Interesting story with warning signs

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by uptone, May 17, 2008.

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  1. uptone

    uptone Registered Member

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    I was recently called by a friend of mine to see if I could help him with a computer problem. Seems he could not boot up and his system was Vista. No problem, I thought to myself. Instead of trying to guide him through a recovery over the phone I was invited over to his house to show him how to fix it. I remembered that he had purchased and installed Acronis on his computer shortly after he had installed Vista and had made a complete backup of his system.
    To make a long story short, I showed him how to recover Vista using Acronis. The recovery went fine and I was about to leave when something very strange happened. You see, I unplugged his internet while I was making the recovery and after Acronis finished it's recovery and was rebooted everything was good until I replugged him back onto the internet. A message appeared saying that he would have to reactivate Vista. Why is he getting this message (I asked myself). I hit the reactivate button and no joy. Now he gets a message that his activation key is no good and that he may not have a ligit copy of windows. OK, I know this is false because everything about his copy of Vista is ligit. He purchased his copy from a ligit company and he did not try to install it on another computer because he only has one computer and doesn't know a whole heck of a lot about installing and maintaining a computer. I asked him if anyone else has access to his copy of Vista and he answered with a flat out NO. He showed me where he stored his copy of Vista and there it was on the bookcase with a little dust still on it, intact and not disturbed. His key was tacked to the back of his computer as is required by copyright. So, I deduced, that one of two things must have happend or is happening. Either, someone got a hold of his key over the internet and used it on another computer or Windows Vista DRM is not working correctly. Then another strange thing happened. This man uses Nortons 360 Ver 2 for internet protection. Again, Norton 360 was ligitimately paid for and downloaded from the Norton site. Norton did the same thing as Vista. It brings up a message to recativate Norton. So now I have to reactivate Norton which reactivated just fine because it's copyright allows you 3 activations. Acronis Works as advertized. It did it's job and restored the system just like new. Norton reactivated just fine but shouldn't have had to be reactivated. Vista works fine by skipping reativatation however can not be reactivated unless you call Mirosoft over the telephone.

    All this BS is not giving me a warm fuzzy feeling about MS or the internet. If this happens again, I know that something is rotten in Denmark. No offence Denmark. Keep an eye out all you techies.
     
  2. The Nodder

    The Nodder Registered Member

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    After it was activated was any hardware added or changed ?
    That can cause a re-activation.
     
  3. uptone

    uptone Registered Member

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    I very much agree with what you are asking Nodder but in answere to your question I will say No. No significant changes to hardware. As a matter of fact no changes at all to hardware.
    My thoughts are that he must have had spyware or a more serious virus infect his computer somehow to cause his original problem. This, however, does not explain the need for reactivation. You see his system was completely restored. The bad partitions were wiped clean by Acronis and his MS system as well as Nortons should have continued as though nothing had happened after the restore. Hindsight being better than foresight, I messed up by doing a restore because Acronis did such a good job it wiped out any evidence I might have used to get to the bottom of the problem.

    I would appreciate any input from anyone who has experianced a problem such as this. Maybe this is an isolated case. If nobody else gets a problem like this, I guess it will remain one of those unsolved incidents.
     
  4. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    The time stamp on your imaged files versus current time difference from the BIOS might be enough to trigger these sort of problems. Exspecially in the case of brand name machines, interesting things might get written to the boot sector each time the machine is shut down. In fact I think it was mentioned in another post, that Vista does write dirty/clean flag info to the drive, so if this is missing in whatever state Vista expects to see it at boot up, it might assume it's either a 'first time install' or a naughty copy.

    Colin


    Colin
     
  5. uptone

    uptone Registered Member

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    Thanks for the input Bodgy. I believe you may have hit the nail on the head.
    Actually I think it has to be someting to do with the time stamp. There just isn't anything else that I can think of that could cause this. But I still would like any other inputs that could be possibilities.
    I learned a very valuable lesson here. Don't get in a hurry. What I should have done is restored his system to a new hard drive and left the old hard drive as is for analysis (with his permission of course.) My problem was that he needed his system back right away because he had more important work to do on his computer.
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    uptone,

    I didn't see what version and build of TI was used.

    Also, did Windows pop-up anything about detecting new hardware or drives on the first boot after the restore?

    Was the Vista installation from a Microsoft OEM DVD or a brand-name OEM DVD? (I assume it was OEM because of the sticker.)

    Was the Vista installation using Vista's partition alignment?

    Was the restore an Entire Disk Image restore or a partition restore?
     
  7. uptone

    uptone Registered Member

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    Thanks for the input MudCrab. You have asked some very good questions.

    To begin with he was using the latest version of Acronis (Ver 11) however I'm not sure it was the latest build. I will have to check on that when I can get ahold of him.

    I did the restore and I did not have any messages from Vista about detecting new hardware or anything else as I recall. As a matter of fact no new hardware had been installed since the backup was made. He has 3 hard drives. His drive C is where the Vista system and his programs are loaded. Nothing else was on drive C except his email. His other 2 drives is where he stores all his data. His backups were loacated on drive e. (unfortuneately only one system backup)

    It was as I recall a Microsoft OEM DVD istallation. He has a generic Motherboard and AMD CPU and 4GB of Memory.

    I assume that Vistas partition allignment was used because this was not an upgrade. It was a strait Vista install from scratch.

    When I did the restore, I wiped the drive with Acronis and restored the entire partition including Track 0. There was only one partition and that partition contained the Vista operating system and all his programs. No personal data except his email which he also had a seperate up-to-date backup of and was restored after Vista.
     
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