How to restore a system partition to a different partition

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jon1, Sep 6, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Hello again.
    I hope some expert or experienced user can give me some feedback to my suggestion.
    I have only some painful experiences and do not know what is correct.

    How to restore a system partition to a different partition.
    1. Allocate a new partition.
    2. Take backup of MBR using a tool like MBRTOOL or similar product using DOS.
    3. Delete the new partition (I do not know if this is necessary, an expert should know).
    4. Start either Rescue CD or BartPE CD.
      If you do not use CD you might destroy your existing partition.
    5. Restore to an unallocated space you just deleted and choose primary partition.
      Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.
    6. Restore MBR from backup using DOS.
    7. In order to access the new system partition you hide all other system partitions.
      You let the new partition become Primary,Active.
      The best way to do this is to use a Boot Manager or some product on CD.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Are you trying to restore the boot partition to the same drive or to a different drive?

    You can't restore it to a second partition on the first drive because only one partition on a drive can be active which makes it bootable.
     
  3. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Hi John.
    Same drive, the first.
    Thanks.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,645
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    John,

    That's correct. You can only have one active partition but you can have multiple OS in hidden partitions. That's how I had 15 WinXP on the one HD. I installed WinXP, created an image and restored that image to 14 other partitions. Each OS booted independently of the other 14. There was a little work needed to edit each boot.ini and to set up the boot manager. I needed a boot manager that could hide OS in logical volumes and could adjust for hidden sectors.
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,645
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    jon1,

    Are you having trouble with that link?

    You don't need to do anything at all with the MBR.
     
  6. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Thank you all for the answers.
    Any expert out there to answer?
    Thanks.
     
  7. thomasjk

    thomasjk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Posts:
    1,477
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    You are getting expert answers. The folks who are helping you have been through this so they know what they are talking about.
     
  8. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Hi Tom.
    Yes, of course I have got very, very good help from so many clever forum members. I was only trying to focus so as to get more answers on this thread.
    Thanks.
     
  9. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    jon1,

    If you want to restore a system partition to another partition on the same drive, then you just do that. You don't normally need to mess with the MBR (TI saves a copy in the backup image if you ever did need it) and you don't need to create and delete the new partition area. Either create the partition and restore to it or restore to unallocated space and let TI create the partition.

    If you want it to boot, then you'll have to make sure the new partition is active and, as you say, the other system partition is hidden. You'll need a bootmanger (BootIT NG, OSS, System Commander, etc.) to handle this or you can do it manually with DD if you only rarely switch booting partitions.

    If you're using XP then this is easier than Vista as the partition only needs to be active and the boot.ini file needs to reference the correct partition.

    Also, if you use any build of TI later than TI 9, 3,677, then TI will "scramble" your partition table which can cause problems when using a bootmanger. In this case, restore your partitions and then install the bootmanager (from a CD) so that it sees the partitions in their "finished" state and doesn't get in the middle of the partition table shuffle.
     
  10. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Thank you Mudcrab for your kind answer.
    If I understand you correctly, then my earlier problems was due to not using a CD.
    The original partition got partly damaged.
    I do not really understand this.
    Could this mean that I should use a backup of MBR after all?
    Could it also mean that I should allocate the partition manually before restore?
    I am using TI 10 build 4942.
    Thanks.
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
  12. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Mudcrab, I have read your article - you're a genious.
    It certainly put things into the right perspective.
    I was wondering if the same happens when the other partitions are hidden, then TI would have to change boot.ini in a hidden partition.
    Maybe you know?

    I have been thinking why my original partition got partially damaged.
    Maybe Acronis tries to change the registry in the original if we assign a new drive letter to the new partition, but again I do not know.

    Anyway, thanks for you very good help.
     
  13. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    I have not tested what happens when the partitions are marked as hidden. I have also not tested what happens if you do this when using OSS (Acronis's boot manager). I do know that it causes all sorts of problems with other boot managers because they don't expect those types of changes.

    Currently, if I need to restore a partition to a different "slot" and want to keep the partition table intact, I just use TI 9 build 3,677 to do it.
     
  14. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Final conclusion.
    After much reflection and with good help from MudCrab and other forum members I conclude that to restore a system partition to a different partition can be quite a bit of gambling.
    Just check out these 2 links and you know why.

    TI Restore Changes Partition Order in Partition Table

    Problems Restoring Bootable Partition To Two Different Partitions On Same Disk

    However I did find a much simpler way which has worked for me.
    Also much safer than what I have seen others have been trying to do.
    I invite all of you to comment or come up with better solutions and assume that this issue is important to all experienced users.

    How to restore a system partition to a different partition
    1. Take Restore from the True Image backup to a temporary Logical partition.
      You can assign a drive letter.
      It is probably best to store it on another disk than where you would like to place your new primary system partition.
    2. Make enough unallocated space to where you would like to have your new primary system partition. The safest place would be behind the others primary system partitions. If not you might have to call Microsoft to activate your old partitions. Remember Microsoft is Microsoft.
    3. Change the boot.ini file in the Logical partition so that it will be according to the new primary system partition. If you want to place it before any already existing primary system partition, you would have to change boot.ini on these also.
      In my case I always have the same boot.ini on all partitions with a menu displaying 4 different partitions – but with different defaults.
    4. Take backup of MBR using a tool like MBRTOOL or similar product using DOS.
      You do not have to do this, but this is my way of playing safe.
    5. Now start Disk Director and Copy Partition from the Logical partition to the new Primary System Partition. Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.
    6. Assign a drive letter to the new partition if you like using windows disk management.
    7. You will now see that all the boot.ini files are unchanged and that minimum of changes have been done to the partition table.
    8. You can start the new partition with help of Boot Manager or by setting the new one Primary, Active and hiding the other system partitions. Always do this the first time from a floppy or a CD.
    9. If everything works then you can delete the temporary Logical Partition.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  15. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    jon1,

    I haven't had time to run any tests yet (and probably won't until later this week or next week), but I wanted to go ahead and post some notes on your procedure.

    I assume by this that you are restoring a Primary partition from a TI image to a Logical partition. Did you do this when in Windows or booted to the TI CD? In either case, I would not assign a drive letter, but maybe it doesn't make a difference. Placing the Logical partition on another drive is okay if you have another drive, but should still work okay on the same drive if your partition layout is prepared in advance.

    The basic assumption I'm making here is that by restoring to a Logical partition, TI is not scrambling the partition table (at least not the Primary entries). Therefore, the other Primary partitions are not bothered.

    This is generally the easiest place to put it.

    In your case, it seems you're using the Windows bootloader. When you edited the boot.ini file on the Logical partition, did you do it while booted into Windows or from the DD CD?

    I feel this step is unnecessary, but it doesn't hurt anything. TI keeps a copy of the MBR in the backup image. You can also create a copy the MBR manually using DD.

    Again, did you do this from Windows or booted to the DD CD? I'm assuming Windows since you wouldn't assign a drive letter from the CD.

    Why do you assign a drive letter in this step, when in the previous one you said not to?

    That should be correct.

    This is the normal procedure. However, by assigning a drive letter to the partition in Step 6, didn't you just "break" this step?

    The Logical partition would no longer be needed so deleting it is okay.

    ----

    While your procedure got the job done and didn't scramble the partition table, I think it could have been accomplished much easier. Again, I haven't had time to run any tests, so I just making an educated guess.

    Since you have DD and you were creating a copy of an existing XP (I assume it's XP) to another Primary partition on the same drive, couldn't you have done the same thing by creating unallocated space for the new Primary and just using DD to copy the partition? A simple edit of the boot.ini file with DD before booting should have been all that was needed. (Here, I'm assuming that DD does not "scramble" the partition table when you copy a Primary parition.)

    If you were restoring an older image (one not currently on the computer), then I can understand the necessity of restoring it prior to the copy.

    Also, I assume you don't have TI 9, build 3,677. Using it would have been the simplest of all. Just restore the partition to the new primary and edit the boot.ini file and you're done.

    ----

    One test that would be interesting would be to restore the Primary XP partition into a Logical partition. Then reimage the Logical partition and restore it to the new Primary partition. I would like to know if TI treats a Logical partition restore differently than a Primary partition restore and would leave the partition table order alone.

    It would also be interesting to know if TI bases anything on the boot.ini file settings (where the original partition was according to the partition(#) entry) or if it only goes by the partition table "slot" the original partition was in when it was imaged. Depending on the position of the Logical partition, it could have a partition(#) entry of 4 or less which would place it in a Primary "slot" upon restore if TI uses that. At present, I am assuming that TI restores based upon the imaged "slot" and just updates the boot.ini file as necessary to be correct.
     
  16. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Hi MudCrab.
    Thanks for your kind comments.
    Your good clarification forced me to do more testing in order to answer you.
    I did find an error in my previous post, but I will answer that by making a new solution.
    • I have done everything inside Windows XP Pro and assume that it doesn’t matter whether we are using Windows or CD. Both ways should work 100%.
    • I assume that if we assign a drive letter inside Windows, nothing wrong will happen to the target partition itself. Of course if you use a CD then you should not assign drive letters at all.
    • You are very correct that if you only want to copy a partition you only use DD directly.
      This is what I also do some times, but here we are considering that we only have a True Image.
    • Regarding backup of MBR I will leave that out in my new solution since both you and others have told me so. It is of course unnecessary. However I did not find a backup procedure inside DD, only copy.
    • The important point about this solution is that it should be safe and work 100% regardless of ATI release.
    • I did find out that DD behaves differently than Windows Disk Management regarding reorganizing the partition table. Windows Disk Management seems to always have the free partitions last.

    How to restore a system partition to a different partition

    You can do this inside Windows or use an ATI(Acronis True Image)/DD(Disk Director) CD.
    When you want to edit use Disk Director by going to Click Partition=>Explore=>Right click file.
    Using Windows it is possible to edit by assigning drive letters after some operations, but using Disk Director is cleaner and better.
    If you follow the suggestion about Microsoft under point 2, you will be safe.
    1. Take Restore from the True Image backup to a temporary Logical partition.
      The temporary Logical partition can exist before or be unallocated.
      Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.
      It is probably best to store it on another disk than where you would like to place your new primary system partition.

      Comment.
      The reason for not assigning a drive letter is so that the boot.ini file on the original partition remains unchanged – do not trust ATI.
      The boot.ini in the target will be changed by ATI, so this we will edit later on.
    2. Make enough unallocated space to where you would like to have your new primary system partition. The safest place would be behind the others primary system partitions. If not you might have to call Microsoft to activate your old partitions. Remember Microsoft is Microsoft.
    3. Change the boot.ini file in the Logical partition so that it will be according to the new primary system partition. If you want to place it before any already existing primary system partition, you would have to change boot.ini on these also.
      In my case I always have the same boot.ini on all partitions with a menu displaying 4 different partitions – but with different defaults and marked so that I know which partition is booting.

      Comment.
      DD will try to change boot.ini files so it is good practice to check them all after copy.
    4. Now start Disk Director and Copy Partition from the Logical partition to the new Primary System Partition.
      Do not assign a drive letter to the new partition.

      Comment.
      Disk Director is kind and will not do anything wrong with the target partition even if you assign a drive letter.
      But for safety you can leave it out during Copy.
    5. You should now check all the boot.ini files and make changes if needed.
      Comment.
      DD will try to change boot.ini files so it is good practice to check them even though you have already done this correct manually before the copy.
    6. You can start the new partition with help of Boot Manager or by setting the new one Primary, Active and hiding the other system partitions. Always do this the first time from a floppy or a CD.
    7. If everything works then you can delete the temporary Logical Partition.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2007
  17. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    jon1,

    In steps 3 and 4, regarding assigning a drive letter to be able to edit the boot.ini file (or just look at it), this is not necessary if you're using DD. You can start DD in Windows and explore the partition, just as you state at the top of your post when using the DD CD. This works for hidden partitions as well.
     
  18. jon1

    jon1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Posts:
    42
    Thanks MudCrab, I have changed it now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  19. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.