Support needs to Clarify this Issue of Operating System Partition Imaging

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Allen L., Sep 12, 2004.

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  1. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    In the Acronis advertising, it says that *all* the partition is copied, including the MBR. All is All. I believe this to be true. I have restored an Operating System (active partition) to a formatted partition that would not have a MBR on it, as it would not have anything on it as it is a freshly formatted, previously partitioned section of the disk. Acronis copied the active partition that I had imaged, to this partition, and it booted because Acronis asked me if I wanted to make it "active". If active is checked, then the MBR is copied to the partition and it will boot as it did before problems occurred.

    When one routinely backs up a C: drive active partition, (as the program shows in default mode with a check mark in the C: Drive), and puts that image on a separate hard drive, or on CDR's or other media, for safekeeping, it (Acronis) *does* copy the complete partition, MBR and all, or so say's Acronis and I would say that the program would have to do this, or what would be the sense of backing up an image of any of the partitions on the hard drive separately, if one has more than one partition? If one's hard drive failed, the active partition needs to be restored to a new hard drive, then the data that is backed up, in whatever format, can be added to the new hard drive, be it Acronis that was used or some other backup program. The most important issue of using an imaging program is to get the operating system back to an "operating state" exactly as one had it before the problem that caused it to no longer 'work'. The data issue recovery is not what this post is about.

    I have used drive imaging programs for the sole purpose to save myself the trouble of re-installing Windows or other OS back to the same or to a different hard drive. I use an Imaging program and I have always copied the C: (Active partition) and my D: (Data partition) to separate images to another hard drive. I have never copied the entire disk, as Support implies one do to restore the MBR to a new hard drive. This is just not the way people use their Imaging Programs, in my opinion. I have also used the image of the C: partition with both Acronis, and also Powerquest's Drive Image, to restore an operating system to a cleanly formatted partition, or to a new hard drive...and after so, restore the image or other backup format of my data to a separate partition on the new drive.

    I would bet that most readers of this forum do the exact same thing as I state above. My purpose of this post, is to have support clarify this issue they make of having to make an entire hard drive image , or the MBR will not be transferred to a newly formatted partition image. This would make the checking of the little boxes in the wizard of which partition you want to back up useless. One would always just check the Whole Disk, if what Support would have you believe.

    Please, once and for all, clarify this issue. I know that Support is referring to multiple operating systems that are located on different partitions with a boot manager to point to the one the user wants to 'start'. In this case you would need to image the complete hard drive to retain the several MBR's necessary, but with only one operating system this is not the case. The active C: partition will restore just fine, MBR and all, to a new hard drive.

    Allen L.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  2. mantronix

    mantronix Registered Member

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    Can you explain what MBR is ?

    I don't really understand your post, are you saying that True Image says it will mirror your drive exactly, but it is not actually doing this ?

    I read your post twice and got lost in it :(
     
  3. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    No, sorry I confused you by my post. If you read the replies from Support about the issues of copying the boot partition (which is considered by Support to be the MBR or master boot record). Support states that the boot sector is *not* copied if you don't make a "Whole Disk Image". I *do* get the MBR...or in WinXP, the NTLDR and the NTDETECT.COM copied to my images using only the check mark in the C: partition when I make an image. *This* is what support is confusing with imaging in my opinion. You need the MBR or the NTLDR & NTDETECT.COM in WinXP in the root of C: (Active System Partition) to be able to boot your Active System drive on a restore of the image. I'm stating that I *do* get those files in imaging only the C: drive and not using the "Whole Disk Image" that Support indicates that is needed to 'get' those files copied to the image. Thus I am able to restore *just* the C: partition (Active, System) and it *is* bootable, although I also have a D: Data Partition which *would be copied to the image* if I checked the "Whole Disk Image" box...I don't require the restore of "whole Disk" if I am just restoring the image of the Active C: partition for some reason, and I don't think that anyone else does either unless they are running multiple operating systems, and that is another issue. So what *I* do is make two images to use for backup...one of my C: partition, and one of my D: partition. As stated above I can use *only* the image of the C: partition to restore a bootable operating system to the same or different hard drive.

    Allen L.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  4. wdormann

    wdormann Registered Member

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    I can report similar results. I only image my C: partition.
    But if I restore that partition to a clean disk, it is indeed bootable, and win2k starts right up.

    Acronis support has indicated that the above would not happen. But then in a later post said that it could happen but is not guaranteed.
     
  5. Tom_USA

    Tom_USA Guest

    The MBR (Master Boot Record) resides in the first sector of the hard disk and points to the bootable partition.
    NTLDR etc. are the boot programs in this partition that are being loaded.

    If you restore a partition as a primary partition to a new hard disk without writing a new MBR that points to this new partition, the bios will not be able to find this partition - ergo will not be able to boot the operating system.

    If you restore to an "active" partition, Acronis will do the same thing as for a primary partition but additionally mark is as the activate (bootable) partition. I assume that at this time they also update the MBR to point to this partition.

    There are some tools (fdisk, fixmbr, partition magic etc.) that allow fixing the MBR and switching a primary partition to an active one.

    Hope this helps.
     
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