Restoring windows partition to a different size hard drive?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Stuart909, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. Stuart909

    Stuart909 Registered Member

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    I've never before had to (or even tried to) restore the windows+program files aspect of my system from TI backups but now I want to prepare for what I would do in case the unexpected happened.

    So let's say my main drive, a Maxtor 300gb, containing all my windows system and program files develops a hardware fault and refuses to start. The exact same files are backed up on another HDD as an image file using Acronis TI10. Can I just mount the image file on the HDD and effectively resurrect windows back to how it was before, only this time I am using a Seagate 400gb drive?

    My concern is that since windows and all the program files were originally installed and configured for the Maxtor 300gb drive they might not work correctly if all of a sudden they realise they are now located on a Seagate 400gb. The same goes for the Master Boot Record, is it drive specific? So does this mean I would need to buy a new identical Maxtor 300gb and copy the mounted image files from the backup HDD to get my system back to how it was before?

    Is there anywhere on Acronis' site that provides a guide as to how we should properly backup a partition that only contains windows and program files? ie would it be better just to backup user and program settings, then if there is a crash actually reinstall windows and program files manually and restore the user/program settings from backup?

    Thanks for the helP!
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    You would boot from the TI Rescue CD (or flash drive) and select the backup image from the other HDD (the source). You would then select the new drive as the target for the restore.

    If you haven't booted from the Rescue CD and verified backups on the second HDD, you should do that ASAP to be sure you can see all your drives from the Linux environment of the Rescue CD.

    Windows, programs, etc. won't care about the size of the new hard drive as long as it is big enough. Obviously, any drive larger than 300 GB would be large enough.

    There are a couple of points you should be aware of when you restore to a new drive.

    1. If there are more partitions on your boot drive than just C:, you should include all of them in the backup to be sure that the restored image will make a bootable drive.

    2. If you are restoring to a larger drive and want to increase the size of C: (or any other partition), you should do the restore in two parts. First restore the MBR and first sector and then restore the C: partition all by itself. That will bring up the screen where you can change the size of the C: parttion to use as much of the new drive as you want.

    That won't work. In fact, Windows probably wouldn't boot normally if you did that. You want to make a backup image of the computer (not a files and folder backup or any other kind) in order to be able to restore the image and have a bootable drive when restoring to a new drive.
     
  3. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    If you want to be able backup the OS and programs separately from your data files consider:


    1) put you OS and programs on one drive/partition and everyting thing else elsewhere, then you can backup/restore that drive/partition independent of the other files.

    or if it's only backup/restore times that your are interested in then

    2) put your voluminous files (tons of jpgs or tons of mp3s) on a separate drive/partition. Everything else will probably amount to only a few seconds or minutes in terms of backup/restore times for the drive with the OS and programs so you can leave all that other data (docs etc.) on the same drive as the OS and program files and it won't afffect your backup/restore times enough to really matter.

    There are other variations you can do but 1) is certainly the simplest. You can even move your Windows My Documents folder and subfolders to a diff drive by dragging My Documents to the desired drive icon. If you plan not to use the C ddrive for any program's data files, then it's best to check each such program's options to be sure that it knows the right place to store data files.
     
  4. Stuart909

    Stuart909 Registered Member

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    Firstly thank you very much Jmk and Shieber for posting responses to my question, it's greatly appreciated.

    Just to clarify, my system is set up as follows:

    *Maxtor 300GB primary hard disk is divided into two partitions
    >>>c:\ contains all windows system files and settings as well as installed program files. Thus is my boot drive. Nothing else is stored on this partition.
    >>>d:\ contains all my personal documents and media files only.

    *Seagate 400GB spare blank hard disk to be used for restoring an image of the Maxtor 300GB in case primary drive suffers a failure. The image is located on a separate backup hard drive and the image does contain both c: + d: partitions.

    Ah, now this is where my main concern lies. Clearly capacity is not an issue since the Seagate has an extra 100GB over the Maxtor. What I am worried about is whether the Master Boot Record, partition table and disk signature will work on the Seagate post-restore despite them being set up to operate alongside a Maxtor hdd.

    If the partition signatures are located in the registry keys of the Maxtor hdd and refer only to that specific drive then surely if they are suddenly positioned on a Seagate (after the image has been restored) it's more than likely the new drive just won't boot. Or does Acronis take care of this as I really would prefer not to have to mess around with the MBR during the restore process?

    On a side note, Jmk could you briefly explain the process of restoring the "first sector", I'm not sure what you mean. I'm aware that the MBR can be restore using Windows XP recovery console though.

    As stated, yes this is exactly how I have my system set up :). But I was wondering whether another method for performing system backups could be to just image the windows personal settings (eg profiles) and the program files personal settings. Then when there is a crash you just need to manually install windows xp fresh from a cd and individually install the program files. After that you can then restore the personal settings from the image and overwrite the current defaults on the system but it seems like this would take ages. Moreover, Jmk has indicated that the system would not be functional this way.
     
  5. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Hard drive signatures only come into play if the "source windows xp" has seen the drive it will be restored on.

    For instance if the "spare drive" was used as a slave drive, or was inside an external usb drive. In this case the "source windows xp" has the spare drives "ID" in the registry, when you restore it that will cause problems.

    All my spare drives serve doubleduty as slave drives or external usb drives, so I always run into drive letter problems but I use a "boot corrector" to change partition ID drive letters and never spend more than 5 minutes fixing this problem. You can also use a "bartpe with xml plugin" to change the hard drive ID.

    Don't worry about the MBR, I never back it up or restore it. If you restore the MBR from your 300gb hard drive to the 400gb hard drive, your 400gb hard drive will think it's a 300gb hard drive. That's why a sector by sector backup/restore can defeat a hard drive/partition ID problem, but then you end up with unallocated space.

    One thing I've learned is that a backup of a "bootable" partition will ALWAYS be bootable when restored (whether the MBR was backup or not). The model or size of the destination hard drive doesn't matter, as long as it's large enough to accommodate the data you want to restore.
     
  6. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Just restore the MBR and C: partiton from the backup, and the new drive will boot happily.

    It's no problem. TI backups up the MBR and first sector and you just check the box next to them to restore them to the new drive.
     
  7. stenews

    stenews Registered Member

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    Hi to everyone.
    I was pretty interested in reading this post, in particular I'd like to ask something more about that point:
    so let's image a situation in which my source is a bigger new brand HHD than the one I made previously the backup: how should I proceed?

    Following the jmk94903's procedure I should to divide the process into two "chunks".
    1)Restore the MBR partition alone once completed that stage, I have to came back to main screen of my Rescue CD.
    2)Later than I have to select only one partition at time and increase their size (if I want to do that).

    Am I right? I mean, Am I miss understanding something or what?
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  8. Stuart909

    Stuart909 Registered Member

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    Well that is a GIGANTIC relief to know guys, thanks a lot for highlighting. It seems, therefore, that TI makes the entire process seamless and I don't have to worry about the technical aspects of the backup/restoration. I just have to make sure I tick MBR and first sector prior to starting the full restoration of the partition.

    Ah yes, but this is my worry. My blank spare drive (a location used for emergency restoration) is a slave in my system so clearly I am going to have to reset the partition ID somehow. Does TI not offer a partition ID wiping/resetting procedure in dos prior to starting restoration?

    Is this "boot corrector" program easy to operate, I assume it can only be used in dos and it is freely available on the net?

    Thank you so much guys for your assistance, I am finally gaining a great understanding of this entire process.
     
  9. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    the "boot corrector" is actually only available as a utility on other software, the one I have have came from "paragon partition manager 9.0" it's the latest build of the "boot corrector". You only need a boot corrector if you need to do "precision" repairs on windows xp.

    If you only have a standard single boot xp system, a "bartpe with the xml plugin" will work (it will wipe the hard drive ID). I've tested it and worked as good as a boot corrector in getting the restored drive to bootup.

    Having a bartpe with the savepart plugin is also a tool you can use to verify your drive letters.

    If you understand the "mounted devices" and "partition ID" drive letters and how to modify them, you should never have a drive that won't boot.

    this post also shows a typical hard drive ID problem that was fixed.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=234946
     
  10. Stuart909

    Stuart909 Registered Member

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    Seems pretty straight forward Jony, thanks for the explanation. In the thread you linked to in your last post there is a link to this site:

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm

    At the bottom of the page it suggests to use "Kawecki's Trick" whereby you can use a Win98 boot floppy and run "fdisk /mbr" from the command prompt to reassign drive letters. Would this method do a suitable job at fixing any boot issues post restoration of a windows image, similar to what BartPE or Bootcorrector would do?
     
  11. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    I could never get the win98 floppy trick to work for me. I tried it numerous times but it might work for you. During my first "restored drive" won't boot incident after redoing the image backup and restore several times with same results I tried the win98 floppy. I also tried a true image utility to try and fix it and that failed. I also tried the "savepart" utility and that didn't work, but it can tell you if you have a drive letter mismatch problem. Releasing the "mounted devices" drive letters also won't work.
    A "bartpe with the xml plugin" is the utility to have (takes 10 minutes to make). It will let you edit your registry/edit the boot.ini etc on you non-booting restored drive. A win98 floppy might work, the barpe will work.
     
  12. Stuart909

    Stuart909 Registered Member

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    Is there a guide on the Bartpe's website that helps you through this process as I know playing around with the registry can get messy?

    Thanks a lot Jony, I will make a mental note of this in case I ever have to undergo this process in the future :).

    In reference to the above quotes that were posted earlier on in this thread, how does one actually go about JUST backing-up/making copies of all the settings of each individual program installed on a system (eg my antivirus software is set to update every 6 hours, my firewall is set to block only certain types of traffic etc) AND the personalised settings of windows (eg the colour of the toolbar, the way windows max/minimises windows, how icons are displayed etc..?)

    With regards to the former, is it not just possible to browse to (in XP) C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data and select all the folders and copy them to another location? Then if I format my c:\ drive, manually install windows xp from cd, reinstall all the programs from their cds can I just copy over the copies of the "Application Data" folder and over-write the default settings of the newly installed program files? I'm sure this can be done but Jmk has stated that the drive would not boot for some reason?
     
  13. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Stuart909,
    It's great that you have gotten interested or concerned about your backups working. What's the ol' saying "Better late than never"! But you are only not finished. You've only gone 2/3rd of the journey.

    The next step is to go ahead and buy the larger drive and prove your recovery plan. You don't have a problem so now it the time to prove whether you plans work. If not, you still have time to adjust without a crisis affecting your situation.

    So, go ahead and bit the bullet and get that drive and make sure your recovery plans work.

    Perhaps you have mentioned and I missed in the threads, but have you looked at your disk as viewed in the graphical view of Windows Disk Management? If you have any hidden or recovery partition or even data partitions on your existiing system drive, this could effect your recovery procedures.
    Yes, if your reinstall from the XP install CD, it will be bootable. But it is a waste of time because the restore will wipe away any advantage you might have had with a fresh install. Overwriting the default settings means putting the old registry back in place--so your fresh install has will have gone bye bye.
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello all,

    Not exactly. Because MBR and partition recovery are the parts of one procedure. Our software can resize the partition only when you select one partition at current stage of recovery. It is impossible to resize if entire hard drive or two partitions selected. Thus, you should first select MBR, as it correctly mentioned above, and then back to the start recovery screen (you will be prompted to choose an option to recover more), and select one partition. This is not a limitation, since you can select the second partition right after in order to resize it.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
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