no boot with a damaged mbr

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by blueznl, Feb 19, 2005.

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  1. blueznl

    blueznl Registered Member

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    hmm... this may be more a nuisance than a serious problem, but it highlights one shortcoming of trueimage...

    if the mbr of one of the drives in your system is damaged, trueimage may NOT start, it is not important if that drive is your boot drive or not

    ti is in good company though :)

    - xp setup disk would not boot
    - ti bootdisk would not boot
    - bartpe would not boot
    - knoppix would not boot
    - dos floppy would not boot

    i had this issue on my drive 2 (not the boot drive) and could not boot the system unless i disconnected this drive, i did so and reinstalled windows xp on my boot drive (a raptor that crashed and burned, sigh)

    after the reinstall of windows xp sp2 i rebooted the machine, this time with the troublesome drive reconnected, and xp booted properly and found the second drive as it should

    however it was still impossible to boot the machine from any other medium except from the harddisk that contained the freshly installed xp

    only after DELETING AND RECREATING the partitions on drive 2 from within xp, most of the above listed tools / products would boot properly (except for bartpe)

    i strongly suspect that...

    a. a damaged mbr on my drive 2 was responsible for this, and

    b. certain boot loaders do not recognize nvidia nforce 3 chipsets (there's something in the bios on this machine that also prohibits the use of ghost and several other products run from the dos prompt)

    c. that the trueimage bootcd contains a bootloader similar to dos and several linux flavours that 'hangs' the moment it checks on all existing drives in the system yet finds incorrect information in one of the other mbr's

    i think it would be a certain improvement if acronis would consider to replace the current boot loader with one that does not hang under the above described conditions, appearently there is a difference even with microsoft between their cd boot loader and hd boot loader

    i've only seen this happen so far on my current machine with a fairly common mainboard with on board sata support (nforce3)

    system:

    amd64 3000 on asus k8n-e nforce3 chipset
    drive 1 wd740 raptor on sata 1 (no raid)
    drive 2 wd2000jb on sata 2 (no raid)
    drive 3 maxtor dy120p0 on pata 1m
    cd 1 matshita dvd on pata 2m
    cd 2 liteon burner on pata 2s

    ti version 8 build 786 (which, coincidentally, is extremely slow starting up)
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello blueznl,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis True Image (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/).

    We regret to inform you that current version of Acronis True Image doesn't support NVRAID and that may be the reason for the problem you described. Please try using Acronis Bootable CD created with the latest build (796) and see whether this CD hangs as well. To get access to updates please register you version of Acronis True Image at http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/registration/ and then download the latest build from http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/support/updates/

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  3. blueznl

    blueznl Registered Member

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    well, thank you for your answer, but it didn't match the question exactly :)

    1. i did not use raid or nvraid :) i used only a sata drive

    2. i used the latest version

    3. and no, i was not able to boot the acronis disk, as it suffered from the same issue as all other type of bootloaders, it couldn't handle the malformed mbr on the other disk

    though i solved it, the point i tried to make was that the bootloader can hickup (freeze) on non-standard mbr's, and that is a situation that should never happen
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello blueznl,

    Please note that if you set your CD drive as the first boot device in BIOS it doesn't matter whether you have any disks installed and what information is contained on these disks. It seems that you have some hardware/BIOS problem since the same result is for different CDs (Microsoft, Acronis etc.). Please contact your hardware manufacturer for possible solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  5. watcher

    watcher Guest

    hi folks!
    i detect the same problem. can't boot from acronis true image cd (trial) when the mbr on the harddisk isn't standard mbr.
     
  6. hiccup

    hiccup Guest

    acronis was useless for me when mbr needed repairing - (sigh)
     
  7. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello watcher and hiccup,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Could you please clarify what exactly do you mean by corrupted MBR or when saying that your "mbr needed repairing"?

    Please also note that, as Ilya has posted above, it does not matter if your MBR is corrupted or damaged or is absent at all. In case you have selected your CD-ROM as the first boot device, your PC should boot from Bootable Rescue CD independently of the types and conditions of the hard drives that are connected to your PC.

    Please also let me know what build number you use and when exactly the boot process stops.

    Let me know if you have received any error messages. What exact messages?

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  8. bryankr

    bryankr Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I did want to jump in here on this one. I have experimented ( my machine only of course) and have changed my MBR making the first line all zeros. I have also changed the last line making it all zeros. This had different effects for sure on the boot up or lack there of. When I booted to Acronis rescue disk having changed bios boot order It booted perfectly into Acronis program and placed a restore image back on my harddisk. Then I was able to boot to harddisk and was back to normal. Have been around computers long enough to never discount what a user is experiencing, but I do not see how the mbr on hard disk could effect boot up on Acronis CD if you have bios set to look to the cd first? Certainly an important point you guys are raising because if true would certainly punch a big hole in my recovery plan. If I get a bad virus , for example, and it effects the mbr then I better be able to bypass that bad mbr or my whole disaster recovery plan is not very good.

    I welcome all comments....I am always learning and this topic has peaked my interest.

    thanks,

    bryankr
     
  9. kocka

    kocka Guest

    I don’t have any intelligent technical explanation for this problem but it happened to me at least twice. I believe Ilya is right, it might be BIOS problem on particular motherboards. Some computers simply refuse to finish posting or boot from CD when they find damaged HD. Sometimes it can be remedied by disabling “Halt on” setting in BIOS but again, I wouldn’t bet on it.
     
  10. bryankr

    bryankr Registered Member

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    kocka,


    Very interesting point .... I of course believe you absolutely. Could you expand on what you mean by damaged HD. I am mainly talking about the mbr being compromised on an otherwise ok hard disk -- I think you are too. In your example, would I be able to advance to "setup" from win xp cd and delete primary/active partition then create primary/active partition and format. Then install operating system which hopefully corrected bad mbr. Then it would seem a person could at that point boot to Acronis recovery cd and then replace "out of the box" status with up to date Acronis Image. I am searching for some assurance that my disastor plan is solid.

    If the above example would not work....what could I do? Use recovery console perhaps to try and fix mbr. I think it has a command for that?

    thanks again for your insight on this.

    bryankr
     
  11. kocka

    kocka Guest

    Bryankr,

    Yes, I was talking about otherwise ok HD with MBR being compromised. As I said before, I can’t explain it but I had basically the same experience as blueznl described in his first original post. For some reason I wasn’t even able to boot to a floppy disk but I too managed to boot from original Windows XP CD. When I tried to repair boot sector I got this message: This hard disk has non-standard MBR. Do you want to continue? Or something like that. I said yes, Windows repaired MBR but it didn’t help. So I went to CMOS set up and I changed settings for Access mode from Auto to LBA and that fixed it. (Apparently BIOS, for some reason, was detecting wrong drive geometry. Try google it. There are some interesting comments on this on some Linux websites.) Finally I was able to boot from TI CD and restore the HD from the last image file. Since this also happened on Nividia nForce3 board ( Soltek SL- K8AN2E-GR, nForce3 250 Gb), as in blueznl case, I believe it has something to do with the way these boards are set up.
     
  12. bryankr

    bryankr Registered Member

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    Kocka,

    Very interesting and I really appreciate you sharing this with me. I of course beleive you and I think you and some others in this thread are correct it is a bios/motherboard type issue of some type. I suspect this is a case where different issues are kind of overlaping and confusing the subject. For example, I still contend in a otherwise perfect system the mbr being corrupted simply can not stop you from booting to a rescue disk if you have changed bios to look there first. However, you are clearly pointing out where if there are other bios/motherboard issues going on then this may not be the case.

    Great stuff and I have learned a little bit more.

    thanks so much to all.

    bryankr
     
  13. watcher

    watcher Guest

    hi
    I found something interesting. I think the problem isn't from the mbr. The boot problem occures when i have more primary partitions on a serial ata drive. If i delete all partitions, i can boot from acronis true image cd. after creating a second primary partition i can't boot. has someone detect the same?

    greetings
    watcher
     
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