Problem booting restored image on Dell XPS

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jgiallo, Sep 13, 2008.

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  1. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    I am running TI 8.0 build 937 on Dell XPS M170. I regularly created full C: backups. Recently the Hard drive failed and has been replaced. No initialization was done on the new drive.

    Using the Acronis recovery disk I re-imaged the new drive (9 hrs required). On attempting to boot the following message appears:

    "Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information."

    I then tried using the Dell recovery disk to load the operating system again. Now the boot manager finds two boot selections: the one generated by the image restore which yields the message above and a second one which does boot.

    How does one get the new image to boot properly??

    Joe
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    If you just restored an image of your Windows system partition to a blank hard drive then it would have been placed in the first partition.

    Your old disk may have had a diagnostic or recovery partition in front of the main Windows partition, so the boot.ini file in the old image may have been referencing something other than partition 1. You would need to fix the boot.ini file to point to the correct partition.

    If your old image can be mounted on another PC then find the file C:\boot.ini and open it in a text editor. It is a hidden, system file so you will have to enable viewing of hidden and protected operating system files. What partition number does it point to? Here is an example of a boot.ini file that points to the first partition on the disk:
    If your old boot.ini file has any number other than (1) then you would need to change it to (1) in the restored image.
     
  3. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Thanks very much for the suggestion. I doubt that I can examine the old drive now but since I loaded the OS using the Dell recovery disk on the new drive in addition to the restored (but unbootable) image, I do have a presumably comparable situation to examine. Unfortunately I haven't found the file you reference yet (I am running XP, is there a different name/convention?) There is also the problem of accessing the file within the restored image (if it won't boot, how do you get at it??)

    Joe
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    If you can boot the machine to XP using the installation installed from the Dell recovery disk, then go to "My Computer". Do you see a second disk drive containing the XP OS that was restored by Acronis True Image?

    If yes, open the drive. You will find boot.ini in the root of the drive. But since it's a hidden, protected file you will have to enable viewing of both hidden and protected files first. From an Explorer window choose Tools > Folder Options > View and set the view options as shown here:

    3.PNG

    You should then be able to view the boot.ini file in the restored installation of XP.

    If that doesn't work then post back. If you still have the .tib file that you restored from then there are other ways to examine it.
     
  5. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    That worked but revealed a new twist - it appears that both operating systems are found in the boot file - one for partition 1 and one for partition 2. Each line is identical in the file and very similar to the last line of your example. Is the easy fix to change the numbers to partition 2 and give it a try? Or is there a better way?

    I also see that all of my restored data appears on C: in the bootable OS but none of the programs appear in the program menu - presumably a function of the fact the system booted from different files??

    Thanks for your patient assistance.

    Joe
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    I suppose I should have expected that outcome. That's confusing and still doesn't nail down the partition that your original disk had Windows installed to.

    What you currently have on your disk (with two installations of Windows) is a mess that you will eventually have to undo by restoring your saved image again. In the mean time, I would like to figure out exactly how the original disk was configured so that you can have a successful restore the first time.

    To really do this you need to examine the boot.ini file in the image that you restored from. Here are two ways you can do this:

    1. On another PC with TI installed, mount the saved image file. Open the boot.ini file and determine the partition number (probably (2) is my guess but would like to confirm).
    2. Install TI on your current system. Use it to mount the saved image file and determine the boot.ini file contents.

    Hypothetically, if the original disk had a diagnostic partition and Windows was installed to partition (2) then you would do the following to fix your PC:

    A) Boot to the Dell Recovery CD and delete all partitions from the hard disk
    B) Boot to the TI8 recovery CD and restore the saved image to the disk
    C) Before starting Windows, edit the boot.ini file, changing partition(2) references to partition(1). You will need a utility to do this like EditBINI
    D) Boot into Windows

    That's what I THINK is happening, but again it's only conjecture at this point. Before you go to the trouble of trying the steps A - D, confirm the contents of the original boot.ini file!
     
  7. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Will do. Am in process of contacting Acronis to re-activate my online account. I bought TI8 in 2005 and their system seems to have forgotten me. I imagine that I won't be able to get TI8 at this point and will have to use the current release. Hopefully that won't introduce yet another variable/problem!

    In reflecting on the current situation it looks like using the Dell recovery disk just shifted/renumbered partitions when the OS was reloaded. I'm guessing that changing the boot.ini file may therefore not be the issue, i.e. the system is booting successfully, presumably from partition 1 based on the current boot.ini information. For some reason it doesn't like the boot information found in partition 2. There is also some weird behavior going on with the co-mingling of the restored image and the Dell recovery OS installation. I thought partitions were separate yet the files are co-mingled apparently. Your thoughts?

    Joe
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    When you install another copy of Windows the boot files will be placed in the currently active partition, so you get some of the files from both installations co-mingled.

    BTW, TI versions 10 and 11 also have the capability of mounting an image in read/write mode, so if your old image would have been created by TI 10, for example, you could have mounted it, edited the boot.ini file, and then restored the image with the file modified. I'm not sure if version 11 can do this with a file created by version 8; I would doubt it. The internal file format has changed since then.
     
  9. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    TI 10 and 11 will automatically modify the boot.ini file when you restore to a different partition so it wouldn't really be necessary to mount the image and edit the file.
     
  10. nosnoop

    nosnoop Registered Member

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    Does it mean that with TI 10 & 11, the OP's problem would not have happened? I also have a Dell with a recovery partition, and I am wondering the same possibility. So with TI 11, I can forget about the presence of the recovery partition; and when I restore the Windows partition to a new hard drive without the recovery partition, everything should just work?

    My previous experience with my old computer requires me to go to XP Recovery Console and rebuild the boot configuration after image restoration to a new drive.
     
  11. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    nosnoop:

    I believe that's true, but I have TI 10 here, not TI 11. With version 10 in the above scenario then the following occurs. When you restore an image of the C partition that was originally in the second partition on the old disk to a new, blank hard disk, the restored partition will physically be the first one on the new disk but TI 10 puts the partition table entry in slot #2 of the partition table. By doing this the reference in boot.ini is correct and no modification of boot.ini is needed. But you also end up with a "scrambled" partition table where the order in the table doesn't match the physical order on the disk. For a single-boot system this is no problem but it can create confusion for multibooters.

    Paul, what does TI 11 do? Does it put the partition table entry in slot #1 of the partition table and then change the entry in the boot.ini file?
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    My previous tests with TI 11 showed that it didn't scramble the partition table. I have not rerun them with the latest builds. I would think the partition would end up in slot 1 and TI would update the boot.ini file to point to it.
     
  13. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    In one of those "what do I have to lose" moments, I attempted to re-image the failed original hard drive.

    For the moment this seems to have been successful and the system now boots. Now, to avoid any future fun with full image restorations I'd like to solicit your collective wisdom. I think it would be wise to replace the now suspect hard drive with the new one that was problematic with regard to establishing the re-image.

    My immediate thought is to upgrade to TI11 and image the old hard drive before it dies again. Then, change out the hard drives and re-image the new one with the TI11 created image. Any thoughts, tips, comments??

    Joe
     
  14. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    When you re-imaged the old hard drive, what did you restore? Only the C partition? And when you chose the destination for the restore did you see more than one partition on the drive? Which one did you pick?

    It would help a great deal if you could post a picture from Windows Disk Management showing the layout of your old hard drive. It would help immensely to know what caused your original problem. The more that is known, the better the advice that you may receive.
     
  15. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Yes, I restored only the C: partition and I think there was only one destination choice as I don't recall having to choose between options. I'm having trouble posting a screen shot of the system information so how is this done?And, to make sure I'm posting the right thing the information I have is a text description of the organization of the drive from start>>accessories>>system tools>>system information>>drives. The original problem was an inability to read from the drive during the windows boot-up (after BIOS init) and was reported as "unable to read disk.." or something similar.

    Joe
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    You get this error when boot.ini on the active partition is pointing to an empty MBR slot. Makes sense if your boot.ini referenced partition(2) and your new HD OS partition was in the first MBR partition slot.

    Edit.. The OS partition can be in any of the MBR slots and if there are no other primary partitions preceding it in the MBR, boot.ini must be partition(1) for a successful boot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  17. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    Here is some information about posting images in the forum.

    You want START > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management, then click on "Disk Management" in the left pane. This will display a graphical image of your disk's partitions similar to this:

    1.PNG
     
  18. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Thanks - here is the data:
     

    Attached Files:

  19. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    Bingo! That confirms what we've suspected all along. Your Windows partition is the second partition on the disk. In front of it is a 47 MB Dell Diagnostics partition. If you were to now look at your boot.ini file you'd find it referencing Partition(2).

    The steps A) - D) given in post #6 will work for restoring your image to the new disk and having it boot correctly the first time.
     
  20. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark & others,

    Thanks alot for the help!

    Given the need to modify the boot.ini file it looks like now is a good time to upgrade to TI11 just for the capability of editing this file easily.

    Absent any better ideas from the group I'll go ahead and get TI11 and attempt to image my newly acquired drive for peace of mind.....

    Joe
     
  21. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    And just for the record, here is the current boot.ini just as you suspected:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Media Center Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  22. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Joe:

    Not to discourage a sale of TI, but there are several ways around your current problem:

    1. The advice in post #6
    2. Make a full-disk image using TI 8 and restore the entire disk (both partitions)
    3. Use your Dell recovery CD to start the Windows installer. Create two partitions on your new disk - a small logical partition followed by a large (rest of the disk) primary partition. At this point, cancel the Windows installer. Restore your old image to the large (second) partition on the disk as "Active". The boot.ini file will then be pointing to the correct partition.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  23. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Good points - option 2 is the simplest. Out of curiosity, why does it take 8-9hrs to restore the image when I see advertising suggesting that this is accomplished in minutes?

    Joe
     
  24. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Speed depends on the disk transfer rate. In your case you are using an external USB disk, which will probably only run at USB-1 rates if the TI8 Linux recovery environment doesn't support your hardware.

    So (50.9 GB to restore) / (9 hrs) / (3600 sec/hr) = 1.57 Mbps

    USB-1 low rate is 1.5 Mbps, so that confirms what's happening.

    If TI 11 has better Linux drivers for your hardware then you may be able to restore at USB-2 rates, which are up to 480 Mbps, but limited by the external hard disk transfer rate of about 30 MBps (240 Mbps). This would take about 30 minutes to restore your 50.9 GB image.

    You would also see faster restore times if restoring from an internal disk (2 GB/min or about 15 minutes to restore your image), or if using a different recovery environment like VistaPE.

    If your external disk is in a case that is easily opened you could remove the drive and temporarily install it internally in order to make the recovery go faster.
     
  25. jgiallo

    jgiallo Registered Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. I contacted Acronis and learned that they are releasing the next version "soon" so I'll wait and see after that point.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
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