Ready to scream , not buy!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Mediaman, Aug 31, 2007.

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  1. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Well aint this just great.

    Finally decided to buy, and per instructions everywhere ,I deleted the trial version via Control Panel before purchasing and downloading the lastest copy.

    Well, Control Panel removed Acronis, stated to reboot, and now my computer is dead. It wont boot. Just dead.

    I left it alone and after 10 minutes I got a blue screen of death, then a reboot, then a prompt to repair windows. Now its at the point where it says it cannot start, and is trying to use a prior System Restore point, which is not owrking and now its in a endless loop

    I am freaking out and mad as hell, and all that comes to mind is "thanks for nothing"

    Brand new computer and I finally got the last piece of software installed after 5 days of setting it up. Of all ironies, the REMOVAL of a trial version of backup software did me in.

    I have data backups, but the only image backups I have, obviously, are from teh trial software, which I just unisntalled to buy the real one. Does this get any more insane??

    I'm on my other computer now, and I am livid. Cant believe all that work is lost and will have to be recreated. AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH

    Just how unstable is this producto_O

    Clearly I have lost all confidence that I had in Acronis.

    I heard of buyer beware but this is nuts!
     
  2. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Do you still have the .tib archive backup files created from the trial verson? If yes, temporarily install paid version on second computer and create a Rescue Cd. Then use the Rescue CD to restore the image onto the non-working computer.
     
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Follow Grover's advice. Unless you have a hardware problem you should be able to recover from your disaster.
     
  4. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    OK I have a dilemma..

    Great suggestion above. Yes I have the .tib files so per your instruction, I could buy, and rebuild from the image and be back where I was this morning , ie machine in tact with the trial s/w loaded. This is actually where I am now (phew!!). After going for a breather, I came back, and the machine evenutally used Windows Vista System Restore sucessfuly. So now I am back to a working machine, with the trial version still installed(!).

    But what do I do nowo_O Notwithstanding my shattered confidence, I cannot buy the s/w as it requires that I uninstall the trial, and I cannot unistall the trial as i KNOW this causes the machine to crash!

    If I keep the trial and install the new on top of it, who knows what problems that would caase....and I will likely hit this issue again on the next upgrade - ie I would forver be stuck on the current build(4.492)

    Again, AARRGGHH.
     
  5. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    Ah, but now you know that you can recover, this should make you confidant enough to experiment further, wouldn't you say?
    I would try logging into Acronis and downloading the latest build ( if you already have the latest build download it again, maybe you got a bad copy)
     
  6. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    First of all, don't panic.

    I find your case interesting. The most likely reason your system would not start after the TI uninstall is related to the snapman service. Usually this happens after installing a new version of TI on top of an existing version. In that case, snapman.sys gets deleted but the newer version of snapman.sys does not get installed in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers. When the system tries to start, the snapman service can not start because of the missing driver. This causes the system to hang. Simply injecting snapman.sys into C:\Windows\System32\Drivers solves the problem. In your case, it looks like the uninstaller removed snapman.sys but failed to remove the registry entries telling the system to start the snapman service. The result is the same, a system hang.

    Here's what I would suggest. Copy snapman.sys from C:\Windows\System32\Drivers to a temp location. Uninstall the trial version again. Do not allow the system to reboot. Confirm that snapman.sys is gone from C:\Windows\System32\Drivers. Copy it back to that location from the temp location. This should prevent the system hang on reboot. Before you reboot, you should run regedit and check some things. Look at HKEY\Local Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services. See if the key snapman shows up in the left side under Services. If it does, delete it. The uninstaller should have done that. You may have to right click snapman and change the permission to full control before it will delete. Close regedit. Now it should be safe to reboot.

    Be prepared to follow your previous recovery method in case you still get a system hang, but I doubt you will. Unfortunately, writing a decent installer/uninstaller is not Acronis' strong point.
     
  7. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    mustang, thanks for the post.

    you give some good ideas for ensuring a good uninstall, which I will follow if I attempt this again.

    But three points:

    1) you mention that the most likely reason my system would not start after the TI uninstall is "related to the snapman service. Usually this happens after installing a new version of TI on top of an existing version". But I did not have that scenario. I did not install a new verssion on top of an existing one. All I had was the trial and all I did was try to uninstall it.

    2) my second question was going to be this - given I am hesitatnt to uninstall the trial, can I just go ahead and buy/install the new one over it? I guess not given what you just descrideb above, ie installing new over old.

    3) Right now I see I do have snapman.sys in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers (which you inidcate is a good thing.)...but I also currently have a snapman item in regedit ( which you say I should delete). Are you suggesting that my system did not recover properly (as you indicate it should not be there.)
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    mustang is saying that most likely the snapman service was left in the Registry, but the file was removed, thus causing your problem. The uninstall was enough to cause it.

    I'm pretty sure you have to uninstall the Trial Version before installing the Regular Version. There are problems that are generally avoided by uninstalling prior builds before installing newer ones even though Acronis says it's not necessary. It just depends on the system. However, I think the Trial Version falls in the "must uninstall" category.

    Since TI is installed you should have the snapman.sys file in the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers folder and ALSO the entry in the Registry. This is correct for when TI installed. When you uninstall TI, you need to follow mustang's instructions to keep a copy of the snapman.sys file in that folder and also check the Registry and remove the entry for snapman.sys if it's there.

    This is really a one or the other solution. If TI uninstalled and the snapman.sys file is still in the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers folder then Windows should boot. If the snapman.sys file is NOT in the folder but the Registry entry trying to load it is removed from the Registry, then Windows should boot. If you check both, then you should be okay.

    And you know you have a good image to restore if something goes wrong, so you don't really have anything to lose by trying.
     
  9. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    mustang; mudcrab - very kind of you both to be so articulate and helpful in getting me out of this mess.

    Thanks to you, and no thanks to Acronis, I think I am now "trial-free".

    Here is what I did, and these steps are worth their weight in gold for Vista users trying to uninstall build 4.492 of the trial version (with royalties to you two):

    1) copy \windows\system32\drivers\napman.sys to a temp folder
    2) copy \ProgramData\Acronis to a temp folder
    3) use Control Panel / Program and Features to unisntall Acrnonis
    4) observe that snapman.sys is indeed missing
    5)copy back the snapman,sys to c:\windows\system32\drivers
    6) use regedit, drill down to HKEY\Local Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services
    amData\Acronis
    7) observe that snapman is still there; delete it
    :cool: delete ProgramData\Acronis
    9) reboot

    So once again thank you. I was able to successfully reboot.

    But sheesh! Shouldn't Acronis immediately fix this!!!..or at least publish the workaround !!!

    I guess the next step for me to take take the leap of faith and go for the purchased product. (My other option is Norton Ghost 12 , but I know Norton too has its issues)

    So with Acronis:
    -Confidence in the user community = HIGH.
    -Confidence in the product itself = HIGH
    -Confidence in the install/uninstall = very near ZERO

    Let me ask this, in a similar vane to the above. If I now install the purchased version and do NOT reboot, what should I be looking for with respect to snapman.sys file and the registry setting that points to it. Should I expect that after the install and prior to a reboot that BOTH should be present??

    Many thanks again.

    Mediaman
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You're very welcome. Glad to help.

    Thanks for posting your steps. They'll be helpful to the next person with this problem.

    I have never checked this, but I would assume that the snapman.sys file would be placed into the folder and that the Registry service entry would be added (and if they're not, then they would be during the reboot). It should reboot fine. And you will have to reboot so you don't really have a choice.

    As a side note, I never used the Trial Version of TI Home. It seemed to be not worth the trouble. I have not had any problems installing or uninstalling the regular versions in my computer and during tests.
     
  11. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    Mediaman,

    Thanks for reporting back. Most people in your situation get so upset they just go away mad instead of trying to deal with the problem. I'm glad it worked out for you.

    In defense of Acronis, I would guess the uninstaller tried to remove the snapman service from the registry but Vista blocked them due to a lack of permissions. The way over the top security features included in Vista have made it difficult for software vendors. There also could be something different in the way your system is configured that caused the problem. I doubt that everyone uninstalling the trial version of TI build 4942 would have this problem.

    If you don't mind, I'd like some more information on how things look in your registry after the uninstall. I did't mention these other areas before as I did't want to overwelm you.

    1. Look at HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services. Do you see services called AcrSch2Svc, tifsfilter or timounter?

    2. Look at HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}. Do you see an entry called "snapman" under UpperFilters on the right side?

    3. Look at HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{71A27CDD-812A-11D0-BEC7-08002BE2092F}. Do you see enties called "snapman" or "timounter" under Upper Filters on the right side?
     
  12. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Hi. I'm glad I didnt give up as well. I do want this to work out. Just a bit shaky after finding out they toy gun had real bullets!!

    Re " in defense of Acronis", two other points perhaps you can comment on,

    1) I see posts complaining about the slow repsonse from Acronis support. I note that myself. Lots of automated emails, but it seems to take a long time ( a week) to get a reply. For software this critical, I would expect most users are anxious for a much quicker response. This fourm does fill that gap, but its something they should look at. I recent bought ProShowGold for digital picture slideshows - that too have a great fourm and support group, but the support is unreal - I used it five times and got replies within 15 minutes (!!) each time. So it can be done.

    2) Based on some googling re image corruption etc I've seen some posts which do bother me re Acronis images that have been created, validated, but when needed days later are corrupted. Some examples of such post are here , here, here, etc. Actaully a recent post on this fourm, here, summarizes the concern very well re the lack of confidence in the inetegrity T10 images. You get my point. Again, there may be dozens of isolated cases, and thousands of happy users, but it does cloud the decision making. I did not see similar corruption issues on google for the latest version of the competing product - but then again no support there at all!! I will likely end up with Acronis as there is clearly support on this forum - it just would be nice to read some acknowledged bugs and fixes! But I know, no product is perfect. And I am beginning to think that this is more of a strategy than a sure thing. That is - sure, buy this image product , but realize that it 'might' work and save you time rebuilding your PC, but as well, it might not and could result in validated images that are actually corrupt. Ensure you also back up your data seperately on multiple drives

    With regard to your questions, see below. Again, this is after a successful uninstall of the trial, but prior to an install of the purchase copy ( not yet done):

    No

    UpperFilters says: PartMgr

    UpperFilters is blank
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  13. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    Thanks for answering my questions. This is all as it should be. It shows most of the uninstall worked well. You should now be able to safely delete snapman.sys from C:\Windows\System32\Drivers.

    Unfortunately, support is an issue. It is slow, but certainly not the worst. One problem is that Acronis tends to be very secretive about the inner workings of the program.

    The corrupt image problem can be an issue. I believe it is mostly hardware related. This program stresses hardware to its limits. Better quality hardware seems to work well. It's also good to have memory that is certified by the motherboard manufacturer as a good match. Having too much memory is also an issue. The more memory a system has and the faster it performs seems to cause corrupt images. Overclocking the CPU or speeding up memory timing is a real no no with this program. The good news is that if is works well in your initial testing it will be very reliable.

    Another area of concern is the Recovery CD is based on Linux. This means there is a considerable lag in support for newer hardware.

    If you do buy the program, you need to test it fully. Create a Recovery CD and make sure it boots on your system and sees all your drives, including external drives. Create images of your system both from within Windows and with the Recovery CD. Make test restores using these images to a spare hard drive using the Recovery CD. This is the best way to insure you don't get bitten in the ass by the corrupt image problem. If your tests work, you should have good confidence for future restores.

    You seem to be in the digital media business. If so, I would suggest that having just one backup/imaging program is not a good idea. Having all your eggs in one basket is bad. You should think about having at least two programs no matter which you decide to buy. I probably have over 10 by now and have never seen any conflicts caused by having more than one imaging program installed in the same system.
     
  14. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    1) Are you saying delete snapmansys, now, for sure, before attemtping to install the purchased product?

    2) Re all eggs in one basket, agree 100%. Here is my 'strategy' to date:
     
  15. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    I would. Sometimes the installer sees an existing driver and asks if you want to delete it. You say yes. Then the installer gets confused and does not install the newer version of the driver. This causes the same system hang you had before.
     
  16. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Your strategy is somewhat similar to mine and I would say yours is more rigorous. I use SyncBack for the data files which are incrementally copied daily to an internal HD. BackupMyPC makes an additional backup of my pictures but they are written to the same internal HD.

    I don't copy to the USB daily only about once per month. If I have a real important file (all my files are non-business) I will copy it to more than one location - my spreadsheet at tax-time falls into this category!

    I only image when I think I should since I don't capture data files with images and consider being forced to reloading Windows and Apps just an annoyance and a good refresher/learning exercise rather than a disaster. At worst I would probably just have to update from an older image though.

    I copy some images and data file backups to DVD every now and then and I also keep a copy stored at a friend's house just in case I was totally robbed or the house burns down.

    Based on what is indicated in your diagram I would say a possible weakness in your method is copying to the same external HD (if that is correct). I have 2 USB drives and I alternate them.
     
  17. Mediaman

    Mediaman Registered Member

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    Actually I have shown physical drives ; so there are three drives in total as illustrated - main plus two independant backup drives - one SATA internal and one USB external.

    As to staggering, between the three drives are have 4 copies of my data at any one time- master on C, copy on internal (0 to 12 hours old), copy on external (12 to 24 hours old and fouth copy as part of the image ( one week old to one month old)
     
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