Missing (or No) Operating System after image restore

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by grendelos, Jun 3, 2005.

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  1. grendelos

    grendelos Registered Member

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    Greetings,

    I have sent the following to Acronis tech support, but I thought I would see if any of you have any opinions on this problem.

    I have just purchased Acronis True Image 8.0 for my Fedora Core 3 Linux system. I have downloaded the latest update which puts me at build 826. I have been a long time user of Powerquest Drive Image 2002 but cannot use it with the new lvm/ext3 partitions found in FC3. I have chosen True Image 8.0 on recommendation from a fellow geek.

    I have ran into an interesting situation when restoring from image files.

    Note: All creation and restoration of images was performed with the bootable rescue media cd.

    Scenario 1:

    When creating images of my FC3 install, I create a separate image file for every partition. So for example I have 4 partitions:

    /boot - type primary active
    / - type primary
    swap - type primary
    /home2 - type extended (logical)

    and I create 4 image files:

    boot.tib
    root.tib
    swap.tib
    home2.tib

    I then take a clean drive and restore each partition in order (boot, root, swap, home2) from their respective image file. I then reboot with the new drive and get the error message: "No Operating System"

    Scenario 2:

    This time when creating images of my FC3 install, I create one image file including all partitions. So for my 4 partitions, I have one file called "all.tib." I then take a clean drive and restore each partition in order, as in I first restore /boot completely, then restore / completely and so on and so on. I then reboot with the new drive and get the error message: "No Operating System"

    Scenario 3:

    This time I use the same "all.tib" image file but instead of restoring each partition separately, I have it restore all the partitions at the same time. This time when I reboot on the new drive, everything boots just fine.

    I can live with Scenario 3 right now, but I would like to have the ability to restore just the /boot partition in case I have a corrupted MBR. Is this not possible with this product? Plus I like to have the ability to have a separate image file for every partition so just in case you have a screwy image file on one of your CDs, you are only prevented from restoring that partition. If you have to create an image containing all of your partitions, if you have one bad image CD, then your whole image is non recoverable.

    grendelos
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    25,885
    Hello grendelos,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software for Linux.

    If you do not receive any response from Acronis Support Team within 48 hours please let me know your Acronis Request # which will be sent to you in autoreply.

    Thank you.
    --
    Irina Shirokova
     
  3. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Hi grendelos,

    That error message must be from your BIOS, right? Since you start from a blank drive, the master boot record (MBR) located at the very beginning/outer edge of the disk is also blank. And your BIOS sees this and issues the error message.

    Restoring individual partitions only create and restore the partition specific information (partition loader + file system). It does not magically create an MBR for you. But when you restore a complete HD image (which - if you created it as a single HD image and not by selecting multiple partitions - also contains the original MBR), the MBR is also restored.

    So your problem only exists because you have a complete blank disk. In any other situation, e.g. if you decide to restore your /boot or /home2 partition, then only that partition is restored - the MBR is not touched and you will be able to boot.
     
  4. grendelos

    grendelos Registered Member

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    Thanx MiniMax for your reply,

    Based on my tests, I agree with what you are saying. With Powerquest Drive Image, I could restore the /boot partition and at the same time restore the MBR and I guess I was expecting the same with True Image 8.0. :(

    The main reason I make image files is for occassions when the drive completely fails. If this is a limitation of True Image 8.0, it sounds like in case of complete drive failure, I would have to first do a minimal install of FC3 and then restore from images (assuming I still want to maintain separate image/partition files). Unless there is some util that can easily backup and restore the MBR of a FC3 (using grub) system. Do you happen to know of any?

    grendelos
     
  5. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Eh - wouldn't that be equal to scenario (unless you plan to never create a full HD image)? In any case, restoring everything from the full image (even if it is an old, outdate image) is probably faster and easier than making an minimal FC3 install. And after that you are free to restore newer versions of the partions, overwriting the old stuff.
    Not off-hand. Try searching for the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD). It might contain an utility for saving the MBR to a diskette (or USB memory stick).

    Or, if you have a bootable Linux distribution (e.g. Knoppix), I would assume that you boot Knoppix and use some combination of

    # dd if=/dev/hd0 of=/mnt/floppy bs=512 count=1

    to grab the MBR.
     
  6. grendelos

    grendelos Registered Member

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    MiniMax,

    You have made my point exactly, I do not want to install FC3 first and then restore from partition/image files. The reason that I prefer to not have all of the partitions on one image is that "what if" scenario that out of your 12 CD's, containing one image (with all your partitions), has one unreadable CD and then you can't do the restore at all (got burned by this once before).

    Instead, I prefer to spread the risk by having one partition per image. So then if 1 CD is unreadable, you only lose out on restoring that partition. All I am saying is it is a preference on my part to be able to do it that way.

    The good news is, with your suggestion, I have found one possible way of accomodating my one partition per image preference.

    1. Make your images. One partition per image, limit size to 700MB.
    2. Burn images to CD-R.
    3. Create a backup floppy of the MBR (thanks for the lead on that MiniMax!)

    ( do this as root)
    # mount /dev/fd0
    # dd if=/dev/hda of=/media/floppy/mbr bs=512 count=1
    # umount /media/floppy

    4. Restore the image files to a clean hard drive.
    5. Boot with FC3 Install Disk 1
    6. At boot prompt enter: linux rescue
    7. Answer the FC3 prompts and eventually get to a shell.
    8. Place your MBR floppy backup into the floppy drive and enter:

    # chroot /mnt/sysimage
    # mount /dev/fd0
    # dd if=/media/floppy/mbr of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1
    # umount /media/floppy
    # exit
    # exit (this exit command reboots the machine)
    (remove your backup floppy and FC3 Disk 1)

    9. Machine happily reboots.

    Bear in mind that this is distribution specific to Fedora Core 3 and the use of an IDE hard drive. Other distros and configs should work as well with slight modifications.

    grendelos
     
  7. grendelos

    grendelos Registered Member

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    I have found that my suggested fix does not always work when restoring images to a new fresh hard drive. So the previous post should be applied to restoring to the same hard drive you made the images from or one of identical geometry. The following method should work for all FC3 MBR restores:

    1. Make your images. One partition per image, limit size to 700MB.
    2. Burn images to CD-R.
    3. Restore the image files to a clean hard drive.
    4. Boot with FC3 Install Disk 1
    5. At boot prompt enter: linux rescue
    6. Answer the FC3 rescue prompts and eventually get to a shell.
    7. Enter the following:

    # chroot /mnt/sysimage
    # grub (this enters the grub shell)
    grub > root (hd0,0)
    grub > setup (hd0)
    grub > quit
    # exit
    # exit (this exit command reboots the machine)

    8. Machine happily reboots.

    grendelos
     
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