
  9. ocular

    ocular Registered Member

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    This is a great thread on creating a bootable external USB HDD. I have also seen your pdf and additional info on your website. You have managed to design this instruction manual so that it is easy to follow.

    I was able to use my 4GB Flash drive by using Disk Director (in windows) to resize the fat32 partition to <2GB. Got the reboot message so did this and then got back into WinXP, disk management and then assigned a drive letter. Effectively the 4GB flashdrive is seen as a 2GB Flashdrive.


    I have been using Acronis TI Workstation 9.1 build 3854 with universal restore and put the files onto the USB flashdrive (including diskdirector) via media builder and have been able to create a tib image of the bootable flashdrive from within windows rather than having to go to Safe mode from the bootable CD.

    However the bootable usb flashdrive when it boots into TI doesn't show the acronis menu with the options of full mode, safe mode and the DiskDirector modes (like the bootable CD does) but just goes straight into the TI screen , presumably TI Full mode with universal restore.

    Is this bug of no menu an issue with ATI Workstation or perhaps specific to this version 9.1 build 3854? Is there a workaround to get the boot menu to show up -so I then can set up the USB HDD that is bootable into a menu with the options of Full,Safe mode and DiskDirector too. Can anyone else confirm this lack of menu issue?
     
  10. whistl3r

    whistl3r Registered Member

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    Works great. Thanks!

    I've used the Sandisk 4gb and had no problems booting.
     
  11. kenny22

    kenny22 Registered Member

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    Can i just say many many thanks for this post.
    My hp laptop dvd drive is broken so had no way of reinstalling windows media centre, i knew there would be a way with a usb hard drive but have spent nearly a week of trying different ways.

    Found this thread thanks to google and 2 hours later laptop up and running, very very happy

    many thanks again

    kenny

    used my hp key with 1gb card in it, although i had to use the dummy file to get it to boot
     
  12. MTX

    MTX Registered Member

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    This is how I make a bootable USB flash drive to backup/restore my C: drive

    1. Create bootable rescue media to the flash drive (8GB Sandisk Contour)

    2. Boot and load ATI11 from the flash drive

    3. Backup C: to the flash drive

    Note: I have no problem using a single partition.

    http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g116/ohvictor/2008-01-06_123919.jpg
     
  13. sparkyguy

    sparkyguy Registered Member

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    Using TI Home Ver 11.8053
    External USB drive 2.5" Western Digital 250GB Passport. It's been cleaned & wiped of all applications. Started with no partitions defined. Computer is Dell E1705 Laptop with the Dell original hidden "restore" partitions still intact.
    Problem: After I make the bootable external USB drive, it will not boot on the Dell Laptop. Interestingly, the computer will boot into TI if I let it boot off of the flash memory stick I used for the creation process. Therefore, I know the creation process is working OK.
    Here is the kicker . . . . if I move the external USB hard drive to a different computer, it works perfectly. I have the USB external hard drive moved to the top of the boot priority order and I've tried dozens of combinations of FAT16, FAT32, tried Mudcrab's empty partitions (PE to USB; both the FAT16 and FAT32).
    I understand the process, but can't understand why it works with every computer I have (total of 5) but it won't work the the principal unit I need it for.
    One last wrinkle, if I use the exact same process on a different external USB hard drive, it works successfully. The Passport drive works perfectly, except for this problem. Anyone seen similar problems??
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Can you be a more specific with what you mean by will not boot?

    Do you get an error message?
    Does Windows boot directly?

    In the BIOS, what does the USB hard drive show up as? Does it get listed as a "generic" USB-HDD entry or does it show the USB device brand/model?

    Have you tried booting anything else on a USB hard drive on that computer (BartPE, VistaPE, Grub4DOS, etc.)?

    Has any other USB hard drive booted TI correctly on that computer?
     
  15. sparkyguy

    sparkyguy Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I realized my problem was getting lengthy and didn't want to ramble on too long.
    As I noted in the original message, I've moved the external USB drive to the top of the boot order. During a boot (warm or cold) it quickly flashes "No Boot sector in the USB drive", then jumps into the Windows splash screen and loads Windows fine. I've tried more than a dozen times and methods, restoring both the drive and Track 0 at the same session, and alternately restoring them one at a time. No difference in the results. When the laptop doesn't boot from the external USB drive, it (correctly) steps to the next device in the boot order which is the internal laptop Hard Drive so it then boots right into Windows XP Pro. The external drive shows up in the BIOS as a very general "USB Storage Device", it does NOT indicate any unique make, model, or capacity.

    Strange observations:
    1. The external USB hard drive drive will boot properly and run TI when installed on another computer. I've verified this on >6 other computers. No errors when loading. Therefore, it's an issue with the Dell E1705 Laptop.
    2. After my original posting, I found that rather than moving it to the top of the boot list in the BIOS, if I hold down the F12 key after the POST (which manually lets you changes the boot order order), then select "USB Storage Device" it will successfully load TI. However, it also quickly flashes the "No Boot Sector in the USB Drive", then proceeds to ignore the error and launches right into the TI loader and program. This seems to be a solution but is a bit discomforting since it still flashes an error.
    3. After I created the emergency files on the external flash thumb drive, I verified it will boot correctly into TI without error. This is the exact flash drive I used to create an image from and restore into the external USB hard drive.

    For some reason, it appears to me that the WD Passport 250GB drive isn't getting the MBR/Track 0 to restore quite properly. As an experiment, I'll try to create another bootable external USB hard drive, but I'll need to dig one up and make an image of the contents before I can do so.
     
  16. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Since the Passport boots properly on 6 other computers, I have to assume that the MBR/Track 0 is getting restored properly to the drive, otherwise it wouldn't work at all.

    The problem does indeed seem to be with the E1705. If you can boot using the F12 method, then just do it that way.

    You might want to check if there are any BIOS updates available for the E1705. Perhaps there is a newer version that better handles booting from USB devices.

    Also, out of curiosity, when you boot from the USB Flashdrive on the E1705, does the BIOS show the same "generic" USB device or does it show a Brand/Model name?
     
  17. sparkyguy

    sparkyguy Registered Member

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    Both the BIOS and the "Manual Boot" F-12 selection say exactly the same thing:
    "USB Storage Device".
    There is no further information shown.

    After some further thought, I believe you are correct . . . it seems to be the way the Dell Laptop is processing the USB port data and I may just have to live with it on this particular laptop. The Dell also has an extensive list of on-board self tests. I believe the tests are located on one of the additional partitions that Dell puts on their computers. I ran it through all tests (takes almost an hour), with no errors whatsoever.

    I'd be interested if anyone else with a Dell Inspirion E1705, or it's smaller brother E1505, have had similar experiences.
     
  18. sparkyguy

    sparkyguy Registered Member

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    Update on my issue with the Western Digital Passport USB Drive:
    There is an issue with the Western Digital Drive. Although the drive works perfectly as a storage device, apparently it does not accept the MBR/Track 0 restore properly. To verify this, I tried the procedure on another external USB hard drive . . . and it works perfectly. Thanks MudCrab, for the assistance and a very great suggestion to make these guys self-bootable.

    One last question, since this procedure provides the capability to use the program on multiple computers, is it technically within the license limits to do so? Or asked another way, once installed on the external USB drive, does using it on multiple computer technically violate the one install/one computer typically covered in the EULA agreements? Just asking . . . I know no one would actually DO that.
     
  19. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Are you saying the WD drive doesn't let the MBR/Track 0 be written correctly? I thought you said it booted okay on six other computers. The MBR and boot sector would have to be written properly for it to boot on the other computers.

    Now, you've tried another USB hard drive and it is booting okay on the E1705. Is that right?

    Just out of curiosity... when you tried my "empty" images on the WD drive, did you try restoring them while booted to the Safe Mode version of TI? (This assumes the computer has BIOS support for the USB drive.) There are some cases where Windows will block writing to the MBR. If you check the drive with DD after you write the MBR, it will look okay, but if you remove and reconnect the drive the changes are gone and the MBR is back like it was before. However, I don't think this the problem in your case because the drive was booting on other computers.

    A bootable Flashdrive or USB hard drive with the Acronis programs on it is no different than the bootable CD. You still need a licensed copy of the program for each computer on which you'll be using the program. If you'll be backing up five computers, then you'll need five licenses.
     
  20. sparkyguy

    sparkyguy Registered Member

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    Let me rephrase things. I appoligize if I've made the description more complicated than it is. I've tried lots of combinations and my description left a lot to be desired.

    Background:
    I have two external USB hard drives, lets call them A and B. Drive B is my new WD Passport drive. I made them both "self bootable" using the steps described in your application note. (Comment: Since I have a single software license, I have no intent on keeping the software on both drives. I'm only did this to analyze the source of the error described below.)

    Problem
    Both Drive A and Drive B boot and operate TI perfectly when I use them on my desktop computer (and many others). However, when used on my Dell Laptop, Drive A works fine (which eliminates the laptop being the source of the problem) , but Drive B (the WD Passport drive), flashes the error "No Boot Sector in the USB Drive" while booting . . then (within 1/2 second) continues to boot anyway followed by properly loading TI. Why the error on the Dell Laptop when loading?

    The error doesn't seem to follow any logic.
    If there was a problem with Drive B, it would do this on all computers, but it only gives the error with the Dell Laptop. Further, a different drive (Drive A), configured the same way, does not give the error when used on the same Dell Laptop.

    Does this help clear up the situation, or have I made it more confusing?
     
  21. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think it's just a problem between the BIOS in the Dell Laptop and the WD Passport USB drive. Aside from a BIOS update to fix the problem, there is probably nothing you can do about it. Since it works after the error, I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  22. joeveck

    joeveck Registered Member

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    Would the same instructions pertain to Acronis TI Ver. 11?
     
  23. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Yes, the same procedure can be used with TI 11.
     
  24. Eagle Creek

    Eagle Creek Global Moderator

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    Hi ticarson,

    I moved your post about using OSS boot to a separate thread.
    The thread you've replied to is about how to create an Acronis bootable USB Hard disk.

    You can find your thread here.

    If you want to get e-mail notifications when someone replies to that thread, please click here and add a subscription.
     
  25. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    I don't even need to create the bootable USB drive. I'll be happy when I have a bootable Acronis USB thumbdrive. I've spent hours trying to get it to work but no luck.

    I've tried 3 different thumbdrives (64 mb junker, 512 mb Memorex, 1 GB Kingston Data Traveler), and 3 different versions of Acronis and am having no luck. I get either a message about "Operating System not found", "Non-system disk", or an Acronis Boot Loader fatal error about a missing partition. This is after following instructions here very carefully, including the additional ones found at purviancecs.com/acronis.htm#booting

    I can format the drive using the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool found here. I can even load the Win 98 systems files from the same link onto the USB key and boot from this key on my Thinkpad X31 laptop.

    But no way can I get it to boot once loaded with the Media Rescue builder files from Acronis (version 9.0, 9.1, and 11 Home)

    I've changed everything but the X31 laptop as that is what I want to be able to boot from a USB key as it has no CD rom drive.

    What should I try next?

    Tim
     
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