Partitions screwed up after making Acronis Secure Zone . . .

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by BobJ, May 11, 2007.

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  1. BobJ

    BobJ Registered Member

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    I have 4 partitions on my HD: C(OS), D(Apps), E(Utils), and F which is for data only.

    I ran the Acronis wizard to make a Secure Zone, and it seemed to do fine (running all the batch files to reallocate space from each of the partitions) and it seemed to complete successfully. In fact, when I chose to try to delete (see below) the Acronis Secure Zone, the wizard showed the deletion option, so it certainly looks like the Secure Zone was made. And I also saw some indication it was there when I looked at the partition info in PARTITION MAGIC software (see below again).

    Now for the problem . . .

    After installing the Acronis Secure Zone, my Partition Magic 8.0 software would no longer start up (I wanted to see how it would show a display of the Secure Zone) and it showed a splash screen saying that there was an error in the disk geometry and that the first sector was no longer the MBR and that the MBR was now in sector 8. I suspect this was because the Secure Zone writes over the MBR in sector 1 with its own MBR.

    So, I decided to delete the Acronis Secure Zone to see if my PQ would start again. When Acronis seemed to successfully delete the Secure Zone, my PQ still wouldn't start.

    By the way, some of you may be wondering how I looked at the partition info in PQ when I said above "I also saw some indication it was there when I looked at the partition info in PARTITION MAGIC software". Well . . . PQ also has a utility called "PartitionInfo" under PQ Tools, and I used that, NOT the PQ main program. This PQInfo utility also showed a similar error splash screen as the main PQ program did, but it started after that. It showed the MBR as starting on sector 8, and also that there were errors in the disk geometry (which I assume was the MBR placement).

    I just now tried to start PQInfo again, but now even that won't start - it just gives the splash screen saying there are "disk errors" and just quits.

    The reason I just tried to start PQInfo again was to refresh my memory on what it showed as the name of the Acronis Secure Zone partition (in hindsight I guess I would have had to have installed the Secure Zone again). As I recall, it showed something like "EMBR" (I expected to see "Acronis Secure Zone" or some name like that), and that some bytes out of each partition had this thing.

    Anyway, this is really no big deal (yet anyway) because my system still seems to be functioning OK - except now I no longer have access to my PQ.

    I'm thinking about installing PQ again, or else installing Acronis again, but I want to make an entire disk image (haven't done that yet) burned to a CD before I try that.

    I also tried to look at my partition info by trying to look at the "Disk and partition information" selection in Acronis. But I can't find that selection!!

    The TI 9 User Guide refers to this as though it were there, and makes it sound like it should be at the bottom under the Active Tasks pane, but I don't see it there. In fact, the Active Tasks pane is at the very bottom and that's the end of the TI 9 window. And I don't see it in the main window under the "Pick a Task" or the "Pick a Tool" group. So where is it??

    In summary, I guess this post has several questions:

    1) Why did making the Acronis Secure Zone disable my PQ 8??

    2) When I uninstalled the Acronis Secure Zone, why didn't that reenable my PQ??

    3) How do I get my PQ to run again??

    and finally

    4) Where the heck is "Disk and partition information" in TI 9o_O?!!!!

    Oh, here's my system info:

    XP2 HE

    IE7

    HP ze4700 Laptop, with 512M memory and a 10GB HDD

    Acronis True Image 9, build 2529

    Incidentally, I see that apparently I don't have the latest build, and builds subsequent to 2529 have done some upgrading to the GUI, so maybe getting the latest build would solve my "where is Disk and partition information" in TI 9o_O?!!!! question. But I have a primitive dial-up connection, and the latest build is some 75MB, so I chose not to endure the 4 some hour download. Is there a way I can order a CD for this build??

    And finally, I realize that most software makers will not answer questions about another makers software (even if their software apparently screwed up the other software), so Acronis may decline to answer my questions about why PQ will no longer work, and refer me to PQ, and I'll probably get caught in an endless cycle of finger pointing.

    So maybe Acronis won't answer my questions 1 thru 3, but at least please try to answer my question 4 - Where the heck is "Disk and partition information" in TI 9o_O?!!!!
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    In creating the SZ, if you opted to accepting the default of activating the Startup Recovery Manager, this is the cause. Having the software default to activating the SRM is a big mistake. Acronis needs to change this.
    Did you try uninstalling Partition Magic and reinstalling it?
     
  3. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    BobJ:

    I'm not sure why deleting the secure zone did not restore things to normal. Just as a general observation, PartitionMagic is ultra-fussy and will produce error messages when modifications are made by some other partitioning tools, even when things seem to be working correctly. I've noted that I can create a set of partitions with some of the Linux tools that run perfectly, and Windows runs perfectly, yet PM will complain about some obscure error. I've not seen it refuse to run, however. Usually it will suggest making some modifications to the partition table if it can figure out what to do.

    My current PC was partitioned using Acronis Disk Director. If I view the partition structure with PartitionMagic there are no reported errors or problems. The partition operations that Acronis TrueImage home does are probably done with the same code that is used in their sister product, Acronis Disk Director, so I'm a little surprised that you had problems.

    This shouldn't be too difficult to fix. First, a couple of questions:

    1. Can you get the utility PTEDIT to run? You should be able to find it in your Partition Magic directory as PTEDIT32.EXE. If so, run it and post a screen shot similar to the one I've attached below.

    2. Do you have a Windows XP CD?

    3. What section of the TI Home manual are you referring to with your question about the "Disk and Partition Information"?
     

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  4. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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  5. BobJ

    BobJ Registered Member

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    OK . . . let me try to answer all you kind folks that responded to my questions . . .


    First, DwnNdrty . . .
    So what is the alternative to accepting the default of activating the Startup Recovery Manager?? I don't have my TI up and running right now (I guess I could do that to answer my question, but did you have something specific in mind??).

    You sounded pretty certain that this was the cause of all my PQ problems.

    And, NO, I don't want to uninstall and reinstall PQ before I make a disk image (which I haven't done yet, as I said in my original post, and which is why I bought TI in the first place).

    Mark,
    Yes, I've heard about PQ being "ultra-fussy", but this is the first time I've had any trouble with it.

    As you suggest, I hope this isn't too difficult to fix because I'd like to get this resolved before I go any further with TI.

    OK . . . your questions:

    1) Yes, I got PTEDIT to run and the image is attached at the bottom of this post.

    2) Yes, I have a Windows XP CD - what are you thinkingo_O

    3) The section of the TI User Guide is section 3.1, and the reference to the "Disk and Partition Information" is on page 13.

    GroverH,
    I looked at that link (thanks, btw), and before I try what it suggests, I want to make my disk image.

     

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  6. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    The SRM is a feature that has outlived its usefulness. It modifies the MBR so one can press F11 to start a Recovery from a Backup that is kept in the Secure Zone. But you can start this Recovery by using the bootable True Image cd. I prefer to not let anything change my MBR.
    Also with hard drives being so relatively cheap nowadays, the SZ is another feature that has outlived its usefulness. Though some users like it to facilitate keeping automatic scheduled backups. I prefer to make my backups manually and not to any automatic schedule. And I keep my backups on an external hard drive, in fact, on several externals.​
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    BJ:

    OK, I found the reference in the manual. I've been using TI for a couple of years and didn't know that you could view disk properties like that! You learn something new every day.

    To display disk properties start the Backup Wizard. Select a drive or a partition and click on the "i" (for info) icon. I've attached two pictures to show what you should see.

    I'll let DwnNdrty give you his opinions (which he did while I was typing this) about the Startup Recovery Manager, but most forum users here do not recommend using it. It will only be useful to you if you will be storing your recovery images on your laptop and want to be able to recover when you are traveling and don't have access to your normal tools. In your case your disk is only 20 GB so you won't have much room on it for storing backups. Also, if that's where your backup is and your disk fails you're outa luck. It is much better to store backups on an external USB drive or on a PC on your home network. You can then recover your laptop by starting the standalone bootable version of ATI Home, which you can create with their Bootable Media Builder application and put on a CD or a USB flash drive. In my opinion, forget about the Secure Zone and the Startup Recovery Manager.

    From your PTEDIT output it appears that your disk is in good order and you don't appear to have any special factory recovery partitions, so all you need to do is to fix your MBR.

    You would do this by booting from a Windows XP CD and choosing to start up into the recovery console. From there, issue the command "FIXMBR". That will re-write the master boot record with the standard Microsoft MBR.

    I am fairly certain that Partition Magic will then stop complaining, but if not post back here again. There are ways to fix your partition structure if PM is still not happy (been there, done that).
     

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    Last edited: May 12, 2007
  8. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    More discussion about Secure Zone and Startup Recovery Manager:

    It can be found in the Useful Forum Threads (link below) near the bottom of the threads listings.
     
  9. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    I found your comments very interesting as posted in link below. You might be pleasantly surprised at the number of senior citizens participating in this forum--trying to help others successfully backup their computers.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=173214&page=3& #52

    From reading your other posts, I realize you are not a beginner but if you're new to True Image Home, my guides may make the transition easier. I'm one of those that use 3 partitions for my system drive.

    My suggestion for a first backup is to always always always create a full backup of the entire disk including any hidden or diagnostic partitions.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=182030

    This procedure opens to door to so many more recovery options. You can replace the drive much more easily; the MBR is part of the backup process; you still can replace only one or all partitions, etc. Whereas, creating a backup of only one partition is very limiting--and does not guarantee a bootable option.

    Once you have created an initial backup of the full disk, then subsequent backups can be of single or mixed partitions. After a short time, I would repeat the cycle of a full disk backup with subsequent backups of single partitions.

    If you have the time, I think you will find this link of interest.
    Recommend backup scheme for photos, music?(2 pages)
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=164175

    Partitioning for better management of computer (4 pages)
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=159177
     
  10. BobJ

    BobJ Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Glad you found the reference to viewing partitions in the User Guide. And I followed your directions and screen shots and DID find that elusive and well hidden partition viewer in TI. Thanks . . .

    Yes, I wish I would have read this board before I made that SZ because even after I realized it screwed up Partition Magic and then deleted the SZ, it had apparently already done it's insult to the quirky PM.

    And I definitely agree with you that users who store backups and images on the same disk they operate daily risk losing all that stuff anyway if the entire disk fails. I've always wondered why people do that, but I guess if ONLY the system partition fails, or some of the files on it get corrupted - INSTEAD OF THE ENTIRE DISK - then maybe it makes some sense. But I think the probability of an entire disk failing is far greater than the probability of just a portion of it failing. Anyway, I want my image stored OUTSIDE my "daily HDD".

    If I would have thought through the concept of not storing an image on your "daily disk" before I made the SZ, I wouldn't be in the predicament I'm in now.

    Now regarding fixing the MBR, that's sort of a Catch-22 right now. I don't want to mess with the MBR (and it's really not necessary right now, because as I've said my system is still functioning OK and the only bad effect is Partition Magic's failure to fire up now) until I make an image. And I don't want to make an image when that image will include the messed up MBR. And even if I chose to restore without including the MBR (that's an option in TI, isn't it??), that would still leave the messed up MBR in place. Geezzz, this is getting complicated . . . And all I wanted to do was make a Recovery CD . . . well, see my post at https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=174393 regarding my original "naive" intent.

    And another comment on that issue. Rhetorical question: Why does TI advertise itself as "backup" software (https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=55317 - "Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for choosing Acronis Backup Software") when in fact the primary reason most users get it is because it's . . . IMAGING and CLONING software?? To use it to make simple backups seems like a Rube Goldberg kind of thing.

    Thanks, btw, for reading my PTEDIT screen shot and guessing that everything was in order with my partitions - it would have taken me many Googles and reading up to understand what I was looking at.

    BTW, I noticed that your screen shot of PTEDIT had "Symantec" in the title bar. As I recall, Symantec bought Power Quest a few years ago. IMHO, Symantec has a habit of acquiring good software, cannibalizing it and leaving the bones to rot. The end result has never been as good as what they started with. That is why I avoid Symantec where possible. The only thing I use of theirs is WinDoctor in NSW. It does a good job of registry cleaning. Hmmm . . . mentioning a competitor of Acronis in these posts might be something in violation of the TOS or otherwise something one of the moderators sees as cause to delete a post. I hope not . . . just an observation, here.

    Anyway, back to the topic . . .

    I have one more comment on your post - actually, it's a question. If I do indeed run the "FIXMBR" stuff and it rewrites my MBR with the "standard Microsoft MBR", then won't that mess up the Partition Table listing my four partitionso_O In other words, I'm assuming Microsoft's standard MBR does not specify 4 partitions (which I think is a pretty safe assumption
    considering that M$ probably wants to let the user partition things as they like, and factory HDD's don't come "pre-partitioned").

    TIA

    Hey GroverH,

    I didn't mean to slam Senior Citizens, and as I said in my post you linked to I am one myself. It's just that so many of them haven't put down their stubby pencils yet and stepped into the 21st Century. But I'm glad to hear that a lot of them come to this board - that's a good sign.

    And I did in fact download your guides, but I haven't read them completely yet or digested them. From what I did read, you certainly did a good job.

    Question: Just exactly what do you have on those three partitions - I mean, how have you organized them regarding OS, Apps, Utils, and Datao_O
     
  11. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    BJ:

    Don't feel that you're in a catch-22 about the defective MBR. You can first make a backup of your current MBR by starting TrueImage and backing up one or more partitions on your first hard disk. From this backup file you can later restore just the MBR by selecting only "MBR and Track 0" when restoring.

    If your repair of the MBR is successful, and it should be, then just delete the TrueImage backup and make a new one that will then include the repaired MBR.

    It is a very safe operation to fix the MBR with the Windows XP disk using the recovery console. The operation will only write to the first sector on the drive and it WILL NOT affect the partition table. Your current partition layout will be preserved.
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello BobJ,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for the delayed response.

    Regarding the issue with Acronis Secure Zone, pleas create Acronis Report as it is described in Acronis Help Post. This would provide us with detailed information on the hard disk partition structure. Also create Windows System Information the way described in Acronis Help Post.

    Then submit a request for technical support. Attach all the collected files and information to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with a solution.

    As for the question about CD with the latest build, I am afraid we do not have this kind of option. Note that if it is possible you can use another computer (with faster Internet connection) to download the latest build (3854) of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home and then install it on your computer.

    As you mentioned Acronis True Image is basically dedicated for the complete system backup and disaster recovery purposes. While terms "backup" and "image" may have different meanings (usually, "backup" refers to an archive, which contains file or a group of files; “creating a disk image” means storing the information on a disk sector level, including the operating system, registry, drivers, software applications and data files, as well as system areas hidden from the user) they related to data protection. I would say that "backup" is wider and more common than "image".

    Thank you.
    --
    Aleksandr Isakov
     
  13. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    BobJ,
    I did not take your assessment of Seniors as a "slam" but some of your true life experiences. I have a few friends younger than I which simply will not try to learn anything about computers. They just do not realize what they are missing. Anyway, to answer your question. My drive is partitioned into system; data including my docs, etc; and the 3rd contains my email plus I use it as a scratch work area for temp storage. I have 3 other internals with 3 or more partitions each--plus a few externals. Hopefully, your link is now working from within the guides.
     
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