TI Restore Changes Partition Order in Partition Table

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by MudCrab, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    This problem (or feature) has been referenced before, but not in much detail. Several posters has run into problems with this, mostly in the DD forum when trying to setup multi-boot systems.

    When using the latest build of TI 10 (4,942) and doing a restore, TI places the restored partition into the same partition "slot" as it was when it was backed up. If the original image was taken from the partition stored in position 1 of the partition table, then it is restored back to that same "slot" even when restored into a different partition.

    Furthermore, TI also automatically changes any XP boot.ini files in any affected partitions to reference the correct partition entry.

    This causes a lot of confusion when multi-booting when you're not expecting this to happen.

    Here is an example of the procedure and how the changes are made. The test image was created from an image of XP created in the FIRST partition (boot.ini referencing partition(1)).

    The test hard drive has three partitions, 20GB, 40GB and 60GB. These are shown like this in DD after restoring the XP image to the first partition (the 20GB partition):
    xp_part0.JPG

    The original partition table looks like this:
    xp_part1.JPG

    The boot.ini file in the 20GB partition is referenced as partition(1).

    Now you restore the same image into the second partition (the 40GB partition). The partition table is updated to the following:
    xp_part2.JPG

    As you can see, the original second partition is now first in the list and the original first partition in the list is now second. The third partition in the list has not moved.

    The boot.ini file in the 20GB partition (now the second partition in the table) has been modifed to partition(2). The boot.ini file in the 40GB partition (now the first partition in the table) has been left as partition(1).

    Now you restore the same image into the third partition (the 60GB partition). The partition table is updated to the following:
    xp_part3.JPG

    The original third partition is now first in the list. Then entire partition table order has now been reversed. What started as 1,2,3 is now 3,2,1. And all the boot.ini files have been updated automatically by TI to reference the correct entry in the partition table.

    Now, if you again restore the image to the first partition (the 20GB partition) then this is what you get:
    xp_part1b.JPG

    Physical partition one is now back in the first position in the partition table. Note that partitions 2 and 3 are still reversed. Again the boot.ini files are updated automatically to be correct.

    What does this mean? It means that if you're using TI to setup a multi-boot system, that you'll have to understand these changes because the boot manager may or may not allow the system to boot correctly. Most boot managers are not expecting the partition table order to change.

    More to the point, why doesn't TI only change the restored partition? If you restore an original partition(1) image into the third physical partition (partition table entry 3), then TI should just modify that boot.ini file to reference partition(3) instead of placing it into the first "slot", reordering other partitions and modifing boot.ini files.

    These changes are also not noted in any of the build "change logs" by Acronis. This causes even more confusion since the different builds work differently.

    TI 9, build 3,677 DOES NOT change the partition table order, nor does it change any boot.ini files. This build leaves everything as expected. You must modify the boot.ini file manually.

    TI 9, build 3,854 changes the partition table order, but DOES NOT update any boot.ini files.

    TI 10, build 4,942 changes BOTH the partition table order AND updates all affected boot.ini files.

    These are exactly the kind of changes that should be included in a detailed change log for new builds. Acronis has posted that they will include detailed changes with new builds, but it remains to be seen if they'll follow through with it.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    MudCrab,

    Classic post. Thanks for providing this very interesting information. I hope you get more replies.

    How does TI do this? Do you think it just reads the boot.ini and puts the restored image into the partition slot that matches the boot.ini? Or does it choose the partition slot over the boot.ini number? One of my computers had a strange setup. Initially the partitions were

    Dell Diagnostic partition
    WinXP
    Extended partition

    These took slots 1, 2 and 3

    I then resized the Win XP partition and created a primary partition in the Unallocated Space after WinXP. Another WinXP was installed in this partition so on the HD I had

    Dell Diagnostic partition
    WinXP1
    WinXP2
    Extended partition

    But the partition table was

    Dell Diagnostic partition
    WinXP1
    Extended partition
    WinXP2

    The boot.ini showed partition(3), not because WinXP2 was the third partition on the HD but because WinXP2 was the third primary partition in the partition table. Extended partitions aren't counted for boot.ini numbering. So I had an OS in slot 4 with a partition(3) boot.ini.

    It would be interesting to do your test by restoring an image of this partition into the second physical partition. Would the partition table show this OS in slot 3 or 4? The boot.ini would be modified to partition(2).
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    As far as I can tell, TI goes by the original partition position in the partition table.

    I'm assuming you actually installed XP instead of restoring an image (or you used TI 9 build 3,677 or earlier to do the restore). In this case, the results you got seem correct.

    I think I'll give it a try and see what happens. However, I doubt the boot.ini file would reference partition(2) since the image being restored was not taken from the second partition table slot.

    ----

    Okay, here are the results...

    Partition table before restore (same as Brian's setup) with the partitions shown in this order:
    Dell, WinXP 1, Extended, WinXP 2
    xp_primary3_slot4.jpg

    Partition table after restore of WinXP2 partition (from table slot 4) to the WinXP1 partition (table slot 2).
    Now the partitions are like this: Dell, Extended, WinXP 2, WinXP 1
    xp_primary3_slot4_after.jpg

    The partition table order has changed like this:
    Slot 2 -> Slot 4
    Slot 3 -> Slot 2
    Slot 4 -> Slot 3

    The boot.ini file in the WinXP2 partition changed to reference partition(2) since it is the second primary partition in the table.
    The boot.ini file in the WinXP1 partition was changed to partition(3).

    So the answer to your question is 4. TI restored the partition to the SAME partition table slot from which it was saved.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    MudCrab,

    A man after my own heart. Thanks for doing that test. As you know I couldn't test it because I don't have the appropriate TI version.

    Could you check your maths. Looking at your figures, the new WinXP2 appears to be in slot 3 and is the second primary partition in the table. Or am I mistaken?
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Now I'm really confused!
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You're not mistaken. That's exactly where the WinXP2 partition ends up.

    And it does get confusing, that's part of the problem.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    MudCrab,

    It is extremely confusing to me. I've made another attempt to clarify the issue.



    63/104903852 is the Dell Utility partition

    1049045/21051570 is the original XP1 partition

    326248020/162144045 is the Extended partition

    221006205/105241815 is the original XP2 partition




    Now after restoring the XP2 image to the XP1 partition

    63/104903852 is the Dell Utility partition

    326248020/162144045 is the Extended partition

    221006205/105241815 is the original XP2 partition

    1049045/21051570 is the original XP1 partition but now contains the XP2 restored image


    Does this make sense? Your original assessment was correct.
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Brian,

    Aside from a few of the numbers having typos, you are correct.

    Here is a picture that shows what's happening:

    b_orderchange.jpg

    The boot.ini file in the WinXP2 partition changed to reference partition(2) since it is the second primary partition in the table.
    The boot.ini file in the WinXP1 partition was changed to reference partition(3).

    Remember that the WinXP 2 image was taken from the third primary partition (in this case from the 4th slot in the partition table). When it was restored to the WinXP 1 partition, the WinXP 1 partition is moved into the 4th slot in the partition table.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    MudCrab,

    I'm clear now. Great graphic. You have really put a lot of work into this and deserve an explanation from Acronis concerning the rationale of this very confusing change in the partition table after restoring an image.
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    MudCrab,

    Here is my partition table for that computer. Before and after adjusting the partition table with BING.
     

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  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    So you just swapped partitions 3 and 4 in the table using BING?

    Was there a reason you needed to swap them? Just curious.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    No reason apart from cosmetic. Things worked the same before and after. I just like looking at the ordered numbers.
     
  13. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    A picture is worth a thousand words. Great graphics. Above and beyond. Time and effort expended by both you.:thumb:
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    GroverH,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence but all should know that MudCrab has put in 99.5% of the time and effort.
     
  15. redline

    redline Registered Member

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    Thanks for revealing the problem clearly. I restored my OS from partition 1 to partition 2 with TI 10 and was surprised when my XOSL configuration suddenly got messed up.

    This problem seems to be an oversight rather than a design decision so I hope it gets fixed ASAP!
     
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