Serious problem with Disk Director on a "slate" tablet PC

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by mmo, Mar 29, 2009.

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  1. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    I am having a severe problem with my MotionComputing LE1700 tablet PC (running Vista Business):

    The internal hard disk has developed a bad block problem. I was able to (more or less) fix this on the file level using "chkdsk /f/r/b" which tried to recover the damaged files and marked the unreadable blocks as "bad" (according to chkdsk's output only a single, non-essential file was hit by the problem).

    So far, so good and for the moment I can work with the system. However, trying to avoid future disaster, I already ordered a new disk and I am now trying to save (as much as possible of) the content of the built-in drive to an external USB drive in order to later copy it back to the new blank drive.

    Since the drive to be copied is the C: or system drive, Acronis Disk Director (v10.0) can not copy the partition while the system is running. So it enters itself as first program to be started after reboot and - after a reboot - starts to copy the partition's content over to the USB drive. But apparently it doesn't leave out the files/blocks marked as bad during the chkdsk and so, during that copy operation, it also fails and at that point then asks "... Abort / Ignore / Ignore All ?".

    Now, if I could select "Ignore" or "Ignore All" I guess I could save all the rest of my disk's content, but the show stopper here is, that my tablet is a real slate (i.e. has no keyboard attached) and so I can only attach a USB keyboard to the device. That keyboard, however, is apparently not yet active or not yet recognized during this early phase of the boot process and so I can hit whatever I want on the keyboard, there is no reaction, i.e. I can not tell that darn program to continue and ignore that bad block and hence I can not save my harddisk's content.

    Any idea, what one could do here? I have run out of ideas, what to do at this stage. Is there some option one can pass to Disk Director before it starts, so that it does that "Ignore All" automagically?

    Michael
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Michael

    Do you have a copy of True Image? Using Disk Director isn't really the optimum way to solve this problem.
     
  3. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    Yes - I do. Can one use True Image Home 2009 to clone the system disk to an external USB disk and make that external USB disk bootable, too?
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Michael:

    When you image your old disk that contains bad blocks, the bad block table is included in the image and carried over to the new disk, even though the new disk will not have any actual bad blocks. But there is a way to work around this with True Image:

    1. Create a full-disk image using TI and store it on an external drive.
    2. Remove the old disk from your Motion slate and replace it with a new, blank disk.
    3. Boot your machine from the TI recovery CD or flash drive.
    4. Start the recovery wizard in TI.
    5. Select only your Windows partition first. In other words, don't select to restore the entire disk all at once.
    6. Follow the screens in the restore wizard until you get to the one that lets you resize the restored partition. If your new disk is larger, then use the resize slider to expand the size of the restored partition. If the new disk is the same size then use the resize slider to make the restored partition slightly smaller. It is important to choose a different size in this step.
    7. When asked if you have any additional partitions to restore, choose YES.
    8. Continue adding other partitions, if any.
    9. As a final step, select MBR and Track 0.
    10. Answer NO when asked if you have additional partitions and start the restore.
    11. When the restore completes, reboot your PC to test.

    The key is step #6. If you resize the partition when you restore it, the bad blocks table will not be carried forward from the old disk to the new disk. If in step 6 you had to make the restored partition slightly smaller then use DD to resize the partition again to its desired size.

    Let us know how this works out for you.
     
  5. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    My external USB HD has 250GB (i.e. plenty of space). I would thus like to use that disk as recovery medium as well as to store my drive image .tib file onto.

    Can you explain to me, why TI is not seeing this device, when I ask it to create a bootable recovery medium? Why does this darn program only offer memory sticks as media to place its recovery SW onto and not "normal" (HD) USB driveso_O

    The reason is, that my tablet has only 2 USB slots and one is needed for the keyboard so I constantly have to unplug and plug-in another device. It's soooo annoying!

    Michael
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Michael:

    You are in luck. It is certainly possible to make your USB hard disk bootable. One of the forum regulars, MudCrab, has written an illustrated guide on how to do this. This should make your recovery task much easier. Here is a link to the guide.
     
  7. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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  8. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    I seem to stumble from one blocking stone to the next!

    The "recovery" USB stick that TI created is not bootable, either!
    I then tried that HP formatting tool mentioned in the article you referred me to, to format the drive and after had TI create the recovery tools on it, but that stick is still not bootable!

    I have to say, I find it very relaxing indeed to know, that all those safety and recovery precautions that I took are worthless when actually needed! :-(

    And judging from the date of MudCrab's article these problems with TI not creating properly booting USB devices are known since at least 2006!

    Maybe you should rename TI to PF (Placebo Forte)?

    Michael
     
  9. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Michael:

    Unfortunately this happens more often than it should. Either Bootable Media Builder fails to make the USB flash drive bootable, or the PC BIOS has some kind of problem booting from USB devices. Have you ever booted your Motion PC from any external USB device? Believe it or not, this is another area that is not well standardized between different versions of the PC BIOS, and how many years has USB been around??

    While we could troubleshoot to try to figure this out, perhaps the most foolproof method is in the article that MudCrab wrote and referred to in post #7. All that is required is to use Bootable Media Builder to create an ISO image file, and then to copy that file to your USB hard disk. To boot from the ISO file requires installation of the boot manager Grub4DOS on the hard disk. You would not need to repartition the hard disk or disturb any existing files on the disk.

    Could you try the method described in section 3 of the article, installing directly to your external USB hard disk?
     
  10. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    Yes - I have booted that device from a USB stick before. Unfortunately I recycled that stick later for some other purpose. Guess, I should have kept it... Last time, if I recall correct, it was sufficient to format it with that HP tool prior to letting TI do its recover media job. Must have been another stick, I suppose.

    I wouldn't exactly call a method "foolproof" that requires to fiddle with ISO images and boot managers first, but I'll keep trying. Do I have a choice? :(

    Michael
     
  11. mmo

    mmo Registered Member

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    This is getting ridicolous!

    I have now tried with three different USB sticks as well as a Maxtor USB drive to create a bootable device and to none of these am I able to restore that empty disk image that MudCrab provides at http://www.purviancecs.com/acronis.htm, simply because neither the USB sticks nor the USB drive appear in the list of restore target devices. Only the built-in HD appears in that list. But that's the source that I want to migrate away from!

    What blocks this brilliant SW from offering those USB mass storage devices as possible restore targets?

    Michael
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Flashdrives can easily be made so they don't work in both Windows and TI/DD. I know because I've done it many, many times. There are fixes that usually work.

    Since you have access to Vista, you can prepare the flashdrive using Vista's Diskpart program:
    Create a Bootable Flashdrive Using Vista's DISKPART Program

    If that doesn't work, have you tried using the Safe Mode version of TI to restore to the flashdrive? If the BIOS supports it, this can sometimes work because it treats the flashdrive as a hard drive. Also, please note that the "acronis" images on my site may not work with flashdrives larger than 2GB.
     
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