How to prevent TI 11 from changing critical system files when restoring an image?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by wonderer, Jun 7, 2009.

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  1. wonderer

    wonderer Registered Member

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    When TI 11 restores an image of a C: drive (Windows XP) it always changes the system registry hive C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system. This can be seen by comparing a hex view of the restored file against the file in the archive (mounted on a virtual drive). Usually it chops the end off the file, often just zeros but sometimes non-zero values. Occasionally it also changes values throughout the hive. This happens even when restoring the image to its original partition .

    Things are even worse when restoring to a different partition. Not only does it make extensive changes to the system hive but it also changes all the boot.ini files it can find, even on completely different drives. It may have made other undocumented unwanted changes that I haven't found yet.

    I have a multi-disk multi-boot system and am able to make the necessary changes to the registry and boot.ini files myself when restoring images of the C: drive to different partitions, but I don't want to also have to find and undo the changes that TI has inflicted.

    TI changes these files even when doing a sector-by-sector restore from a sector-by-sector backup.
    How can force it just to restore the 'true image' without any unwanted side effects?

    I changed the post restoration command from "Use commands set by default" to "Use commands" with no command specified, but this had no effect. When I specified a command to rename the file to "not_system" to prevent TI from recognising it this ran OK, but too late because TI had already changed the file.

    Is there any way round this problem in TI 11?
    Can TI 2009 restore a 'true image' without changing critical system files?
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    What boot manager are you using?

    Are your OS installations hidden (or otherwise isolated) from each other or can they all see all the partitions?

    Do you just not like TI making the changes or are some of the operating systems not booting properly after restoring one or more partitions?

    Did you ever use TI 10 to restore any OS partitions on this system?
     
  3. wonderer

    wonderer Registered Member

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    The initial boot uses GRUB to chose a Linux or Windows drive. Windows then boots in the normal way using boot.ini.

    I managed to boot from another drive and then replace the damaged system hive and boot files by copying them manually from mounted TI archives.

    Hiding partitions by not assigning drive letters (if that's what you mean) did not seem to hide them from TI.

    I have been experimenting with Kaspersky Internet Security and managed to get it to block TI from changing system files on other drives. This involves adding the pathnames of the affected files (e.g. X:\boot.ini) to KIS's list of protected system files and creating a special rule to prevent TI from changing system files. Unfortunately KIS doesn't prevent TI from changing the system hive of the partition being restored, probably because this happens before the drive letter has been assigned.

    I don't understand or trust the changes that TI is making because:
    1. It's changes boot.ini are incorrect.
    2. It should not be necessary to change the system hive at all when restoring to the original drive.
    3. The changes it makes to the system hive when restoring to a different partition are unnecessarily large and complex. All that's needed is a simple edit to the MountedDevices registry key to assign the C: drive to its new partition.
    I am unhappy with TI 11 because although it has lots of features it doesn't seem to have the basic ability to restore an exact copy of the image of a C: drive. Acronis's web site says "Create an exact copy of your PC and restore it from a major failure in minutes", which implied to me that it also restores an exact copy. Instead I am having to do extra work to undo the changes it has made.

    TI 11 is the first version I have used. Do earlier versions have the ability to restore a drive without interfering with critical files?
     
  4. snifferpro

    snifferpro Registered Member

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    are you doing the restore from Windows or are you using the Rescue CD?
     
  5. wonderer

    wonderer Registered Member

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    Am using TI while running in XP in the normal way.
    From here I am backing up and restoring another (new) installation of XP on a second drive.
     
  6. snifferpro

    snifferpro Registered Member

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    Try using the Rescue CD to do the restore.
     
  7. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    That's not implied, that's an explicit declaration on Acronis's part, albeit a false one. The term "exact" leaves little wiggle room for differences. I think that Acronis would have been more accurate if ithad said instead that it can make a nearly exact copy or at least included a footnote re how it does not in fact make an exact copy.


     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think TI 9 (build 3,677) was the last build that didn't mess with booting files.

    TI now tries to be "smart" and fix everything. This includes things that don't need fixing and also includes things on partitions not affected by the restore. There should be an option to turn off this "feature" for those that don't need or want it as it can cause a lot of trouble with multi-booting setups.

    At least you aren't using TI 10 or the last build of TI 9. Those scrambled the partition table and could really screw your system up if you weren't careful.

    As far as I know, the only really good way of keeping TI from "fixing" things is to use a boot manager (like BING) that lets you completely isolate your Windows partitions. However, this has to be done correctly and carefully so that TI doesn't corrupt your partitions (it can't see them). Testing is required if setup this way.
     
  9. wonderer

    wonderer Registered Member

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    Hi snifferpro,

    I have just tried using the Rescue CD as suggested to restore an image to its original position. Unfortunately it still changed the system hive.


    Hi shieber,

    Perhaps the wiggle room allowed depends upon at what level the state of a PC is defined:
    1) The level of sectors on the disk - which leaves no wriggle room at all.
    2) The level of the file system - leaves freedom to restore sectors to different positions.
    3) The level of the behaviour of the system - perhaps leaves freedom to defragment the file system or registry etc.

    Frustratingly TI seems to be able to achieve (1) or (2), depending upon whether or not you do a sector-by-sector restore, but then throws it all away by changing critical system files and doesn't even achieve (3).


    Hi MudCrab,

    Thanks for the useful historical information about TI versions. It sounds like version 9 might suite my requirements better than 11. I don't need most of the bells & whistles that are now being added, just the ability to backup and restore partitions and to mount them as virtual drives. What features in 11 are missing from 9? Can you point me to any documents that say what was changed in going from 9 to 10 then 11?

    I have managed to use Kaspersky Internet Security to block TI from changing system files on the C: drive that TI is running in, and on other drives. Unfortunately this doesn't work for files in the partition being restored as they seem to be changed before the drive letter has been assigned and KIS can see them. (See #3 above)

    I definitely agree it should be possible to turn off this 'feature', and hoped that de-selecting "Use commands set by default" in restoration options would do so.
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wonderer,

    Thank you for using Acronis True Image

    The information is available in the appropriate User guides available here, chapters "New in Acronis True Image".

    I can replace your license with Acronis True Image 9.0 Home license. You should register the license on our web site here and let me know via PM the e-mail address you used to register the serial number.

    Meanwhile, I am sending you the link via PM to download the trial version of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home to make sure that the program runs flawless for you.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  11. wonderer

    wonderer Registered Member

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    Hello Oleg,

    Thanks for the links to the TI documentation and the trial version of TI 9, that I downloaded and tested.

    The good news is it didn't change the system hive when restoring a TI 9 archive.

    The bad news is that among the many new features introduced in versions 10 and 11 there are two important ones that help reduce the size of archives:
    1) Source file exclusion for 'My Computer' backups
    2) Sector-by-sector restores, which are necessary to prevent large increments following restores.
    Also it went in a loop (100% CPU, no I/O) when I tried use it to restore a TI 11 archive, so I would need to keep TI 11 to restore existing archives.

    On balance these two new features that would be lost in moving to TI 9 outweigh the ability to do an exact restore, so I will have to stick with TI 11.

    As TI is no longer able to restore exactly a copy of a Windows partition it does not seem to fulfil the claims on your website. Are there any plans to re-instate this functionality that was lost after TI 9.

    P.S. In case you don't know already, I also raised this query directly with Customer Service who have escalated it. I have pointed them to this thread.
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wonderer,

    Thank you for using Acronis True Image

    Please keep us informed about the current state of the case.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  13. Paulb

    Paulb Registered Member

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    Re: Yes wonderer I have hit this wall too

    and spent endless hours with Acronis tech support. I'd have to say I got my $29 bucks worth---even though they didn't solve the problems I was having--with a less than 100% accurate image backup and restore. I eventually had to just brute force a solution--which it sounds like you've done as well. That means manually tweaking the registry-- remotely and sometimes having to mess with the boot sectors and maybe the ntuser.dat file for the user id logging on. There is a whole world of grief that Acronis can cause with their less than TRUE image restores, especially when it's not dealing with generic setups. I also have a multi-boot system which boots initially from a fat32 drive before vectoring me to the operating system I want to use.

    I did enjoyed the chats to Moscow and I learned a lot of other stuff about Acronis--but I've spend too many years in the trenches with MS OS'es to enjoy the grunt work of fixing things at this level. This SOO reminds me of when MS brought out the REGISTRY with win95 and decided that it was too complex for end-users---so they they made real backups nearly impossible ---until we just went in and backed it up remotely--and originally with DOS and unix utilities.

    It really kinda sucks because the bottom line is that having an exact image backup is the whole raison d'etre for Acronis TI and they've been the best in the business for some time--both image backups and HDD/partition management.

    If they out-fox themselves with secondary and tertiary features while failing to fulfill the primary objective, frankly it leaves a void in the market place which some other vendor is bound to fill.

    And one more thing to bear in mind---If you've been using TI 11 to create images TI 9 can't process those .tib's---so there's really no going back if you have tons of 11 images.
     
  14. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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  15. Paulb

    Paulb Registered Member

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    Sheiber I read both links you pointed to but I don't find a connection to the issue of TI not actually creating AND restoring a true and 100% identical image. Maybe I'm missing something but vista scheduling and uninstalling TI 2009 seem like two completely unrelated topics....
     
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