Master File Table eats C drive-Panic!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Sam Lord, Jun 3, 2006.

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  1. Sam Lord

    Sam Lord Registered Member

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    Hello everyone, this is my first post, and I hope you can help. I have installed TI 9.0, but haven't run it yet. I carefully looked at the TI manual and did a search here and many long searches on Google, yet still don't have an answer to a vital question:

    My MFT on my C drive is 80 times bigger than needed and is choking all my operations. The reason it got too big is given below. The Question: when I image my system drive or partition using TI, and either reformat my old C drive or install a new drive to hold my system and program files, what will TI do with my MFT? If the MFT remains at a humongous 10 million records, I will be no better off than before. Below is the background:

    OK, all was well (OK, almost well) until a month ago I ran Diskeeper 10 Pro. I have updated Windows and cleaned, spybotted, backed up, and defragged my drives several times a week for years. (The system is a 2003 Sony Vaio, 2.4 GHz P4, 1.5GB RAM, 80 GB C drive, 250 GB int SATA drive and 300GB ext firewire drive.) My MFT was fragmented, it told me, and did I want to expand it? I stupidly said yes, got the numbers wrong, and where before the MFT had enough records to handle the roughly 112,000 files on my C drive, it expanded to TEN MILLION records, an 8800% increase. Of course almost 99% of those new MFT records are empty, but as you know they won't go ever away until the drive is reformatted. There is physical room for the MFT (about 10GB in my 80GB drive, now 50% full) but it's the number of files that kills my performance: ten million instead of around one hundred thousand. Backups now take 40+ hours with Retrospect and defrags take 5-10 times as long now with Diskeeper. If I had only done a boot-time ("FragShield") defrag (which I now do quite often) instead of inflating the MFT, I would be fine, but that's water under the bridge. Diskeeper of course doesn't warn you that boosting the MFT is *irreversable* except at the *bottom* of the FragShield help page...how considerate of them...

    So I'm ready to image my C drive to one of my other big drives. Does the MFT get imaged as it is, all 10GB full of empty records? When I reformat the (new or old) C drive with that image, what will the MFT be? Can I somehow ensure that the MFT begins fresh and small like Windows (fate?) intended it?

    A final question (sorry...:oops: ), what about the size of the MFT records? Are they the same size as the new clusters on the reformatted drive? I do audio and video recording and editing, so my average file size is big. Can I set the cluster size to a nice big number like about 12kB using TI to format the drive? Thank you very much for reading this long lament, and for any help (advice, links, quotes, anything at all!) you can provide. I am truly desperate at this point.

    Thanks and best wishes to all, Sam Lord
     
  2. Bill U

    Bill U Registered Member

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    Sam,
    If you make an image of the C partition and restore it, it will restore just as it is now. That includes the MFT. TI will not format the drive so the clusters will remain the same size.
    Someone smarter than me might know how to copy every file on the C partition to someplace else while you format the errant drive back into submission. It might just be a matter of replacing or recreating the MBR after you format.
    Good luck.
    Bill
     
  3. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    One option I can think of, is to make the backup as a 'Files and Folders' without the MFT.

    Then reformat the HD -> restore the image -> insert (unlikely to have as it's a Sony (sorry Mr Cleese and sony)) the XP cd and do a repair install, this should get things right.

    I'll go and check if DiskDirector (the disk editor part) allows playing with the MFT.

    Colin
     
  4. Sam Lord

    Sam Lord Registered Member

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    Thanks Bill and Colin! Fellas, you have helped greatly with my plight. :thumb: :thumb: I will examine Help files to see what I can learn about these options.

    I'll look at the MBR to find out what it has control of. Also I will see whether I really can *leave out* the MFT on the files and folders image job--that would be great. I've never been able to isolate the MFT before, but maybe TI is the only tool for this. I would try to edit the empty records from the registry if I had a rather dangerous kind of "inspecting and ferreting" editor for that...

    Would anyone else have a suggestion or confirmation of these suggestions? Thanks again, Sam
     
  5. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Sam Lord,

    There was recently a thread here about the transfer of bad sector flags upon restoring, where Acronis Support suggested a partiton restore with resizing. Any amount of resizing would do.

    It may be worth trying before venturing into partly destructive procedures, being an MFT issue in both cases.

    You may want to have a look at that thread:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=130446&highlight=sector
     
  6. Sam Lord

    Sam Lord Registered Member

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    bVolk, thanks, read it, looks good, and along with info of previous posts I can trial run a TI image once I wrap my head around the correct actions. This is a GREAT forum; thanks to everyone, I think I can wrestle this monster. I'll need at least a week or two to be sure I understand exactly what these operations do before I am ready to execute them, then I promise to report the results here.
    Gratefully, Sam
     
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