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. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Do you have access to a Disk Editor (like Disk Director) that can verify if the MBR and boot sector is written correctly?

    I assume you already tried restoring the "empty" images from my link.
    Did you do this in Windows or from TI's Safe Mode?
    Did you try all of them or just some?

    Have you tried booting a USB hard drive? The computer may detect it differently than a flashdrive. This would just be a troubleshooting step as it would help determine if Acronis's recovery setup will boot on the computer from a USB device.

    Does TI boot successfully from the TI CD (both the Full and Safe mode versions)?

    If you have a BartPE or VistaPE flashdrive, does it boot correctly?
     
  2. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    Thanks so much for all the work you have put into this. Its really well documented. Just this one little wrinkle to iron out.

    Yes I tried restoring the empty images from you, but I haven't tried verifying the MBR with Disk Dir. I'll try this. I tried both FAT versions of your TIB files and the first FAT32 version. The first FAT version scales up the partition on the flashdrive to the full size of the card. The second one, creates a 256 meg partition from your 125 meg image with Home ver 11. Not sure this matters...

    All my attempts were from Acronis under Windows. I haven't tried this from the Safe boot mode of Acronis. I assume you mean booting up and pressing F11 to go into Acronis before Windows starts. There is 2 options for Acronis when I do this. One is full, and the other is safe without USB or SCSI support. Will this safe mode work if it has no USB support? I want to make sure I understand your definition of safe mode.

    I don't believe I have ever tried booting a USB HD on this X31 lappy. I have booted from a USB CDROM if that helps, and I created a Win98 DOS boot on the same thumbdrive using the HP utility and it boots like a charm on the X31.

    BartPE and VistaPE are on my list to explore, but I haven't tried them yet.

    Note: Running Windows XP Professional SP2 on all computers. Most of my trials were with Home ver 11, as it will recognize the thumbdrive in Windows as a write to location without having to boot to the Linux ver of Acronis. After I wrote this last night, I dug up a version of 10 Home and tried with it, and the same result.
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    A lot of newer computers will support USB flashdrives and hard drives when booted to the Safe Mode version of TI. In order for this to work, the BIOS of the computer has to support it.

    When I say boot to the Safe Mode version, I mean to boot to the TI CD and select the Safe Mode version from the Acronis menu.

    Being able to boot from a USB CD-ROM drive and a Win98 flashdrive is good. In some cases a USB HDD is seen differently than these by the BIOS and a flashdrive may be seen as a flashdrive or as a hard drive depending on the BIOS.

    If everything is being written correctly to the flashdrive and you get the Acronis error (meaning Acronis is trying to start, but can't), then your computer may need an alternate boot loader.

    Does the flashdrive created with Media Builder boot on any of your computers?

    If you restore the FAT32 empty image to the flashdrive and copy the Acronis files to it, does it boot on any of the computers or do they all give the same error?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  4. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    Aha, now I think we are onto something. I tried to boot this USB Flashdrive on another desktop and it worked fine. I tried 3 computers and it worked on all of them. One would only work in safe mode. It failed on two computers, both of which are Thinkpad laptops. Sadly, these two are the ones I need to get it to work on. These are a X31, and a T42p.

    I had been creating the flashdrive on a desktop and trying to boot it up on the Thinkpad. Do I need to create the bootable flashdrive on the computer that will be using it? Will these USB flash drives or USB HD be machine specific? I want to create a universal flashdrive or HD that can be used on any computer.

    I haven't tried your "copy the Acronis files" suggestion, but I feel we may be getting to the root of the problem.

    Tim
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The bootable rescue media (CD, USB flashdrive, etc.) is not computer dependent. It can be made on another computer and then used on a different computer (the end result is the same). It doesn't have to be made on the computer on which it will be used.

    You said you got several different boot error messages: Operating System not found, Non-system disk or an Acronis Boot Loader fatal error about a missing partition.

    The first two errors usually mean the computer isn't booting correctly from the device. If you get a specific Acronis error message, then the computer is booting the device, but Acronis can't start for some reason.

    What error message(s) are you currently getting when you try to boot the flashdrive on the X31 and T42p?
     
  6. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    You said you got several different boot error messages: Operating System not found, Non-system disk or an Acronis Boot Loader fatal error about a missing partition. What error message(s) are you currently getting when you try to boot the flashdrive on the X31 and T42p?

    All of these errors came from the X31, and come from various different ways to create the boot USB thumbdrive.

    It is running Win XP Pro SP2, has an 80 gig HD split into 2 partitions, one boots the OS, and the other is for data. There is a Secure Zone partition that only holds the Acronis boot up files for the "Press F11 to start Acronis" at boot time. Acronis Version on the X31 was ver 9, but I've upgraded it to 11 Home and tried to create the USB disk from this machine, but without any luck. There goes the theory that just creating the USB boot files on that computer would help.

    Summary,

    Thinkpad X31 - fail to boot from Acronis Emergency boot USB thumbdrive.
    Thinkpad T42p - fail to boot from Acronis Emergency boot USB thumbdrive.
    Intel based Core2Duo - boots only in safe mode from USB thumbdrive
    2 other AMD based systems boot fine from USB thumbdrive.

    We're making progress....
     
  7. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    I just created a BartPE flashdrive with only base Win XP on it, and it booted fine on both the problem children (Thinkpad X31 and T42p).

    Could I create a Bart PE USB hard drive with Acronis on it and have all the functionality that your solution would have? Are there any disadvantages to the Bart PE method?
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    tr0910:

    I'll let MudCrab answer the BartPE question, but I do have one additional experiment to suggest.

    1. Create a TrueImage backup of your working BartPE flash drive. Do it while booted from the safe mode version of TI on your X31. This is your safety net to restore the drive in case this experiment doesn't work out.
    2. Using Windows Explorer, delete all of the files on the flash drive including the hidden files.
    3. Use Acronis Bootable Media Builder once again to create a bootable USB flash drive.
    4. Plug the flash drive into your X31 and see if it will now work.

    In my experience when the Acronis flash drive failed to boot it was because the Bootable Media Builder app failed to set the boot flag on the flash drive. Now that you have a properly booting BartPE flash drive, try it again. If it doesn't work out, restore the BartPE image and you're back to square one.
     
  9. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    This sounds a lot like what I did here

    Once I knew I had a good boot disk, I deleted the Win98 files as you suggest and tried installing the Emergency Boot files on top of it. Works fine on 3 computers, but not on the X31 or T42p.
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You can put the BartPE USB flashdrive setup on a USB hard drive in the same way as the Acronis flashdrive. The instructions are in the guide (page 51). Basically, just image the flashdrive and restore it to the USB hard drive, resizing as necessary. If the USB hard drive contains files you want to keep, copy the files off, restore the image and copy the files back. If you can't do this, then you'd need a partitioning program (like Disk Director) to make the changes so you don't lose any files during the restore.

    You can also restore one of my empty images (the FAT32 PEtoUSB image, for example), to the USB hard drive and then copy your BartPE files from the flashdrive to the hard drive. This eliminates needing to image the BartPE flashdrive.

    There aren't really any disadvatanges to using BartPE. Mostly, you have faster performance and better driver support because it uses the Windows drivers and you can add your own.
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think the HP utility creates a different MBR (and possibly different partition table layout) than the PEtoUSB utility. I never had any success with the HP utility.
     
  12. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    tr0910:

    It's ironic that you are having so much trouble with your X31. Of all of the PCs here, my X41 is the most cooperative with bootable devices. Virtually every bootable flash drive program that I've tried works on the X41 even when they don't work on other PCs. I've tried DOS, BartPE, Acronis Bootable Media, Live Linux USB, and VistaPE with complete success. Even the HP format utility works.

    You really have me scratching my head trying to figure out why the X31 is giving you so many problems. Do you have the latest BIOS update (3.02)?
     
  13. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    I've got 3.02 bios on the X31, and 3.06f on the T42p.

    It was so easy using the HP tool to get it booting Win98 from a USB Key, and the Bart PE tool really got it booting WinXP easily. I'm scratching my head too. Both these laptops have been very reliable and both can boot up Acronis 9 from a secure zone without difficulty.


    Tim
     
  14. tr0910

    tr0910 Registered Member

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    I'll try and set it up with Bart. I'm confused about which version of Mustang's plugins to download from here. He has both a regular version for ATI 11 Home and a 64 bit version that he says works with 32 bit systems, and must be loaded onto 32 bit WinXP. The laptops are 32 bit, but most of my other stuff will be Athlon 64 or Core 2 Duo running WinXP 64 bit edition.

    64 bit plugin or standard plugino_O?
     
  15. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You need a 32bit XP for the source. I think the plugin difference is if the installed OS in which you are using the plugin is 64bit or not. For example, you're using PeBuilder and TI installed on in XP 64bit.

    If you use PeBuilder in a 32bit OS then use the 32bit plugin. The final BartPE build will be 32bit in either case.

    If you want to email mustang and ask, he's usually quick to respond. Also, if you do end up with the wrong one, I don't think there would be any problem getting it swapped.

    I have XP and Vista (both 32bit) and have only used the 32bit plugin.

    You also have the option to use the Acronis BartPE plugin. It lacks features like being able to mount images, though.
     
  16. darktortise

    darktortise Registered Member

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    Hi, I am trying to follow your very thorough instructions and have run into one snag, I get this error; "Can not find a partition with the path \local\hd_sign(3BEAD7EA)." when I try to create the back up on the flash drive.

    Let me step back, I get an error that says to check the log and this is the first error it shows. The other is: No source is selected for the operation. Terminated.

    Any suggestions?
     
  17. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    What version and build of TI are you using?

    Are you trying to make the image of the flashdrive while in Windows? If so, what version of Windows?

    If your computer supports the flashdrive in the BIOS (most new computers do), you may be able to image the flashdrive booted to the Safe Mode version of TI.

    If you can't image the flashdrive, you can use one of my "empty" images ("problems" link in my signature) to setup the hard drive. Instructions are included on the page.
     
  18. darktortise

    darktortise Registered Member

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    I am usin TI 10 build 4942. Using Vista. I was in step 4 of your instructions. If I use one of your empty images do I skip the flashdrive step?
     
  19. darktortise

    darktortise Registered Member

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    Don't know what I did but I got it to work. I will continue on with the rest of your directions. Thanks a million for your time in writing this guide!!!:eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  20. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

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    Ok now a challenge! Can You create A bootable HD or Bootable Flash drive which contains the Acronis Single Click Restore Util + the Image?

    Let's take this challenge... Anybody?
     
  21. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    For those having trouble with some USB ports on your PC, try the other ports. Some may have a more direct connection to the USB card. Also, USB ports on periperhals are often insufficient. I can routinely image from my Dad's PC to an external USB hard drive if it's connected to the rear of his PC. If connected to a USB port on his jeyboard or monitor, the backup process begins but fails.

    What size does the USB Flash Drive have to be to contain the bootable ATI rescue disk stuff? Preumably less than 700 MB, since a Rescue CD does not use the full CD-R capacity.
     
  22. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The TI files range from around 30MB to 55MB or more depending on the version and what you include (Full, Safe, DD, Cleanser, etc.). I think everthing should fit fine on a 128MB or larger flashdrive.
     
  23. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    That's quite efficient. That can leave plenty of space (on a larger flash drive or hard drive) to also contain some backup images.

    Thanks.
     
  24. Rogman

    Rogman Registered Member

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    Exactly what I needed - great stuff
    (WinXP SP3, Maxtor Basics 500gb external)
     
  25. laserfan

    laserfan Registered Member

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    At the risk of appearing to be an idiot, can I suggest an addition somewhere to Post #1 or the How-To itself. I've used computers for a long time but never knew until now...that "USB as a boot option" does not appear in the BIOS unless a usb drive is actually plugged-in at POST!!! :oops:

    I checked on two of my computers thus far, and whereas I'd looked for "USB boot options" in the past, never finding any "USB boot" setting(s), this was apparently always done without a USB drive actually attached! Two checked--two w/USB boot option! Yeah I'm embarrassed (my defense: I'm retired five years now & no more PC-savvy cohorts to rub elbows with) but in any case thanks GroverH this gives me some more toys to play with!

    Oh, and of course thanks MudCrab for the inspiration!

     
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