Restoring the "C" drive (MBR)?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by savagcl, Jun 6, 2006.

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  1. savagcl

    savagcl Registered Member

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    During the selection process, i picked the "C" drive to be restored. As
    soon as i "checked" the box, i saw a "MBR" box show up. Was i supposed
    to put a check there alsoo_O??

    I didnt and everything seems to be working ok...

    thanks,
    savagcl
     
  2. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    It probably worked OK because your original MBR was intact and ATI didn't touch it.

    I probably would have checked it off for restore just because I felt it would be prudent to do so. Others might disagree.

    But, the fact that your system boots at all is a pretty good indication that your MBR is fine the way it is.
     
  3. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    I believe this issue was discussed by one of our learned posters, Menorcaman, and when you restore the active partition of a hard drive with two partitions, you can only check the one box by the partition you want to restore (not both the drive box and the MBR box) and then after you step through all the options, along at the end, the program asks "Do you want to restore another partition or drive and you change the buttons default from "No" to "Yes" and then you will see the 'drive layout' with the MBR box showing and you check it at that time and then choose which of the partitions or drives you wish to restore the MBR to, and in this case it would be your "C" active partition and then you follow the wizard along to the end. It will then show in the window before proceeding that your instructions are to restore C partition to destination "X", and then the next, and last command is to restore the MBR to the C Partition.

    I know the above sound kind of confusing, but that's the way to do it, at least at this time in the program interface.

    If you are by chance just recovering your active partition on your original disk because of some OS fault or corruption, then the MBR will still be written in place as it was originally to the disk, as nothing is corrupt about that section of your hard drive, and so the MBR doesn't need to be restored.

    Hope you can make this out... ;)

    ...Allen
     
  4. savagcl

    savagcl Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    From what you said, If i restore more than 1 partition (in a single run)
    then i need to check MBR.

    Not sure the above is clear - If i restore C,D,E out of a possible C,D,E,F,G
    then check MBR ?

    If i restore all partitions (C,D,E,F,G) (a full disk restore) then the MBR
    wont show at all but will be written automatically.

    thanks, again,
    savagcl
     
  5. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    I fail to see the important distinction between that statement and my statement.

    FWIW, savagcl, IMO you have it right. No worry on this go round. If you want to know more, Menorcaman is definitely a member whose posts you should go through with the search engine.
     
  6. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    If in you above statement you restore C,D,& E out of a possible 5 partitions or drives and you have only one active system partition, say the most likely would be the C partition out of the 5, then you would want to install the MBR (by checking the box) and indicate to what partition to restore the MBR to, and you would point the MBR install to the active C partition in the above example if all the above I stated is true.

    One note: If you are recovering just one partition or two, or three, but back to your initial hard drive that you make the images from...in other words, the drive wasn't damaged or wasn't replaced, then the MBR on the existing hard drive is good. Only when it is a *new* hard drive or different one, do you need to restore the MBR.

    If, in the event you were to install all partitions that you made from a full disk image, and that would be a full disk restore, then the MBR will be written automatically with the install.

    This above paragraph was what *had* to be done with the previous versions of Acronis TI before the 9 editions, as the MBR would only be copied if the *whole* complete hard drive with all partitions was imaged.

    ...Allen
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2006
  7. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Just going back a moment to savagcl's original post, I was also confused by the user interface the first time I tried to restore a system partition.

    Assuming that you only want to restore 1 partioning and that it is the system partition then, as savagcl rightly says you are presented with the partition that you want to restore and the MBR. You can only select one because at this stage the selection is either the partition or the MBR.

    As Menorcaman rightly said in a previous post. Later in the process you can select the MBR as an additional partition.

    Acronis developers may have had a good reason for doing this but my personal view is that it is a little bug in the code....;) Or perhaps not...
     
  8. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    I fully agree with you that it is confusing! :) There are certain instances that you might want to only restore the MBR, such as a corrupt MBR, but not a corrupt active partition. The process of being able to only check one of the boxes when restoring is very confusing if you know you want both. You have to step all the way to the end point, where then the program interface asks "Do you want to restore more partitions?" or something like that and when you check yes, you can then go back and check the MBR and then you point to which partition it is to be restored with...very confusing!

    ...Allen
     
  9. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    The fact that you had to be aware of the limitation about MBR save and restore (i.e., save and restoring only entire disk did it) up until recent builds was an egregious misdesign of ATI and Acronis never made that clear up front. This forum is FULL of posts by newbies who were thoroughly confused and PERMANENTLY lost data due to this lack of functionality and clarity about that lack.

    It's high time they did something and, as much of a kludge as it is now, it's better than nothing.
     
  10. savagcl

    savagcl Registered Member

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    o_O o_O o_O Crystal clear!

    Maybe a little syncronization of the Help manuals with builds would help.
    "Its not finished until the paper work is done!" ring a bell?

    Seriously, all the above replies helps to clear things up, somewhat.
    Just maybe it helped someone else also.

    thanks,
    savagcl
     
  11. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    For the benefit of savagcl and other newbies let me try and put some clarity to this issue on a practical level. (Experienced users please check that I have got it right!!)

    Let us assume that you have a good, verified, recent image of your system partition (preferably on a different disk to your system). Your OS is Windows XP and it is located on the 1st disk in the 1st partition.

    1. System won't Boot

    One day you start up the system and it won't boot. You get an error message saying "Non-system disk". This may indicate that the problem lies with the MBR and not with Windows. You would then boot with a TI9 boot CD and when you were in the Linux kernel you would Restore ONLY the MBR from your images partition to the 1st partition of the 1st disk. Exit the Linux kernel and then try to reboot. If the system boots you will have fixed the problem in a couple of seconds rather than a couple of hours.

    2. Windows won't Start

    One day you start the system and it boots but Windows either hangs or only boots partially and then tries to restart. This would indicate that the MBR is OK and that a critical Windows system file has been corrupted. Follow the steps as in the First Scenario but Restore ONLY the system partition.

    3. Transfer of System to New Disk

    You want to transfer your system to a new disk but don't want to use the TI9 Clone feature because you have heard that it can be "problematic" on some systems. In this case I would first restore the MBR to the new disk and then restore the system partition. Remember that in this scenario, at the completion of the Restore you should SHUTDOWN and physically disconnect the cables from the original system disk. (If SATA just disconnect the original disk, if IDE you must connect the new disk with the data cable of the original disk).

    I am sure that there are many other scenarios, but the 3 above cover some of the most common actions that users may want to perform.

    Hope that this helps :D
     
  12. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    I think scenario 3. should be broken down into a few subsets.

    3.a. The new disk is the same size as the old one and you have a whole disk image available. In this instance you perform a whole disk restore and that's it. The MBR has been automatically selected too.

    3.b. The new disk is larger then the old one and you have a whole disk image available. Here you should perform a partition(s) restore with resizing, jumping back in the wizard to select each additional partition and finally the MBR in the same fashion, but you do it all in one recovery run.

    3.c. The original disk was partitioned into C: and D:, but you imaged C: only. True, you got the MBR included with the image of C:, but that MBR reflects a two-partition structure. Therefore, you must first partition the new disk into as many partitions as there were on the old drive (here two), but their size need not be the same as the original ones. Only then you proceed to restore C: and the MBR, resizing if necessary.


    Joining Tabvla's plead for checking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2006
  13. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi bVolk,

    A very important point that only came out of the woodwork recently.

    The MBR & Track 0 data also includes the Partition Table. Hence, as you say, before restoring a single partition plus MBR & Track 0 data of a multi-partition image to a different drive one must ensure the new drive has the same partition structure as the drive the image was created from.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2006
  14. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Thank you Menorcaman,

    It was three of morning when I was writing that comment. On my way upstairs I was wondering if it had been wise to write about so delicate matters at such a time.

    :D
     
  15. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Menorcaman raises what is potentially the most critical aspect of trying to recover from a catastrophic system failure.

    If the System Disk is multi-partitioned (and from what I have seen on customer systems this is usually the case) then if you simply restore the System Partition to a new bare-metal disk you will either have an unbootable system or Windows will complain, crash or blue screen because the geometry of the new disk does not correlate with that of the Partition Table.

    The best solution that I have found to this problem is to - Prepare in Advance.

    Before a catastrophic failure, prepare a spare disk that exactly mirrors the structure of the System Disk. For convenient updating and storage, house this disk in an external enclosure that can be easily isolated from the working environment.

    You don't really need to update this disk too often. If you have good, verified Images of your system then, in the event of a catastrophic failure you would boot into the Linux kernel and and restore the most recent image to the System Partion of the spare disk. (However, if you make structural changes to the System Disk then you also need to make the same changes to the spare disk).

    Booting from an externally housed disk is possible but requires technical skills that are usually far too advanced for the average user. Therefore, in the event of a catastrophic failure I rather recommend that (after the Restore) the user simply replace the failed System Disk with the spare disk. If the image is good you can be up-and-running within minutes rather than hours (or in some cases days..... or never again :gack: )

    Disks and external housings are very good value. A large disk (200GB+) and a housing will cost less than Euro 100 (US$ 100). In terms of disaster recovery that is excellent value.
     
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