TrueImage Flash Drive support

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by GLNCX, Apr 4, 2009.

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  1. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    Acronis True Image 2009 and earlier has failed in properly writing split file backups to large flash drives, 16gb and over, available since 2008. Using an NTFS file system on a 16gb the drive, a 12gb Windows OS partition backup divided into 4.7gb or smaller files, produces a prompt to insert new media after every file (not before the first, as configured off -- it just won't stay off for the rest of several files). The backup will run only with a single file unsplit backup with no opportunity to interupt with prompts. The backup can be copied from a hard drive to the flash, but not written directly by TrueImage in an unattended mode, without interupting prompts. The program does not properly recognize the properties of this media and treats it like a CD drive. Such splits are useful for subsequent copies of backups to other media such as DVD. (Note to put NTFS on a flash drive the "Policy" property of the drive in Windows must first be set to require dismounting before removal -- not the default; otherwise NTFS does not appear in the available formatting options.)
    A lengthy exchange with tech support has occurred over this, but appears to be going in circles -- another avenue is required.
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I don't really have any idea of the cause but what happens if the flash drive is formatted FAT32? If it works, you could get a 4GB archive on it.

    Have a look at this thread particularly the part on the Removable Media Bit (RMB). This seems to be an implementation done by the drive manufacturer but it looks like it can be reset. This could be your problem.

    http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbstick_e.html

    It is my understanding that NTFS is not recommended for such drives because NTFS is a journaling file system and frequently writing info to the drive. Unfortunately, they have a limited number or R/W cycles.
     
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello GLNCX and seekforever,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Our software will split the backups on 4,7 GB's only in case of auto splitting option or filesystem limitation. As it was correctly mentioned by seekforever, FAT 32 system supports 4 GB as maximum file size, thus each backup will be splitted.

    Please check the automatic split option in Tools -> Options -> Default backup options.

    What happens if you save the same backup onto internal hard drive instead of flash?

    We are looking forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.

    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  4. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    The file system and particular splits are not the issue. You can reproduce the bug with a small 2gb flash drive and selecting manual split to CD size, 650 or 700mb, so that at least two files, maybe three will fit on the first flash drive inserted. Setting the option to skip prompting for the first file, the system will stop and prompt for new media after completing the first file and request new media for the second, even though there is still room for another file. Pressing OK WITHOUT CHANGING MEDIA the system will continue writing on the first flash drive. With a bigger drive that will hold all the files, an entire backup should be possible with no prompts, unattended, but no unattended run can be made as it interupts incorrectly-- and those large drives now exist (recently on sale around $25). I write my backups to a hard drive partition, and copy the whole result to a flash drive. But it cannot be written directly by Acronis to the drive, whatever file system is used. EXCEPT with NTFS on it, I can write directly a SINGLE file backup, about 10gb here, unattended. But I prefer to split the files for DVD -- which can be done with a CD size split on FAT32 with multiple files per DVD, or if you want the exact 4.7gb just put the NTFS on it. The bug has nothing to do with the FAT32 4gb size -- though acronis should list that as one of the fixed size options, for FAT32 media. NTFS is preferred anyway because a more reliable algorithm is used if a write is interupted (the "journaling" feature) -- and it instantly deletes files by quickly over-writing the directory, which the FAT32 does not seem to do.
     
  5. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    It might be down to the algorithm that Acronis use, where the free space required needs to be almost equal to what the final file size is going to be.

    Do you set the skip option in the task, or in the default option setting from the menu bar?

    It might be worth trying to see if one behaves differently from the other, apart from making the option global rather than local.

    Colin
     
  6. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    There is an option to display a prompt before writing the first file -- in case you had not mounted the media and want that clarification -- but this involves unnecesssary prompts issued on every file.

    Tech Support has advised the problem is now being examined more thoroughly. It's a minor problem as it affects only the file splitting feature in a use where not absolutely necessary (with CD/DVD media you have to split to fit, but splitting onto a large drive just to copy it later is optional). The messy Windows environment presents many such glitches so will just have to see if it gets fixed in a future update. The error might even be in the Microsoft driver for the flash drives, only the programmers can tell.
     
  7. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    On setting the options: Options such as prompts and file splitting can be set to desired default values in the Tools: Options menu, and then be over-ridden in any backup by setting in the Backup Wizard steps -- click on the options in the left pane of the window when they are shown there -- it's kind of condensed. The exact screen format has evolved a bit with new releases so tinker with it.

    True Image also remembers the last drive used for backups and sets that for default; when selecting a new drive there is a also a "generate file name" button or something like that, which will adjust the left-over filename if needed without having to type. It's set up for quickly doing the same thing in future runs as the last, very good interface as these designs go, very professional.
     
  8. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    seekforever's reference very detailed.
    Suggests True Image probably relies on the removable media bit instead of analyzing capacity of the media as it should. That is consistent with USB hard drives exhibiting no problem. Maybe there's a problem detecting what sort of thing is installed -- do DVD drives announce their capacity, without file systems in the OS, and reliance on 3rd party applications to write them? The program gets messy.
    I wouldn't mess with trying to hack this aspect of the OS -- it's up to applications to properly interpret the bit's meaning; hacks cannot be maintained through OS updates. Nowadays SATA internal hard drives are hot plugable for maintaining RAID arrays; all drives are removable whatever the bit says. Intended use is what counts and the bit doesn't tell you, it's only for how the OS treats mounting and dismounting. The use has changed for Acronis with release of larger flash drives.

    Interesting the flash vendor didn't supply any info on durability, but it does come formatted FAT32 by default. Acronis Tech Support demanded it be formatted NTFS for it to work with True Image -- maybe not such a good idea.

    Auto file split incidentally produces an automatic 4gb file split for FAT32, but there is no manual setting counterpart. So you can't first write to hard disk for later copying to the flash with this. Plus it prompts for each 4gb file, useless.

    As to autorun security I configured XP to not autorun any device permanently installed with utility Tweak UI (VI for vista). Sets registry flags separate for each user and device (the global flag is for something else, doesn't work) -- look in the user configuration area of the registry. Whether works on removable devices not clear -- is the registry adjusted on the fly when plugging in?. Is the flash drive a type or every unit a different drive? Steve Jobs must enjoy this.
     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello GLNCX,

    Thank you for your interesting in Acronis True Image

    Have you tried to create backup image in .zip format? Do you receive the same result?

    Check user guide for more information

    Best regards,
    --
    Dmitry Nikolaev
     
  10. GLNCX

    GLNCX Registered Member

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    .zip files is for file-level backups only, not full partitions, according to manual. With Vista grade cpu's, little reason not to use maximum compression, either. Haven't tested flash drives on file level backups; can be done with a small common 2gb if interested.

    Tech Support reports TrueImage responds to the Removeable Media bit, and they have no particular plans from development to fix it, as a single file backup can be made provided NTFS is used. But I have had other small bugs fixed in the past without them ever confirming it, so I would not be surprised if it gets into some future build unannounced. Also depends on whether they get a lot of complaints, maybe not till more flash drives are in use.
     
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