Reflections on Build 3567 and MBR

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by bVolk, May 3, 2006.

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  1. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    If I try to digest from various recent discussions on this forum, all the excitement about the MBR now being also included in partition images boils down to this.

    In terms of setting up a brand new system disk (after the old one has failed), the new feature introduced in Build 3567 brings no benefit to the partition imager. If he wants to avoid preformatting the new disk so as to mimic the structure of the old one, he will still need an entire disk image, as he did before Build 3567. Restoring the system partition only (as one of several partions from the original disk) as well as the included MBR (this one reflecting a multi-partition structure) will not guarantee a working new system disk.

    However, having the MBR included in single partition images will enable him to restore the MBR separately after a corruption, infection or other unwelcome modification. This, in my present wiew, is the only benefit of the new feature.

    Before Build 3567 the MBR was imaged and restored only within entire disk operations. This way the partition table inside the MBR always matched the actual partitioning layout being restored. Now the user can restore the MBR separately but it's upon him to assure that it will match the actual partition structure.

    Would anyone care to amend? I think it's most important to have this picture clear.
     
  2. Larry M

    Larry M Registered Member

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    At least for me I see very little benefit in using 3567 over 2337. I just went thru all this since I got ATI back in Feb of this year and a new laptop last month and have been going thru baselining and creating backup images for potential future using mainly build 2337 and having 3567 come along in the middle of doing this new system setup. Sure 3567 has some added features, but in my case the drastically longer restore times I have encountered is not worth what 3567 offers. I would need to double check this, but I think if you did a full disk drive backup under 2337 and then use a 3567 rescue boot disk to restore a 2337 *.tib image it gives you the MBR track 0 restore option just like you have using an image created using build 3567. In other words the MBR track 0 image is there in build 2337 it's just not singled out in the 2337 rescue disk like it is in the 3567 build rescue disk.

    Now if they can get some of the restore time issues solved for some of us trying to use build 3567 it might be O.K., but until that is solved I'll stick with 2337 build and accept the non support for that build. That's seems to be Acronis' position on support that I think is really unfortunate, but I don't have a vote.

    I just can't accept a 4X time restore time increase between 2337 and 3567 that I have encountered ... a 35 min restore for an 11GB image under 2337 and a 140 min restore for a 9GB image under 3567 is just too much of a step backwards for me.

    Larry
     
  3. Brian R

    Brian R Registered Member

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    Folks,

    As I understand it, the new feature does provide a significant benefit. My main drive is divided into 3 partitions. The largest partition contains read-only data from another machine, so I don't want to waste time and backup space by backing it up again. Therefore, I use partition backup for the other two partitions.

    However, pre-3567, if I had to do a full rebuild of the drive, I would have ended up without an MBR - which might not have been completely desirable :).

    Regards,
    Brian
     
  4. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    My point is that the MBR that's included with the partition image of C: only (when the original contained also partitions D:, E: ...) can't be used to directly set up a replacement system drive by restoring it and the partition image of C:, due to the discrepancies exposed in my opening post.

    But I may be wrong - that's why I put my view on test here.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Based on my understanding you are right in that you can't just restore C and the MBR to a new disk if they came from a disk with multiple partitions.

    Where I think there might be a slight benefit depending on your mode of working, is that you can just backup C and ignore non-changing data which you backed up previously and have the MBR. Now on restoring you do have to at least have the right (original) number of partitions to make the stored MBR happy. However, if you had a modified MBR (a not easily obtainable one like a vanilla XP MBR) you do have the thing captured at least.

    The question is what is the easiest way to create the extra partitions? Disk Director, PM, XP install CD, or an entire disk image? IMO, if I had a full large drive containing some partitons that never change, I wouldn't see making full images a great option; I want imaging to be fast because most of the time you don't need them and you need to restore the MBR even less. I guess I am saying I don't mind a bit of inconvenience to restore the MBR since I never do it. One could always make a small disk image, one with the C drive and empty partitons to quickly setup the disk before restoring the real thing.

    Since I don't have a non-standard XP MBR other than the fact I have more than 1 partition on my disks I don't bother to make a whole disk backup.

    Acronis in responding to some of the moaning and groaning previously about no MBR backup without the full disk said it wasn't as simple a matter as it appeared. Seems that is the case.
     
  6. Brian R

    Brian R Registered Member

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    Apologies, bVolk, I didn't fully appreciate your initial point. My understanding of doing a bare-bones restore of a single partition backup (taken from a multi-partition disk) is that I would first have to re-create the original partitions (i.e. without any data). I would then restore the single partition. Assuming that the extra partitions are not used by the system on the single partition (or, at least, do not contain system-critical files), does this not work?

    Regards,
    Brian.
     
  7. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Thank you for your input fellows,

    It seems we agree. The reason I made all the fuss about this new feature introduced with build 3567 is, that I was induced to assume at first (was I really the only one?) that the images of C: alone would now give the user the same functionality that disk images gave him with previous builds (i.e. no formatting the replacement drive needed).

    It was only later that it dawned upon me, that perhaphs it wasn't enough to have the MBR available, it had to be a happy MBR, as seekforever puts it. :D

    So from now on I'll be doing images of C: only but I'll keep one disk image handy, to be able to set up a new system drive with the familiar TI alone.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2006
  8. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    As a novice I am still confused. I have a disk partitioned into C:\ (Primary Active) and F:\ (Data). Assume I image C:\ to another internal disk. The image includes MBR. Now when restoring to the disk the image was made
    from, will I have to additionally select MBR in the restore wizard ?
    Also, more importantly, will the restored MBR be 'happy' with the existing
    F:\ (Data) partition ? i.e. will the boot record remain the same as it was before restoring ? Under what conditions will the MBR be 'happy' ?
    For simple backup purposes it would be a bonus not to have to image F:\ (Data) as well. o_O
     
  9. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Ocky,

    Provided your C: partition image is restored to the same Disk that it came from, and provided the existing MBR is undamaged, there is no need to also restore the MBR.

    Regards
     
  10. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If you make an image of your C drive and then restore it to the same drive then you don't even have to worry about the MBR since it is not destroyed upon restoring the C partition. I do this all the time on a disk with C and several other partitions. I make an image of C then try out some piece of software and then restore C to remove all traces of the test.

    If you made an image of C then put it on a new drive you would want to restore the MBR as well since there isn't one and it is wise to create a second partion to mimic your original drive - the second partition doesn't have to be the same size.

    I have never needed to restore a MBR probably because when I get a new drive I fire up my XP install disk and use it to partition and format the new drive. I then dump my C partition back on the new drive in the partition I set up for C. Since I am always dealing with a XP simple MBR (no dual-boots, recovery partitions etc) I never have a problem.
     
  11. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Thank you Menorcaman and seekforever. You have given me the impetus
    to download 3567 and to get cracking with my first image. All's clear
    for now. :-*
     
  12. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Thanks from me too.

    Had the line down for a few days, due to escavation damage.

    Now I realize how right my wife was (once again) - this forum is addictive. :D
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2006
  13. caimito

    caimito Registered Member

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    I have read several posts about the latest TI builds running operations many times slower than the old. My experience is the opposite. Until today I was running build 2259 and I updated to build 3633 today. I was able to clone and verify an 80gb drive with two ntfs partitions including an operating system and a data partition in just a few minutes. As for the other points, I am still a novice with MBR issues but generally agree with the lack of information in the program.
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello bVolk, Brian R, seekforever, Ocky and Menorcaman,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are very sorry for the delay with the response.

    I've just consulted with the respective person from our Development Team and he assured me that whatever restoration scenario you follow partition table is not being restored. Instead, the new partition table is created in accordance with the new partition layout.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  15. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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  16. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Hello Alexey,

    Would you please explain this statement in more detail?

    As I seem to understand it now, it would negate a previous statement of Acronis Support, where it was advised that before restoring the single system partition and the MBR & Track 0 originating from a multipartitioned disk to a new one, the new disk should be partitioned into the same number of partitions as the source disk had, the partitions' size being irrelevant.

    That's the advice that I and some other members have been forwarding to inquiring readers in our replies. If it's incorrect, we must clear this matter up thoroughly and fast.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  17. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Absolutely!! This is extremely embarrassing and will be impossible to correct in many earlier posts :oops:.

    Regards
     
  18. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello bVolk and Menorcaman,

    Please be aware that the actual reason why we recommend to re-create the same partition layout on the destination hard drive as it was on the "original" disk is that the restored\transferred operating system may not boot or function incorrectly (usually it "hangs" on the "logon" or "Windows logo" screens) if some partitions this particular Windows installation is "aware" of are missing. If you restore Windows to a partition of the different number than it was installed originally it will not boot until you will make the appropriate changes to the boot.ini file.

    Please also note that, as I have already mentioned above, under no circumstances Acronis True Image restores the "old" partition table. It would be too dangerous and cause troubles to those people who restore individual partitions to the already partitioned drives. Instead of restoring the "old" partition table, Acronis True Image creates new one in accordance with the current partition layout. The capability of backing up MBR is basically intended to preserve the ability to use boot loaders, boot managers, special service partitions and the alike after the image is restored rather than to preserve the "old" partition table, i.e. the "old" partition layout.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  19. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    And a very good reason it is! Bootability and flawless working of the restored disk is most certainly expected.

    So the recommendation stands, though it stems from a different background than I thought before.
    Even so, I feel relieved. :cool:

    Thank you very much for this prompt clarification Alexey.
     
  20. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Alexey,

    Thank's for the additional clarification, which all makes sense. As bVolk says, fortunately the previous advice provided by forum members still holds good, albeit the reason behind it has changed somewhat.

    Kind regards
     
  21. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Is there a way using the XP install disc only to partition and format i.e. without going through the entire setup ? Perhaps one can use the diskpart and format commands in the Recovery Console ?
    In the case of restoring a full disc backup to a new drive one just has to perform a whole disc restore from the rescue disc using resizing if required, i.e. no prior formatting/partitioning needed ?
    Apologies, I think similar questions have been asked before. As still a new user, your setting my mind at rest will be much appreciated. :)

    Merry Christmas to all !
     
  22. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Hello Ocky,

    That is so. The new disk may be blank, the partitioning and formatting data would be overwritten upon restore anyway.

    If the new drive is the same size as the old one you simply restore the entire disk image (Disk 1 checked, all the partitions and MBR below autochecked). The entire disk restore does not allow for partition resize.

    If the new drive is larger then the old one (or you suspect the old drive had bad sectors), a partitions restore with resize is required. Here too, you use the entire disk image and proceed as detailed in Menoracaman's instructions here:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=769388&postcount=5
     
  23. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Thanks for your reply despite Xmas day. (Your wife must be livid :D )

    My main concern, not being a bright spark, is the formatting and partition scenario under the following conditions:
    Drive to be restored is partitioned into C:'Windows' and F:'Data' If a new hd would be required,and seeing I have not imaged the whole disc, I would have to format and partition the new drive before restore to reflect the same number of partitions contained in the image as per previous posts.

    I understand this, but how best to format and partition the new drive without using fdisk ? seekforever uses the XP install CD - but then one would have to go through the whole Windows setup procedure.
    Is this the best or only way - what about recovery console ?

    My drive is currently fine and the advice requested is only for future reference.
    PS. My wife is not cross with me yet. :cool:
     
  24. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I have jumped into this thread so I apologize if I missed some point. Yes, I use the XP install CD. I know the partition setup I want to have and I create them with the installation CD. I also format them fully realizing the format will be overwritten when I restore an image but the format on a new disk does a read-check of the surface from what I gather so the formatting gives me some increased confidence regarding the new drive.

    Setting up the disk in XP also creates the MBR. After that I just dump the appropriate image to the partition. So far my C has been the correct size so I haven't bothered doing any resizing but TI should handle that.

    I do not let it copy files and install Windows. After the disk setup is done and Windows wants to start doing more work I just kill it.
     
  25. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Thank you seekforever, this is exactly what I will do when the time comes.
    Your advice in this and many other posts is very much appreciated. :thumb:

    Have a good 2007 !
     
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