TI10 failed to restore XP system partition but TI8 OK

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by vince97, Aug 11, 2007.

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  1. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I am using a laptop running Windows XP SP2, 20G hard disk partitioned to C: (system) and D: (data)

    Have been using True Image 8.0.937 to backup my c: only, then restore to a new hard disk and bootable. Detailed steps:

    1. Backup C: only with TI8 within Windows
    2. Restore C: only with TI8 to a new hard disk within Windows
    3. Create D: extended partition using windows disk management on new hard disk
    4. Install a generic XP SP2 MBR within Windows using MBRWizard

    The new hard disk can boot successfully.

    Testing TI10.0.4942 using exact procedure as above, hard disk cannot boot.

    Have browsed through the useful threads links in this forum, and followed this suggestion:

    1. Backup C: only with TI10 (which include the MBR) within Windows
    2. Restore C: partition, then MBR, then proceed for combined restore to new hard disk, did not do any resize during restore, and did not assign disk letters
    3. Create D: extended partition using windows disk management on new hard disk

    The new hard disk cannot boot.

    Checking the partition table using MBRWizard. Below is the partition structure for original disk:

    Disk: 0 Size: 19G CHS: 2584 240 63
    Pos MBRndx Type/Name Size Active Hide Start Sector Sectors DL Vol Label
    --- ------ ---------- ---- ------ ---- ------------ ------------ -- ----------
    0 0 07-NTFS 10G Yes No 63 20,608,497 C: system
    1 1 05-EXTEND 9.0G No No 20,608,560 18,461,520 -- <None>

    Whne using TI8 to restore, the partition structure of new hard disk is exactly the same for C:, altough D: is different:

    Disk: 1 Size: 19G CHS: 2584 240 63
    Pos MBRndx Type/Name Size Active Hide Start Sector Sectors DL Vol Label
    --- ------ ---------- ---- ------ ---- ------------ ------------ -- ----------
    0 0 07-NTFS 10G Yes No 63 20,608,497 -- system
    1 1 0F-EXTEND 9.0G No No 20,608,560 18,446,400 -- <None>

    When using TI10 to restore, for both procedures above, the partition structure for C: has changed, as well as D:

    Disk: 1 Size: 19G CHS: 2432 255 63
    Pos MBRndx Type/Name Size Active Hide Start Sector Sectors DL Vol Label
    --- ------ ---------- ---- ------ ---- ------------ ------------ -- ----------
    0 0 07-NTFS 10G Yes No 63 20,611,332 -- system
    1 1 0F-EXTEND 9.0G No No 20,611,395 18,442,620 -- <None>


    I therefore suspect it is the change in size of the C: partition which makes it not bootable.

    Why would TI10 change the size of C: partition even if I did not do any resize during restore?

    It should not be a drive letter issue, as MBRWizard will wipe out the disk signature when installing the generic MBR in case of TI8. For TI10, it will copy the original signature to the new hard disk, and the 2 hard disks has never "see" each other.

    I did not test using Recovery CD, as it seemed the CD did not recognize USB hdd. I could only put the new hdd into the ultrabay HDD adapter, but I need to remove the CD drive. Also using TI8, I never need to use recovery CD, just run things from Windows.

    The problem has a big impact, if I move to TI10, that I need to do a FULL disk backup of both C: and D: AND a FULL disk restore before I can restore the bootable partition. This takes a lot more time and backup space. Also D: is changing much less frequently and backup/restore of this partition simply waste time.

    Whereas in TI8 only C: is backup and restored.

    Comment and help will be welcome.

    Thanks
    Vince
     
  2. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Did you verify it's not a drive letter change problem?
    From my expierence when you modify the MBR, it doesn't do anything to the drive letters. (at least not on true image 9 or 10)
    Changes to the size of the partition doesn't make it unbootable outright , but it does cause the drive letters to change (which is what makes it unbootable.)

    My advice is to use the demo of "paragon justboot corrector" to bootup the computer with the non-booting hard drive, verify that your system partition is listed as c: drive in the registry.

    Like you I have found a utility to ensure that my restored hard drives will bootup, but I just use "paragons justboot corrector" to change the drive letters and it will usually fix the non-booting hard drive in less than 5 minutes.
    But in most case's my restorations of windows xp, usually bootup without any utilitys but when they don't it's a quick fix for me.

    http://www.justboot.us/boot_corrector.htm
     
  3. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Vince,

    What happens if you get to step 3 and try to boot the new hard disk? If the drive has at one time been partitioned, it should boot without requiring an MBR utility.

    As test, use the Windows disk manager to delete both the partitions on the "new" drive. Then, create a C partition of any size. Restore the image you made of C: and test whether the drive will boot. I'll bet it does.

    Withing Windows after booting the "new" drive, you can create the D partition.

    I'm suspicious that mbrwizard is part of the problem and not part of the solution.
     
  4. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    If you are going to create new partitions and try another restore. It is always best that the new system partition is at least 1gb larger than the saved backup image you want to restore.
    Example if your backup system image partition is 20gb, you need to restore it into a partition that is larger, i.e. 21gb. If you try to restore it to a smaller partititon (which is allowable by true image), there is a good chance you will get drive letter change problems.

    to your question
    with true image 9.0 and 10, all I do is image backups of my c: drive. Image partitions are automatcally bootable when restored to a new hard drive. I've tested it numerous times and works every time. If you do have a problem with the restored hard drive not booting up, it's always going to be a drive letter problem everytime. Never had to repair the MBR, repair installations, boot.ini etc.
    As long as you know how to change drive letters quickly, you should have full confidence that your backups will work.
     
  5. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    jonyjoe81:

    Yes I did, as explained in my message.

    MBRWizard will set signature to zero, then XP will re-assign drive letters when boot up. This works perfectly when I use TI8 to restore.

    jmk94903:

    I needed step 4 as for a new HDD, TI8 did not restore the MBR. Acronis used to recommend XFDISK (and packaged it in a CD iso found in this forum). However, MBRWizard do not require you to reboot to DOS.

    The restore by TI8 boots perfectly, so I have no evidence that MBRWizard is at flaw. MBRWizard is just one of the many freeware/commercial software that repairs MBR and its use should not make a difference unless I have identified an evidence of bug.


    I found a hint from my original post:

    The disk geometry has changed after restore by TI10, but not TI8.

    I am doing some more research along this line, and would appreciate any comment or experience on this respect.

    Thanks
    Vince
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Vince,

    I may have missed this, but if you haven't tried it you might and see what the results are.

    It sounds like you are restoring the SAME TI image backup of the C: partition using TI 8 and TI 10. Is that correct?

    Since TI 8 restores correctly and results in a bootable system, have you then tried using TI 10 to create a NEW backup image of JUST the C: partition? Then restore the new TI 10 image of the C: partition and see if it boots correctly.

    **** Edit ****
    I went back and reread. You did try this, but you also restored the MBR. Do you get different results if you ONLY restore the C: partition and don't restore the MBR?

    If you wipe the drive with DD and then restore just the C: partition (no MBR) with TI 10, does it boot?
     
  7. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    MudCrab.

    I think it does not matter how I install the MBR, as I am running pure Windows XP environment, with only 1 primary and 1 extended partition.

    Whatever way to install the MBR, it should NOT touch the partition table. I have checked using MBRWizard, and Disk Editor of DD10, the MBR seemed OK.

    I am pretty sure it is disk geometry issues, which result in a different partition table when restoring using TI10, but not TI8. However I need more investigation for a more definitive answer.

    I am using a IBM Thinkpad T22, and it seemed that the IBM BIOS will detect HDD with geometry of 240 heads (or LARGE), while most other laptop will detect HDD with geometry of 255 heads (or LBA). This may create cloning and /or imaging issues, as I read some related forums on the net.

    Will welcome any experience in this area, as I am now trying to find out why TI8 will be OK, but not TI10.

    Thanks
    Vincent
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Vince:

    It would appear from your tests that TI8 and TI10 have different rules for writing partition tables. This is only speculation on my part but could TI10 be assuming that everyone now ends partitions on cylinder boundaries and thus enforces this during the restore operation, whereas TI8 did not enforce this rule? We know from other threads about restoring Vista (see post 60 ff.) that when TI10 restores a Vista partition that was aligned on 1MB boundaries, it relocates the partition so that it starts at the conventional sector 63 and ends on a cylinder boundary.

    Are there any BIOS updates available for your ThinkPad? Would a newer BIOS interpret the drive's geometry differently?
     
  9. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    It's definitely a drive letter problem. Resetting the signature back to "O" is no longer working with mbrwizard. You might want to try the windows98 boot floppy fix as follows:

    After your mbrwizard fix, maybe when windows reassigned the letters, this time it's "d" or "e".

    I found it's quicker to just get in the registry and change drive letters, than to try to modified the MBR.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm#method1
     
  10. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    jonyjoe81,

    While I am not excluding any possibilities, I did try carefully to avoid drive letter issues.

    Resetting signature to zero using MBRWizard is working for me when restoring using TI8. When I boot the new HDD, C: is assigned. May be it has issues in some other specific scenarios as you mentioned.

    Once my HDD is bootable, I actually do not need to reset the MBR each time, and using TI8 it is still bootable after another restore.

    For TI10 case, I also tried to restore MBR saved in TI10 image. As the signature never change in this case, it will not have drive letter issues. I made an effort to make sure that when my new HDD boots, my old HDD is removed, so they don't see each other.

    I would welcome some other hints or evidence that drive letter is an issue.

    Thanks
    Vince
     
  11. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    Mark,

    Problem was TI8 detected the drive with geometry of 240 heads and therefore created partitions ended in 240x63 sectors boundary, while TI10 somehow detected that the drive is geometry of 255 heads, and therefore created partitions ended in 255x63 sectors boundary.

    Vista has relaxed the convention of creating partitions along the cylinder boundary, and allowed a granularity of 1MB. This is not related to TI10.

    Please note when we say cylinder boundary, it is relevant to the current geometry of the drive, and not a absolute no. of bytes or sectors. The above are examples to 2 commonly used geometry, while there may be others depending on the HDD and/or BIOS.

    Thanks
    Vince
     
  12. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    What I meant here is that TI10 does not preserve the starting sector offset and size of a partition created by Vista. Upon restoration it relocates and resizes the partition, forcing it to conform to the cylinder boundary rules.
     
  13. vince97

    vince97 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for all who have replied.

    I believe I have identified the cause to be disk geometry. I have started a new thread on this issue.

    Would be pleased if you could comment on the new post.

    Vince
     
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