Problems creating a Secure Zone

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by John Dalton, Feb 14, 2007.

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  1. John Dalton

    John Dalton Registered Member

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    I cannot create a Secure Zone on my internal slave drive (drive D). All appears to go well, without any error messages, but no Secure Zone is created.

    I have just received a reply from Acronis Tech Support which simply consists of the suggestion to use a workaround. The workaround is to boot my PC from an Acronis Bootable Media and create the Secure Zone from that.

    Now, to my mind, the word "workaround" always suggests that there is some problem with the product under question, especially when it concerns a major feature of that product. Before I use this method of creating an invisible partition on my hard drive which, for all I know, may prove not to be removable, I really would like to know the reason why I cannot create a Secure Zone by the normal method. I would be grateful if anyone could explain the reason for this failure.
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I use a secure zone on an internal slave drive. Used sensibly it is one of the best features provided by TI.

    A silly question,but after creating the zone using the Manage secure zone Wizard, Where exactly have you looked for it?
    There are several places where one might expect to see it but it will not be seen there. For example Windows explorer will not show it by design though it can be seen in Windows disk management.
    It is not shown in the TI interface under backup locations nor archives though it can be found and examined under the restore data Wizard.

    What size did you try to make the secure zone? Will it be the whole or major part of your D drive? Somewhere lost in the mists of time I seem to remember that a SZ has to be a minimum size. FWIW I size my zone to take 10 full master drive images. This avoids any incremental or differential complications and the automatic FIFO management works like a charm.


    Xpilot
     
  3. John Dalton

    John Dalton Registered Member

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    The details are as follows:

    My D drive is 80GB and and has only one partition on it. I tried to make a small Secure Zone, 10GB; I checked the fragmentation of my disk and there was more than enough contiguous free space for this size of Secure Zone.

    I tried 2 checks for the existence of the Secure Zone. One was to look at the size of the D drive in Explorer after attempting to create the Secure Zone; it showed exactly the same size as before. The second check was to attempt to backup some date to the Secure Zone; Acronis gave the message that there was no Secure Zone present and did I wish to create one.

    My concern is that the reply from Acronis Tech Support showed all the signs of being something quickly produced and no signs of having addressed my particular problem - I had attached an Acronis System Report but there is no evidence that Acronis had read this. The fact that they appear to be avoiding telling me why a major function of their software is not working properly makes me extremely loathe to follow their suggested course of action without more information from them. Why are they so shy about addressing the root cause of the problem?
     
  4. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Just as an experiment try to make a secure zone of 40GB on your D drive. Not trying to be funny but make sure it is 40 GB and not 40 MB.

    You can always resize it later or delete it. NB do all operations concerning the secure zone by using its Wizard.

    Xpilot
     
  5. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I have re-read your second post and this raises a couple of questions.
    How much used space is there on the drive you want to image to the secure zone? If you don't have at least 2.5 times the estimated image space allocated to the secure zone you will be out of luck.
    My own basic rule of thumb would be to make the zone at least 3 times the uncompressed used space you wish to image. Trying to fit a quart into a pint pot always results in some spillage [​IMG]

    Xpilot
     
  6. John Dalton

    John Dalton Registered Member

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    I've only got 37% free on a 80GB disk so I can't try 40GB. However, I have just defragged the drive and, by the extremely crude process of laying a ruler across the screen, I estimate that I have about 21GB of contiguous free space. I have just tried, using the Secure Zone Wizard, to create Secure Zones of 20GB and 15GB. In each case the process proceeded without any error messages but, in each case, failed to produce a Secure Zone.
     
  7. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    John are you for real ? If you hover your mouse pointer over D drive in My Computer it will show you exactly how much free space you have there. You can also do the same exercise for C drive. It will also disclose the used space on C drive.

    You may care to detail the exact steps you go through, preferably with screen shots, of the attempted creation of a secure zone.
    You seem to have a unique set of circumstances with your set up. A removal and reinstall of TI might clear the position back to normality.

    Xpilot
     
  8. John Dalton

    John Dalton Registered Member

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    Ah, but I wasn't measuring the total free disk space, I was measuring the maximum contiguous free disk space. I'd always been led to believe that if you are creating a new partition that it was necessary to use a single chunk of disk space - presumably I am wrong. Can the Secure Zone partition be scattered in fragments all over the drive?

    The exact details of what I did are:
    1) Home screen
    2) Tools - Manage Acronis SZ - Next
    3) Select Disk 2 - Next
    4) Tick Disk 2 (Drive D) - Next
    5) Set SZ size - Next
    6) Do Not Use Password Protection - Next
    7) Do Not Activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager - Next
    8 Proceed

    Although I saw no error messages during the process, I have now checked the Acronis log and, at each attempt, 3 errors are listed. These are:
    127 - Failed to find Acronis SZ
    126 - Failed to prepare Acronis Starup Recovery Manager
    5 - Operation has completed with errors
    All three are listed as being in Module 100.
     
  9. bornconfuzd

    bornconfuzd Registered Member

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    I was hoping to see further responses to this post as I have the exact problem.

    I'm trying to set up a secure zone on a second internal hard drive and though ATI 10 goes through all the motions, including messages on reboot that it is "checking partitions" and "synchronizing with operating system", no secure zone is created.

    I did actually check "disk management" and verified that no secure zone was created.

    In addition when I attempt to "manage" the secure zone, ATI simply attempts to set one up.

    I have tried three times to set up a secure zone, all without success. I also get the same three error codes as mentioned in the original post.

    The drive I'm trying to use for the secure zone is a 250gb Seagate Barracuda, with 230gb free space, and I was attempting to set up a secure zone of 150gb.

    Any help with this would certainly be appreciated.

    Dell Dimension E510
    D820
    Dual Seagate 250gb hdds
    2gb ram
    Windows XP Pro / SP2
     
  10. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Just out of curiosity I removed my secure zone using the manage secure zone wizard and then recreated it using the same wizard.
    So I can confirm that this method can and does work for Windows XP SP2 using TI version 10 Build 4940 as it has done since version 8 and probably before.

    My suggestions are :-

    You have some running process which is causing the zone creation to abort.
    Solution close all non-Windows processes apart from the four that are specific to True Image and try again to create the zone.

    There is some corruption with your TI installation.
    Solution remove the program using Windows Add/Remove and download and install the latest build of the version that you are using then try again.

    As a last resort you could try to create a zone while booted from the TI recovery CD.

    If you are still unsuccessful there is probably some hardware problem though this is not very likely as it would manifest itself in other ways.


    Xpilot
     
  11. bornconfuzd

    bornconfuzd Registered Member

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    Thanks for the post XPilot! I will try your suggestions and post back. In the meantime could I verify that you deleted and recreated your secure zone on a second internal hard drive?

    Also, I'm curious about the possibility of other processes aborting the secure zone creation, I thought the actual creation took place on reboot before any other processes started. Is this incorrect?

    My True Image installation is from a cd, after which i downloaded and installed the latest build from Acronis. Of course it could still have a problem, but if so, it's the only problem I have encountered so far.

    At any rate, I will try your suggestions, and as I sad, post back on my success, or lack thereof! :D
     
  12. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Yes the zone is on a second internal hard drive. IMHO the best place for it.

    The initial part of the creation process is in Windows and the process finishes with a re-boot. I am not aware that any other processes could interfere with the creation and I have never had such a problem. However there is a lot of exotic software out there and starting by clearing the decks may help.

    Did you un-install the CD version before installing the latest build? There is conflicting advice as to whether this is necessary but I normally do it for each new build so there is no room for doubt. I precede the un-install by stopping all the TI services in Task Manager. Probably not necessary but it only takes a few seconds.

    Xpilot
     
  13. bornconfuzd

    bornconfuzd Registered Member

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    No, in fact I did not uninstall the cd version before I ran the update. Umm, I followed the directions instead and left it in place! :p

    I did have the trial version installed prior to recieving the cd and I did uninstall that prior to installing the cd. Was there any further cleaning up I should have done prior to installing the cd?

    I'm also getting quite a few errors in XP event viewer so it is quite possible there is a problem with the install. Of course that is better left for another post.

    So, tonight I will run through your suggestions and see how it all shakes out.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  14. John Dalton

    John Dalton Registered Member

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    Well, despite my worries about what might happen, I finally tried installing the Secure Zone using the Acronis bootable disk and it did create a Secure Zone on my internal slave drive (D), which I then successfully managed to remove using the Wizard running under Windows. However, one of the these 2 operations did remove the drive letter (G) from my external USB drive which therefore disappeared from Explorer. Until you realise that you can put the letter back via Disk Management this is, to say the least, extremely worrying!

    And one final little comment. When I first tried booting up with the Acronis disk in the CD drive nothing happened; the PC went straight into Windows. Anyway, I looked in the BIOS (another operation that causes me fear and trembling) and found that the boot order was now external drive, then hard drive and, finally, the CD drive. I changed it back so that the CD drive was first and all went well.
     
  15. bornconfuzd

    bornconfuzd Registered Member

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    These are all good things to know! Thanks for the post John!
     
  16. bornconfuzd

    bornconfuzd Registered Member

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    First let me say thanks to Xpilot and John Dalton for their help and input. I also want to apologize for my delay in posting back on this problem.

    In fact, what happened is that I ran into another problem just after my last post here.

    I found that I also could not use "Backup Places" in ATI 10. At that point I thought it would be quicker/easier to ask Acronis "tech support".

    After a month of corresponding with them, sending them screen captures, uninstalling and reinstalling ATI, and my anti-virus, taking screen shots with DeviceTree and sending those to them, they advised me that my problem would be bumped to their "development team"!!

    At that point I came back to this forum and started searching again. THAT'S when I found THIS post by Mustang:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=876945&postcount=3

    which is part of this thread:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=974278#post974278

    So then I thought, if this fixed my problem with "Backup Places", I'd better check my "Secure Zone" problem! Yep, you guessed it, FIXED!

    Both "Backup Places" and "Secure Zone" now work just as advertised!

    I think I got in trouble by making both my external usb drives backup places, then turning them off when I wasn't using them. That caused drive letter changes later and ATI got totally confused and locked those features down.

    Anyway, to make a long story longer, :D , Mustang's fix IS a fix, and it appears to be a fix for TWO problems! Should it be a sticky for a while?

    Finally, I tried to tell Acronis that my problem was solved by this fix, so that they wouldn't waste any more time on it, and so that they could help others who might be having the same problem. All they did was bounce my emails back to me, in just seconds, so I know they weren't even reading them. That's disappointing, to say the least.

    Thanks again to everyone here for the help!
     
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