New freeware: MBR Backup 1.0

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Magnus Mischel, Sep 3, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    MBR Backup is a new freeware tool to back up your Master Boot Record

    Screenshot:
    View attachment 221600

    (Couldn't get the screenshot to display in this thread for some reason since I used it in the other thread. Anyone know how to fix this?)

    Download:
    http://www.misec.net/products/MBRBackup.exe

    Product page:
    http://www.misec.net/products/mbr-backup/

    What is the master boot record?
    The Master Boot Record (MBR) tells your computer what to do when it starts. It also contains information on how your hard drive is partitioned. If the MBR is damaged or corrupted (whether by a boot sector virus, malware or by other means) you may find that the data on your hard drive is irretrieably lost.

    What does MBR Backup do?
    MBR Backup helps you create a backup of your Master Boot Record. If you ever need to restore it you know you will have a valid copy available. MBR Backup gives you two ways of backing up your MBR - to a file or by printing(!) it. Believe it or not, printing it is actually the best method to back up your MBR, for several reasons:

    • With a printout you always have a physical copy of the MBR to hand
    • No chance of saving the MBR to a file on the hard drive that gets corrupted
    • The MBR is only 512 bytes in size. Typing it in manually will be the least of your concerns if all your data is gone
     
  2. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    Thanks!

    Out of curiosity I've noticed that looking at the MBR layout on the right section it says among other fragmented letters "...Invalid partition table. Error loading operating system. Missing operating system ...."

    Everything works perfectly with this computer, should I worry about it?
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    No need to worry - those are just the error message strings that are embedded in the MBR. The boot loader will use them in case anything goes wrong when booting. All MBR sectors include these strings.
     
  4. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    Yes, it makes sense now after your explanations!
     
  5. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Posts:
    4,833
    @ Magnus Mischel

    Thanks for this :thumb:

    I noticed it gets saved as a .BIN not .DAT as some other such apps appear to do.

    1 - What difference would this make, if any ?

    2 - What's the best way to write the saved MBR to disk, should the need arise ?

    TIA
     
  6. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
  7. pajenn

    pajenn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Posts:
    930
    Nice but limited. I've been using MbrFix (freeware), which is a command line tool only, but has more functionality (restore option, choice of which drive's MBR to backup, etc.) It also saves MBRs as bin-files, so it might be able to restore backups made by topical program.
     
  8. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Posts:
    4,833
    OK thanks.

    Your restoring the boot sector info looks like a nightmare i have to say :eek: There must be an easier way ?
     
  9. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Posts:
    508
  10. SourMilk

    SourMilk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Posts:
    630
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I believe Acronis True Image saves your MBR with the system partition images made for the past 2 years with an option to only restore the MBR sans image.

    SourMilk out
     
  11. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    I may build in an MBR Restore function if there's popular demand for it. The next version will also have a checksum function so you can quickly see if your MBR has been altered.
     
  12. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Thanks Magnus Mischel for MBR Backup. It would be better to include MBR restore feature too. Checksum function will be very useful against MBR rootkits. Waiting for next build...
     
  13. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    Well I've finished the code to also restore the MBR. Still debating with myself whether or not to include it in a release version. Would have to include lots of warnings.
     
  14. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,131
    Forgive my ignorance but I don't understand why you would need to include warnings. The MBR does not generally change much if at all so restoring unnecessarily would not cause damage (I would think). All you would be doing is replacing the exact same data as existed on the drive with the backed up data. No changes, no problems.

    I know very little about this subject so if I am missing something I would appreciate being told about it.

    BTW a simple restore function/process would be a clincher for me. As I said I know very little about the subject and am relying on a full image restore to get me out of problems if and when they happen now. I would like a simple MBR backup and restore tool to supplement my images (which would save me having to recover files created after the image was) but have not found one that I feel comfortable with (no command line tools for me).
     
  15. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    The MBR also contains the partition table. So if you re-partitioned your disk and then restored an old MBR you would no longer be able to access some or all of your partitions. Sure, I could write the utility so that only the code portion (bootloader part) of the MBR gets restored, but then if your system is hosed by a bootkit that overwrites the partition table you wouldn't be able to restore it.
     
  16. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Give us both options (Restore MBR only, Restore MBR + Partition table) with slight detail.
     
  17. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Posts:
    4,833
    @ Jo Ann

    Thanks for the link :)

    @ Boyfriend :thumb:

    @ Magnus Mischel

    Go for the Boyfriend idea ;)
     
  18. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    Working on version 2.0 as we speak. With this new version you'll also be able to view information about how your hard drive is partitioned.
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,131
    Excellent, thanks, I look forward to the new version.

    BTW I expect most folks would update their backup(s) if they made a major change to their PCs configuration. Partitioning the drive would fall into this category IMO and so, I certainly would.
     
  20. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Posts:
    2,345
    Location:
    Along the Shorelines somewhere in New England
    In the DOS/Win9X days, we have the command prompt utility "FDISK /MBR"
    In current times, we have FIXMBR and in extreme cases FIXBOOT at the Recovery Console (by booting from your OS CD)

    In the past, when something tanked the MBR, taking a couple of seconds to run those commands would replace the corrupted MBR with a nice fresh shiny new one that's created on the fly.

    I'm curious why someone would want to go through the lengthy steps of backing this up, and restoring it..when it's something that's the above commands recreate in the blink of an eye. The only complications being if you have a multi-boot system..but even then it's not much more difficult to rebuild that environment.
     
  21. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    LOL - so am I o_O In addition to your recourse, any half decent imaging program will not only back up the mbr, but the entire disk as well.
     
  22. Magnus Mischel

    Magnus Mischel Security Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Posts:
    185
    Fdisk /mbr only rewrites the code portion of the MBR. It does not (and cannot) recreate the partition table, which is also part of the Master Boot Record. So if your MBR is hosed and your partition table is gone, using MBR Backup will get your data back, whereas running Fdisk /mbr won't.
     
  23. pajenn

    pajenn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Posts:
    930
    MBR backups are only 512 bytes regardless of drive size and instantaneous to backup/restore, so they obviously have some advantages over full image backups.

    Also, I don't have space (or desire) to make full backups of my external hard drives (some of which are over a terabyte), mp3-player or certain other data-oriented devices. I don't know if it's possible to lose access to the data on them if the partition tables become corrupted, but since the MBR backups are only 512 bytes I make them anyway. I've had cases of external hard drives and flash devices crapping out when they were ejected improperly or because there was a power loss when they were in active use - I wonder if an MBR restore could have fixed them... (these incidents happened before I started making MBR backups)
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.