TI Home 10: Memory key boot issues

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Marc_G, Jan 16, 2007.

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  1. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Hi all,

    I recently upgraded to TI Home 10. Build 4871. As with prior versions, it doesn't create a bootable memory key that works on any computer I've tried (notably my IBM T42p laptop). As I've posted many times before, the same memory keys are very bootable on these computers, and I can create DOS and other types of bootable keys. It's just the Acronis application that doesn't work for me. The error I get is "Operating System Not Found."

    Some kind soul posted a solution that used a customized USB boot loader, perhaps a year ago, that I've used with TI version 8 perhaps, but filenames used by TI and so forth have changed since then, so this isn't a solution, using what was provided back then.

    Does anyone have a workable solution for this? I just want a memory key that boots to Acronis quickly, so that I can do my backups (or restores!) outside of Windows.

    Thanks!

    Marc
     
  2. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Marc,

    If you mentioned it before then I've forgotten so remind me again please - what size flash drive(s) have you tried?

    Regards
     
  3. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Hi Menorcaman,

    I've tried everything from 128 mb up to 1 GB. My old working copy of TI 8.something (via a special boot loader) is on the 128 mb stick, so right now I have just 1 GB sticks to play with.

    When I try to create a bootable stick, I make sure it is formatted as FAT (not FAT32), and do all the things I've read about here on the forum.

    I've also tried partitioning them, but never had success getting that to work for Acronis booting purposes.

    Marc
     
  4. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Some more information on what worked before:

    The "syslinux" approach that "B_K" posted is what I used successfully a while ago.

    Here's a link to the thread where it was proposed, and where I reported my success.https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=125809

    Note that because some of the filenames of Acronis components have changed as versions have been updated, this approach no longer works without changes that are beyond my current understanding.

    Sincerely,

    Marc
     
  5. hgratt

    hgratt Registered Member

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    This thread got me interested in trying to create a bootable USB memory stick.

    FWIW, I used ATI 10 to make a bootable USB stick (PNY 512MB). I had no problem in getting a Dell Dimension 8300 to bootup from the stick into Acronis.

    Harvey
     
  6. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Interesting!

    I wonder why the Acronis boot code is so prone to failure on some computers but not others. I've got keys that I've made for other purposes (based on DOS or other more proprietary things) that work great on my IBM T42p as well as other (IBM) computers at work. But I've never been able to get Acronis-made keys to work...

    I think this may be related to the fact that all the IBM BIOS's I've used seem to interpret the memory keys as HDD when offering boot options for them. I think the Acronis boot loader is written to simulate a boot floppy. Anyone know how to modify the Acronis code so it think's it's a boot hard drive instead?

    Marc
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Marc:

    I've done this several times and it usually works. The times that it has failed to work were because the Acronis Bootable Media Builder application that creates the USB key forgot to set the partition containing the Acronis utilities as active. That's easily fixed if you have Partition Magic or Linux. Unfortunately, Acronis Disk Director can't be used because it won't recognize removable drives.

    I don't know why this happens but it did happen to me a couple of times. Usually it works fine. But it was easily fixed. Just set the boot flag on the Acronis partition.
     
  8. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Hi Mark,

    Could you please elaborate on the use of Partition Magic to set the boot flag on the memory key?

    I've got PM 8.01 installed on my system, and it doesn't seem to recognize the memory key. All it shows is my hard disk.

    Any further help would be greatly appreciated.

    Marc
     
  9. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Marc:

    PM won't see removable devices when you're running it from within Windows. In order to work with a removable device you need to create the bootable floppy disk version of PM and run that. When you boot your PC from the floppy version with the USB key simultaneously connected you should be able to see and work on either your hard disk or the USB key.

    If you have already created bootable USB keys that can run DOS, then you can also copy the PM files from the floppy disks to your USB key and run PM from there.

    An even easier way to just set a boot flag is to use the DOS program "PTEDIT" that is present in your PM directory. Just copy it to a bootable DOS USB key. If you're familiar with running this program you can use it to directly set or reset the boot flag on any partition on any drive on your PC.

    For example, boot from DOS with your USB key simultaneously connected and run "PTEDIT". In the "Hard Disk" drop-down box, select the drive that you want to modify. You will see a display of its partition table. The column labeled "Boot" will contain a 00 if the boot flag is cleared and an "80" if it is set. Enter "80" in the column of the partition that you want to make bootable which is usually the first and only partition on the USB key and 00 in the other 3 partitions. Hit the "Save Changes" button and you're done.

    If you have any Live Linux CDs you can also use the Linux programs fdisk, cfdisk, or gparted to do the same thing. It's too bad that Acronis Disk Director 10 cannot work on removable drives, although Acronis support has hinted that they may include that feature in a future version of DD.
     
  10. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Thanks I'll give this a try!
     
  11. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    I was able to use PT edit to set the boot byte to 80, and confirmed the change. The key still doesn't boot for me, giving the "Missing Operating System" message.

    Sigh. Any other suggestions would be greatfully appreciated!

    Sincerely,

    Marc
     
  12. curt007

    curt007 Registered Member

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    Marc,

    Here's a procedure that I have used with success to create bootable USB Keys for Acronis Disk Director 10 and TrueImage Home 9 using USB Memory Keys from SanDisk and Sony. This works on my IBM ThinkPad T60p.

    First, obtain and use the Format Utility for HP Drive Key or DiskOnKey USB Device from,
    http://h18000.www1.hp.com/support/files/serveroptions/us/download/20306.html to format the drive (FAT).

    After you format the USB key with the HP utility, copy files BOOT.INI, NTLDR and NTDETECT from the root directory of your PC's boot drive to the USB key. Note: these files are hidden by default, so you may have to configure Windows Explorer to show hidden files (including protected operating system files) or use the DOS Copy command to copy the files.

    Finally, you can now use the Acronis Bootable Rescue Media Builder to create the bootable USB key.

    Works for me!

    Curt
     
  13. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Curt:

    That's really interesting but it has me a little confused. When Bootable Media Builder installs files on the USB key it boots from the file bootwiz.sys and will ignore BOOT.INI, NTLDR, and NTDETECT. So I don't think that you need these files.

    I suspect that it is the step of formatting the key with the HP format utility that makes the key usable.

    For reasons that I don't fully understand, some USB keys come preformatted with one partition in the fourth entry of the partition table instead of the first. I think this is referred to as USB-ZIP format. Reformatting one of these with the HP utility will make one partition in the first entry of the partition table, which I believe is called USB-HDD. I may have some of this incorrect, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Some PCs have a setting in the BIOS that lets you change the type of USB device boot from USB-ZIP to USB-HDD. Perhaps that's something that Marc can look for?

    I have had a couple of keys that were difficult to format correctly and found by trial and error that if you format them with PartitionMagic, then they will always work on any system; Windows or Linux.

    Once you get your USB key formatted properly and with the boot flag set, then Acronis Bootable Media Builder can be run as many times as you want and it seems to get things right. It's that first format that is sometimes problematic.
     
  14. curt007

    curt007 Registered Member

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    Mark,

    I cannot refute any of the points that you make. Copying the files that I suggest may not be necessary. But, after many, many unsuccessful attempts at this, the procedure that I outlined works reliably for me --- at least on my laptop, which is similiar to the one that Marc was inquiring about.

    I profess to know nothing about what the Acronis Media Builder does -- so, maybe the HP utility is the key. If so, I can't describe the facts about why this is the case either.

    But again, this works for me -- at least on my laptop. The same memory key does not work on my desktop system. However, I'm pretty sure that this is a USB boot BIOS issue.

    Curt
     
  15. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Hi Curt and Mark,

    Thanks for your continued help. I followed the instructions in your posts, and while it's not working yet, I've gotten a bit farther and now get different error messages.

    I started with a key that when booted gave a "Missing Operating System" and as described above I changed the boot byte using PTEdit, with no effect.

    Next, I tried the Acronis media builder utility on the key. No effect. Same missing operating system message.

    Then I ran the HP utility (I had it hanging around from a previous project...) and actually in the first round, I decided to create a DOS image on the key, to verify that THIS key is bootable. No problem, the reformatted key with DOS system files booted to DOS as expected.

    I took this key and ran the Acronis media builder again, and when I boot it, I now get a DIFFERENT message. It says:

    Starting Acronis Loader
    (then)
    Acronis Loader Fatal Error: Boot Drive (Partition) not found
    Press <enter> to try to boot your OS

    So, it's getting to a later stage now before failing.

    Any thoughts on how to take it all the way from here?

    Marc
     
  16. curt007

    curt007 Registered Member

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    Marc,

    Did you follow the steps exactly as I described -- including copying the files from your PC? Also, try downloading the HP utility again unless you are sure you have the same version that is available now.


    I don't understand your point about creating a DOS image on the key. Not something that I tried.

    Curt
     
  17. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Marc:

    Interesting. This means that the key is bootable, and the bootloader in the MBR is the Acronis bootloader that starts bootwiz.sys (Acronis Loader), and that the Acronis Loader is correctly starting up. This sounds like progress.

    The message "Boot Drive (Partition) not found" is one that I've never seen before. It sounds like the loader can't find one of the files that it's looking for.

    I'm not sure if this will help or confuse the issue, but I can post a listing of the files on my bootable key. However, I have TI version 9 and Disk Director version 10 on my key. Your file content may be different. But here goes:

    Code:
     Directory of F:\
    
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            22,528 bootwiz.sys
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM               453 bootwiz.cfg
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             4,850 mouse.com
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM         4,207,813 bootmenu.exe
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             1,985 bootmenu.xml
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM        14,472,403 run2.run
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            25,303 SPL1.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            25,303 SPL2.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            20,609 SPL4.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            20,609 SPL6.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            20,609 SPL7.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            20,609 SPL8.EXE
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM         4,777,379 exe7.exe
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM         1,658,214 exe8.exe
    12/16/2006  02:05 PM         7,123,435 exe9.exe
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM        15,950,981 dat3.dat
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM           664,914 dat4.dat
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM         9,662,080 dat5.dat
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM           669,935 dat6.dat
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM                86 run2.etc
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM                86 exe7.etc
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM                86 exe8.etc
    12/16/2006  02:05 PM                86 exe9.etc
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            10,005 C1.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             8,558 C2.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             9,162 C3.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             9,917 C4.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            12,390 C5.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM            10,656 C6.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM           118,416 menulogo.png
    12/16/2006  02:04 PM             7,908 icon_continue_48.png
    
    Again, depending on which programs you included when building the bootable media, your content may vary. But I would especially look for the first 6 or so files in the listing; they seem to be the ones that start things up.
     
  18. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    I'll try again including copying those files, though I wonder what they would do, given that the key gets at least partially reformatted in the process of running the media builder, and files wiped, I think.

    As for creating the DOS image on it first, I just wanted to double check that this new 1GB key I'm using (Dane-Elec brand el cheapo from Office Depo) was bootable on my system. It proved that the key is bootable for me, that's all. :)

    I'll report back in a while.

    Marc
     
  19. curt007

    curt007 Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Now I have a question for you. How did you get TI 9 and Disk Director 10 on the same key? How do you select one or the other when/after you boot?

    Curt
     
  20. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    If you have both programs installed on your PC, when you run Bootable Media Builder you will be given the choice of what to install. I believe that when I created this key I installed everything; TI9, DD10 and OS Selector. That's why there are so many files on the key. If you only install TI9 (or 10 I presume), there will be fewer files.

    When the key boots you see a menu screen that lets you select the program to run. TI (Safe Mode), TI (Full Mode), DD (Safe Mode), etc.
     
  21. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    OK, I recreated the USB key following the above directions:

    1. Downloaded fresh copy of the HP utility.
    2. Used it to format the key
    3. Copied the NT files listed over to the key
    4. Ran the Acronis boot media builder

    It still gives the Acronis Loader Fatal Error message. :mad:

    I was wrong though; it didn't delete (or format over) the files that were there (the NT files that I had copied). They are still there.

    I've checked the key; I've got all the various Acronis files present that should be there.

    Hmm. I'm not sure what to try next.

    Marc
     
  22. curt007

    curt007 Registered Member

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    Marc,

    The only thing that immediately comes to mind now is for you to make sure that you have the most current BIOS for your machine. USB boot support has been evolving and may still be problematic on some machines.

    Curt
     
  23. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Marc:

    Just curious, can you look at the key's partition table with PTEDIT? Which partition is in use; 1 or 4?
     
  24. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    I'll do this tomorrow; I left my Partition Magic disk at work...
     
  25. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Marc:

    If all else fails I was going to suggest that you wipe the first sector of the drive and then create the partition table with PartitionMagic. I've found that this is a sure-fire method of making a USB flash drive that will always boot.

    I've had spotty success with the HP format utility. It usually works but sometimes you'll find a combination of PC and drive that just won't work together.

    You can even put multiple partitions on the flash drive with PartitionMagic. Windows will only see the first partition, but you can put Linux rescue tools in the other partitions and use a boot manager (I use GRUB) to select the OS to boot from, just like you would do on a hard disk. One of my favorite rescue tools is a 2 GB USB flash drive with BartPE in partition 1 along with Acronis TI and DD plugins; Knoppix Live Linux in the second partition; and a persistent home directory for Knoppix in the third. You can fix almost any Windows or Linux problem with this tool.

    I hope you are successful. I always learn a lot when trying to figure these types of problems out.
     
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