New user questions - inconsistent 'failed to read's

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by JamieShanks, Apr 2, 2009.

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  1. JamieShanks

    JamieShanks Registered Member

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    Hi everyone,

    First, thanks to everyone who posts here - reading the posts here helps a lot for untangling the odd little problems that come up. In that spirit (and because the more often its said the easier it is for someone to find it) - if you get read errors during a clone or backup, plug the drive into the computer's rear USB ports. This worked for me - the errors went away. In my case, I also needed to plug the USB power-only cable into the rear ports, not just the power/data cable. Thanks again to everyone who posted about this - your suggestions to other users helped me a lot too.

    So now I'm up and running, and because there's some pretty knowledgeable people on this board, I'm hoping I can throw a few follow-up questions out there.

    I'm wondering about the 'failed to read' and 'failed to write' errors that turn up, and the differences between the boot disk linux version and the Windows version.

    I bought TI a couple of days ago, upgraded a disk in my laptop, cloned it, and now am planning to use TI for backups. During the cloning I got some 'failed to read / write' errors, but - as I mention above - these went away once I attached the drives through the rear USB ports.

    The first question: is there any way to check the clone is an exact copy? I couldn't see a validate option. Is that done automatically, or is it irrelevant by definition during cloning?

    During my backups, when I boot from the TI live disk (i.e. use the linux version of TI) an 'image whole disk' backup gives a bunch of read errors, a couple of write errors, then fails. The read errors are in the first partition, the Windows C: drive. When I use the Windows version of TI I get a complete, validated backup. I've checked, and I can mount these images and view files. This seems the wrong way around for what I'd expect (i.e. the boot CD should work and the imaging fail). This is the same drives being backed up from and to (so I assume something about drivers?) The drive is plugged into a rear USB port (this one has independent power), but this doesn't seem to make a difference. Linux fails, Windows does not. As far as I recall between boots, I'm using the same basic no-frills settings on both (no encryption, no compression, no comments, etc). The key difference might be that I found the Acronis extra drivers package and installed it in Windows. I'm using the full/paid version of TI home, have the latest build, and am on an XP SP3 machine with no Vista but some Ubuntu partitions. The USB drive I'm writing to is a 1TB Maxtor.

    So, third, fourth and fifth questions:

    Third, does this sound normal? Should I be trusting that the Windows backup is good, in these circumstances, or should I be suspicious? It isn't a problem to me that I have to backup from within windows, so if this sounds okay then there's no reason to insist the computer use a boot disk. It just seemed really odd!

    Fourth, can the linux version of TI restore a Windows-TI-made whole-disk backup image? Or should I be making C:-drive only images too, so I can get the Windows partition back up again and restore Windows-TI-made whole-disk backups from inside it?

    Fifth, a bit more generally: Is there any difference to the options you pick when the backup runs. I want reliability above everything else, and don't mind buying extra HDD space if need be to hold the images. Does it make a backup 'safer' not to compress it, or to do a sector-by-sector copy, or anything like that? Anything anyone knows about this would be very helpful!

    And sixth, although I said I five questions - how is TI making Windows-system file backups from inside Windows anyway? Is this some kind of snapshot? And if so, does that mean you're restoring back to the last-boot state, so if you install new software, should you reboot the system before making a backup image?

    Sorry to do such a big post, and ask questions. And thanks in advance for any suggestions people can make.
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It is irrelevant since TI validation does not do a bit-by-bit comparison with the source and target. It places many checksums in the image file and these are checked when the image file is validated. This image file does not exist when a clone is done.

    You seem to be concerned that TI should have more problem with a running Windows system than a static HD. True on the surface but there are very few reported problems with the live Windows technology. It is a snapshot mechanism and pending writes are queued until the sectors to be affected are backed up. The big problem with the CD is the sometimes poor Linux drivers for your hardware. It is very likely this is where you are coming to grief. Even though the Windows version is operational it wouldn't be a totally bad idea to run chkdsk C: /r on the partition. Better still run it on all your partitions.

    It is not an unusual stituation. You had better make sure the boot disk works because it is the environment that must run to do a restore of the active partition even if you start the process within Windows. Windows cannot be running when the active partition is restored.
    Yes the Linux version is capable of restoring images made from within Windows. There should be no need to go through restoring C then starting Windows and restoring everything else. I like making images of C only because they are smaller and faster. I do not keep important data on my C drive, only the OS and applications.

    Most of us use the normal defaults which is normal compression. Doing sector-by-sector images take a lot of time, use a lot of space and you could even say increases the risk of something going wrong by virtue of what can be vastly increased amounts of data transfer. Same for using no compression. Your hardware has to be rock solid period and it is known that TI will flush out problems that are not seen in normal operation.

    Snapshot as described above. You are restoring to the state of the last "change to the HD". I always reboot after installing software there have been too many times where no need to reboot was indicated and the new program didn't work right in my experience. So I install, reboot and then update the image.

    One other point, given the errors you are receiving, try and run as much of the stuff on your cloned disk as possible to check it out. Do the chkdsk C: /r as mentioned above as a minimum disk check too.
     
  3. JamieShanks

    JamieShanks Registered Member

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    Hey seekforever, thanks for all that info. I appreciate you taking the time to reply (and sorry I was a couple of days coming back, I was offline doing OS management things).

    Its good to have the reassurance on the cloning checksums. I was a bit paraniod because a lot of what I copied was data, so if there was any corruption or whatever I might not have noticed for years :)

    Thanks also for the info about the sector-by-sector images. I'd probably have gone ahead and done this without your comments about it flushing out problems (which may be good, but if the system works already t might be best they weren't flushed...).

    I'll chkdsk all the disks just to be safe, and make sure I can restore my images from the boot disk. A weekend project :)

    Thanks again for your help
    Jamie
     
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