Restore should not modify partition image

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Trinoc, Apr 26, 2005.

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  1. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    I wish someone would produce a backup/restore program whose default behaviour was just that - backup and restore - not to make smartass changes to the data being restored, at least not without asking the user's permission and giving the option (preferably the default option) to leave the date EXACTLY as it was when saved.

    Because all backup programs seem to try to second-guess the used these days, I'm stuck with using Drive Image 2, and even then I have to backup and restore the boot sector separately to get a true image restore. Unfortunately, DI2 does not handle any Linux format other than EXT2, so I was hoping TrueImage might be the answer. One thing it does NOT do is restore a "true image".

    First I restored a 1GB FAT16 image. When I validated the restored files, all were OK except for BOOTSECT.DOS, which is used by default by the NT boot menu (but as it happens I use my own boot sector images instead). None of the boot sectors for DOS or FreeDOS would boot correctly, and from the changes to BOOTSECT.DOS I assume the structure of the FAT partition had been changed in some arbitrary way.

    Next I restored a 5GB FAT32 image (1GB occupied) containing Windows 2000. It worked and booted, BUT TrueImage insisted on changing the 8K cluster sizes to 4K, with no option to override (I had a good reason to format it with 8K clusters - I don't want someone telling me I have to use another size). I don't know for certain whether or not it altered any Windows files such as the registry, since it was saved from a live, running system.

    A backup/restore system should do just what it says on the tin: backup and restore. Its default behaviour should be to restore an EXACT copy of the disk as it was at the time of the backup. If there are tweaks available, they should be non-default options which the user can select, but if not selected, the disk should be left in exactly the same state as if the backup and restore had never happened.

    I'm glad I tried TrueImage from a magazine cover disk, rather than wasting my money on the paid-for version straight away. If it had done a simple image backup and restore correctly, I would have been happy to pay for an upgrade.
     
  2. Hi, Trinoc

    If you had done a little search you would have [will find] found there are a few threads on your Rant and could have saved you some time and help with your blood.

    Take Care
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  3. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    Perhaps you could tell me some key words to search for, or at least the thread titles. I have checked the first 25 or so pages of threads, but searching linearly through over 120 pages seems rather pointless.

    I found one reference to cluster size changing, and a reply from Acronis that they are considering making an option not to "optimise" the disk in a future version - but surely doing nothing to mess around with the disk should be the default situation. The last thing a user wants after restoring a backup on a crash is to have to deal with lots of new problems because various bits of software make unpredictable assumptions about the disk layout.

    I also found one query about BOOT.INI getting modified - not exactly the same as my BOOTSECT.DOS problem, but probably related, and indicative of attempts to mess with the NT boot loader. This is guaranteed to cause problems for anyone using the boot loader in any way other than the bare bones set up by Windows (and even then it can cause problems, as I discovered with some versions of Drive Image). This particular query has no reply so far.

    A keyword search on BOOTSECT and BOOTSECT.DOS does not turn up any matches other than my "rant" (as you choose to call it) - so, it looks as though the most serious of my problems, preventing the main C: partition from booting 2 out of the 3 OS on the disk, has not been addressed on this forum at all.

    Of course, if you could point me directly to a thread containing solutions to my problems, I would be delighted and would revise my opinion of the product immediately.

    My point remains, though: the function of a backup/restore program should be to restore a backup EXACTLY as saved. Any additional messing around with disk structure should not be the default behaviour, and it certainly should not be compulsory. I fear that, as in so many cases, this is an excellent product concept, spoiled by trying to be too clever.
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Trinoc,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We regret to inform you that Acronis True Image always chooses the best cluster size according to the size of the partition that is being restored. However, it will hardly prevent any of your applications from working correctly. In all other aspects Acronis True Image restores the partition (disk) to exactly the same state it was when you imaged it.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  5. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    Pity. A genuine "true image" backup and restore would have been so much more useful. Disk optimisation is sometimes a handy thing to have, as an option, but it is not the sort of thing that should be allowed to confuse the issue when trying to recover from a crash.

    Contrary to what you say, changing a partition's structure can have very serious effects on the running of a system. Boot managers have copies of boot sectors stored in ordinary files, and these will no longer work if the drive parameters are changed. As someone else has mentioned, some security programs will also flag a changed partition layout as an error. Surely it is more complicated to reorganise a partition than to leave it in its original form, so why on earth was it programmed that way?

    A simplified program which restores an image exactly, apart from unoccupied sectors (though an option to save even them would be useful) would be an excellent product. If Acronis does not provide this, maybe someone else will.
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Trinoc,

    The option to choose cluster size when you restore the image is already in our Enhancement List. We expect this feature to be implemented in future versions. Currently we have a program that allows you to change cluster size - Acronis Disk Director Suite 9.0. This powerful software allows you to manage your partitions, change sizes of them, create new and delete existing partitions and perform many other actions.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  7. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    Thanks. I may have a use for that, though at the moment Partition Magic 8 does all I need in that area.

    I hope that the enhanced version will include an option not to mess with the cluster sizes at all, since this is the most useful arrangement for reasons I have mentioned.

    I have now succeeded in using TrueImage to backup and restore a ReiserFS partition containing Madrake 10.1, which means that using TrueImage and Drive Image I can make backups of all the systems I use. Naturally it would be better if I could use TrueImage for DOS/FreeDOS and Windows as well. I look forward to the enhanced version being able to do this.

    I notice that, whereas I can mount the ReiserFS backup in Windows 2000, when I try to access it Windows says it is not formatted. Will the future version of TrueImage allow ReiserFS backups to be accessed from Windows?
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Trinoc,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Our Development Team is working on the option to see a linux partition under Windows and it will be implemented in the future. We have a special wish-list thread https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=44197 and you are welcome to post here everything you wish to have in our software. We will certainly consider all your wishes

    Thank you.
    --
    Irina Shirokova
     
  9. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Kent. UK by the sea
    Hi, Trinoc

    Windows does not recognize the file system.

    The thing is similar under Linux it can see NTFS but can not use it. [unless you use captive]

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  10. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    Well, yes, of course it doesn't. It doesn't recognise one of its own file systems either, when it is compressed into an image file. The Acronis software has to mount this as a virtual (read-only) drive. This applies whether the original drive was Windows-native or not. It is simply (?) a matter of providing a driver for Linux virtual drives. I don't know whether Acronis currently supports simpler Linux drives such as EXT2 for mounting in Windows, but in principle supporting non-Windows formats from image files is the same as supporting Windows ones.

    By the way, most Linux distributions seem to be able to read NTFS as standard, and some appear to be able to write it. This of course is a matter of handling a file system in its natural state - a completely different issue from mounting a compressed file system stored in a file.
     
  11. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Not really. I don't know how TI does it magic, but if I was a lazy/intelligent programmer, I would find it easier to present the image file to Windows as just another block device, and leave it to Windows to try and make sense of the content. Guessing from what works (and not works) I assume that that is exactly what TI do: A little driver tells Windows that a removable drive has just been inserted, and Windows does the rest.
     
  12. Trinoc

    Trinoc Guest

    Two problems with this. First, as far as I know, it is not possible to present a file on an existing file system to Windows and tell it to interpret it as a complete file system in its own right (particularly as the file may be fragmented). Second, TI compresses the file (unless told not to do so), so what would appear to Windows would be a string of apparently random bytes. It is necessary to have a driver somewhere to interpret the TI data in uncompressed form.

    I suppose TI could compress each file separately - though I'm pretty sure it does not. If it did, it would mean storing files in some common format regardless of which file system was used in the original partition, in which case it would be just as easy (or just as hard) for Windows to access the files whether they were saved from a Windows file system or from something else such as ReiserFS.
     
  13. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Windows would not see the image as file - it would ask the Acronis driver for sector no. N, N+1, N+2, ... and the driver would (re)construct the content of said sectors from the data in the image. Any uncompression would of course also be done by the Acronis driver.

    Edit: Snipped from another thread:
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2005
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