How to place the partition containing the OS & Progs for high drive seek performance?

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by TKHgva, Mar 21, 2009.

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  1. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I have been educating myself on the "internals" of the HD to get a better understanding. Also, to understand how creating partitions can become a handy tool for space management, performance / seek time and backup facility. I'm not using Disk Director Suite quite yet (it's on it's way in the mail from overseas), but I wished to get some points understood for when I start to work with it.

    I've mostly been learning through Wiki, a few articles here and there and this website (Partition.Radified) which has been very useful. As I am a novice, it helps a great deal when the IT/Tech experts explain concepts and systems with images/pictures; so I recommend this website for those who need a "boost" in understanding the HD.

    Ok, for my questions:

    1. When we have a HD, and we wish to create a partition on it for the OS/Programs using Disk Director, where on the HD will Acronis create the partition, if it's the first patition we have ever created on the HD?
    I'm not sure if the term for the process enabling to create partitions at a specific place on the HD is called "benchmarking". If "benchmarking" is the approriate term, does Acronis enable this function/feature?

    2. When we continue to add/create partitions, do they "move" about on the HD or do they stay "in place"? Like if I created the partition for my OS/ Progms using Acronis, will that partition stay in place or does it eventually move along the HD?

    3. Using Acronis, how can we make sure partitions that are sollicited a lot by the system, i.e. the partitions containing the progms & OS, will be and remain in the best location on the HD for achieving best performance of drive's seek time? And how do we make sure it doesn't "move" along the HD, thus eventually increasing the drive's seek time?


    Sorry if any questions are not technically correct >I'm learning.

    Thanks a lot for your time & patience!
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    TKHgva:

    When creating partitions on a new disk they start at the beginning of the disk. Each new partition is added following the existing one(s), but they can be rearranged if necessary. Existing partitions do not move around by themselves, but stay in their fixed location unless you deliberately move or resize them. Disk Director (DD) allows you to move partitions around, so you can organize your disk layout the way that you want. For example, here is a graphic image from DD showing the layout of my disk:

    DD 10.PNG

    The left side of the graphic represents the beginning of the disk (outer track) and the right side represents the end of the disk, so partitions are arranged from left to right corresponding to the beginning to end of the disk.

    If you are looking for the best disk performance then you probably want the OS partition to be first. Since you are interested in performance you may also want to investigate programs like PerfectDisk or Diskeeper. These programs go beyond the capability of the native Windows defragmenter in keeping the layout of a disk partition optimally arranged for best performance.

    So to answer your third question, the partition does not move around by itself but the contents of the partition may move around as the operating system adds and deletes files, so defragmentation software is what is needed to optimize the layout of files within a partition.

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    No, it's simply called "partitioning". "Benchmarking" is looking at the performance of competitors or other members of any population in order to find ways to improve performance or simply to have the data for some other purpose.

    k0lo covered the other parts well for you.

    I would recommend you make sure to have a good RELIABLE imaging or other backup solution in place for your hard drive(s) before you begin trying your hand at partitioning.

    Good luck.
     
  4. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Oh...thank you. You know I was reading through that website (radified) and on his second page he explains the way data/partitions are placed along the hard drive (outer/inner tracks). After the picture of a hard drive on that page (2nd paragraph), he mentions a "benchmarking" utility, which I thought was the term or method/process to place partitions at a certain level on the hard drive. I guess I was "assimilating" too much info while reading and got confused somewhere.

    Indeed he did! I'm still studying all the explanations generously provided, in this thread and the other.

    Acronis True Image on the way; hopefully the mail will deliver them both at the same time. But I'm actually not feeling quite ready to embark on such a partitionning mission just yet. Think I need to learn and ask more questions before...making the wrong move on the keyboard.

    Thanks!
     
  5. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    K0lo,

    Thanks (again!) for the explanations. Today has been very beneficial for me in terms of getting to know the system we use for our daily tasks and work. It's very interesting to learn, not only how to use these amazing systems (computers & IT) for research, communication and all types of other tasks, but also to understand how it works backstage. That way we're in a better position to localise a problem instead of having to give the computer to a technician to fix.

    Thanks for letting me "inside" the DD utility before I even have it on my system.

    Upon observing this capture, the following questions immediately come to mind:

    1. Your C: disk, closest to the outer tracks and therefore quicker to access for the drive: it's named programs. Does that mean only your programs/applications are there?
    Or is the operating system together with the programs on the first partition/C: drive?
    Or is OS in "boot F:"?

    2. To tell the truth, I'm actually quite confused as to what is contained in/reffered to when we say the "OS":doubt: . This is something I've been dying to get clarified once and for all: Is what we call "OS" everything that I see when I go to "computer" on my desktop and then open the "C:" disk, i.e. everything from Binaries, Windows, Cache to Prog Data etc?

    (sorry if I ask too many questions! Just attempting to understand what's to be placed in the "OS partition").

    2. How come backups >partition E: is on the same disk as the OS partition and not on an external drive? What if your computer crashes, how can you access your E: disk containing the backupso_O?

    Thank for pointing out to those utilities/tools. I think (thanks to your tutorial) that I have a better picture:

    - Disk management (="house management") > partitioning (Acronis DD).
    - Partition management (="room management") > defragmenting (PerfectDisk / DisKeeper).

    So the utilities you have proposed basically solve the issue of the "empty spaces/boxes" forming all around within a partition the more files/data are added/deleted in the partitions?
    I saw that PerfectDisk even defrags selectively/intelligently (SMARTPlacement)according to the type of data/files in the partition and personal usage, sort of like taylored defragging compared to the native Windows utility.
    So it means different type of data/partitions require different defragmenting practices? (I'll have to do some research on that this weekend though > I can't expect to get all the answers by posting here!)

    Anyway, it's amazing to see what one can do with these tools nowadays.

    Last point: defrag.

    1. Recommended daily, weekly?
    2. All partitions are to be defragged, including OS/programs?

    And how did it help! A+++
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The C: partition contains the operating system (Windows Vista) and all of its installed programs. The boot partition contains only a few files needed to boot Windows. Most people don't have a separate boot partition on their disk; rather, these files are in the main operating system partition. I set the disk up this way for a specific reason. You can ignore the boot partition for now.
    Technically, the "OS" consists of all of the files needed for Windows to work. However, most people install additional software on their PCs and it is usually installed to the same partition as the operating system. Windows, in fact, contains many of its own installed programs (calculator, notepad, wordpad, etc) that are not strictly needed for the OS to work but they are included anyway. So when people refer to the OS partition they usually mean Windows and all of its installed programs.
    Good catch! You are correct - it is usually a bad idea to store backups on the same disk because if the disk crashes then you also lose your backups. In my case I store my backups on another PC on the network and on an external USB disk that is stored off-site. The "Backups" partition is used as convenient local storage for large files that do not change and are already backed up elsewhere. When I image my disk I will exclude this partition from the image because I already have it backed up; thus the resultant image file is smaller.

    I am a big fan of PerfectDisk and have been using it for a couple of years now. To answer your first question, defragmentation is most important on a partition where the files are changing often, like the Windows system partition. It is less important on a partition with large file sizes like a bunch of movies. But you can defragment either one although defragmenting the system partition is likely to give you the best benefit. After observing the benefits of PerfectDisk's "smart placement" strategy I have modified my defrag habits. Now I only run a defragmenter once a month and the disk stays in pretty good shape between defrag runs. I don't bother defragmenting the large "Backups" partition because it rarely changes.
     
  7. davcbr

    davcbr Registered Member

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    I don't remember where I read the article, but someone suggested, and I used the following. The first partition on the disc is large enough to load any operating system you envision having, for imaging to another partition. This will help because some systems WANT to think they have the number one spot.
    Now, since the outside of the disc is where data transfer is fastest [minor, I know] AND to save room for multiple systems, I put in a 4G partition to hold the Windows swap file, and direct each system to use this as the swap. With four XPs and one Vista, I have saved about 15G of disk space. Same with Temp folder. This will also help when it's time to defrag. Also set up seperate partitions for data; this makes backing up much easier and again helps defrag. Remember, it is easy to move the "my documents' to a data partition.
    Keep reading. There's a lot out there.

    I just looked up this link that should be of interest to you:
    http://www.aumha.org/a/parts.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  8. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Thank you very much to the both of you, davcbr and K0lo, for your enlighting posts. Especially Mark/K0lo for your time and patience with this novice...only 7 months since I've been "connected" to a system and net. The detailed explanations I have been generously given here are worth printing out and adding to my "system guide" folder I keep on my (wooden) desk for future reference.

    I don't have any more questions regarding the initial post at this time, everything is much clearer now! Hope many other viewers will also benefit from the replies.

    However, as we're deep into the subject of partition contents, I wouldn't mind taking this opportunity to ask one or two more things:

    1. Regarding the OS and it's contents:

    1.1. K0lo explained: "Technically, the "OS" consists of all of the files needed for Windows to work. However, most people install additional software on their PCs and it is usually installed to the same partition as the operating system.".

    > Is it implied that it is best practice to rather not do what most people do, i.e. add/install programs to the same drive/partition as the OS?
    > Is it wiser to keep OS and programs in separate partitions but adjacent to one another?

    I read over the internet (cannot recall where) that it is better, when installing new applications, to choose "custom install" and place the programs elsewhere than on the suggested C: drive along with the OS. I think the supported argument was that the OS partition ends up increasing in size the more we add tools and utilities + in case of an operating system breakdown/crash, the OS is "isolated" and the programs partition is safe/not affected.

    Not sure about all this, merely putting it on the table so the experts can give their views to the lesser advanced like me.

    1.2. "Windows, in fact, contains many of its own installed programs (calculator, notepad, wordpad, etc) that are not strictly needed for the OS to work".

    > So after all, is it wise to go through a "clean up" of the Windows System and proceed to separating OS-related files from program-related files? (for those who are keen on keeping a very clear organisation/vision of the computer system and like having everything clearly compartmentalised).

    If the answer is yes, then where does the "roaming" type files related to applications go? By default on my system it is under Users>My username. For example, my email client's folders are all located/stored under username>roaming by default.

    > Shouldn't it be logical for those data files related to apps to be placed by default in the specific application folder in Program Files rather than under userso_O Why do applications put their data files "far away" from the application's main folder? It makes it quite confusing to have a good global vision of where sensitive folders are on the system, when they spread out like that.

    2. Regarding the size of the Windows OS partition:
    How much space should be forecasted for the OS partition on the internal/laptop disk? (My OS = Vista Home Premium 32b/ Intel Core duo CPU)
    > 4GB as davcbr suggested in his post?

    I decided to find out how large is my OS, so I transfered everything I could from the laptop to the ext 500GB HD (docs, media etc), trying to leave only OS/program-related files.
    The result is I end up with a hard drive (C) on the laptop which is roughly 50GB full (out of 140GB in total). The files I transfered externally added up to 90GB.
    So I'm thinking: (C) 50GB - (Prg Files) 5GB = 45GB. So my Vista OS is 45GB in size? (prg data is 1.3GB). But I'm guessing you're going to tell me my OS is not 45GB...

    So all that I see here is what makes up the OS? (apart KeePass & Online Armor).

    C Disk.JPG

    Finally, the last question...

    5. Perhaps it would be better to post the following question as a new thread? Maybe there are plenty of future Acronis DD Suite users out there that will have exactly the same question, so maybe it will be easier for them to find answers in the Acronis forum if it is posted as a thread title. What do you think?
    Here is the question:

    How to create a partition for the Vista OS on a hard disk when we're not starting on a "clean install" (7 months usage)?

    >System: Sony Vaio Laptop/ Vista Home 32b, Intel Core Duo CPU / HD=140GB
    >Tools at disposal: Acronis Disk Director + True Image + Ext. hard disk=500GB.

    Ok, stop for now:) . I hope my questions are general enough so that other viewers can adapt the replies to their specific systems and settings with ease.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  9. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    I'm reading, I'm reading!

    Thanks. I always appreciate a helpful link.

    I just went quickly to the "Data Partition" menu on the left of the page, and found something I needed to solve: he speaks about what you advised on "My Documents" folder, i.e. moving it to a partition. I had been trying to change the location of this my docs folder, but it kept going back to it's default; I ended up thinking Vista had locked it in it's location and was impossible to move. He explains how to move it.

    Thanks! And I'm sure I'll benefit from reading the other sections of the link.

    By the way, in My Documents, are you suggesting to put all data and not only Word Docs? Like media (audio/video) and pictures for example?
     
  10. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    I would not recommend doing this because it makes the job of backing up and restoring more difficult. Most Windows programs write entries to the registry and store settings files in the user profile area. So if you install a program and place its files on another partition, the settings files and registry entries remain on the OS partition. So it becomes more difficult to keep track of changes if you restore only one of the two partitions. Restoring both at the same time should never be a problem, but personally I think it is easier and requires less thought to install programs to the OS partition. That way you can restore the partition and be sure that the restoration will include everything -- the OS, the registry entries, the settings files, etc.

    Yes, it does make more sense to have user files somewhere other than on the OS partition, so it may be worth your time to organize that way. Some Windows software by default will store files in the user profile area on the OS partition. Poorly written software will try to keep its user files with the program (for example, a word processor that tries to store documents that you create in the same folder as the word processor), but that practice has mostly died out because it quickly becomes unmanageable when you have a PC with multiple users. The common practice today is that each user has their own user file area (C:\Users\User1, C:\Users\User2, etc.) where they store their own documents. As mentioned before, you may find it preferable to keep a separate partition for user files instead of using the default Windows scheme. User files are irreplaceable so keeping them on a separate partition and using a good backup strategy is an important step in preventing their accidental loss due to disk failure, software glitches, etc.

    If you currently have 50 GB used space on your Vista partition then don't forget that some of that space is used by System Restore. By default, Vista reserves 15% of the drive, or in your case, 15% of 140 GB = 21 GB. If you have been operating your system for a long time then the space used by System Restore may be filled. Also, if you haven't done a disk cleanup lately then you may have a lot of files in the Recycle bin and temp files that could be taking up room on the disk. If you run the Disk Cleanup tool you can try to delete some of these unneeded files. Also, on one of the tabs in the tool is a button that lets you delete all but the most recent Restore Point. After doing all of that I'll bet that your used space will be less than 45 GB.

    How much space you need depends on how many programs you have installed. Vista alone will need about 15 GB and your programs will need some too, and you need to keep in mind that System Restore will be reserving 15% of the partition for its files. The defragmenter in Vista will not work unless you have at least 15% free space on the partition, so putting it all together you may need 30 - 40 GB for the OS.

    You already have a partition on your disk for Vista, so there is no need to create another one. I assume that presently it uses the entire 140 GB of the disk. What you probably want to do is to first decide how many partitions you would like to have and then divide up the 140 GB among the partitions. Vista can stay where it is as the first partition. You can use DD to shrink its size to something smaller, then use DD to create a new partition or partitions in the free space following the Vista partition.
     
  11. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    K0lo,

    Thank you for your advice. My understanding of the system and HD has increased drastically since reading all your posts. I especially have a better understanding now of how to organise the system/data on the HD and disk management.

    I installed PerfectDisk trial version. Apparently my disk was in quite a good state; it's only 7 months old. However, the management of the "free space" was really needing improvement and PerfectDisk did the job. The PD tool has a very informative user interface. I liked the tool.

    I ran the "disk cleanup" utility from Vista. Thanks by the same token as I was unaware of this tool living in my system...still learning. It cleaned up 2GB worth of data. I also have CCleaner set to run on system start up and use Registry Cleaner from PCTools so I guess the system must be quite clean now.

    I end up now with 26GB/140GB of used disk space on C:.

    Good idea, I'll indeed proceed to placing the user files in another partition. I guess I can simply cut/paste the user file from C: disk and place it into the other partition once it has been created? Do I have to watch out for anything such as adjusting/changing the new path file for the users file elsewhere on the system, like in the email client, or do the programs adapt themselves, i.e. immediately detect the new location of the user file?

    If I understand correctly, you say that we can go ahead directly with creating partitions on the C: disk even if it is not empty?
    I hadn't thought that C: disk is in fact a 140GB partition which we can then reduce...I initially thought that in order to create a partition on C:, one would have to go through making a disk image of C:/OS to the ext drive, "wipe" out what is on C: in order to make new partitions, then re-install disk image of OS on C:.
    If we can go directly to partitioning on C:, then that is good news.

    The big moment has arrived: Acronis Disk Director just arrived in the mail from the UK this morning.

    To the technical aspects:

    - OS partition requirements:
    Out of 140GB, perhaps 50GB should be for the OS partition, to be on the safe side?
    After the cleanup, there is 26GB/140GB on the C: disk. I have also transfered all media to the ext drive. My Prog Files is just under 5GB.

    - Number of partitions:
    I have concluded (after reading all the posts) that it would be good to have 3 partitions on the laptop disk:
    - 1 for OS & Prgms
    - 1 for user files
    - 1 for data (Word docs, media, audio etc).

    If this sounds logical then I'll be going with that objective, unless there's something I haven't thought of.

    - Size of add. partitions:
    I'm still not sure how big each partition ought to be really. As said above: perhaps 50 GB for the OS. The rest, 90GB, is to be divided between user and data. I'm actually only interested in keeping Word docs and a small file with audios. All the rest of media can remain on the external drive permanently. The users file on C: is only 950MB.

    - Backing up before partitioning: advised?
    Should we make a disk image of the C: disk before partitioning, incase something goes wrong?
     
  12. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    You can store your own files (Word documents, music files, etc, wherever you like. To make this more convenient with Vista, right-click on one of Vista's user folders (Documents, Music, Videos, etc) and choose the "Location" tab. You can then specify where the folder is to be located. In this example I have moved the location of the "Videos" folder from C:\Users\My_Username\Videos to D:\Videos.

    folders 1.PNG

    In the Microsoft Office programs you can specify a default location for documents, and your email software may allow you to relocate its files. In any event, almost all applications will present the standard Windows "Save" or "Save As" dialog when you are saving a file, and this dialog will let you navigate to wherever you want to save the file.

    Yes, partitioning software will allow you to resize existing partitions, so you can reduce the size of your single existing partition to make room for new partitions.


    The latter two categories are really the same thing, aren't they? Your Word docs, media, etc are your user files. But choose a scheme that makes sense to you. If you would like some of your files (perhaps ones that change frequently) in one partition and others that hardly ever change in another partition then you can set things up that way.

    The 50 GB sounds reasonable.

    Absolutely. While things are not supposed to go wrong, they sometimes do. I would definitely advise making a disk image before you change anything. This is your safety net and is highly recommended.

    Have you tried booting your PC from the DD boot CD yet? Check to see if both "full" and "safe" mode versions run correctly and can see all of your disks, both internal and external. You will need to use the boot CD whenever you make changes to the Windows system partition.
     
  13. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Thank you for reviewing the previous post. It's a good thing you provide screenshots - makes it even more easy to understand.

    You're right about the user file, it does make sense.
    I was just thinking about having a separate partition for the user because of the application data that is saved in the user's file; such as The Bat! email client's files are all saved/located in users >my username >App Data >roaming >The Bat. So I thought that this type of data, which is related to applications was to be kept separate from the media data partition such as video, audio, docs etc., because it comes more under the "OS" in my mind... But I was probably/surely complicating life by thinking like that.

    Sorry, I'm a bit confused here.

    What is meant by "booting the PC from the DD boot CD" please?
    I have installed DD now on the laptop using the install CD, but this is not the "boot CD" your are speaking of I imagine.

    So you advise me to run my PC in safe mode and check if I can access the int and ext hard drives without any problems?

    Can you kindly explain which boot CD will be used for making future changes to Windows partition?

    Sorry, I'm not really sure about what I am to do. Can you guide the novice once again.
     
  14. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Those are all really good questions and key to understanding how to use programs like Disk Director and True Image. Even though DD and TI are Windows programs and can be installed and operated just like any other piece of Windows software, there are things that cannot be done while Windows is running. For example, if you are going to restore an image of your Windows partition this cannot be done while Windows is running. The PC must boot into a recovery environment and make its changes while Windows is shut down. Similarly you cannot make changes with DD to the Windows partition while Windows is running. Both TI and DD use Linux for their recovery environments.

    In your case the CD that came with the boxed version of DD is bootable. You need to test it out by booting your laptop with the DD CD. Insert the CD into your optical drive and restart the PC. If you have a menu that lets you select the boot device, then choose to boot from CD. Many laptops now have this menu; Dell uses F11, Lenovo uses F12, etc. When the CD boots you will see a menu like this (except you will not see the True Image choices listed):

    TI boot.png

    Note for Disk Director that there are two choices; Full and Safe. You want to test your laptop with each version. The "full" version is Linux based and allows operations with internal and external disks and supports networking. The "safe" version is DOS-based and does not support networking or USB devices.

    When you boot into either version the user interface is almost identical to the Windows program and the operation of the program is similar. The key, however, is that you must verify that the boot CD works properly with your hardware. It is better to do that now before attempting to make any partitioning changes.
     
  15. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    I now understand what is meant by bootable CD and why you advised to check if I can boot Acronis from the bootable media.

    Those are things I should have looked up on the net first before asking...I ususally never go into asking on the Wilders forum without doing some personal research , but I guess this time I got a little "anxious" about things...like every user, I'm not trying to test my luck with the backup or partitioning - rather trying to get it right the first time.

    So clearly and simply explained!

    What you explain here is very helpful to understand the different types of environment in which we operate recovery/partitioning. To the technically advanced users this is an evidency; but to the average user (and most of us using computers are not so well grounded in the IT/Tech field) it’s really important to understand how the recovery mode operates and how it is different than what we usually experience while using our system/desktop environment. As an average user, I can tell you that before reading your post I didn’t fully understand what recovery and safe mode consisted of.

    These explanations ought to be on the Acronis FAQ website or part of the user's guide introduction to using all Acronis software.

    Back to partitioning: I have now created a bootable media on a CD-R with Acronis TI and DD on the same disc. I created this bootable CD through Acronis TI, where I was asked if I wished to add DD to the media, which I did for the practicality of having one Acronis bootable media.

    I've been testing the bootable media these days:

    I inserted the bootable disk and then rebooted the system. Resut was an Acronis start up window appearing within seconds and containing the following menu:

    - True Image (full)
    - DD (full)
    - OS Selector Activator
    - DD (safe)
    - OS Selector Setup
    - Windows

    I tried to test the following functions:

    - Windows > result = launched Windows perfectly and within seconds.

    - TI (full mode) > result = launched TI user interface within seconds. I was able to visualise both the C: disk and the G: external disk.

    - DD (safe mode) > result = launched DD user interface within seconds. Could only visualise the C: disk and was able to visualise both the main and recovery partitions of C:. disk. As you mentioned above, I could not see the external G: disk / USB device.

    - DD (full mode) > result = problem: black screen with Acronis logo appears, "Loading, please wait..." message. Waited for 10 mintutes then resumed to shut down and reboot. Several attempts resulted the same.
    Proceeded to then use the bootable CD that was provided by Acronis (as for DD I purchased the boxed version whereas for TI I downloaded from Acronis website) > result = same problem with black screen and loading message.

    A really good and important thing you insisted on testing the bootable media! Indeed, there is a problem, but happily enough this is at an early stage and not during partitioning operations. Very glad you guided me through the testing phase. This is really a critical stage we should all go through as new users.

    Could you kindly guide me as to where one should start looking to localise the problem causing DD not to boot properly?

    Note that Acronis TI booted very nicely and it is on the same media where I built DD on.

    Should I try creating an ISO disk on DVD to see if there's a difference, or is it rather in the system settings...?

    Thank you very much for the support. I hope other new users will find their way to this thread and read the section wher you explain how to test the bootable media. It's a shame that it's not in a thread of it's own with a title: "How to test Acronis bootable media before use". Or maybe there is a thread already. I tried to search for one in the forum but didn't find. It would be good to have your post as a sticky, so other users can see it immediately.
     
  16. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    TKHgva:

    There is really nothing you can do to make another boot CD or DVD that will allow DD 10 full mode to work with your hardware - the problem is with the hardware support in DD 10's Linux recovery environment.

    Your result with the boot CD is exactly the same as my experience with my new Lenovo laptop. While DD 10 full mode worked fine with the 4-yr old laptop that I just replaced, it does not work with the new laptop. I get the exact same symptom as you get. The reason that full mode isn't working for us is that DD 10 has not been updated in a while now, and in the time since the last update a lot of new hardware has been released that does not have driver support yet.

    You have at least three options from here:

    1. There are other recovery environments available for Acronis products. Three of the best are BartPE, VistaPE, and MustangPE. Personally I use and like VistaPE, but it will take a bit of effort to understand how to download the necessary files to "build" a BartPE or VistaPE boot environment. By far the simplest choice is a program written by forum member Mustang called MustangPE. It is based on the Windows Vista SP1 recovery environment and thus uses Windows drivers for the hardware. Most likely your machine is supported natively by Vista so driver support is not an issue. If you are interested in this approach, here is a link.

    2. You always have the option of contacting Acronis Support to ask for a custom boot CD that supports your hardware. The easiest way to contact them is to go to their web site and use the Live Chat feature.

    3. Finally, you know that True Image full mode works properly on your PC, so you already have the capability to restore an image from your external USB disk to the laptop. When using DD 10 you do not need to have USB support working in order to partition your laptop's internal disk. DD10's safe mode will do fine, so you could ignore the problem of being unable to boot into DD 10 full mode. Actually, that's what I'm doing. If Acronis releases an update then maybe our harware will then be supported. But to be honest, I have always used safe mode with DD anyway. It boots much faster and I don't need to have the network and USB devices working when partitioning my internal disk, so safe mode is perfectly adequate.
     
  17. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Thank you for the support.

    This option sounds the most practical and I will settle down with using DD in safe mode. Very fine.

    I am very glad to have posted in the forum and benefited from your advice; I feel boosted in my capabilities to master my computer, and much more aware of it's internal functioning.

    I have one last question, and then I think it would be fair enough to close this chapter:

    I have a hardware/driver (don't know which) problem concerning the built in webcam on Sony Vaio; one day to the next it stopped working. I have been exchanging for months with Vaio support and they politely said that they had spent enough time on the issue, that they suggest I restore to factory settings, or furtheromore that I send in the laptop so they can kindly "wipe & clean" the system. Although it is thoughtful of them, I politely refused handing in the laptop for them to "wipe" it...
    I did some forum searching at Vaio and Notebook forum; I am not the only one with the issue, but causes and solutions all seem different, so that didn't advance the matter.

    I am resorting to set back the computer (C: disk) back to factory settings. I am not that sure if it will solve the webcam issue, or whether I should use another tool, such as "Re-install Programs or Drivers" or even the "Restore Complete Sytem" tool, but that's an issue for another place and forum. But I am actually thinking it's not a bad thing: since now after 7 months usage of the laptop, I much better understand Windows and computers in general, I figure it would be a good thing to start again on a "new page". As when I first started using the laptop and system, I was like a novice not sure of what I was doing. There might be things I did on the system or C: disk without being fully aware, and that are going to backlash one day. So it's maybe good to start over again now that I am a bit more advanced with the system.

    That way also, I can make a disk image of the OS with TI when it is "fresh/clean" (although Sony has many pre-installed apps), then re-install all my programs, take a new image and carry on from there. I can then keep a disk image of the factory-OS and another image of the OS with my programs on the disk. That way, if things get "rough" one day, I have these two images to call for rescue/backup.

    I am thinking of using the built in Vaio Recovery Center. This is how it presents itself:

    Vaio Recovery Center.JPG

    And this is the selected "C: disk restore" tool:

    restore C drive.JPG

    My question related to Acronis utility is:

    after having done a C: disk restore to factory settings (and please do tell me if you think it is a terrible idea...), will any partitions I have created through Acronis DD disapear, or does partitioning remain even after we restore a C: disk to factory settings?
    Because in factory settings, C: disk is one partition (rather two : main part. and recovery part.), so I became curious to know if a restore from the built in Vaio tool would "overwrite" the partitions created with DD.
    But as the tool only mentions "deleting files", I am thinking partitions remain?

    So basically, does restoring a system or C: disk imply that partitions will have to be re-created?

    Thank you again for your time, patience and prompt responses to all the posts.
     
  18. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    TKHgva:

    It looks to me like Sony is using Vista's Complete PC Backup facility to restore the PC to factory settings. I really can't answer definitively if the restore operation will affect your other partitions or not. Most restore operations will only affect the partition that they are restoring to -- TI works that way. However, in the back of my mind I am recalling someone who posted on the TI forum that they had used Vista Complete PC Backup and it had deleted their new partitions and restored the machine to the state it was in at the time of the backup. If I recall correctly, it was not supposed to do that but he may have missed a setting in the restore wizard that caused this outcome.

    So although I don't think that the Sony restore will affect your new partition(s) it would be wise to have a backup of them in case it does. Using TI to save an image of the OS in factory state and then again when you have it set up to your liking is a very good idea.

    I hope you can get your webcam issue resolved.
     
  19. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
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    Hello all,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    Actually, it depends on Vaio tool recovery specifics. For example, our Acronis True Image Home 2009 require to delete entire hard drive when you are going to clone the drive. The recovery require a free space on destination drive accordingly.

    TKHgva, we would recommend you to contact Vaio directly (the link is for United Kingdom site) and ask about recovery tools, exactly - how does it perform the recovery.

    And then please let us know.

    We are looking forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  20. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Alexander,

    Thank you for your post.

    No apologies needed! But gladly accepted. As you can see, I was provided with some very good help and guidance by K0lo.

    I am sorry, could you kindly explain furthermore the two points underlined?

    (1) - I am not sure I understand properly what is meant by deleting the entire drive for cloning the drive. Do you mean that if we are restoring the "disk image" we created using Acronis TI, then the destination drive must be "clean" or "completely wiped" in some way? So the destination drive should be just one empty partition/drive?

    (2) - Do you mean that the destination drive should consist of or contain a partition the exact same space as the disk image we wish to restore?

    I sent them an email yesterday asking for detailed info regarding their buit-in recovery tool. Hopefully, we will get a response soon.

    I had previously phoned Sony Vaio Support regarding this topic (using the recovery tool to bring back the system to factory settings, how it would affect the sysetm and how to backup important files/data), but somehow they seemed at that time to respond quite vaguely and in general terms, particularly not wishing to get into the subject of how to backup important data/files, only merely suggesting/advising to backup important data/files before proceeding to restore the system with Vaio Recovery Center Tool. They told me that any discussion involving use of third party software (ex. to backup using Acronis TI) was not in their reach/part of their support services.

    I will indeed. Thank you for your time and excellent support on the forum.
     
  21. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    California
    Acronis is just doing a comparison and since they don't know what the Vaio recovery will do, they're giving an example using TI.

    When you clone a drive using TI, the destination drive will be cleared (all partitions deleted). When you restore an image to a drive, the destination drive will be cleared if you're restoring an Entire Disk Image. If you are just restoring one or more partitions (not as an Entire Disk Image restore), then only the affected partitions/space on the destination drive will be replaced (other existing partitions will remain).

    I think it's very likely that if you do a complete recovery (back to factory setup) using the Vaio software, any DD created partitions on the drive will be lost. Depending on how they setup the software, the less destructive recovery/repair methods (if available) may not work if the drive isn't in the layout expected (as partitioned by the factory, for example).

    There just needs to be enough room on the destination drive to hold the used space being restored. If a partition already exists and it's large enough, you can restore over it (replacing its contents). If the drive is empty (unallocated), you can restore to the unallocated space and either keep or resize the partition as you see fit.
     
  22. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello all,

    TKHgva, MudCrab gave the absolutely correct answers to the questions you posted above.

    Could you please let us know the answer from Vaio?

    We are looking forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  23. TKHgva

    TKHgva Registered Member

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    Hello all,

    Indeed, MudCrab responded well to my questions. Thank you very much by the way MudCrab, sorry for the late response, I was waiting to get some news from Vaio in order to follow up.

    Apologies for the delay in responding:

    1. I have gone through a period of "wiping & restoring" my laptop several times, and it took me some time to get things back into place (this was my first experience of re-installing the system)

    and

    2. I waited and waited, then renewed my request to Vaio Support for info on our topic, but they never replied. I was sent a reply by Vaio Support saying that my request for info on the "Vaio Recovery Center" and it's effects on partitions had been transmitted to the proper team, and shortly a response would follow. However, there has been no response. This is the first time with Vaio that they do not respond, I must say until now after just under a year, their support team has been really efficient and I am very pleased with it.

    However, since a few weeks they have changed their E-Support system: before it was called "Vaio-Link", you would log into your user area with username and pass, then in this area one could open a new case, with the possibility to have several cases open at one same time, and then one could see the development (responses) to the case in chronological order. It was a really efficient system, the replies were very fast and effective, and easy to keep track of the follow up on each case. Now, they stopped that system (unfortunately) and it is replace by an online form to fill in, which is then sent to their support team - but from my two first experiences, it seems like this new way the request for support might be subject to getting "lost" in the process.

    Anyways, I actually proceeded to a system restore on my system using the built in "Vaio Recovery Center" tool, in order to bring the system back to factory settings. My "motivation" for doing so was that the built in camera was not working anymore and no other way was able to get it to function. Vaio suggested I hand them over the laptop so they could "clean-wipe" it, an offer which I politely refused, preffering to go ahead in "solo".

    Following are the "results" of experiences with the "Vaio Restore" tool. Sorry for any technical imprecisions, I am learning with these systems (have a laptop since about 9 months).

    Vaio Recovery Center.JPG

    Sony Vaio Recovery Center Tool & effects on partitions created with Acronis Disk Director:


    Exp #1 - option "Restore C: Drive"

    a) State of the Hard Drive before operation:
    multiple partitions created with Acronis DD :
    - C: = OS, reduced size from 139GB -> 60GB
    - S: = Swap
    - D: = Data

    b) Proceeded to restore C: drive

    c) Result after restore
    > C: / OS partition was completely wiped and restored to "factory" settings, i.e. all my apps & settings gone and replaced with pre-configured apps & settings.

    > I had reduced the size of the C: drive using Acronis DD so that the Vista OS would be contained in a partition of 60GB. The Vaio Restore tool did not resize the partition to it's factory size > i.e. the factory settings of the Hard Drive is 140GB (139GB) divided into 1 hidden recovery partition and 1 OS / C: partition . I had thought that restoring the C: drive would restore the contents as well as the layout (size) of the C: partition. However, it did not affect the partition size, and it remained at 60GB I had configured. (*)

    > Other partitions remained INTACT - no effect on them (was gladly surprised).

    Exp #2 - option "Restore Complete System"

    After having restored the C: drive succesfully, I became quite enthusiastic about getting to know the system more thoroughly, so I made the "leap" and tried a few registry "tweaks". However, one registry tweak cause my system to not boot anymore and to stall just before Windows would launch. To be precise, what I did was follow one out of the many registry tweaks on the net to change Vista's habit of changing folder view settings everytime a new file (in different format) is added to a folder. Quite annoying indeed. I however did backup the registry using ERDNT, so when I became confused in the registry tweaking, I decided to simply restore the registry and try again. So I launched the ERDNT exe file that contained the backup of my registry (from my ext hard drive), I was then prompted to restart the system. That's when things became messy, and the system would not load windows anymore, the system attempted to repair something (I think the drive), then I had to call Vaio support for assistance, as I couldn't manage to restore using the recovery DVDs I had created. They guided me successfully into opening the "Vaio Recovery Center" (while the system was in a blackout) from the recovery DVDs, and from there I tried to restore C: drive, (as above) which didn't work. So I was forced to carry out a "Complete System Restore". It also offered me the opportunity to really see how all these recovery options work, and I hope these "experiences" serve as useful feedback to Acronis.

    (PS, I wasn't neither able to restore the images made with TI, had a problem there - surely my misconfig - but that's another topic).

    So, the results of an "Entire System Restore" on the partitions created with Acronis DD (which is probably what interests you the most!) are:

    a) State of the Hard Drive before operation:
    multiple partitions created with Acronis DD:
    - C: = OS, reduced size from 139GB -> 60GB
    - S: = Swap
    - D: = Data

    b) Proceeded to restore entire system

    c) Result after restore

    > as expected, all partitions and all settings were completely wiped out and reconfigured exactly in the manner as when I purchased the laptop.

    Sorry for the long story and delay in responding, hope this has been useful.

    Best regards to Acronis Support Team and forum members. Thank you for you kind assistance in partitioning and backing up.

    (*) I do not know why, but now it is starting to spin in my mind, and I hope my memory is not playing tricks on me. There was some "heavy duty" these past two weeks, as I had never experienced system blackout and having to restore C: drive and then entire system before. I hope I have accurately reported to you the state of the partitions before & after. I am quite confident that I did not see the partitions created through DD disapear the first time, nor did the C: partition size change after I had resized it.
     
  24. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
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    Hello TKHgva,

    Thank you for the detailed description!

    If you have any questions concerning our software, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience with the details and we will do our best to help you as soon as possible.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
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