To create "clean OS restore" Recovery Disks using Acronis True Image

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by AlanCB, Jul 29, 2008.

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  1. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    I would appreciate some advice concerning the creation of "clean OS restore" Acronis True Image Recovery CDs/DVDs to replace the 3 Toshiba Recovery CDs.

    I have a Toshiba Satellite 5105-S702 running on Win XP Pro SP3. The hard drive has 4 partitions :

    C: OS
    D: Applications (empty)
    E: Data&Downloads
    F: Program Copies & Temorary Backups

    The partition structure was created using Acronis Disk Director Suite V9.0 (ADDSv9)

    The partitions sizes are periodically adjusted according demand for space using ADDSv9.

    The laptop was supplied with 3 Recovery CDs containing the Win XP Pro (2002) and the Toshiba Drivers & Utilities.

    Unfortunately, if I carry out a "reinstall" of Win XP Pro plus the Toshiba Drivers & Utilities, using the Toshiba Recovery CDs, then as a first step the whole disk is reformatted and the partitions deleted, with the loss of the files in partitions E: & F:.

    I would like to be able to reinstall Win XP Pro plus the Toshiba Drivers & Utilities to partition C:, without deleting the other partitions or affecting their sizes, and it has been suggested that I use Acronis True Image to create my own custom Recovery CD that would allow me to do this.

    As regards using Acronis True Image to create a custom recovery disk for the 5105-S702 (after a new install of Win XP Pro plus Toshiba Drivers & Utilities from the Toshiba Recovery CD & upgrading to SP3) - can this be done so that subsequently carrying a recovery using the Acronis Recovery CD would not wipe out or affect the sizes of the partitions created/adjusted subsequent to the creation of the Acronis TI recovery disk ?

    My procedure for a new install of Win XP Pro & Toshiba drivers & utilities would be:

    1. - install Win XP Pro from the Toshiba Recovery CD

    2. - install Sagem ADSL modem, setup ADSL internet connection, and carryout Windows Update upgrade to Win XP Pro SP3

    3. - set up OE Express account ( but don't use it until after Stage # 7)

    4. - install Acronis Disk Director & create Multiple partitions - C: Win XP, E: Data & Downloads, & F: Copies & Temporary backups

    5. - copy folders & files from external backup drive to partitions E: & F:

    6. - import/copy data files (e.g. Outlook Express messages, Address Books, Favorites) stored on external backup drive to C:\ Documents & Settings\UserName\ etc.

    7. Install Antivirus software ( note : would not use OE Express or Internet Explorer until after this stage)

    8. - install other other peripherals (e.g. printer, scanner, webcam) and application software

    The objective would be to create a True Image recovery disk as early as possible in this process, so that any recovery subsequently carried out using the TI recovery disk would not be "contaminated" with the files that might be causing problems that are adversely affecting the performance of the laptop, and which in fact could be the reason for carrying out the recovery.

    To accomplish this, I would propose creating, after stage # 3, a "clean OS restore " True Image Recovery disk of the contents of the C: partition, that would enable me to do a clean restore of the OS (Win XP Pro upgraded to SP3 plus Toshiba drivers & utilities) to partition C:, without affecting the size of the C: partition, or deleting/affecting any of the other partitions in any way.

    Does that make any sense ?

    Please advise whether that would be possible.

    If not, please advise me what would be possible.

    Thank you

    AlanCB
     
  2. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Provided ATI11 works on your hardware, you can backup and restore individual partitions.
     
  3. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply, but I still need some clarification.

    Assume that I have created a backup of C: partition after stage #3 above, using ATI11, effectively giving me a recovery disk that I can use to do a "clean" restore of Win XP SP3. Question is, can I use it in the way described in the example below ?

    Lets assume the following partitions exist when I backup the C: partition to make a "clean" restore recovery disk :

    ..........................Free...... Used
    ................Size....Space.....Space
    ................GB........GB..........GB
    C: OS........20........13............7
    D: Apps.......8.........8.............0
    E: Data......14.........5.............9
    F: Copies....14.........9.............5
    Total.........56.........35..........21

    Assume that during the course of the following 2 years I have eliminated partition D: (i.e. have reinstalled the applications to partition C: ), and adjusted the other partitions according to the demand for space as follows :

    ...........................Free...... Used
    ..................Size....Space.....Space
    ...................GB........GB..........GB
    C: OS&Apps...28........10...........18
    D: Data.........17.........5...........12
    E: Copies.......11.........4............7
    Total.............56........19..........37


    Note: With the deletion of partition D: Apps, there has been a change in partition letters - Partition E: Data has changed Partition D: Data, and Partition F: Copies has changed to Partition E: Copies

    Now assume I want to do a "clean install" of Win XP Pro SP3 using the True Image recovery disk that I created 2 years previously at stage #3 to restore partition C: (which is smaller than the current partition C: ). Would it be possible ? If yes, what would happen to the partition structure ?
     
  4. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Forget about drive letters and rely on volumne names instead. The boot CD won't necessarily assign drive letters in the same sequence as Windows on the PC.

    Partition sizing in an option in manual restores.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    In general you can restore a partition to any partition that has enough space to accommodate it. However, you shouldn't normally do this with your bootable partition.

    I don't know if your example is your actual layout but I always suggest the OS and Apps be contained in the same partition. They are too tightly bound with entries in the registry and files placed in various folders in the OS partition to gain any benefit from splitting them.
     
  6. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Shiebar & Seekforever

    Thank you for your replies.

    Shiebar
    Are you saying that I can adjust the restore partition size to match the current partition size, or vice-versa ?


    Seekforever

    The 1st partition scheme is my current one, but so far I have installed all applications in C:.

    I have been uncertain as to whether to install applications in D: Apps, but as indicated in the 2nd partition scheme, I think I will install them in C:, and delete D: using Acronis Disk Director Suite v9.0.

    What would happen to the excess space in the current partition C: if I restore the smaller partition C: using the "clean restore" ATI11 recovery disk ?

    Why shouldn't I do this with the bootable partition ?

    AlanCB
     
  7. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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  8. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Siebert

    Thanks for the link.

    Actually I'm trying to decide whether to purchase ATI11, so I hadn't previously downloaded the User's Guide, but I have done now, and have read from pg 45 - 54.

    From what is stated there, it would appear that with manual restores, if the restore partition size (ie. uncompressed backup size) is smaller than the current partition size, then it can be increased to match the current partition size.

    Is that correct ?

    Would still like to know why this should not be done with a bootable partition.

    You previously stated , quote - "Provided ATI11 works on your hardware, you can backup and restore individual partitions."

    Are there any particular hardware requirements for using ATI11, or do I have to actually try using it to determine whether it works with my laptop ?

    It's a Toshiba Satellite 5105-S702, Mobile Pentium 4 Proceesor-M, 1.80 Ghz, 512 MB SDRAM, 60GB hard drive, DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive.

    My knowledge CD/DVD recording is virtually non-existent, but I guess the problem with 5105-S702 is that if the drive is DVD-ROM only, I would not be able to backup to high capacity DVDs, but only to CDs, making the creation of C: partition restore disks impratical, unless the backup compression is very high.

    I also have a Toshiba Satellite Pro M70(PSM75), Pentium Mobile 750 (1.86 GHz, 2MB Cache), 60GB HDD, 1.5GB RAM, DVD-RAM drive (includes CD-RW & DVD-RW/+RW).

    Would I be able to backup the C: partition of the 5105-S702 to an external drive, and then transfer the external drive to the Pro M70, and burn the backup to a DVD disc on the Pro M70 ?
     
  9. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    The only way to really know is to try it, which you can do for free.

    You don't want to backup to CDs or DVDs. They are way too slow and cumbersome. Do yourself a favor and get another hardisk. They've never been cheaper. For excample, you can get a 200GB USB/Firewire hard drive that fits in your shirt pocket for $80. There are cheaper hard disks to be had.
     
  10. dougaross

    dougaross Registered Member

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    If this something you really want to do for about $75 and very little time you can you use Laplink's Move It. It migrates applications and settings from computer to another. You can also eliminate apps you don't want to move. It worked very well for me Win2000 to XP. Google it for more info
     
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I install all my apps on C with the exception of some large games which I do install on a different partition contrary to what I said. The reason I do this with games is that they are large and virutally never change; they can also be easily restored from the CDs in case of disaster which is good because I only regularly image the C drive. Leaving the games out of the C partition saves a lot of space and time when imaging C.

    Unused space is usually left as unallocated AFAIK but I don't do this so I don't know if TI gives you an option to specify a partition to return the unrequired space to.

    My mention of the bootable partition concerns not restoring something like a data partition to it. The PC wouldn't boot and I imagine you would get something like the NTLDR missing error message.
     
  12. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    Shieber

    Actually I have 2 external drives, 60GB & 100GB, which I have been using for backups. Just thought the idea was to also have the occasional backups to DVDs, as insurance against backup drive failure.


    Dougaross

    I'll take take a look at Laplink's Move it. Thanks for the suggestion.


    Seekforever

    If the excess space is left as unallocated, then I should be able to re-allocate it to the C: partition, if not with ATI11, then with Acronis Disk Director Suite 9.

    No - I would only restore the C:OS backup to the C: partition, so "NTLDR missing" should not be a problem

    -----------------

    2 more related questions :

    - Would the current C: partition be reformated & wiped clean by ATI11, before it restores the smaller "clean restore" backup C: partition to it ?

    - Would the unallocated space created by the restore be "clean" - i.e. no file remnants that would "contaminate" the restored C: partition on re-allocation to it ?
     
  13. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I don't see why you couldn't use DD to reallocate the partitions since that is usually one of the selling points for such apps.

    AFAIK, TI deletes the existing version of the partition being restored and then copies the sector data from the image file to the disk. In effect, this causes a reformat in the sense the old file structure and data are restored to the disk. Any unallocated space in the partition is left as it was so if you really want to have nothing in the restored partition other than what was in the image you would have to use a "zeroing" program before you restore the image. What TI does is really no different than running a format from Windows - the disk is not zeroed and the format causes a fresh basic file system structure to be written. Even the full/slow format is only doing a sector read-check not a zeroing of the disk. This is why there are apps that can recover your files even after a format - the data is still there. TI doesn't necessarily put a sector back in its original location when doing a restore. So the data originally stored at location ABCD may be restored at sector XYWZ after the restore. I personally wouldn't get upset over unlinked junk on the un-used portion of the partition after a restore.

    On your reply to Sheiber, IMO using DVDs as a second level backup is a good idea even though I consider them to be less reliable and slow and I would never store an archive on a R/W DVD since I have had trouble with them much more frequently than just a write-once. It is called diversity of media. Every now an then I copy a backup to DVD using Nero (I always split my archives at 1492MB when creating them so I can copy any archive later to DVD. 3 files fit nicely on a DVD). I always use Nero's "Verify after burning" function. At even rarer intervals, I store a copy at a friends house in case of an outright catastrophe such as theft or fire at my house. I never throw away the old DVDs but just let them build up in an old 100 disk cake-box. If I had to do a restore, I'd copy them to a HD first!
     
  14. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Seekforever

    Thanks very much for your detailed replies to my questions, and for the very useful info on your backup/archiving practices on DVDs.

    Since we are talking about restoring the active C: OS partition :

    - wouldn't deleting the existing/current version of the C: partition, and copying the sector data from the image file (i.e. the clean OS restore backup), effectively wipe out the existing/current partition structure (& with that the existing/current data files in D: Data/downloads & E: Copies/BkUps) , and recreate the partition structure (with empty D: & E: partitions) that existed when the clean OS restore backup was made ?

    - wouldn't zeroing of the C: partition effectively wipe out the current partition structure (which is not what I wan't to do) ?

    - would the restore of the active C: partition from the clean OS restore backup, be carried out, or just initiated, by ATI11 from within Windows (i.e. the laptop booted up to Windows) ?

    AlanCB
     
  15. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If you are restoring C only with TI, it will delete the C partition but leave all other partitions untouched. If you are restoring the whole disk then the disk will reflect only the partitions and their contents that exist in the whole disk backup. Be careful of the Snap Restore (I believe that's the one, I never use it) feature because it will wipe the whole disk and restore the partitions in the archive. If an existing HD partition isn't in the archive it will be gone.

    No, programs that do zeroing will confine their work to the locations within the partition. However, you have to pay attention to what the program is designed to do. If you are zeroing a whole disk then the partition structure very likely is going to go away.

    When restoring the active partition from within Windows the restore information is collected (which archive, where to restore it to, validate or not, etc) and stored somewhere. A reboot is then performed which causes the Linux recovery enivronment to be loaded. The Linux TI program then looks in the place where the information was stored and starts the restore process. In early versions of TI9 and earlier, after entering the restore info in Windows, the PC rebooted and you had to re-enter the information again! Since the PC reboots one might assume that the only way the restore info can be stored is in a small file on the HD. If there is no active partition involved in the restore, I believe the restore will take place from within Windows.
     
  16. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Seekforever

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Snap Restore seems be equivalent to using the Toshiba Recover CDs for the Sat 5105-S702 (with no other official option available), my dissatisfaction with, is the reason I initiated this thread.

    Some, final questions (hopefully) :

    - can the contents of compressed backups (i.e individual files within the backup) be viewed in native file format from within ATI11 or Windows, without permanently saving unzipped backup files to the hard drive ?

    - are backups automatically compressed, or do you have the choice of creating backups containing the individual files in native file format, so that the backup contents (i.e individual files) can be directly viewed in Windows XP ?

    - what is the degree of file compression of the backups ?

    AlanCB
     
  17. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    You can explore the archives whether compressed or not with Explorer and you can also Mount the image with TI which makes it look like a physical disk. You can open the files or copy them in their native format from the archive to any folder. You can even mount the image as read/write and update a file and save it to the archive. However, the original archive is never modified, the changed file is included in an incremental archive based on the original archive.

    I don't know what the compression ratio is and what you get is also highly determined by the file type and contents. The basic rule of thumb is that normal compression for a typical C drive will result in an archive roughly 65% of the used space size. Some of this is due to the swapfile and if present, the hibernation file not being included in the archive. High compression saves a bit more space but takes more processing; I never consider it worth the bother and stick to normal. If you have a lot of jpg, mpg, zip, rar, etc files then the compression does nothing much for you at all for these files.
     
  18. AlanCB

    AlanCB Registered Member

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    Seekforever

    Thanks for another comprehensive and helpful reply.
    Much appreciated.

    AlanCB
     
  19. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    If you're backing up already compressed files, then the overhead to do additoinal compression isn't worth the time it takes. So for jpgs, mp3s, you probably want to run with no compression.

    As seekforever pointed out, high compression yields a small increase in compression but drastic increases in time -- best used only if you really are cramped for space and not for time. Otoh, no compression yields only a small savings in time but much larger files unless the files being backed up are already a compressed format.
     
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