Recipe for imaging to DVD+RW? Wdormann, will you help?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by diverlee, Jul 8, 2004.

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  1. diverlee

    diverlee Registered Member

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    My ultimate dream is to create a foolproof set of CD(s), or more preferably DVDs, to create a simple bootable restore disk sequence in the event of a hardware failure.

    I have an oem PC that came with four (fully automated, bootable) system restore disks (CDs), but of course they don't restore working documents, nor any programs loaded since purchase. I recently had a hardware failure and had to restore my system with the oem's restore disks. Fine. The oem restore process was flawless; but, I spent hours reinstalling backed-up documents and reinstalling favorite software. Not acceptable. So I purchased Acronis True Image as a hoped for preferred solution to the barbaric oem restore process. The only question is how to create restore disks that include my fingerprints.

    I'm now running XPPro (upgraded from the oem installed WindowsHome version that came without any support disk) on a single hard drive system, with Nero 6 Ultra Edition (newly installed), and I have both CD+RW and DVD+RW burners. How may I acheive my dream? [STOP. Re-read my dream noted above or move to the next post.]

    I tried imaging to DVD's after formatting them as UDF disks(?) using Nero 5.5 InCD. System hanged running True Image 7.0 just before completing the first DVD.

    I have since installed Nero 6 and tried reformatting the unsuccessfully and previously used DVD as a standard DVD (not as an InCD format). It has been formatting for over 24 hours, but still making progress. Another expensive coaster? Again, this is not acceptable. Before I create anymore coasters, does anyone have a magic recipeo_O? o_O

    Should I pre-format the DVDs? What format? InCD, ISO or other? Complete or quick format? And what about the file size? The blank DVDs say they can hold 4.7GB. Some recent posts have debated/suggested setting a limit of 2 or 3 GB before imaging. Can someone help unravel the mysteries?

    Can you help me build a tutorial for the technologically challenged? I suspect it would greatly help to have input from "wdormann"!

    Will any knowledgeable folks help out? Will you help a fellow person down on his or her technological luck? Thanks for any support.
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Diverlee --

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis products!

    Well, I'd suggest the following way to back up to DVD. First, you can create an image (splitted into files about 2 GB in size) to your HDD, and then burn these images to DVDs.

    Also you need to burn a bootable rescue media in order to be able to boot your computer up and restore in case of failure.

    Thank you.

    Anton.
     
  3. diverlee

    diverlee Registered Member

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    Thanks Anton for your valuable time.

    I suppose if I would breakdown and buy a second harddrive this would be the easiest way to go. On the other hand, I really appreciate the way you can use Acronis TrueImage to image directly to CDs. Very straight forward process that formats CDs on the fly, but too many disks to store. My backup image is around 7GB. I had hoped to do an image with DVDs to reduce the number of disks, but with DVDs it doesn't appear to be as straight forward. I think you have to preformat the DVDs first. That's where I'm lost. Am I missing something? o_O


    Done. That was the super easy part. And another post explained how to make a bootable DVD, which I'll try this weekend.

    Thanks in advance for any further help. Diverlee.
     
  4. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, diverlee

    Please have a Read of this thread to see if it helps:- creating image and burning to DVD
    And Here:- error message using internal DVD-RW

    Hope this helps

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  5. diverlee

    diverlee Registered Member

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    Thanks Quest, but my prior reading of those threads are what lead to my initial confusion and a desire to create a simpler recipe for DVDs, particularly of the DV+RW genre.

    As I earlier indicated, I love the way Acronis True Image will image a drive to CDs and seamlessly/brainlessly span CD disks. I was hoping for the same with DVDs to save disks. Apparently such an operation is not yet ready for prime time.

    Fry's has a Western Digital 120GB, 7200rpm, 8mb buffer, UltraATA100 drive on sale for $59. Since this is an exact twin to my existing (previously $250) drive, I'll drop the change, image to the second drive splitting the files to the theoretical 2.0GB limit, and then burn to DVD using Nero, (without using UDF file format). That much I learned from reading the referenced threads.

    Although, I'm still confused about the file size limit!?!

    The referenced threads debated the size limit, and the darn disks themselves indicate a potential storage size of 4.7GB. No wonder other folks and me are confused.

    Now, my question will be whether I need to know how to use Nero to preformat the DVDs to standard ISO first, or just use the unformatted disks out of the box.

    With nothing but time and money on my hands, my goal is to figure this out by the end of the weekend!

    Thanks for your time Quest and I hope you will continue to help me in my crusade. Diverlee.
     
  6. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

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    Hi Diverlee,

    I just recently moved and will not have reliable internet access for about a week or so.

    Have you looked at my post at the end of the thread Create bootable DVD? I assume you probably have, since you have addressed me personally. :)

    This is the method that I use for creating bootable rescue DVDs. It may seem complicated, but it's really a one-time thing. Once you've created the DVD in Nero, you just save the nero project. Then the next time you want to back things up to a DVD, you can just open up that Nero project and add new TIB files if necessary. (Or if you've overwritten the TIBs, then you really have nothing to do).

    My boot partition is 5GB, so I've never tested a case where the image to restore is larger than what will fit on a DVD. If TrueImage is smart enough to prompt for the media if the complete set of TIBs isn't on a single DVD, then you should be good to go. Your first DVD should be bootable, and any additional DVD would just need to be a standard ISO DVD to contain the TIBs that don't fit on the first disc. The spanning wouldn't be automatic since you are not writing directly to the DVD. But again, I have not tested this so I cannot say one way or another if it will work.

    As for "pre-formatting" a DVD, that's not necessary. AFAIK, that's only necessary with UDF packet writing software. When you go to create a DVD with Nero in the manner that I describe in the above linked thread, if the disc is blank it will just go ahead and write the the disc without any formatting. If the disc contains data, then it will prompt you if you want to overwrite the media. If you choose yes, it'll do a quick format before the burn.

    Let me know what you discover. If it's anything specific that you think I may be able to help with, feel free to CC a private message to me as this thread might be well buried by the time I get my Internet connection back.
     
  7. tazdevl

    tazdevl Registered Member

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    Why 2GB? Doesn't exactly utilize the DVDs effectively.
     
  8. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

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    Because 2GB is the maximum size file that can fit on an ISO9660 filesystem. If DVD spanning works (remember, I have not created a TrueImage backup that requires more than 1 DVD to store so this is just speculation at this point), then this will let you put 4GB on a DVD (2 TIBs) and you can fill up the rest with QuickPar data for redundancy if you like.

    Or, if you find that your backup requires just over n DVDs to back up (requiring a total of n+1 discs to store the data), then you might find that tweaking your TIB size could let you get away with just n number of discs.
     
  9. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, tazdevl

    Nothing to do with Acronis Ti.
    That the warning you get from Nero [no sure about other burning software] if
    you give it a file bigger then 2gb to burn, it says it has to be done in UDF, so
    most peopole click cancel. [panic :eek: ]

    But if you click OK it just goes a head [ahead :D ] and burns it.

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  10. tazdevl

    tazdevl Registered Member

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    That was m my point Quest. ;)
     
  11. diverlee

    diverlee Registered Member

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    Special thanks to Wdormann, TheQuest and Acronis for all of your tips! I can't wait to try Wdormann's great tip on how to create a bootable DVD. Below is the tutorial I had in mind when I started this thread. I hope it will be helpful to others.

    HOW I SUCCESSFULLY BACKED UP MY HARD DRIVE TO DVD+RW DISCS using True Image 7.0 (Build 613) and Nero 6.0 Ultra Edition (Ver. 6.3.1.17) on my Pentium 4, 2.53GHz, Fry's Multimedia Special, WinXPPro Edition, personal PC.

    First I made a backup image of the first/active/main partition of my C: Drive using Acronis True Image (ATI). (The only other partition on the drive was the Acronis Secure Zone, which already had a verified back up image; but, hey, if the same hard disk crashes, what/how can you restore!?!)

    I directed ATI to use full compression and limit the image file size to 2GB and to store the image files to my second harddrive. (I chose the 2GB limit based on my reading of earlier posts in spite of the fact that it is counterintuitive to the 4.7GB capacity printed on DVD+RW disks. More on this later.)

    When you get to the "Image Archive Spliting" window, uncheck the "Automatic" box and check the "Fixed size, Please specify..." box. Then, in the drop down box to the right, select the "700MB - 700M CD Drive" choice and manually overwrite the text and just enter 2000. The choice should then default to 1.953kb. You'll end up with most files at a fixed 2,048,000 byte size, which windows reports as 1.95GB. The last file will depend on actual storage need.

    I ended up with five 2GB files and one approximately 1GB file, all files were automatically sequentially numbered for easy reference. The process was straighforward and completed in about 30 minutes. That was the easy part. Now, how to back up the image files to removable media for redundancy and easy retrieval using only a few universally read disks? Burn them to DVD. I was concerned about how to burn the DVD so that it would be easily recognizable without the need for special drivers or programs in the event I booted from the ATI CD. And since I had prior trouble using a UDF formatted DVD, I chose to use the ISO format.

    Here's what worked for me, your software burning mileage may vary:

    Launch Nero StartSmart using the desktop icon.

    Near the upper right corner of the Nero window, select "DVD" disk type from the three (HD-BURN, DVD, or CD) choices.

    Next, click on the "Data" icon along the top row of icons, second from left, to display the Data menu, do NOT select the "Copy and Backup" menu as this is for making a backup image similar to the True Image process, except without the ability to deal with it using the ATI bootable CD, which is probably why we all bought True Image.

    Next, click on "Make UDF/ISO Disc". This should bring up the "UDFISO1_DVO-Nero Burning ROM" screen. (I suspect the secret to my success here is the ISO standard as I didn't have much luck using preformatted InCD UDF format discs.)

    Click on the "Edit" drop down menu, select "Add Files" and add the ATI image files you want to burn to DVD. (Nero will show a graphical bar at the bottom of the window to let you know where you stand on approaching storage capacity. I was able to add two 2GB files without any problems. The ISO format will add about 350KB for overhead files.) After you add the files to be burned, you will see their names in the second window pane from the left with the full filenames intact.

    Click on the "View" drop down menu and check the "ISO Level 1" option. The filenames you previously loaded will suddenly be truncated to the old DOS standard of 8 filename characters and three characters for a filename extension. Not to worry, this is a temporary thing and an alleged limitation of the ISO file rules. When you are done with the burning process you will have a usable data DVD, but for knknown reasons, with the full original filenames. (When I used the "Joliet/UDF" option, the burn took a lot longer and the disk could not be read on my Win2K dvd-rom player. The "ISO Level 1" option appears to be more backward compatible.)

    Click on the "Recorder" drop down menu and select the "Burn Compilation" choice, NOT the "Burn Image" choice. (Yeah, I know, too many choices, too much power and too little knowledge/experience can drive you nuts.) This will bring up a secondary "Burn Compilation" window where you should choose the "Multisession" tab and place a check mark next to "No Multisession" and accept all other default choices. Then, just simply click on the "Burn" button in the far upper right of the window, NOT the "Burn" tab. And, away you go, assuming you have an out-of-the-box, blank, dvd ready to go in the DVD tray! Nero will format the DVD on the fly as it burns the files.

    The burning process should begin immediately. And, you can check or uncheck the "Verify When Written" button, whichever you prefer, anytime during the burn process. (It took me about 16 minutes to burn and verify one 2GB image file, and under 30 minutes to burn and verify two 2GB image files.)

    Upon completion, I could "explore" to the DVD+RW drive and see the files. Woo Hoo! I could also move the DVD to another PC running Win2K and see and copy the files from its DVD+RW drive. Then, I verified the images on the original XP PC using ATI. (You have to verify the files individually, if you so desire to verify, about 5-6 minutes a piece for me.) Success again.

    Feeling giddy at that point I tried the freshly burned DVD+RW disc in the plain vanilla DVD-Rom drives on both the WinXP and the Win2K machines. Success again!!! I could see and copy the files like a floppy. Heck, I'll be able to recover these back up images any where, any time, without InCD/UDF drivers. And this can be very necessary, since ATI cannot recognize back up images spanned over muliple DVD discs. A second hard drive adds insurance, but what if both hard drives fail simultaneously? Sure, unlikely, but weren't most of the hardware problems we have all suffered from?

    Lessons learned?:

    Acronis True Image (ATI) is a great, powerful, and easy to use, exceedingly intuitive hard disk imaging program, but ideally you need a second physical drive to secure and ensure your back up files, unless you want to use dozens of CDs. Besides, what to do if the hard drive that crashes also contains the backup image? And, I'm not quite sure how you can successfully restore an image to the same drive its stored on without corrupting the back up image at the same time. I guess that's why Acronis came up with the secure zone. Therefore, I prefer a second drive AND backing up to removable media.

    Backing up to DVDs is icing on the cake. I was able to back up a 60+GB hard drive partition, about 15GB full, to 3 DVD+RW DVDs. While ATI can seemlessly back up to and span CDs; it doesn't yet offer a documented and foolproof way to backup to DVDs without additional DVD burning software. Hopefully, a future version will fully support DVD+/-RW drives for spanning multiple disks, as well as supporting bootable DVDs. Anton, please tell us this is coming soon! With such a superior product, why does Acronis not offer a greater level of support, better FAQs, etc? This forum offers you a wide array of no-cost consultants. Carpe Diem!

    Nero, an exceedingly popular dvd/cd-rom burning software used by many of our ilk, is also a powerful program--for burning existing files. Perhaps too powerful, and thus cumbersome and not as intuitive. And, you can clearly burn standard stand-alone readable DVDs with data exceeding 2GB. (However, that being said, I understand from earlier posts that there may be an individual file limitation of 2GB. I didn't invest the time to test the alleged ISO 2GB file limit.) Theoretically, Nero could image a hard drive as well as ATI. The components are already there, but I just don't see the ease and flexibility that Acronis currently offers with its bootable CD and Startup Recovery Manager. Clearly, both Nero and True Image have pros and cons. Here's hoping that Acronis closes the performance gap before Nero does.
     
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