Problem with Recovery in Safe Mode

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by LenC, Sep 8, 2006.

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  1. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I installed TI9 current build on my computer and imaged the drive to an external USB drive. I validated it and mounted it - no problem.

    I created a recovery CD and booted up into "full mode". I was able to access the image and retrieve files from it - no problem.

    I had a problem when I booted from the CD into "safe mode". I received the following error:

    FAIED TO READ FROM THE SECTOR 6,291,519 ON HARD DRIVE 2. I was given a choice of retry, ignore, fail, cancel. In all cases, the program couldn't see the image file on the USB drive.

    I did exactly the same process on another computer and had no problem accessing the image file when I booted in safe mode. (Yes, I have two licensess.) The only difference is the brand of the external drive. I am having the problem with a Western Digital Drive; I did not have the problem with an AcomData Drive.

    Any thoughts as to why I can't recover in safe mode?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Greetings LenC,

    While re-reading your post, just before pressing Submit Reply, a light came on! :blink: TI Boot Safe mode, as far as I know, does not support external USB Hard Drives. Hence, your success in TI Boot Full Mode. Stick with Full Mode while using USB external HDs. [I welcome corrections.]

    I'll leave what follows; hopefully it may be of use to others with problems connecting to external USB hard drives with TI in boot mode, though is admittedly off target for LenC's issue:

    It sounds like the Linux drivers TI uses in Boot mode are absent for your Western Digital external USB drive (well, no, they just aren't there in safe mode). Have you tried using each external USB hard drive on the other computer? That might at least confirm whether TI Boot mode can see one and not the other. Acronis support says it will provide drivers for specific situations if you contact them with the details of your hardware.

    Another idea: Have you downloaded the latest version of Acronis drivers, which are updated more frequently than the TI builds themselves? Then, create a new TI boot disk.

    Others have suggested not connecting thru a USB hub, rather directly to the USB ports on the motherboard, and, to try different USB ports (front, rear, and, of course, be sure to use USB II). The only way I could get an external USB HD to run with TI on my system, even though my onboard USB II ports work with digital cameras, printers, and mice, was by adding an Adaptec PCI USB II controller card (which shows up as a USB hub, but works well with TI & Disk Director and my external HD, a 320 GB Western Digital in an ADS enclosure).

    USB chipsets aren't consistently reliable -- there are chipsets in both the PC and the external USB HD enclosure. The drivers that communicate with those chipsets, in Windows and Linux boot mode, may also be the bottleneck. I've read that Microsoft's USB and EIDE drivers often work better than NVidia drivers do, and on my system changing drivers resolved problems I was having with both USB and SATA hard drives & controllers. If one USB hard drive (or controller card) doesn't work on your system, try another.

    And, as so many seasoned users wisely suggest in these forums, test every step of the Archive creation and restoration process on your system, before you need it. Beyond seeing an external USB HD in Boot mode, be sure that you can read and write TI sized images to each drive on your system. TI places high demands on USB systems -- reading and writing multi-gigabyte image files is far more demanding than downloading digital photos. And I've begun saving copies of my original photos on internal and external hard drives, and DVDs, in their original formats. True Image .tib files are helpful when they work, but I've begun using TI for system drive imaging, not relying on it for archival storage of otherwise unreplaceable documents.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2006
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    As Christopher_NC indicated you don't have USB drivers in Safe Mode.

    On the TI recovery CD Full mode is a Linux environment that contains drivers for "all" the supported devices which includes USB drives. The TI Safe mode uses DOS and does not contain USB drivers among others. Some motherboard's BIOS will support USB drives in DOS but it is not the majority AFAIK.

    IMO, TI would have been better calling the recovery environment Full and Basic or words to that effect. I don't believe there is anything safe about Safe and it has absolutely nothing to do with Windows Safe-mode. If your rescue CD works in Full, thank a higher power and forget about Safe.
     
  4. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Seekforever,

    Thanks for this most interesting clarification!

    While this may come as no surprise to many, I am amazed to learn that Acronis uses DOS as the OS in "Safe Mode" on their Boot Rescue Mode Disks. I've read with great interest several discussions in these forums about the benefits or drawbacks of using Linux as a TI Boot recovery environment. Some have proposed that Acronis may have been wiser to use the "PE" or Pre-installed Windows environment. I thought, coming in, that Linux was a wise choice, and well it may be. Windows hasn't given me confidence over the years, and I thought, perhaps Acronis is onto something here.

    Yet, when TI Linux Boot mode doesn't function, as it didn't on my system initially (eg: software SATA and RAID implementations are not supported, per Acronis Support) one wonders if it's really the best rescue environment. There are so many incidents reported in these forums of systems and hardware that function fine under TI and Windows, yet fail under TI Boot Mode. No Hard Drives, Images that won't verify, corrupt restores...As SATA hardware and the ever increasing variety of external storage devices become more prevalent, perhaps Acronis will re-examine their Boot mode compatibility implementation. If this program is to mature, it would seem to demand compatibility, at least among the various modes within TI. If it isn't compatible, and won't do the tasks required in all modes on a given system, it should report this up front, not after a process is begun, or a user given the sense that TI will run on their system when required.

    Perhaps, running in TI Boot "Safe Mode" (and I agree with Seekforever, the name "Safe" is most misleading) I'll be able to restore Files and Folders to a new location on my internal hard drives without corruption of the data or directories. This may be an isolated issue, since to date only 3 of us have reported this. But, I wonder, will Safe Mode recognize my SATA HDs? On the mobo, or an Adaptec PCI SATA card? Tests to follow, and I'll post on the appropriate threads.
     
  5. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Thank you for your helpful and thoughtful responses. I really appreciate your taking the time to help me. As I learn about Acronis, I hope to reciprocate in the future.

    One question does come to mind as I read this - what good is "safe" mode? What does anyone use it for? Seems to me if I can't boot up from CD in full mode, I'm dead. Is that pretty much correct?

    Again, thank you
     
  6. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi LenC,

    It very much depends whether the user's motherboard has native support for its hard disk controllers and/or USB sub-system. A number of people have found that when the "Full" mode didn't detect their hard disks correctly, the "Safe" version (which relies on DOS and the motherboards BIOS routines) did. This included their external USB drive, thereby enabling them to successfully restore their image.

    Regards
     
  7. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Menorcaman,

    While your statement, here, seems quite clear, I just want to ask for confirmation of your point:

    So, TI Safe Boot Mode can, on some systems, see and access external USB devices?

    I've been testing backups and restores in TI Safe Boot Mode, with good results so far. In Safe mode, my 3 internal SATA HDs are present and functional, as is my IDE CDRW drive. My external USB HD is not, but is functional in TI Full Boot mode. My USB HD does run from a controller card, though, and not the motherboard/bios, which may explain its absense in "Safe Boot Mode." I noticed a speed difference in my test restores, with Safe Mode being much slower than Full Mode, on a small restore to an internal NTFS SATA hard drive.

    I've also installed the latest Acronis Drivers, to further test the corruption I reported with Files and Folders restores, and, so far today, am not seeing the corrupt directories. But, that's for another thread. I mention this as I don't want to leave the impression here that something major is awry, only something less easy to pin down.
     
  8. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Christopher,

    Yes indeed. This has also been confirmed by a number of other users in previous threads. However, it does very much depend on the actual make, model and BIOS version of the motherboard.

    On my system, I need to insert the Acronis rescue disk into the CD/DVD recorder and then power down the system. The external USB HD has then got to be connected and switched on before rebooting the computer (BIOS boot order set to CD-ROM/USB-HD/SATA). If I don't do that then the motherboard fails to detect the external USB HD and hence it's not visible to TI in "Safe" mode. Might be worth you trying the same and seeing what happens.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2006
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    This makes sense since the BIOS "runs" early in the startup and if the drive isn't turned on then it will not know it is there.
    What I don't understand is the need to ... I just re-read your statement and now I think I see what you mean. By load you mean put the CD in the tray not get TI running and then power down the system. Correct?
     
  10. sensia

    sensia Registered Member

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    TI safe mode does not have USB drivers-
    How far that statement is true? I mean in term sof functionality? In my understanding, if a BIOS can access a USB drive, why can't TI?
     
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    That is exactly the point, if the BIOS supports USB drives directly then TI's safe mode will likely be able to use them it seems. However, "most" motherboard/BIOS don't have this level of support and thus rely on the OS and loaded drivers to support USB drives. DOS has no inherent USB support. Note that supporting the USB drives is more than just recognizing USB ports which all BIOSs do.
     
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi seekforever,

    Yes, that's correct. I've amended my post slightly so, hopefully, it's more clear.

    I should add that, on my system at least, the USB HD isn't always detected first time and it then requires a repeat of the boot sequence.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2006
  13. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello sensia,

    The statement is quite true - TI Safe mode doesn't have its own USB drivers (or SCSI, PCI Card, etc. for that matter). In terms of functionality of TI's Safe mode, I can confirm that I'm able to create, validate and recover images to/from my external USB HD. However, on my system at least, these operations are EXTREMELY slow because, when operating in DOS/BIOS mode, the motherboard's USB sub-system only tranfers data at USB 1 speed rather than USB 2 Hi-Speed. The three operations I mentioned each take around 5.5 hours for an 8GB image in Safe mode rather than the 8 minutes it would take in Full mode. As you can imagine, I have never used Safe mode in anger :D.

    Therefore, one of the things that the Acronis, Linux based, Full mode does is load USB 2 Hi-Speed Linux device drivers in order to speed things up (by some 40 times!!). Unfortunately, for a few TI users, the Full mode doesn't contain Linux device drivers that are compatible with their particular hardware. Therefore, for those people, TI's Safe mode may just get them out of a hole, albeit very slowly.

    Regards
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    I would like to confirm that the safe variant of the standalone version of Acronis True Image is based on the DOS environment and works via BIOS. It provides you with the access to all hard drives recognized in BIOS. However, please note that we do not guarantee that the safe version will work correctly with the USB, Fireware, SCSI, RAID drives and network. We recommend you to use the safe variant only if the full one doesn't work.

    Please also note that the Acronis drivers is related to the Acronis True Image in Windows environment and it does not affect the Acronis True Image Bootable CD functionality.

    Thank you.
    --
    Aleksandr Isakov
     
  15. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Acronis Drivers don't impact Boot Mode?

    Aleksandr,

    Could this really be true? All along, whenever someone is having troubles seeing their hardware in Full Linux Boot mode, I've thought that the first step suggested is to download the latest version of Acronis Drivers, make a new boot disc, and see if that works. Are you saying that the Boot disc drivers are not updated with the Acronis SnapAPI Drivers?

    If so, by what method does the TI Linux boot environment get updated, to support new hardware? Only by a new build?

    Edit: I learned tonight that there is no change to the Boot Rescue Disc possible by installing snapapi.dll a.k.a. Acronis Drivers. Thank you, Bruce Mahnke, for your methodical tests to confirm this.

    His post is here:
    Re: Does SnapAPI update Linux Recovery-CD drivers ??.?

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
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