Question about function after reading manual

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by greg100o, Apr 19, 2005.

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  1. greg100o

    greg100o Registered Member

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    I have read the manual thoroughly and find it rather difficult to understand.
    I really think it needs to be rewritten. From looking at this forum, I can see I am not alone.

    I assume that someone from Acronis monitors this forum and can take feedback to the company, as well as answer my questions below.

    1. First when restoring an image one is given the option to check image integrity first. This seems like an odd time to do this. If integrity is not verified, then one is out of luck to do the restore, correct? Should not one check image integrity after its created? I do not think there is an option for this. If there is a problem with integrity noted after creation one would delete the backup and do it again

    2. This Acronis Startup Manager remains problematic to me. Although I can understand perhaps why someone might want to make a secure zone to avoid someone modifying the backup, The role of Startup Recovery Manager is not well explained. On page 14 it says the Acronis Secure Zone is meant primarily to be used with the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager. Primarily means it must have other [secondary]uses however it does not specify them.

    Now go to p 17, where it says:"Acronis provides the Startup recovery manger to run the program without loading windows..This feature is useful is Windows won't load for some reason..." [OK what about the CD, Doesn't it do the same thing?]Then "To access recovery manager, start your PC and press F11. This sounds to me like If you need to do a bare metal restore, boot press F11 and the Startup recovery manager will load and allow you to restore the system [ I guess without the boot CD??]. Finally there are also the directions, to use the Startup Manager you must activate it. {when?- before the recovery is needed, during the F11 phase of the boot?] And is it not when the manager is activated that one says by by to the MBR?


    But if that is the case what about the later instructions on page 27 that tell you to use the Image Restore Wizard to restore the system either by accessing it in Windows, or by using the CD to boot the computer [no mention of pressing F11 here]. To further confuse matters l look at the boot CD contents, there is the file "Acronis Startup Recovery Manager". Sounds like our old buddy from above. So really are there two separate ways to restore an image, one with the Startup Recovey Manager and one with the Image Restore Wizard? Why should things be so complicated?

    I think the Section on restoring the image p 27 needs to discuss this and also write the steps to initiate then restore process in some detail, both from windows and by booting from the CD. Also the damage that can be done by clicking that little tool on the user interface [Acronis Startup Recovery Manager] is really not explained well at all.

    3. p31 selecting a file system. The screen shown there does not have an option for NTFS. My computer is like most modern computers NTFS. Does that mean I cannot restore the drive to its original NTFS state only FAT 16 or FAT 32 with True Image?

    4. p 30 Selecting Partition type - To restore a partition with programs data and OS I hope one can actually choose both buttons active and Primary at the same time. Usually with button like this only one selection at a time works on a screen.

    One comment is that restoring with this program seems needlessly complicated. Could there not be simple one click "select partitions" and then one click "restore to original locations", rather than having to choose size, drive letter, file type etc. Most of us just want to do this simple way I would think. There could be an "advanced restore" for the more complex cases where the new drive might mot match up.

    Finally I think the Program interface should do something to hide the startup recovery manager altogether. It should be hidden behind "Create Secure Zone tool. Those who do not read the manual might be tempted to jump right to it to see what happens.

    I hope support can clarify once for all the issues noted above.

    Finally, a little soapboxing. I think it is a cop out by software companies who have very little overhead in their manufactured product to not include the full manual in the retail box. With a system like this, the on line manual will not be available when the system crashes and you need it. I would glady pay a few bucks more for this convenience,So the customer is forced to print it himself. Odds are that two years later all of these details will be completely forgotten forcing a careful reread of the manual when the crash occurs. What if the customer never prints it?

    Thanks for listening

    Greg
     
  2. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Nice post, Greg.

    About the Primary versus Active - Only a primary partition can be active, so Active must mean Primary too.
     
  3. beac

    beac Registered Member

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    Greg,

    Great job with your questions. I have recently begun my journey down the Acronis Path and found myself searching for answers to the same questions. I look forward to Acronis’s response in particularly with regards to the Startup Recovery Manager.

    Beac
     
  4. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Greg,

    How right you are about the manual. But True Image's competitors have manuals just as bad.

    I can answer one question: why is one given the opportunity to verify an image when restoring it? You do have the opportunity to verify image integrity right after making an image.

    Is it useful to know, just before restoring an image, that it's no good? Maybe, if you have several images, and can resore one that is still uncorrupted.




     
  5. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Greg,

    Two more answers. You can image and restore NTFS drives and partitions without any problem.

    Dispite the manual, True Image is really very easy to use. The restore function doesn't ask much more than which image you will use and what partition or drive you are restoring. If you download the free trial version, you'll see what I mean.



     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Greg,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Let me clarify all the points in your post:

    1. We are currnetly working on implementing the option to verify the image after its creation automatically. It is exppected to be included into Acronis True Image in future. As for the verification before the restoration, Acronis True Image deletes the existing partition before restoring the one from the image on its place. If it deletes the partition and then it appears that the image is corrupted you will loose the partition at all while in many cases you just want to restore the partition because there is some not very critical error on it.

    2. Acronis Startup Recovery Manager allows you to boot Acronis True Image in stand alone mode. Consider the situation when you have a computer with hard drive but without CD drive and floppy (it is possible) and Windows doesn't boot for some reason. If you have Acronis Startup Recovery Manager activated just press F11 key during the computer boot process and you will get to Acronis True Image interface and will be able to restore partition that was broken. Also it is much easier to activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager than to create Acronis Bootable Media (and in this case you don't need to have any CDs or floppies).

    Actually, the functionality of Acronis True Image when it is booted using Acronis Startup Recovery Manager and using Acronis Bootable CD is the same. The difference is only in the way it is loaded (from CD/floppy or from hard drive).

    You may activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager only after the creation of Acronis Secure Zone. However, you may create Acronis Secure Zone without activating Acronis Startup Recovery Manager. You will be able to store images there and these images cannot be corrupted by virus or trojan.

    3. As for file system convertion, please note that Acronis True Image leaves the file system that was on the partition in the image. However, if you created the image of FAT16 partition you will be able to convert it to FAT32. If you create the image of NTFS partition it will remain NTFS after the restoration.

    4. When you choose Active partition it becomes Primary automatically.

    Please note that default settings in the Restore wizard are configured so that they are correct in most cases. Furthermore, it is expected that customer reads the User's Guide before performing any actions even though the wizards are designed quite self-explanatory.

    Hope this answers your questions. If not please describe what remains unclear and I will certainly provide you with the necessary information.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  7. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Ilya,

    As you know, quite a few users have encountered problems through inadvertantly activating the Startup Recovery Manager whilst creating a Secure Zone.

    As I've often said before, the Acronis Development Team should seriously consider changing the default selection in the Manage Acronis Secure Zone Wizard to "Do not activate Acronis Startup Recovery Manager". A suitable warning in the "Description" box about the potential problems associated with activating the SRM would also be helpful. Users would then need to make a conscious decision as to whether or not they really wanted the SRM.

    What do you think?

    Kind regards
    Tom
     

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2005
  8. S?ul

    S?ul Registered Member

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    How about a warning in the description window; as shown in Menorcamen's screenshot. My wording suggestion would be something like this: "WARNING: Activating this utility will modify the MBR. Please refer to the user guide before continuing." It could be any wording just as long as there is a warning of some type.

    As Tom said..."What do you think?"
    Søul

     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Tom and Søul,

    Thank you for your input. Well, the number of posts I have seen on this Forum (and the number of letters to Acronis Support Team) make me think that your suggestion is quite reasonable. I will certainly discuss it with our Development Team. However, I would like to repeat that it is assumed that customer reads the manual first (where this option is described and the warning is included). Anyway, I think it worth including this kind of warning into the application itself.

    Thank you for your input.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  10. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    That's a dangerous assumption, Ilya. For that to work, the manual should be renamed to something like "American Idol Winner - NEKID!!". :blink:
     
  11. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Ilya,

    While we're on the subject of inadvertantly modifying the MBR, is there anything else a user of TI might do which would unexpectedly wreck the MBR?
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Dan,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    There are no other actions in Acronis True Image that may change the MBR (besides the restoration of the whole disk image, of course). Also please note that if you delete Acronis Secure Zone using "Manage Acronis Secure Zone" tool the previous MBR will be restored.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  13. jagoldhor

    jagoldhor Registered Member

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    I'm a new user to True Image 8.0 (purchased it a week ago) and I am so grateful I found this forum. I'm using Windows XP Home, have two hard drives, one of which I plan to use for backup purposes, a CD/DVD-ROM drive and a separate DVD-RW burner. Can someone please explain in simple language why I might want to activate the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager, given that activating it will overwrite my master boot record. I have a vague idea what a master boot record is (it helps the computer boot up, or get started) and I gather I shouldn't change it. I'm afraid I don't know what a third party boot manager is. What is the advantage or benefit of activating the SRM? Put differently, how can I decide or evaluate whether the benefit of activating the SRM outweighs the cost of changing my master boot record? Thank you so much! --Jon
     
  14. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Jon,

    The Startup Recovery Manager (SRM) is primarily intended for those people without either a floppy drive or CD drive and hence are unable to boot from the TI Bootable Rescue Media.

    The SRM modifies the Master Boot Record (MBR) of your system drive such that, by pressing F11 during your computer's boot sequence, it loads the Linux based standalone version of TI. This is the same version that's loaded from the Bootable Rescue Media.

    A number of computers nowadays have customised MBRs, thereby enabling multi-boot managers to boot either multiple operating systems or special (usually hidden) diagnostic partitions. When the SRM overwrites the existing MBR it, more often than not, renders these special features inoperative.

    Regards
     
  15. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    > Can someone please explain in simple language why I might want to activate the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager

    I can :) The answer is: You do not want to activate SRM since you plan to use an extra disk for backups.
     
  16. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi MiniMax,

    A good reason for not creating a Secure Zone but not necessarily the right one for not activating the SRM. In Jon's case he has the capability to boot from a TI boot rescue CD and I feel this is the primary reason why he needn't activate the SRM.

    Kind regards
    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2005
  17. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman,

    Why is using a separate hard disk for backups (which I do) a good reason not use a Secure Zone?
     
  18. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Dan,

    I guess it very much depends on what you intend to do with the SZ. If you want to automatically manage the number of incremental images then by all means create a SZ and image to that. However, if you merely want to protect your image from viruses/malware or poorly behaving applications then these are more likely to affect your primary system drive rather than a dedicated backup drive. Hence, if you only have one HD, creating a SZ that's hidden from other Windows apps and most viruses/malware seems the sensible thing to do.

    No doubt other users will have a different view :).

    Regards
     
  19. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman,

    That makes sense to me. Many thanks.
     
  20. poirot

    poirot Registered Member

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    I agree with greg100o,the Manual actually is AGAINST the user....
    I consider myself a user of just average knowledge,i know about how to do things with the pc and about security and firewalls and use Port Explorer,there are five or six persons who keep calling me to fix their pcs ,which i regularly do,i chose Acronis as i was certain it was the best and even if it was second fiddle i'd prefer anything to Norton....
    BUT.....I had to read the Manual 3 or 4 times and the more i read the more i got confused on some point....
    The fact english/american isnt my mothertongue might be relevant but i think it is really not clearly written for the average user.
    When i installed build 800 for example, i remember i was presented with the alternative to choose btw a 'complete' install and some other option ...i chose the 'complete' one, does it mean i've also inadvertently installed the 'Secure Zone'? (Manual doesnt cover this aspect of install)
    This could perhaps explain why i am now stuck with the impossibility to Restore the Image i created on DVD on april,10.
     
  21. jagoldhor

    jagoldhor Registered Member

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    Thanks Menorcaman, MiniMax and Greyhair, for your clarifying comments about the Startup Recovery Manager. But for this thread and your comments I would have followed the encouraging tone of the User's Guide and activated my SRM. Hopefully TI will revise its User's Guide to emphasize that only a user whose computer lacks both a floppy and a CD drive (and thus is unable to boot from the True Image install CD) should activate the SRM, unless he knows how to handle the problems that can arise from having his Master Boot Record overwritten. Thanks, guys!

    Cordially, Jon
     
  22. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    By the way, what if the master boot record *is* overwritten? What are the symptoms and what is the treatment? I'd like to pick the brains of some our experts here before rather than after I have that particular disaster.
     
  23. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    The MBR is (should be?) a very short program that the BIOS loads and then executes. So to answer your question "What are the symptoms" I have to say: It depends on what the modified MBR/program do - and that can be just about everything.

    And the treatment? Well, what do *YOU* want the MBR to do?
     
  24. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Dan,

    As MiniMax said, the symptoms very much depend on what the customised MBR did in the first place. As to how to restore a non-standard MBR? Well that again depends on what the modified MBR was supposed to do. My advice would be to contact the relevant manufacturer in the first place and if that didn't succeed then "Google" the Web.

    If you fancy a bit of reading on the consequences of overwriting a customised MBR check out this thread titled <Imaging "Dell PC Restore" hidden partition>. It also contains a couple of links in posts #19 and #22 to instructions on how to restore the special Dell MBR (not to be attempted by the faint of heart!!!).

    Regards
     
  25. Greyhair

    Greyhair Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman,

    I'm still a bit confused. I now understand that the loss of a customized or non-standard MBR presents a serious problem. What about an ordinary MBR? Does WinXP just replace it if it's accidently destroyed?
     
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