Tale of Woe

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by HMSVictory, Oct 19, 2005.

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  1. HMSVictory

    HMSVictory Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    So I bought and installed Acronis TI8 on my elderly but perfectly-functioning PC (AMD K6-2/475MHz with 512mb of RAM running W98SE) and tried to run an image to CDs. All seemed to go OK until it failed writing the 1st CD. So I gave up on that for now.

    Then foolishly I decided to try to create a 'Secure Zone' on my one and only HDD. This is of course a 3-stage process involving 2 reboots. First stage seemed OK and reboot was fine. 2nd stage seemed OK too, as I got a lovely big message saying congratulations and please reboot. I attempted to reboot, the PC went down. Alas, it wouldn't reboot into Windows. After the POST completed, I saw the 'searching for boot info on IDE0 - OK' message, but then everything just stopped. After a lot of digging about on the internet (on other computers!) including this forum, I tried a number of things by booting from a W98 startup floppy into DOS and working in there. FDISK showed that all there was on my C drive was an 'EXT DOS' partition! Eventually, I found that the 'SYS C' command transferred my system over and recovered my 'PRI DOS' partition and I was able to reboot into Windows 98!

    I was quite thrilled, but the thrills were tempered as, once back into W98, I of course saw that the creation of the secure zone had failed and I immediately began to get Explorer Invalid Page Fault errors in SHELL32.DLL which wouldn't go away. Also Wordpad, Word and some other stuff wouldn't run. Further, I found that my C drive had been altered as far as the OS was concerned - from having a 12GB HDD I was now down to a 7GB one. I had of course tried to allocate about 4GB to the secure zone so it seems to have failed and screwed up my partition info or something. The DOS FDISK had showed 12GB OK so this was a problem with the OS I think.

    Now in Safe Mode Device Manager I seemed to have gained an additional HDD, which I assume to be the 'secure zone' residue? In normal mode only one drive was shown!

    So I tried many many things, defrag, scandisk, repairing IE6, going back to IE5, uninstalling TI8, among other things, but nothing was changed and indeed, Windows just got more and more sick.

    So in the end I decided to reinstall Windows by using the Windows\Options\Cabs\setup.exe that is on my (OEM) system and went for it.
    I did the reboot in the middle of this but got stuck on the reload as I didn't have my Product Key! Another internet trawl followed as I sought the correct DOS commands to try to look into the windows\system.dat file to see the product key stored in my registry. This took a day or two as I was unable to copy system.dat into the DOS editor, which is what many advised, it being too big a file! The other way of extracting the product key in MS-DOS apparently was by searching for the "productkey" string in windows\system.dat by using the FIND command. This didn't work either for a while, since FIND.EXE is not found on the start-up floppy but is found in windows\command and it wasn't until I changed my DOS syntax to take this into account (ie by typing in c:\windows\command\find /I "productkey" c:\windows\system.dat at the DOS prompt) that I was able to extract the product key!

    From there I was able to continue the reinstall of W98SE which has been successful. The only thing is, I still seem to be missing 5GB of HDD, though that's not critical right now as I mainly do word-processing and internet tasks and don't use much space.

    So I am delighted to be back up and running. However, does anyone have any idea how I can recover the 'lost' disk space without screwing up my HDD/windows again?

    Why have I told you all this? I just wanted to share with you how Acronis has enhanced my computing experience! Now all I have to do is to find another, simpler, safer, backup product, because Acronis TI8 is definitely NOT for me I believe.:eek:

    At least I have learned a few things about my PC I suppose!

    Thank you Acronis - friend of the insomniac masochist!:-*
     
  2. HMSVictory

    HMSVictory Registered Member

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    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    I forgot to say that I was NOT able to remove the 'secure zone' through TI8 since it had not been created in the 1st place!

    Nor am I keen to rerun TI8 secure zone creation in order to recover the unallocated disk space, as, surprise surprise, I don't want my PC to go into another DOS coma when it fails to boot again!!!

    So are there any other ideas? And any suggestions as to what might have gone wrong?

    Cheers.
     
  3. Belayman

    Belayman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
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    Location:
    Alabama
    well, you sound like you are very "computer literate"... anyone who remembers that much DOS is a pro in my book... so, if I were you, I'd just download my hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic tool (like SeaTools, if you have a Seagate drive, or MaxBlast for a Maxtor), and get rid of all partitions and just write zeros to everything. That's what I call the Aliens "Nuke 'em from Orbit... it's the only way to be sure" technique. it will take a while, and it's pretty stressful on the hard drive, but it does give you a totally fresh drive.

    or, more subtle, partition magic might be able to see the SZ partition, and reallocate it.

    if you aren't afraid of reinstalling ATI 8.0, you can have it erase the SZ, can't you? I did that with ATI 9.0.

    just some thoughts.

    Edit: Scratch my last suggestion. just read your second post.
     
  4. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
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    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Did you run Scandisk in thorough mode before creating the Secure Zone? It's possible that a disk error caused the problem.

    If you can successfully write to CDs with other software, try making an image to CD-R disks (blank, new disks that have not been formatted). That will give you a backup in case there are future problems.

    Reinstall the Secure Zone in the unallocated space, the 4GB, on your hard drive. If it works, you can either keep the SZ or remove it with TI and add the 4GB back to your C drive. That's the only way to restore the full size of your C drive with TI.

    You could use a program like Partition Magic to expand the C drive into the unallocated space, but that might mean spending more money.

    Finally, you could create an extended partition in the unallocated space with FDISK and format it to create a D drive for data and backups. I prefer to use a second partition instead of the Secure Zone myself. If you choose this option, run Scandisk in thorough mode on the new D drive to be sure there are no disk errors.
     
  5. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello HMSVictory,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are really sorry for the inconveniences. Could you please do the following?

    - Download the Acronis Report utility from http://www.acronis.com/files/support/AcronisReport.exe;
    - Run Acronis Report utility and select the "Create bootable floppy" option;
    - Insert a blank floppy disk in the floppy drive and proceed with creating the bootable diskette;
    - Boot the computer under consideration from this diskette and wait for report creation process to complete;
    - Send us the 'report.txt' file from the floppy disk. For that please create an account, then log in and submit a request for technical support. Attach the report.txt file and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Irina Shirokova
     
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