SSD Partition Alignment in Windows XP

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Orlandes, May 25, 2009.

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  1. Orlandes

    Orlandes Registered Member

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    From my reading, apparently one needs to do a "partition alignment" for a Solid State Drive to work best in Windows XP.

    It has been suggested, however, that restoring an Acronis image to an SSD would delete existing partition data, establish new partitions, and would NOT preserve the "partition alignment".

    Assuming this is correct, is Acronis going to include accommodations for partition alignment in Windows XP in future versions of ATI?

    (Seems it would be easy to do... add a page to the restoration which asks "SSD or platter drive?", and if SSD, "Select Partition Offset"... and have choices of the common ones..)
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Orlandes,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis True Image

    In general the mentioned option is related to a partitioning software, not to a backup program. Acronis True Image creates a sector level snap of the source information, and changing a file allocation size goes beyond creation a new window in the program.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  3. Orlandes

    Orlandes Registered Member

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    Acronis,
    I'm a long-time user of ATI. I was also suggesting such a modification of ATI.

    All(?) you have to do is insert the pages in the restore process and run the small script to align the partition.

    Seems to me such a thing is not only desirable but necessary for ATI's market share. (Don't you think Casper and Norton have the same issue and are likely to address it?) Most people still running XP won't bother with an SSD if it's too cumbersome to install and tweak. And the way it stands right now, ATI actually subverts the process of restoration to an SSD. That is, "restoring an ATI image actually hoses-up the partition alignment of the SSD" And as such makes the purchase and use of an "SSD + ATI" totally a non-starter. Seems it would be a poor marketing decision to not address this issue.

    I for one, would buy an upgraded ATI version if it included my suggested revisions. I'm sure others would also.
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Is the alignment lost if you do an Entire Disk Image backup and then restore the Entire Disk Image?
     
  5. Orlandes

    Orlandes Registered Member

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    I haven't tried it myself, but from postings from others who have, the alignment is lost.

    In the restoration sequence, it asks somethingn like "delete destination drive partitions?" Wouldn't that alone defeat the partition alignment? If the destination drive partitions are all erased, XP would then start in its "normal" place... and that's not properly aligned for SSDs.

    I was thinking that if in the "restoration of image" process, a script was introduced to offset the starting partition in such as way as is favorable to "SSD + XP", the problem of partition alignment would be addressed.

    OCZ has forum entires about this issue and tells how to align SSD partitions for the installation of XP. It's not difficult and could manually be done when doing a fresh installation of XP... but the way ATI addresses partitions on the restoration of an image seems to defeat SSD partition alignment... and therefore makes ATI an unsatisfactory tool for the entire process of "backup and image restoration to an SSD"...
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The reason I ask is that Vista's alignment was lost too in a normal partition restore, but when you backed up and restored the Entire Disk Image (as a complete drive), TI would keep Vista's alignment.
     
  7. Orlandes

    Orlandes Registered Member

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    Apparently Vista is better about this than XP... I've read where Vista and W7 "start" installation with proper partition alignment, but XP does not.... and needs a proper offset beginning point.

    It seems intuitively that cloning a disk might preserve the partition alignment... ?? But I suspect few of us have enough spare hard drives lying around to make "cloning only" a viable alternative for backups of images.

    Maybe Acronis could test a restoration of image on XP on this issue and report on this forum?
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    That's correct, but if you set the offset for the partition and then install XP, create an Entire Disk Image backup and then restore the Entire Disk Image backup, does TI keep the offset? TI usually handles drive restores differently than partition restores.

    What version of TI are you using? It's been a while since I ran tests with TI 2009, but TI 10 and 11 worked this way and, if I remember correctly, TI 2009 did too.
     
  9. Orlandes

    Orlandes Registered Member

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    I've got ATI v11. When restoring Entire Disk Image backup, I don't know whether the offset is preserved. I haven't done it myself... have only read the comments of others. And intuitively, is seems "image restoration" is concerned with restoring the "data image", not the "starting point on the drive"... is that correct? And if an XP installation natively "starts" in a bad place for SSDs, then doesn't that issue need to be addressed.
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    When you restore just a partition, TI will realign the offset to XP settings.

    If you image an XP partition that is not aligned correctly for SSDs, then TI will never restore it with a differently alignment. However, if the XP partition is already aligned properly before you create the Entire Disk Image, TI may keep the alignment when it is restored as an Entire Disk Image.

    I don't have an SSD or I'd run some tests and find out.
     
  11. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    XP is irrelevant here. When you do a restore with TI, XP is shut down and the restore process is running under the control of Linux.

    MudCrab is correct with his assumption. If you have a properly aligned SSD and make an image of the entire disk using TI, and then restore the entire disk, the alignment should be maintained. The reason for this is that most TI restores will build a new partition table entry when you restore a partition, and the entry will be made with the default starting sector offset of 63 sectors. However, when doing an entire disk restore the old partition table is restored, and along with it, the starting sector offset from the original disk.

    I see we posted simultaneously, Paul...
     
  12. qwertz

    qwertz Registered Member

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    Ok, what seems to unravel here is that anybody who uses SSDs (or any RAID array for that matter, as the problem is the same http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929491) should stay away from Acronis.

    Good to know. I was just about to upgrade my ATI 10 version to the 2009 version, thinking that Acronis must have thought about RAID or SSD users. Seems like that's not the case ... one moment...2006 is calling, saying that Vista will launch soon, with a 1024k standard offset.

    Seriously - seems like it's time to say goodbye to ATI. I mean, really, why would you default to XP (!!) partition offset in 2009, with no option to change this whatsoever ?

    I am using both RAID and SSDs and as is, ATI is now totally useless for me because I cannot restore my system partition (the only reason I bought ATI in the first place) without degrading my Raid and/or SSD performance because I lose the alignment.

    Smart. :mad:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  13. Michel Villemaire

    Michel Villemaire Registered Member

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    I tried this and it worked for me:

    0. back up your current hard drive, please, just in case

    1. delete ssd partition through disk manager and align partition using diskpar

    2. fast format the partition on the ssd and set as active through disk manager

    3. in a first step, restore only the mbr and track 0 from the acronis image to the ssd

    4. in a second step, restore acronis image as specified files or folders to A NEW LOCATION (NOT THE ORIGINAL !!! See step 0 for prevention), which will be the ssd

    5. reboot if asked

    6. ultimately, plug your ssd as boot drive

    7. verify ssd is still aligned using diskpar
     
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