Image is Corrupt, then it isn't

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by phrab, Jul 12, 2005.

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  1. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    I've read the previous threads on this issue, but mine is slightly different.

    I'm using Build 889 to backup my hard drive to an external drive via a USB 2.0 port. I then perform scheduled incremental backups to the same drive every other day & use Check Image to verify them every morning.

    When I get to somewhere about the 10th to 12th incremental, I get a message that the image is corrupt. I then go back & check the previous incremental (that was OK when I checked it two days ago) & get the same message. I can go back 2-5 images before I get a verified image.

    With previous builds, I would reboot, & some, but not all the images that were "corrupt" were now verified. With Build 889, today, I had 3 images that were "corrupt", rebooted, & now all were fine. I should mention that I am able to Explore & spotcheck files in these corrupt images & was able to copy or use the restored files.

    1. I am worried that, in a real emergency, I won't be able to restore, as this keeps happening. Any idea what is going on?

    2. When incremental image #11 & #12, eg., are "corrupt", but incremental image #10 is verified, does that mean all the images earlier than #10 are NOT corrupt?

    Thank you in advance,
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello phrab,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Have you tried to explore the images that are reported as corrupted? Sometimes it is possible to explore corrupted image and recover the main part of the data. Please note that, the problem with corrupted image files is usually a hardware problem.

    Please verify your image archive in rescue mode and let us know the result? Please also try to move your incremental image (11 and 12) to another folder and verify the image archive again. If the image is fine, please create a new incremental image and verify it, then please let us know the result.

    Thank you.
    --
    Irina Shirokova
     
  3. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Irina:
    Thank you for your reply.
    Yes, I have. As I mentioned in my first post, I spot checked the files after it was reported corrupted and could find no problem.
    I have a brand new machine. The system reports everything working OK. I have two external drives & this issue has ocurred with both. I would think it was unlikely that I would have hardware problems with two entirely different drives. How would I check to see if there was a hardware problem? Also, if this were a hardware problem why would it "go away" after a reboot?

    I haven't done this yet. Do you mean to use the boot disk & that will give me an option to verify the image (as I don't want to restore anything at this point)?
    I'm a little confused as to this request. The full backup & all the incrementals are on a single external drive. If I move the last two incremental images to another drive, I thought that I could no longer verify or restore from them because they are not in the same folder. Also, I had already verified the images after rebooting, so I'm not sure what I am checking for.

    The problem is that I think I'm getting a message that the image is corrupt when it isn't. Also, could you tell me:
    1. If I check an incremental image & I get the message that it was verified successfully, does that mean that the full backup & previous incrementals are OK? i.e. if an image is verified successfully, does it automatically mean that the main backup (the full one) & all prior incremental backups are OK, or do I have to check each & every one?

    Thank you again,
     
  4. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello phrab,

    If you select a particular incremental image file then TI will verify the initial full image plus all incrementals up to, and including, the one you've selected.

    As for the intermittent indication that an image is corrupt, it might be worth downloading the floppy version of MemTest 86+ from http://www.memtest.org/. Boot from the floppy and run MemTest for an hour or so to test your RAM. There should be no errors flagged up during the test.

    Regards
     
  5. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Irina:
    I have used the boot disk & verified the last incremental image. Per Menorcaman, that would mean that all my backups are OK. I just don't know why they periodically say they are corrupt.
    Thanks again,
     
  6. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman:
    Thank you for your reply. I downloaded & ran memtest from a floppy for about an hour. It showed no errors. Any other ideas?
    Thanks again,
    Phil
     
  7. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Phil,

    Well that's eliminated the possibility of flaky RAM.

    If the problem of occassional corrupt images only manifests itself when verifying under Windows then it may well be caused by interference from some other running application. However, if occasional corruption also occurs when verifying in the Linux based boot rescue environment then I would say you probably have some sort of hardware problem. Could be a blind alley, but it may be worthwhile checking the consistency/performance of your external USB setup. Download and run <Simpli Software's Hd Tach 3> and then compare the result for the Quick Bench (8mb zones) and Long Bench (32mb zones) with the two screenshots I posted in this previous thread titled <Re: ATI 8.0 (826) TAKES TOO LONG TO RESTORE>. Remember to switch your external Hard Drive's power OFF then ON and reboot your computer between test runs in order to flush any caches that may provide false results.

    Regards
     
  8. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman:
    Sorry for the delay in responding. I was away from the computer & then I ran exhaustive tests. Things have gone from bad to worse.

    Every new backup to my two external drives, are found to be corrupt. I did a backup to my firewire drive, which did verify. However, the firewire drive is not seen by the boot disk & is too small to be an effective backup.

    I bought a new USB 2.0 hub. When I tested the drives with the HDTach that you recommended, the ports on the new hub performed worse than the old hub. My results were approx: Dirves connected on the Old Hub:
    Random Access: 13.7
    CPU: 8%
    Ave Read: 24.8 MB

    Drives connected on new USB 2.0 hub:
    RA: 14.1
    CPU: 14%
    Ave. Read: 18.3

    While the results varied between tests, there wasn't too much difference. When I first started the tests, I shut down everything I could, but ended with the computer freezing. So I left everything that runs at startup, except the antivirus, run. The CPU might be effected by that.

    As a test, I cloned my C: drive to one of my backups. I was then able to create a backup to that drive & verify it. I formatted the drive (because I didn't want a cloned drive) & tried to create an image again. This time, it was shown as corrupt.

    I'm thoroughly confused as to what is going on. Any other ideas? I thank you so much for your time & for sticking with me on this.
     
  9. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi again phrab,

    It's not normal for the computer to freeze just because you've shut down a program that's running in the Windows Taskbar. Can you determine which of the programs that you shut down caused the problem?

    Well, to elliminate any interference from other Windows applications, boot from the Acronis Rescue CD, create an image to your external USB drive and then verify it. Repeat it a couple of times. If the image still occasionally gets reported as corrupt then it could be that your external HD enclosure is unsuitable for use with very large data files. Check out this somewhat lengthy thread titled <Who DOES NOT have a problem with corrupt images... > plus this slightly shorter thread titled <External USB/Firewire drives that work>.

    Regards
     
  10. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman:
    Thanks for the quick reply. I will check out the threads that you mention. It wasn't closing a running application that on the taskbar that caused a problem. I shut down many of the services that were running. One of the svchost.exe (there are 3 running) caused a shutdown & several others may have helped. I think shutting down some of these services caused some instability. It was very weird...my reset button would not shut off the machine...I actually had to flip the CPU switch off.
     
  11. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello phrab,

    As you found out, care needs to be taken when disabling the Windows Services ;) . There are many Web sites out there that detail what the Services are and whether the startup type can be be changed from Microsoft's default setting. I was keen on Black Viper's site but unfortunately that has shut down. A reasonable alternative can be found at <The Elder Geek>.

    Regards
     
  12. Ed Y

    Ed Y Registered Member

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    I was having this type of problem 4-5 months ago using an external HD with USB 2.0 connection (no hubs though). Once I started creating my backup images at 700MB (in other words, I choose the size from one of the options when creating the image), I've had no more problems. I also ran all the tests everyone suggested but never found anything wrong.
     
  13. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Yes, that was a workaround detailed in the first embeded link in my Post #9 above. It gets over the problem some external USB HD enclosures have with transferring very large data files. When reading both of those previous threads it soon becomes apparent that not all USB HD chipsets are born equal !!!

    Regards
     
  14. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcamp:
    After a long tortuous road, I think I've discovered the problem. It was with Perfect Disk defragmenting program. Perfect Disk would say that my external drives were about 2% fragmented. When using Windows defragmenter, it said I was 47% fragmented & on one drive 95% fragmented.

    True Image said my images were corrupt. I ran Perfect Disk (took a very long time) & checked again...they were still corrupt. I ran Windows defragmenter & checked again. This time TI verified the images, so it seems that I must contact Roxco (Perfect Disk).

    Again I thank you for all your time & help. Hopefully, this thread may help someone else. Never would have guessed this one, as I defragged regularly & wouldn't have thought there would be much fragmentation on a large drive with very large files.
     
  15. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi phrab,

    Glad you eventually managed to isolate the cause of the problem and many thanks for posting back with your findings.

    Regards
     
  16. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    I don't understand why fragmentation of the disk should have caused the problem.
    Anyone explain it to me?
     
  17. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, tachyon42

    I can only tell you that the advice was to always run a check disk and defragmentation of you HDD before trying to make an Image.

    Over Fragmentation can even lock the Defragmenter from working or even worse lock the Partition or HDD.

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  18. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Agree about the need for chkdsk and defragmenting to keep system in an optimal working state.

    The question is how defragmenting could resolve a TI corrupted image issue. A fragmented file system will cause performance degradation as Windows, and presumably Linux in the bootable CD version, accesses the disk data. I'm wondering if this is just highlighting a timing issue bug in TI. Perhaps TI is just not handling rare situations where some operations take somewhat longer than normal. Other threads have discussed memory timing, FSB speed, etc. I really feel that someone at Acronis needs to sit down and carefully review the code for performance/timing issues and ensure that any exception conditions are handled with adequate error reporting/recovery and not just fail with the 'corrupted image' message.

    The whole issue of corrupted images just keeps resurfacing. Granted that sometimes it could be due to file system corruption, faulty memory or other hardware. However there are many cases reported where a system has no other problems with any other software.

    Others have commented that TI is highly intensive in it's processing and that any marginal hardware might fail when it might not otherwise. If this is the case then Acronis needs to develop a testing/validation program which will push the hardware just as hard as, or harder than, TrueImage does and report on any timing or other failures during processing. It should then be possible for the hardware manufacturer to fix the issue (if it's a driver) and for Acronis to list on it's website all known hardware which have faults working with TrueImage. There might also be situations where TrueImage could be modified to detect the problem hardware and code written to downgrade processing performance so as to avoid the problem with that specific hardware/driver.

    Acronis - this 'corrupted image' issue continues to damage the reputation of TrueImage. You really need to do something about this situation.
     
  19. CliveS

    CliveS Registered Member

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    Tachyon42 wrote: -

    I agree! I can run a Microsoft Windiag memory test all night and pass with flying colours. When I use Memtest 386 V3.2, I fail consistently only on the random number test number 7. To my surprise I found just yesterday that what I thought was my AMD Athlon XP 2800+ processor was in fact a 2600+ that I had been unintentionally overclocking because I had set the BIOS manually for CPU and memory timings / frequency. This had caused intermittent freezing when using TI to image and restore. To prove that my Corsair 512mB memory stick was OK, I transferred this to another compatible PC and carried out a full Memtest 386 test overnight with nil errors.

    Interestingly, I found that even a small amount of CPU overclocking caused errors in Memtest 386, even with my memory CAS settings derated. I have therefore decided to default my CPU frequency and derate memory CAS timings whenever I do future imaging and restoring. I feel that Acronis should recommend that users of T1 do likewise, or else downgrade its processing performance as Tachyon 42 suggests. This to me has to be a basic starting point and I'm very surprised that Acronis have not already made an official recommendation to derate timings before using TI.
     
  20. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    Just to add my experience - I too have had images that when I tried to verify them they were reported as corrupt. What I found was that if I simply rebooted the machine and then verified the supposedly corrupt image again, it came up as verified and not corrupt. Work that one out.
     
  21. CliveS

    CliveS Registered Member

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    Kinetic wrote: -

    Yes this is what I had on occassion. You can be lucky and not get an error whilst verifying, imaging or restoring but if you are in any way pushing your CPU frequency or memory timings or have bad memory this can be the result.
     
  22. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tachyon42,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We appreciate your collaboration on this matter.

    Please be aware that we have already received similar requests from other Acronis customers and they have already been forwarded to our Development Team. We will possibly eliminate the possibility of creating corrupted images in the future versions of a particular product, but exact time frame for this is not decided yet.

    Please also note that you can post any of you suggestions in Acronis True Image WISH-LIST thread.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2005
  23. CliveS

    CliveS Registered Member

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    Acronis wrote: -

    Nice to hear that this serious problem is being looked into. I hope that we are informed when Acronis have possibly fixed the possibility of creating corrupted images that may be reported corrupted by TI but not necessarily corrupted, or at least officially advise users, especially new users to derate their BIOS settings before using TI to minimise the possibly of running into this problem. The latter could be done straight away.
     
  24. phrab

    phrab Registered Member

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    Hi Again Menorcaman:
    Spoke too quickly. While Perfect Disk may or may not have an effect, I found the real cause. It was Norton Protected Recycle Bin. I disabled it & purged all the protected files. Now TI is working again. I totally had forgotten that I also emptied the recycle bin & purged protected files before I defragged. I apologize for blaming Perfect Disk. I'll cross my fingers the problem doesn't come back. :D
     
  25. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi phrab,

    Well the Norton Protected Recycle Bin (PRB) makes a lot more sense than Perfect Disk. Given that Norton GoBack is known to cause problems for True Image (Acronis Online FAQ #18), it's quite conceivable that the PRB does likewise.

    Anyway, as you say, "fingers crossed" and thanks once again for posting back.

    Regards
     
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