TIH 2009: backups taking too long

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by bwv565, Mar 2, 2009.

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  1. bwv565

    bwv565 Registered Member

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    I have been on several Live Chat sessions with Acronis tech support over the past few days but my problem is still not resolved, so I'm asking here if anyone can advise me, before I switch to Norton Ghost or something else.

    What I want to do:
    My Win XP SP3 computer has a 100GB hard drive with about 65GB of data. I want to backup the entire PC (O/S and all) (create an image) to an external Seagate 320GB Free Agent Pro drive that comes with both Firewire (1394) and USB connections.

    Here is the problem:
    Initially, I tried the Firewire since it's supposed to be faster than USB 2.0. When I would launch TIH 2009, I select Full Backup, point to the external Seagate drive, without changing any of the settings (left compression and encryption at default levels) and clicked Proceed after completing the wizard.

    When the Operation Progress dialog box opens, sometimes it fails to initialize (it'll say "initializing" for many minutes, after which I just cancel and close out). If it (appears to) initialize, then during what it says is "1 of 2 - Creating partition image", the estimated time for the backup is anywhere between 26 hours and 50 hours (2 days 2 hours)!

    I have run chkdsk and defrag on both the internal (Seagate 100GB) laptop h/d as well as on the external backup drive and they both come up completely clean.

    If I wait and let it start the backup, it starts to creep along, and sometimes the estimated time will fluctuate between approx. 19 hours and 26 hours or something like that, but never lower than 19 hours.

    Out of curiosity, I ran a System State backup and it backed up 212MB in less than 3 minutes. So I know there is no problem writing to the ext. drive.

    After many, many online chat sessions with Acronis (the guys in India and in Russia), I finally was advised on how to make a bootable CD version using the ISO image to try to run the backup outside of Windows.

    I made that CD last night at around 9PM my time (it's now 11:40am the next morning, 14 1/2 hours later), rebooted from the CD and kicked off the backup without changing any parameters, as above.

    So here's what is now happening:
    In the Operation Progress dialog box, the Total progress: bar went from 0 to 100% complete in about 5 minutes, it really zipped through! and I was so excited...until..... it got to the end of the bar and then the Remaining time: said 25 seconds and it still, 14.5 hours later, says the same thing.

    The "Current operation progress:" bar is moving at a snail's pace, so slowly that it's barely visible, and after 14.5 hours, it's only at the letter "e" in progress, therefore about 1/3 of the way through.

    I was told by Acronis that the backup should be approx. 1 GB/minute or something like that. Even in the worst case scenario, it should not take 19-48 HOURS to complete this backup.

    I have also turned off my anti-virus and firewall (Kaspersky for both) in order to make sure nothing might be interfering, and nothing has helped.

    I need some serious investigation into this. Seagate tech support says that it's an Acronis issue; in fact, Acronis wrote their backup product ("Disk Wizard") which is a watered-down version of TIH, so there's no point in trying that.

    Please, if ANYONE has a concrete suggestion based on reality and his/her actual experience with this, I'd be very grateful. I'm not ruling out anything, including problems with my internal h/d or the external drive, even though they're both testing out as fine.

    Thanks. I'm at my wits end!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  2. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

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    > "1 of 2 - Creating partition image"

    That is the only message you'll see during backup, until you get to the end.

    > the estimated time for the backup is anywhere
    > between 26 hours and 50 hours (2 days 2 hours)!

    Try not believing that figure, and continue the backup from windows
    to see how long it actually takes...

    I currently have 46gb of data on a 250gb C: drive which starts out with an
    estimation of 3 days. However, it only actually takes 40-60 minutes to back
    up - the estimation only becomes accurate after about the first 30 minutes.

    For testing, in the options try the compression set to normal or none, the
    drive speed write setting to fastest, the priority to normal, and no encryption.

    For 80gb of data (and as long as you aren't choosing 'sector by sector' backup),
    abort any test that takes any longer than 1.5 hours - waiting for 14.5 hours is
    just a waste of your time, as something is obviously wrong.

    BTW, is your c: drive heavily fragmented? Mine is defragged to -0.1%.
    I've no idea how much difference that would make.

    Are you using an 'acronis secure zone'? I don't use them; you don't need to,
    and it isn't even recommended for incremental backups.

    FYI, once (if) you get past this issue, your problems are probably only just beginning.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  3. bwv565

    bwv565 Registered Member

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    Hi Antifreeze, and thanks so much for what I hope is the beginning of the end of my woes. :)

    OK, so some answers to your questions:
    1. I've tried the Windows backup and it never takes less than 14-16 HOURS, but I've always let it run because I need the backup, even though it completely ties up my computer. I'm currently running the Linux (bootable CD) version, and it's been stuck between the "e" and "s" in the Current operation progress: bar for over 4 hours. I can't tell if there are any errors being produced because there's no visible log (a good enhancement request for Acronis, IMHO).

    2. Drive is completely defragged, and chkdsk reports no errors on either the source or the destination drives.

    3. The compression, encryption and drive writes are set as per your recommendations above, although someone once told me that surprisingly enough, setting compression to the highest setting actually improved the backup speed, which I find bizarre.

    4. I'm not using Acronis Secure Zone.

    5. What do you mean that my problems are just beginning? :( Please be nice. LOL

    So anyway I don't know if I should kill the current one because the "Current operation progress bar, while moving more slowly than a dying turtle, is at about 38% now.

    I'm thinking of trying Norton Ghost, although I've read some not-so-good reviews of that one too.

    Do you think this sounds like a hardware or software issue for me? I wish there were a way I could speak to an Acronis rep on the phone without having to pay for the call. Doesn't thrill me.

    By the way, do you know of any disk utilities that access the h/d periodically that could be interfering, like Windows Defender, or Kaspersky (I've disabled both, but...), or iolo System Mechanic, etc.?

    Thanks so much, any and all advice/suggestions/recommendations are extremely welcome at this point before I try another product.

    Best,
    Andrew (in freezing Toronto, Canada)
     
  4. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    My sympathies for the cold weather, but wasn't that a preexisting condition? :) OK, we folks in California, even the cold San Francisco area, feel that you are being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by mother nature.

    The reason why higher compression can increase speed is that if you have a fast CPU, compression is faster than writing out through a USB 2.0 or Firewire port. So, if writing is the bottleneck, writing less takes less time. However, the improvement is only the percentage reduction in bytes transferred due to increased compression. That would be around 10% going from Normal to Maximum comprerssion. It's not a big deal.

    Here are a few other things to consider to determine why your backup is so slow.

    1. Can you try a backup to an internal drive to confirm that the speed problem is due to using the external drive? I realize that with 65GB used on a 100GB hard drive, you can't save an image on the same drive, but perhaps you could add another internal drive for the test. If this is fast, more than 1GB/min, or less than one hour for the backup, you would confirm that the problem is entirely related to using the external drive.

    If the problem is the external drive, there are two parts. The problem could be the chipset on your computer or the external drive itself not communicating at normal speed with the chipset on your computer.

    2. Have you tried a different brand of USB or Firewire drive? Perhaps a friend has one you could borrow. This might show that the drive is the limiting factor. Of course, it might not make a difference, but it should be very easy to try if you can locate another drive.

    3. What brand of computer do you have and do you have any idea what chipset is used for the USB and Firewire ports? If this is a desktop computer, you could install a PCI USB 2.0 card with the NEC chipset and see if that is faster. Cards from Adaptec use the NEC chipset, and some Sabrent cards do also. The Sabrent cards are cheaper.

    I am inclined to think that this is a hardware problem, but without more data, it's impossible to know.
     
  5. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

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    > someone once told me that surprisingly enough, setting compression to the
    > highest setting actually improved the backup speed, which I find bizarre

    That counters everything I've read so far. However, in these days of computers with duel quad-core processors, I suppose it is possible that certain more-taxing tasks end up being completed more efficiently and faster than less-taxing tasks that don't use the threading capability?

    Speaking of which, I've just assumed that your computer is newish. If not, and you have 1gb memory and a single core processor, maybe backups will take that much longer? I have a 2ghz duo and 3gb ram.

    > Do you think this sounds like a hardware or software issue for me?
    > do you know of any disk utilities that access the h/d periodically

    No idea. What happens if you create an image on the C: drive (or a partition on it) instead of your external drive?

    > What do you mean that my problems are just beginning?

    I've been testing ATI home 2009 for a week now; I think it is really buggy and has some serious design flaws too. Plus, going by the posts on the internet, you can't even trust the backups are viable a lot of the time. However, I've also tried the main alternatives, and can't/won't use them for their serious flaws. I've no idea what to try next as an alternative either.

    Considering so many computer users need disk backup, I'm shocked by the low quality of this genre of software. It's almost as if there is no motivation for providing easy, reliable disk backup. How many jobs and profit would be lost if a software manufacturer ever managed such a feat? Ever heard of 'the man in the white suit'?
     
  6. bwv565

    bwv565 Registered Member

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    Hi John, and thanks (I'm amazed at the intelligence and good grammar/spelling on this board - a rarity on the web!)

    Answers:
    1) Yes I could try to backup a portion of the partition to perhaps 5-7GB on the internal drive to see what the speed is like (I would have to create another partition for that, correct?). It's an older (2004) Acer Aspire 1804 P4 1GB RAM, 100GB h/d laptop so no chance of adding another internal drive anyway. Reason I need to do this quickly is that I've already gotten a couple of BSODs in the past month and am petrified that it's dying.

    2) The drive itself came with both Firewire and USB interfaces and cables; I've tried both. I've run the Seagate tools to check the drive for errors and I/O probs and everything seems to be ok (according to those tests, anyway). Unfortunately no way of testing another drive at the moment. I suppose I could go to Future Shop or Best Buy and buy one for testing and return it within 30 days since that's their policy (Staples too).

    3) See 1) above for info on my laptop. Chipset is Texas Instruments OHCI (that's the controller, anyway) for the firewire and for the USB they are Intel 82801FB/USB (those are from Device Manager, need to check BIOS?). I checked Acer's website to make sure I have most recent drivers and it appears that I do.

    4) HELP! :)

    Cheers,
    A
     
  7. bwv565

    bwv565 Registered Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I had upgraded from TIH 11 and don't seem to remember having these issues until starting to use TIH 2009, but am not certain. I suppose I could always revert back to that version.

    Do you (or anyone else reading this thread) have any experience/feelings about Norton Ghost 14? Obviously if I'm experiencing a hardware issue it won't make a difference but if it's Acronis then it might be worth trying. I used to use Ghost in a corporate environment when I had to image hundreds of laptops and it always was reliable and very easy to use.
     
  8. MachineGun

    MachineGun Registered Member

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    Hi
    Why don't you go to here:
    http://www.simplisoftware.com/Public/index.php?request=HdTach
    and download a free copy of Hard drive Tach and run it on the external drive and see what speed you are getting?
    or here for HDTune
    http://www.hdtune.com/

    Hope this helps
    Good luck
    MachineGun
     
  9. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    That might tell you something, but it wouldn't be an image backup since images have to be of entire partitions.

    Since data is the most valuable stuff, you could just make an ordinary copy of your data to a folder(s) on the external drive. That provides some protection although the operating system isn't protected.

    Do you get any messages with the BSODs that identify what may be causing the problem?

    When you ran CHKDSK did you use the /R parameter on the internal drive?

    That's too bad. I'd hoped that you'd have a friend you could borrow a drive from for testing.

    Since it's a notebook, that really limits the things you can do. There are CardBus USB adapters, but they cost more than the PCI cards, so I wouln't want to buy one just to do a test.

    You used to use TI 11 on this machne if I understand your comment in another post. With TI 11, what were the backup times? If they were faster, then I'd uninstall TI 2009, use the Acronis removal tool to complete the uninstall and then reinstall TI 11.

    There is usually no reason to upgrade TI unless you buy new hardware or see some new feature that you just have to have. Old hardware will continue to run with old versions of TI until you replace it in almost all cases.

    If your hard drive is the source of the BSODs and is on the verge of failing, that could account for the slow backup due to read errors. That's a pessimistic view, and there's no fix. In that case, you might just let the backup run until it completes. However, I'd do the backup from the Rescue CD and also verify the backup separately from the Rescue CD.

    Just out of curiosity, if you boot from the TI 11 Rescue CD, how long does a backup take?
     
  10. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

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    > Acer Aspire 1804 P4 1GB RAM

    Oooh... 3.2ghz P4 single core, and only 1GB of older ram.

    I wonder just how much slower that is supposed to be, against my 2ghz duo with 3gb ram?
    I can't imagine it being 14x slower, as you are experiencing, but anything is possible.
     
  11. dahcto

    dahcto Registered Member

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    This won't be very helpful except to confirm that Acronis TI seems to have a problem with firewire and Vista x64 SP1. I was all over the forums and KB articles and "fixes" for my Texas Instruments OHCI controller and the write speed is horrible 8 MB/sec. I have the same 18 hour backup of 700 GB. I tried a competing product and I was able to get 40 MB/sec the same drive (a Seagate FreeAgent Extreme 1.5 TB). It has a USB/Firewire and eSATA port. I'm stuck using USB until I buy a RAID controller with a eSATA port. I tried other drives and other computers, same result. This is all very fast hardware (6 GB RAM 4 x 2.8Ghz CPU) and striped RAID 0 7200 RPM drives. It's a TI bug, no doubt. I was disappointed that there is no patch for it yet. Will there be for Acronis 10? Acronis 11 seems to have too many problems. I have been using Acronis for years and I recommend it to friends all the time, but I was disappointed in version 11's performance on a home system to an external USB. The backup fails after switch to low priority. I still have to troubleshoot that for "the friend" now. Once I recommend, I'm responsible for my friends expectations. It used to simply work without maintenance.
     
  12. dahcto

    dahcto Registered Member

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    USB to same device is about 5x faster at 40MB/s. Though not quite as steady because its USB. Firewire has higher sustained speeds when working correctly. Either way, the backup will take about 4 hours instead of 18 hours.
     
  13. dahcto

    dahcto Registered Member

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    I bought an eSATA cable and hooked it to the Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme 1.5 TB drive. I'm getting 6.5 GB per minute. a 200 GB compressed backup in 30 minutes. Not 18 hours (firewire), 3 hours (USB), but 110 MB / sec sustained writes. Vista SP1 I7 CPU @2.67GHz x 4 6GB memory. You can buy an external adaptor for a spare internal SATA connector for about $30.00 and a cable for $20.00. The XTreme drive was 179.00 at Best Buy.
     
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