newbie with a few questions about doing a trial restore

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by dwalby, Dec 5, 2007.

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  1. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    I originally posted these questions at the end of another thread with a totally different title, so I thought I'd start a new thread with a title appropriate for the questions.

    I have a second internal drive connected so I want to try doing a system drive recovery to the second drive. Could you please answer a few basic questions for me regarding the process so I don't do something stupid along the way? My goal is to try to restore the system onto the second drive after swapping it into the old C drive location and use the Acronis boot disk to do the restore. I think that most closely resembles what I'd have to do in the event of a catastrophic failure (as opposed to making a duplicate copy on the other drive with the current OS intact and then swap the drives after doing the restoration without using the boot disk)

    My second drive currently has only one partition (G) for the entire drive (200GB). So the first thing I'll have to do is add another partition similar in size to my current C: partition, which is about 34GB, so that shouldn't be any problem. I have Partition Magic to help with that.

    My first question is this: If I add a new partition (F) *before* the existing G partition, what actually happens to the existing data in the G partition? I think the current G partition starts at the 1st sector on the physical drive. Will the new F partition actually allocate physical sector space after the current G partition, then just logically map it with a new MBR table entry to point to the first sector location? Or will the re-partitioning actually move the existing G data on the drive, and physically place the F partition at the 1st sector?

    I hope its the latter, because I think when I restore the system image onto that drive it has to reside at the first physical sector because that's where Acronis will place the MBR from my original image, right? And as long as I made the new partition bigger than the original C partition, that space will be available to restore the system image without writing over any of the old G partition data that I don't want to disturb.

    Next question: Does the drive that contains the OS/system code always have to be hooked up to the first position cable so the boot process can find the MBR? I think it assumes sector 0 on the first disk it finds will have the MBR, but I'm not sure. So I think that means I have to swap the cables on the two drives when I do the boot/restore.

    Next question: The old MBR that will get restored knew about the F and G partitions when that drive was connected to the other cable, but now that the cables have been swapped between the drives what impact will that have on the MBR data? Will the PC be able to recognize the physical disk and determine that its been swapped, and adjust the MBR info accordingly? Will the old F and G partitions now be called C and D? And what about the partitions on the old C drive, will they now start at E? I assume the PC must be able to figure this out upon boot, otherwise the old MBR would be worthless in the restore process.

    So given all this uncertainty, I think all I have to do is this:

    1) add F partition to 200GB disk
    2) swap the disks
    3) reboot with the Acronis boot disk
    4) follow directions to restore the system image from my old C drive
    5) reboot again to see if it worked

    Given what I've described above regarding my system, will I have to do anything else?

    thanks in advance!!
     
  2. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    some follow-up

    Thought about this a little more and I think I'm starting to visualize the process a bit better. But I still have a couple more questions, so hopefully someone can answer these new ones.

    When I create the new partition on the larger drive (F), I'll designate it as the active partition on that drive (not sure if I really need to do this now, or if I can do that at bootup with the Acronis disk, but it won't hurt to do it first). Then I need to plug that HD into the cable that used to hold the smaller drive, like I said initially, but I'm not going to install the old C drive at all during this stage.

    The reason for leaving the other drive out of the picture is the fact that it will still have its active partition flag set on the partition with the OS. Because the new disk in the first position won't have any OS code in its active partition, I'm concerned that the BIOS might look to the second disk and find XP there and start executing. I don't know enough about the boot procedure to know what happens if the first active partition doesn't contain executable OS code. Maybe the Acronis disk steps in and takes over, but I'm not sure, so I'd rather remove that variable altogether just to be safe.

    Then I'm going to boot the machine using the Acronis boot disk, which I've never used yet so I'm still unsure about what exactly it does. The BIOS will find the new drive and its active partition upon boot, but since there's no OS code there it won't know what to do. I'm guessing this is where the Acronis disk will allow me to do the restoration of the OS/system files.

    After second thought I now believe I don't want to reload the MBR when doing the image restore. That would put the old drive MBR values onto the new drive, which would be totally wrong for the partitions I want to keep that are already on that drive. So I think I can just keep the existing MBR on the new drive intact, and restore the rest of the image without the MBR into the new F partition.

    So in addition to my previous questions, which I think I may have answered in the interim, could someone please tell me:

    1) am I correct about not restoring the MBR to the new disk?
    2) do I have to set the new partition as active when I do the partition, or will the Acronis boot disk allow me to make that selection upon reboot?
    3) Have I described the process correctly, or am I missing something?
     
  3. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Leave the mbr on the new drive as is. The mbr only keeps track of partitions size,type and locations. I have never restored the old mbr onto a new hard drive or even to the same hard drive. (I think you can only restored the mbr to the same hard drive) From my expierence when ever you backup a system partition and restore that system partition, it will be automatically bootable on a new hard drive.

    The new partition where your going to restore your image is best if you make it an active primary partition. Thats what I always make mine.

    One thing I would recommend is when you partition your new hard drive, make the partition where you are going install the old hard drive image at least 1gb larger than your old hard drive system partition. You mention your old partition is 34gb, make the new partition 35gb. The reason for this is that windows xp will change drive letters during restoration if you try restore to a smaller partition. True image allows you to restore to smaller partitions but in my case I always get drive letter problems.

    Any problems you have if the new hard drive won't boot will probably be in the following order 1.) drive letters changing 2. Boot.ini file need editing 3.) partitions need to be reslotted. As far as the mbr causing the new hard drive not to boot, that would be very low as far a cause of the problem unless it got corrupted or your trying to restore vista. I've never had a MBR problem causing my harddrive not to boot.

    My advice is get the demo of "paragon justboot corrector" and keep that handy to check your drive letters if your drive won't boot. It'll read the drive letters directly from the registry of a non-booting hard drive. It'll save you many hours of troubleshooting.
     
  4. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi Dwalby,

    Cut to the chase. Get yourself a spare hard drive. You can then disconnect your C drive replace it with the new one having checked it has the same jumper settings.
    No other preparation is necessary for the new drive.
    Boot from the recovery CD and run the restore from a whole disk image of C. Check the box to restore the whole disk. This will include the MBR which is needed.
    Remove the CD and reboot into Windows.

    You will find the restore process simplicity itself when you restore a whole drive. The partitions and settings will be exactly the same as the old drive if you just follow the prompts.
    Assuming the spare drive is bigger than the old one you could resize your partition/s as part of the restore process. You do however have a partition tool to do this later if desired. That way the restore process is kept pure and simple.

    Using a spare drive has the main advantage of being completely risk free to your existing OS and data.
    It also gives you a second ready to go backup which you could update from time to time as an insurance against a possible failure of your image drive.

    Having read jonyjoe's post I now understand why he needs a boot corrector!

    Xpilot
     
  5. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    I agree 100%, and would actually prefer that approach, but there's one problem. The computer I'm running on now is an old low-end machine without a SATA interface. I'm going to eventually get a new computer in the next 6 months, and plan on using my existing 200GB IDE drive in it along with the new SATA drive(s). From what I can tell most mobos only have one IDE port nowadays, so buying more IDE drives at this point wouldn't make sense.
     
  6. TonyR

    TonyR Registered Member

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    btw:
    after the restore I assume you need to go back into the bios and re-change the boot sequence back to your main drive.
    is that right?
     
  7. visch1

    visch1 Registered Member

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    From what I can tell most mobos only have one IDE port nowadays, so buying more IDE drives at this point wouldn't make sense.[/QUOTE]

    If you have the room for a PCI card the one I have allows 4 IDE to be attached.
     
  8. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    restore successful

    I bought a new drive, partitioned it, and restored the old C: drive to the new disk without any problems using the recovery disk. Rebooted from the new disk and it worked.

    thanks to all for the advice along the way. I figured its probably paranoia, but after seeing all the things going wrong on this forum I wanted to verify my recovery procedure actually worked before I was forced to use it.
     
  9. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    As long as your CD/DVD drive is in the boot sequence you can just leave the BIOS unchanged, unless you want to take it out of the sequence after doing the restore. I don't re-boot much so I had it in the sequence to begin with so I didn't change the BIOS settings at all. After doing the restore I swapped the new drive into the master cable position and took the original master disk out of the system.
     
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