Restoring C: with MBR to new drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by bVolk, Apr 29, 2006.

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  1. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    TI 9.0 Build 3567 now includes the MBR in a partition image too.

    Great. So I decided to create a second partition on my single partition system drive. I would image partition C: regularily, while D: would hold expendable or transient files that aren't worth their space inside images.

    I restored C: as a partition, reducing it's size in the process. In the resulting unallocated space I created partition D: with the Windows Disk Management tool. All went fine.

    But I have some doubts now. If I had to replace the system drive and restored the image of partition C: with MBR to the blank new drive, wouldn't the restored MBR (of two-partition origin) conflict with the actual single partition created on the new drive? Would the replacement drive boot?

    Well, I did create - as a precaution - one entire disk image of the present double-partiton system drive, but would still like to know what to expect when eventually my main drive fails.
     
  2. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    The restored MBR along with image of the active partition that was created will be all you need in restoring to a new H.D. The replacement drive should boot as long as you restore the MBR along with the imaged active partition by checking both boxes (partition and MBR) on restore.

    ...Allen
     
  3. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Thank you for the clarification Allen,

    I thought the MBR also carried information about disk partitioning structure.

    So the enthusiasm over this new TI feature was well-founded, after all. Well, I'm certainly glad it was.
     
  4. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    "I thought the MBR also carried information about disk partitioning structure"

    From MS:

    What is the MBR?
    At the end of the ROM BIOS bootstrap routine, the BIOS reads and executes the first physical sector of the first floppy or hard disk on the system. This first sector of the hard disk is called the master boot record (or sometimes the partition table or master boot block). There is a small program at the beginning of this sector of the hard disk. The partition information, or partition table, is stored at the end of this sector. This program uses the partition information to determine which partition is bootable (usually the first primary DOS partition) and attempts to boot from it.
     
  5. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Here you go: not just the booting little program, but the partion table too. That's what I feared might be in conflict with the actual partitioning situation after the restoration to the new drive.
     
  6. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    This is true, in a way, but the partitioning table will not have an effect on restoring the active partition and the MBR to the new hard drive and the new drive being bootable. It's just as TheWeaz quoted:
    If you use the above statement, the system is seeking the active partition to boot from and that is all it's seeking at that time. This would make the MBR being copied with the active partition useful in case of a major hard drive loss because with that image you can restore just the active partition along with the MBR to a new drive. (Forget the old partition table as I'm not even 100% sure it is restored if only the MBR is checked) If after restoring your active operating system partition, you want to make a new second (logical) partition, you can and then a new partition table would be written as described above in the quote. If this action above were not the case, then we are back to square one, and would have to have a complete disk image with all partitions including the MBR to make a sucessful restore to a new drive (just as in the earlier editions of A.T.I.) and that is not supposed to be the case now...at least to my understanding. If all the logical partitions still have to be imaged along with the active partition and the MBR, then what have we gained? Nothing!! The objective was to be able to just image the active C partition and the MBR and be able to restore only that image to a new unformatted hard drive and it would be bootable, if that is not now possible, what have we gained??

    ...Allen o_O
     
  7. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Many thanks for your help Allen,

    I agree with you on the supposed purpouse of the new feature built into build 3567 and the acclamation we have seen upon the news would support this view, though there are other situations when one would benefit from having the MBR included in the partition image (plain MBR corruption or infection).

    But I'm afraid many of us will be disappointed after reading Alexey's post #13 in this thread
     
  8. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    In quoting from the forum thread that you linked above:
    This is the proceedure that should be followed by using common sense anyway, in my opinion. One has to partition a new hard drive in order for it to be recognized by the system BIOS in all new hard drive installs, and therefore why not partition the drive with the same number of partitions as the drive one is replacing? It states in the above quote, that the partitions don't have to be exactly the same size as the originals, but only similar in regard to the number of partitions of the original drive. If doing so, and just restoring the Acronis Image that is stored of just the active partition C and the MBR, then just point the said image to be restored to the first partition of the new drive and indicate it is going to be the active partition and all should be fine. One can format and add all data to the other partitions that reside on the new drive at a later time, if wanted. Getting back up and running is the main objective.

    In the above quote by Acronis, I believe they are being very conservative in their statement they make regarding this issue, note they only say the new image *may* not boot. The newly restored image would more that likely bootup even if the new drive didn't have the extra partitions created to it. I still believe because the MBR is now restored along with the image file of the active partition, that the necessary ntlr system file and the boot.ini file will be 'found' in the active image being restored and the new drive would boot just fine at that point, but as stated by Acronis...why take this chance? When partitioning the new drive, be sure and partition it with the same number of partitions as were on the old drive to be safe.

    ...Allen
     
  9. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Hi again, Allen,

    At least from version 7 (that's where I entered), True Image has always made possible to set up a replacement system drive from a brand new blank HD by restoring to it an entire system disk image. No previous formatting or other disk preparation was required (or had any sense in being done, since everything would be erased and overwritten upon restoration). The story went, that the image had to be one of the entire system disk, or the MBR would not be included in the image and therefore the new disk would not boot.

    With build 3567, the MBR inside partition images was introduced in response to wishes expressed by many users. Bold print in the manual, numerous positive comments. I was certainly not the only one to assume that this feature would finally allow the user to switch from entire disk backup to partition backup without loosing the functionality that previously only entire disk images offered. That's why I decided to create partition D: for disposable and transient files. (But then my doubts crept in, as you remember.)

    It was not my aim to discuss the practical benefit (or lack of it) of this new feature - time will show. I just needed to know, whether it met the assumptions or not, or, rather, what the user should expect from this feature and how to adapt to it with his imaging strategy to avoid surprises in a most stressed situation.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
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