Newbie Needs Your Help

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jaslane, Aug 1, 2005.

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  1. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Greetings, everyone.

    I am a brand-new user of ATI (8.0), and I have studied this forum (and the User Guide) for a couple of days to find answers to my many questions. While I have found answers to most of them, there are several questions to which the answers are - at best - unclear to me. I will list them below in hopes someone can give me the latest consensus opinion on one or more:

    (1) Will images I make using the trial version be restorable (either under the trial version or under the full version)?

    (2) My HP (XP) desktop computer comes with a D:\ HP Recovery partition - - I believe it is used to restore the operating system etc. in the event of a problem. Do I need to imge this partition? If so, should it be imaged separately (from the C:\ partition)?

    (3) I will burn my images to DVD. If I burn directly to DVD, I presume that I do not have to pre-format the DVDs, and that I can allow ATI to automatically split the image file for me. Is that correct?

    (4) It sounds like it's preferable to burn to my HD first, then copy to DVD. This resurrects the ever-popular question of what file sizes to use. The only DVD-burning software I have is DeepBurner. I don't think it can do UDF packet writing. Do I REALLY have to limit files to 2.0GB? Answers in the forum seem divided on this. If I am able to burn larger files and then browse them, does that mean they will be restorable? How can I be sure they are restorable?

    (5) When I specify an image file size, ATI automatically changes it to a smaller number. I assume this is because it accepts the number as a base 10, then converts it to a base 2. Which one is the 2.0 GB limit? Should I enter a number greater than 2.0GB, so that ATI changes it down to 2 GB? (Yes, I'm a bit of a computer rookie.)

    (6) When I created my bootable rescue CD, it burned awfully fast (a couple of seconds). Is this normal? How can I verify that it is a usable rescue disc?

    (7) What is good practice for preparing your HD before running ATI? I assume defragmenting is a good idea. What about closing programs like Norton Internet Security? Any other guidelines?

    Thanks to any and all who can help here. I've tried to do my homework, but I may have missed some answers written elsewhere, and I apologize for that.
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello jaslane,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    1. Image you created with trial version are resotrable both with full and trial version (providing they are not corrupted).

    2. To be sure the disk will be bootable after you restore the image, you need to create and restore the image of the whole disk (including service partition). Please click the checkbox near the name of the disk (not single partition) to be sure you have selected all the partitions.

    3. To burn the image to DVD directly you need to preformat DVDs using your DVD burning software as it is described at Acronis FAQ article.

    4. We recommend tht you use 2Gb image split size to burn these parts onto DVDs.

    5. Acronis True Image counts 2Gb as 2*1024*1024 bytes. You may set the size as 2000Mb. This will ensure that almost all DVD burning programs will be able to burn the image.

    6. To check Acronis Bootable CD you may just try to boot your computer with it. You should be able to get to Acronis True Image main screen and then be able to access any storage devices you have (hard drives, CD drives, etc.).

    7. There is no need to prepare the hard drive before using Acronis True Image.

    You may find useful our on-line FAQ.

    If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  3. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    hello jaslane,

    Normally, the free trial version will not allow you to restore your main system partition. However, any images you have created can be restored by the full version.

    When creating an image, make sure you select the whole drive by ticking the checkbox next to the drive number. Doing so ensures that the drive's Master Boot Record (MBR) is copied into the image, thereby preserving the HP Recovery partition should you need to restore to either the original drive who's MBR has become corrupted or to a new replacement drive. If, for whatever reason, you decide to create an Acronis Secure Zone then I recommend you decline the default option to also activate the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager (SRM). Activating the SRM modifies your hard drive's MBR, which will more than likely Zap the HP Recovery partition in the process.

    Not quite correct. You will need to have installed and be running some form of third party UDF Packet Writing software (e.g. Nero InCD or Roxio Drag-to-Disk), using it to preformat your DVD+/-RWs prior to imaging direct from TI. After that TI will fill the DVD and prompt for the next (formatted) disk if need be.

    If burning the split image files as a standard DVD-ROM (ISO) compilation then the maximum split size you should enter when creating the original image to hard drive is 2GB (or 2000MB if using Nero Burning ROM). However, I suggest you enter a split size of 1492MB. This will enable you to burn up to three .tib files per DVD, thereby making best use of the usable space.

    Alternatively, if your DVD recording software allows it, you could burn the split files as a DVD-ROM (UDF) compilation (not the same as UDF packet writing!). In this case enter a split size of 4.3GB when creating the original image to hard drive and burn one .tib file per DVD.

    Whatever sort of compilation you choose, I strongly recommend that you burn at around half the maximum speed rating of your chosen DVD media in order to reduce the likelyhood of corrupt images.

    The figures I've given above are the ones you need to type into Create Image Wizard's combi box.

    That speed doesn't sound right at all. Are you using a blank CD-R or a empty formatted CD+/-RW? If so, and you are using an internal burner, boot into Windows "Safe" mode (press F8 just prior to Windows loading) and try creating the bootable rescue CD again.

    The only real way of checking whether the rescue CD has been created correctly and detects your specific hardware is to boot from it and verify an image via the Check Image Wizard. This is particulary important if the image resides on an external hard drive or DVD.

    Defragging is not a bad idea before creating a full image. It shouldn't be necessary to do this often for NTFS formatted drives however and certainly not before an incremental image (doing so will likely cause the incremental to be as large as a full image!!).

    You can, if you wish, unload any unnecessary programs from the task bar to reduce the slight chance of an interoperability problem although, normally, this isn't required. Obviously I wouldn't recommend you shut down things such as firewalls and virus scanners!!

    If you do have a problem creating an image under Windows due to program interaction, then boot from the Acronis rescue CD (it's Linux based) and create the image from there.

    Hope the above info helps.

    Regards
     
  4. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Thank you very much Ilya and Menorcaman!

    Your responses not only answer my lingering questions, but also give me a better overall perspective on how ATI works. I'll get busy this evening and try out your suggestions on my system.

    Thanks for the nice welcome into the ATI forum.
    Best wishes to you both.
     
  5. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Ilya,

    Sorry if I appear picky but I think you meant to say 2*1024*1024 kilobytes i.e. 2*1024*1024*1024 = 2147483648 bytes.

    That number of total bytes exceeds the ISO 9660 size accepted by Nero Burning ROM when burning a DVD-ROM (ISO) compilation. Hence the reason for using the figure of 2000MB that you mentioned (2000*1024*1024 = 2097152000 bytes).

    Kind regards
    Tom
     
  6. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    A follow-up question for you, if you have the time:

    The idea of chunking the disc image into 1.5GB files seems like a great idea, in terms of maximizing use of the space available on a DVD. I wonder if there is any disadvantage in breaking the image into smaller-size pieces. That is, is there any greater risk of problems with restoring from an image that is broken up into a greater number of smaller pieces? This seems like a key question in devising an archiving strategy, so it seemed worth bugging you for your knowledge on the subject.

    Thanks, again, for all the help.
     
  7. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Tom,

    You are right. Missed one 1024 by mistake. Funny thing, however, that almost all the applications count kilobyte as 1024 bytes (not 1000 bytes) even those that count megabyte as 1000 kilobytes.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello jaslane,

    There should be no problem splitting the image into small parts. If the parts are on the same DVD (or in the same folder on hard drive) Acronis True Image will find the necessary part automatically without even asking you. However, if the necessary part is on another DV disk you will be asked for it.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  9. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    I have purchased the full (nontrial) version of True Image, and have created my first image of my hard disc. I used the suggested 1.492GB file size, for convenience in burning to DVDs. As expected, True Image converted this to a 1.457GB file size (base 2).

    HOWEVER, when True Image created the image files (onto my hard disc), each of the 11 files is 1.527808 GB when viewed in Windows Explorer. As a newbie, this really puzzles me.

    I repeated the process two more times, and got the same results.

    Could True Image actually be making files that are larger than I requested? If so, should I ratchet down the requested file size?

    Or does Windows Explorer have yet another way of expressing the file size?


    Ilya, Menorcaman, anyone? Help!
    I don't know what to do next.

    Thanks, in advance, for any advice.
     
  10. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi jaslane,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of bytes, Kilobytes, Megabytes & Gigabytes!!!

    When you enter 1492 MB as the split size, TI calculates this as 1492 x 1024 x 1024 (1,564,475,392 bytes). Click to the next screen and TI will display a conversion into Gigabytes, where a Gigabyte is equal to 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes. Thus 1,564,475,392 bytes / 1073741824 = 1.457 GB (rounded to 3 decimal places) as far as TI is concerned.

    After those 1,564,475,392 bytes are written to the hard drive, Windows Explorer displays them as 1,527,808 Kilobytes (where Kilobyte = 1024 bytes). This equals 1,564,475,392 bytes, which is exactly what TI calculated should be written to the hard drive. To prove this, right click on the first .tib file, select "Properties" and you will see "1.45 GB (1,564,475,392 bytes)" displayed on the General Properties tab (Windows Explorer has merely rounded the Gigabyte number to 2 decimal places instead of 3).

    So no anomaly between TI and Windows.

    However, had you entered 1.492 GB as the split file size then TI would have calculated this as 1.492 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024, which equals 1,602,022,801.408 bytes per .tib file. If you then tried to burn 3 of these to a DVD you would be in trouble, since that equals 4,806,068,404.224 bytes and is more than the capacity of the DVD.

    Regards
     
  11. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Hey thanks, Menorcaman!

    Now THAT makes sense. I think I actually understand this now, and I feel I can move ahead and get this work done without worrying about it. I hate to do something like this when I don't understand it, because I become clueless if something goes wrong. Knowing how these file sizes are derived will help me a great deal.

    Thanks, again, for taking the time to help me out!
     
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Your most welcome jaslane. Happy future imaging (without not too much restoring I hope!!).

    Regards
     
  13. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Hoping you can stick with me for at least one more question.

    Menorcaman, I followed your advice and made a disc image with file size 1492 MB. This worked fine, and was burnable to DVD+R using the DeepBurner freeware.

    I wanted to also experiment with larger file sizes, using the UDF file system. Neither my OEM Nero Express nor DeepBurner provides UDF capability. After searching the web for many hours for free/shareware, I could come up with only Easy Burning and SwiftDisc. Easy Burning is simply too non-intuitive for me. SwiftDisc seems simple enough, but it won't let me burn 4.3GB files. When I try to drag a 4.3GB file into the window, it tells me that files bigger than 4GB will be excluded from the image. I gotta tell ya, I'm getting pretty frustrated. My question is: Do you imagine this 4GB limit is due to the limit on the FAT32 system? Do OTHER UDF burners have a 4GB limit? SwiftDisc does not ask you what file system you want to use until the screen AFTER the one that blocks big file entry.

    So I thought I'd try packet writing. But SwiftDisc, InCD, etc. all say they are for formatting rewritable media only. I'm using DVD+R. I don't see a way to format a DVD+R for packet writing of big UDF files.

    As a newbie, I'm really mixed up again. It seems that ISO creates a 2GB limit, FAT32 has a 4GB limit.

    Perhaps I should just stick with the 1492GB files and DeepBurner, which seems to work fine. I just wonder whether restoring my hard disc from 12 small files carries any more risk than restoring it from 4 files.

    I guess there are many issues here; but help with any of them would be much appreciated.

    Gratefully,
    John
     
  14. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello again John,

    That's good news. Hopefully you also used TI's Check Image Wizard to verify that the DVDs aren't corrupt (you will need to insert the last DVD first and then follow TI's prompts for inserting subsequent disks.

    I'm not familiar with SwiftDisk but would imagine it was first coded in the days of Windows 9X/Me and the associated FAT 32 file size limitation. I can only speak for Nero Burning ROM (full version), which allows me to burn DVD-ROM (UDF) compilations with a file size that occupies all the available space on the DVD. Whilst a DVD has a capacity of 4.7 GB, some of this space is required to burn the Lead-In and Lead-Out tracks. Hence the reason I recommended 4.3 GB, but I'm sure someone with the time and inclination to experiment further could squeeze in a few more Megabytes!!

    Burning large image files, as opposed to multimedia files, is a tricky business at the best of times (a single corrupt byte will render the image corrupt). Therefore, personally, I would never trust this important task to freeware or shareware software. My best advice is - bite the bullet and upgrade your OEM Nero Express to Nero 6 Reloaded/InCD 4. Check this recent thread titled <DVD file size>, which amongst other things, discusses upgrading OEM versions of Nero.

    That's correct. As explained in the TI 8.0 User's Guide and <Acronis True Image 8.0 Online FAQ #20>, you need to use Roxio's Drag-To-Disk in order to be able to "format" DVD+R media. Mind you, it's not formatting in the true sense, as that would be impossible with "write once" DVDs!!

    As far as my own experience is concerned, imaging direct to DVD using the newer versions of InCD seems just as reliable as using the alternative two-step method. If you do choose to go the two-step route, then splitting the image at 1492 MB or 4.3 GB to burn ISO or UDF compilations respectively should make no difference. Just remember to burn the compilation at no more than half the maximum speed allowed for type of media your using in order to reduce the risk of corrupt recordings. Modern CD/DVD recorders can be too fast for their own good when it comes to filling a disk to capacity (the outer edge of the disk) with data rather than multimedia files ;) .

    Regards
    Tom
     
  15. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Thanks, again, Menorcaman.

    I suppose that, if I didn't have a full-time job, I could learn all I need to know in order to take care of my home computers. I'm very grateful that people like you (and the ATI help staff) are willing to share their time to help out neophytes like me. I've learned some things here that will help me - not only with ATI - but in understanding the workings of computers in general.

    My very best wishes to you,
    John
     
  16. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Got Nero upgraded from OEM so that I can write UDF to DVD+R. Created image of hard disc, chunked into 4.3GB files, which I saved to an "Image Files" directory on my hard disc. Then I burned the resulting 4 files to DVD successfully.

    Afterward, I had to wonder: "Since True Image is writing files to my hard disc during the image-creation process, do those files (or some fraction of them) become part of the image?" Or does True Image know enough to avoid imaging the files that it is creating during the process of imaging?

    Just wondering if the 2-step (1st to HD, then to DVD) process inflates the size of the image.
     
  17. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi John,

    I'm afraid True Image isn't THAT clever! For a number of reasons, TI images "in-use" sectors rather than files. Therefore, if you image a disk or partition that already contains a TI image then it will be contained in the new image.

    Regards
     
  18. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello jaslane,

    In addition to what Menorcaman said, I suggest you to read this article in order to learn more on how Acronis True Image 8.0 works.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  19. jaslane

    jaslane Registered Member

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    Thanks, Menorcaman and Alexey!
    I'm getting there bit by bit (no pun intended), thanks to all the help from you folks.

    Menorcaman, it sounds like you're saying that images PRE-existing on the disc prior to starting a NEW image will be captured in the new image. That certainly makes sense.

    To recap what I am doing - - I am saving my images in a 2-step process. Save first to the hard disc, then burn to DVD. Since ATI is obviously writing image files to the disc DURING the imaging process, I wondered whether THESE new files (or some fraction of them) got captured in the image.

    If I correctly interpret the article suggested by Alexey, ATI is constantly monitoring the disc while the image is being made. If a program tries to write to a sector on the disc, ATI saves the original contents of that sector into a buffer, so that these "original" contents are not lost. Then ATI uses these "original" contents in creating the image. The result is that the new image of the hard disc is a snapshot of the hard disc BEFORE the image process began (WITHOUT the newly created image files). That is - - the 4 or 5 new 4.3GB files generated by the imaging pocess do NOT show up in the image. If ATI were not clever enough to do this buffering, then every image would contain itself (if the image files are saved to the hard disc).

    Is this correct?
     
  20. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello John,

    Your understanding is quite correct. Any previous image already on the hard drive will be included in the new image. However, due to TI's snapshot/buffering technique, the new image being recorded to your HD will not include an image of itself. If that wasn't the case then the imaging process would just continue until the HD filled up!!

    Regards
     
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