Unable to use restored drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by FTJoe, Mar 25, 2005.

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  1. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Hi - I've just purchased this in order to keep backups of a home machine. The machine it's on is an IBM ThinkPad T42 in a docking station. I've backed up the C drive with the OS to an external drive, then restored to another drive in a tray in the docking station. I then pulled the regular drive and replaced it with the restored drive. When I boot I get the message, A disk read error occurred. press CAD to restart. I tried the MBR fix off CD and that didn't help. Anyone have any ideas? I'm going to try to put the drive in first, then boot from the CD and restore to the drive while it's in, setting the drive letter to C. The whole idea here though is to just pull the drive and place it in the Thinkpad to get going again in case of a failure, that the dream.
     
  2. iflyprivate

    iflyprivate Registered Member

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    My suggestion would be to reinstall the original hard drive as the boot drive and then CLONE that drive to the replacement drive. Swap them out and the cloned drive should run okay. Start up on the Acronis boot cd to do the cloning. Let us know if it works okay.
     
  3. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Hey you read my mind, wil try in a few minutes. My attempt at restoring off the CD when my 20G drive was installed as the regular drive actually worked. OS a little slow coming up, new hardware detected(requested a reboot), resident virus shield was disabled but it looked okay. When I put the regular 40G drive back and the 20G in the tray and brought up PartitioMagic, I noticed what might be the root cause of my problem. PM was complaining that the LBA and CHS values for the tray drive were not the same and asked if it should fix it. The OS sees the partitions just fine. I had seen this earlier and let PM fix it so know I'm wondering if PM fixing it was causing a problem on the restores to that drive. Somehow, once the drive was inserted as the primary drive and the restore done, this condition arose again. Maybe if I leave it alone and not let PM fix it, the restore of the drive when it's still inthe tray will work going forward? I'll have to see if that's the issue, else I'll never know if the Clone option works or if it's only working because I don't let PM "fix" the drive.
     
  4. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Please post results when you can. This is an interesting thread. Thanks.
     
  5. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Please explain this again, this time can you tell us the model and size of each disk at each action.
    Thanks
     
  6. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Okay - here we go...apologies for being so verbose, but even I'm starting to get confused and I have the equipment in front of me.

    ThinkPad T42 w/Docking station. 40G 2.5" drive in the ThinkPad, three partitions, one for the OS (XP/SP2) and user files, one for temp files, and a hidden one for backups in case of sever infestation, etc.

    Older 20G 2.5" drive in a tray in the docking station, acts as a backup drive, first partition for backup OS in case of hard drive failure, second partition for a utility that saves files as they are updated on the 40G drive (in case of hard drive failure of the 40G drive).

    Western digital 250G 3.5" drive in a Macally enclosure, USB connected.

    Originally, Parition magic had issues with the 20G backup drive, so I let it "fix" either the MBR or something else on the drive (I can't remember). The OS had no problem seeing the partitions, but PM had issues. I was having problems with ImageCenter as a backup utility as it would not work with the 20G drive/tray inserted into the docking station. So I found out about this product, which seems better suited to what I'm doing.

    I first take a backup to the 250G western drive of the first partition(OS) on the 40G drive. I then restored this to the first partition of the 20G drive. Now I remove the 40G drive from the Thinkpad, insert the 20G drive and expect to see it boot up, instead I get the message that A disk read error occurred, etc. Next I place the 20G drive in the Thinkpad and using the bootable CD, restore to the 20G drive from the 250G drive backup. This seems to work, OS boots etc. I then noticed that Partitionmagic has issues again, so I'm thinking maybe the "fix" to the drive I originally did caused my restore issues. Perhaps restoring to the 20G drive while it was in the ThinkPad "reset" something making it bootable. So with the 40G back in the Thinkpad and the 20G in the tray in the docking station, adn leaving PartitionMagic complaining about the drive, I restore from the backup on the 250G drive again. Then remove the 40G drive, pop the 20G into the Thinkpad and nothing, no error no boot...nothing, no hard drive light, nothing. I have to try this again, check the boot list, make sure it's seated correctly, etc.

    I'm going to keep playing with it but I think there is an issue with either the 20G drive and/or the tray that's my root issue. I'll have to do some searches on that. I have a more recent drive in my T40 so I can pretty much rule out the drive by testing with my drive. I'm glad to see that the 20G drive "seems" to restore okay while in the Thinkpad. I will have to test that some more as I need to be garunteed it will always work. Goal was to have a drive that could be popped in with a hard drive failure and have a recent copy of the OS in the first partition and the file backups that are done everytime a file is updated on the second partition, looks like that's not possible right now.

    Also, cloning not possible as it looks like it wants to do all the partitions, I need to maintain the second partition on the 20G drive as it has all the most recent file updates.
     
  7. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi FTJoe,

    Allow me to just dip in here. In order for that 20GB drive to be bootable, the image that was restored to it must have been originally created of the whole of the 40GB disk not just one or two partitions. Unless the tickbox next to the drive letter is checked during the image creation TI will not copy the MBR into the image. You can either boot into the Repair Consol from the Windows XP installation CD and run the command "fixmbr" (no quotes) in an attempt to make the 20GB bootable or create a new image of the whole of the 40GB drive and just delete the unwanted partitions after the restore.

    EDIT

    As you want to keep the second partition you will need to back this up to the external drive prior to the main restore and then restore it from there to the new drive after the main restore has completed.

    END EDIT

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2005
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello FTJoe,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis True Image (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/).

    If you do not want to create and restore the image of the whole drive you may clone the drive and then delete unnecessary partitions on the destination drive. We haven't heard of any incompatibility problems with Partition Magic and you may nned to contact Symantec Support Team. We can propose you Acronis Disk Director Suite 9.0 (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/diskdirector/) that allows you to manage partitions.

    Also please check whether your 20Gb drive is ok. You may try to install new operating system on it and see whether the drive is bootable.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  9. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Hi - thanx for the input, but maybe I'm missing something. If I image an active bootable partition, then restore it, why wouldn't the target disk be bootable? Used to be with ImageCenter. In fact, as I stated above in the messy message, when I restore the image of the 40G C drive, using the bootable CD, to the 20G drive when it's in the ThinkPad and not in the tray, the system boots off the restored image (need to test this more). I tried using my newer 80G drive and the same issues result so it's not the drive, I think it's the tray. With the 80G in the tray (docking station), PartitionMagc is complaining about the partition being invalid. Restores to this drive in the tray, results in no booting and no messages when the drive is then insterted into the ThinkPad itself. I'm going to try to borrow someone's 2.5" drive enclosure and see if that works any better. Any other advice would be appreciated. As a long shot, I wonder if it's possible that PartitionMagic did something to the source drive in managing the partitions that's causing problems with the image itself.

    As far as cloning goes, not sure how I could clone from a 40G drive to a 20G drive when I have 30G of data on the 40G drive. And I can not lose the data on the second partition of the 20G drive as it's the up to the minute changes as of any crash of the primary 40G drive.

    Edit> The dream was, in a hard disk failure of the 40G drive, the 20G drive could be removed from the tray, insterted into the ThinkPad and off the user would go, the days work would be on the second partition and all would be wonderful. So yes, I could backup the data partition, etc, but then I would have to be there to restore the machine. So if I have to be around to restore, then I may as well leave it alone because "it appears" that when the drive is inserted in the ThinkPad and then the image restored, the drive boots fine. I must test the heck out of this to be sure. In fact, I was thinking of making the 20G drive the one in the ThinkPad and backing up to the 40G. I know the 40G is 5400rpm, not sure about the 20G, it's about 6 years old.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2005
  10. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi again FTJoe,

    Don't ask me why but the fact of the matter is that an image of only part of the whole disk (even if it's the active primary partition) will not contain the MBR of the that disk. Acronis Developers are looking at the possibility of changing this aspect of TI in a future version.

    Therefore the current situation is:

    - Restore an image of just the active partition to the same drive and the drive should boot o.k.
    - Restore an image of just the active partition to a different drive that already contains a MBR and the drive may or may not boot (more likely not).
    - Restore an image of just the active partition to a different drive that has never been partitioned/formatted and the drive definitely wont boot.

    Now that we know your 40GB drive contains 30GB of data, it's clear that you're not going to be able to image/restore the whole drive or clone it to the 20GB backup drive.

    Perhaps the way to go is to image the system partion of the source drive to the external drive. Remove the 40GB drive and move the 20GB over to the ThinkPad. Boot from the rescue CD, restore the system partition and carry out a fixmbr if need be. Fit the 20GB back into the docking station as the backup drive again and refit the 40GB in the ThinkPad.

    Worth a try if nothing else!!

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2005
  11. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Aaaahhhh. I WAS missing something. Probably explains why the error one time, then nothing at all. Okay, so instead of doing what you are suggesting, because I don't think I'll be able to get to be able to fix the MBR. How about I backup my large hidden partition on the 40G drive to my external drive and delete it, that should get me down to 20G of data where I can clone. I'll also back up my data partition on the 20G drive. I'll do the clone and see how the backup drive boots. Then I can restore the large paritition to the 40G drive, restore my data partition tot he 20G drive. Now the question I have is, assuming this all works, do you think future restored images of just the primary partition to the primary partition on the cloned drive will boot okay and my "dream" will be a reality?

    Apologies to those who don't have a scorecard!!

    Editted changing 30G to 40G. yes I meant 30G of data. Changing my other posts as well. Things were confusing enough as is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2005
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi FTJoe,

    I will assume you meant the 40GB drive (which contains 30GB of data) rather than a 30GB drive.

    I'm getting a little dizzy now :)-\) but I think your latest scenario should work. However, have a read of this previous<Acronis Support reply> and note the difference between cloning from within Windows or from the rescue CD.

    Good luck.

    Regards
     
  13. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Oh well - the clone worked fine, 20G drive booted up okay. Placed the 20G backup back in the docking station , rebooted the machine using the regular drive. Updated the drive, took an image, restored it to the 20G drive, popped that back in the Thinkpad and no boot, cursor in the upper left corner. Use an XP install disk to FIXMBR, said it did it, still nothing. So why would the good MBR become bad one one restore of the primary partition.

    Anyway, looks like the clone option works so I'll go with that for now.

    "The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb."
     
  14. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Boot from the Rescue CD and create the image from there (Windows/NTFS does strange things with drive letter assignments, etc). It's worth a try.

    Regards
     
  15. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    I'm game - guess I'll clone again to make sure I get a good MBR? I'll image and restore from the CD once the clone is done.
     
  16. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    Joe-

    You might try FixBoot as well as FixMBR. Together these might solve the problem.

    Marc
     
  17. ctal

    ctal Registered Member

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    Expanding on this, I would point out two things that may be critical to either successful cloning, or successful image/restores:

    (a)Prior to cloning (or imaging/restoring), the source Windows installation should not be allowed to "see" the destination partition, or it may assign it a drive letter (other than "c") and continue to use that drive letter when it becomes what should be drive "c" (thereby conflicting with all kinds of drive letter references which are in the registry that was copied from the original "c").

    (b)When the destination drive containing what is intended to be the new (cloned) "c" partition is inserted into the PC, before it is booted up for the first time the drive it was cloned from (which originally was "c") should be disconnected and made invisible to the cloned Windows installation. Otherwise, again, Windows may assign a drive letter other than "c" to the new drive, conflicting with entries in its registry which had been copied from the original installation.

    For further discussion of this, I recommend reading:

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm

    Further down on the referenced page are some suggestions as to how to work around situations where either (a) or (b) above have already been violated.

    Hope that helps. Regards,
    -- Al
     
  18. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Al,

    Many thanks for the excellent link. Well worth saving for future reference.

    Regards
     
  19. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Yes thanx Al, and everyone else. As of right now, I've crossed over the line and broke rule number 1, don't mess with the 40G drive (actually XP did it). You guys will get a kick out of this, it's not like Al didn't post the warning!! I wanted to see if in fact it's XP switching drive letters that was messing me up, which I do believe it is. So I cloned to the 20G backup drive, made a change to the main OS on the 40G and imaged that, all using the boot CD. I then booted the 20G standalone in the ThinkPad. Came up fine, took it out, decided to place the 20G back in the tray in the dock station, and the 40G in the Thinkpad, this way if the 20G doesn't boot after booting the 40G, I'll have a good idea it's XP messing around. 40G boots up, I get a new hardware message, data backup utility fails and I get a reboot message to finish installing new hardware. Hmmm, take out the 20G in the tray, boot again with just the 40G, freezes on the XP screen, place the 20G back in, system boots up fine. I bring up the disk manager in admin tools (remember PartitionMagic is no good) I now notice that XP has my 20G in the tray as the C: drive, the primary on the 40G is the F: drive, the page file is on C, but I notice that the change I made to the OS seems to be present, so I'm not really sure who's booting off where, I'm dead. I verify the 20G boots okay standalone, put that aside, using the CD I'm restoring the image I took to the primary on the 40G. If that doesn't work, I'll have to actually clone the 20G back to the 40G. Needless to say, I'm a little worried now since playing around has broken rule number 1.

    And the moral of the story is, "kids, don't try this at home without adult supervision".

    Edit to add: The restore worked, though I got a new hardware message and I have no idea why I received it. perhaps the disks were in a "mixed up" state when I took the image? Everything looks okay though, now I'm deciding what to do to get the 20G back in the tray and not have XP go nuts again. Normally I would put in a PartitionMagic boot disk and delete the partition. I think I'll boot the Acronis CD, restore to the 20G primary partition, and not assign a drive letter. I wanted to try this anyway to see if this is one way to get a working restore on the drive that could then be booted later on. I also still wanted to see if I keep the partition wiped, does the restore work when the 20G is in the ThinkPad itself, it did once, though maybe that was just magic.

    Of course I keep thinking why am I doing this, I hopefully dodged one bullet, yet I keep putting the gun back to my head.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2005
  20. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Okay - restoring to the 20G in the tray without specifying the drive still doesn't allow the drive to simply be insterted as the primary and boot up. What does seem to work, is the following:

    Place the 20G backup drive in the ThinkPad and boot the XP repair disk. Run DISKPART and delete the OS partition. Now the drive can be safely placed in the tray and not confuse XP as to where the OS is, etc. I let the data drive change from G to F and updated my software to use that for minute to minute data backups. Now the 40G boots up and runs fine with the 20G drive in the tray. I take backups of the 40G drive and whenever I need to, I can remove the 40G drive, place the 20G in the ThinkPad and if I restore the image to the drive it boots just fine (after recognizing the different hardware). So I'm not sure why the MBR isn't an issue when this happens, but it's not. So that's how I'll leave it for now.

    I've ordered a new 40G drive so they're both the same and this way I can run backups to the drive itself and I won't have to see the hardware messages. I'll read up on the info given in the thread while I wait for the drive to arrive.

    Thanx to all!!
     
  21. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    FTJoe - I am bit lost in all your disk swapping, but I think you should read up a little bit on how the BIOS locates a bootable drive (e.g. where is the first Primary and Active partition? And who is 'first'? Where to look 'first') and starts the loader imbedded in the MBR.

    I think the Acronis PartitionExpert Users Guide (or is it Disk Director Suite these days?) explains it in some detail.

    And then, when you know which loader gets started, read how that Microsoft loader assigns drive letters (C goes to the boot drive, D goes to the next Primary on the next Master driver, E goes to o_O?). Once you get the sequence sorted out, I am sure it will start to make sense.

    (instead of deleting the OS partition, try clearing the Active flag, or change the Type to Hidden).
     
  22. Marc_G

    Marc_G Registered Member

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    One note further to what MiniMax wrote: NTFS volumes "remember" their drive letters. So, if an NTFS volume that is usually the primary system drive as "C:" is removed from the system and mounted as a secondary drive somewhere els, and thus gets re-assigned a new letter of "D:" for example, when that drive is removed and put back as the primary, it will still _usually_ be "D:" and cause the problems described here and many other places. This doesn't happen with FAT32/FAT drives, which are automatically assigned letters during the boot process.

    Prevention: Remove the "D:" drive letter before removing the drive as secondary. When it is booted back as the primary drive in the system, it will (usually) re-acquire the C: letter.
    Cure: Sometimes FIXMBR works, though I'm not quite sure why. Sometimes you can take the "damaged" drive back to the other system, let it remount as "D:" and remove the drive letter.

    There is some mojo here that I don't entirely understand. I wish I could find a good reference describing just how/why these things happen.
     
  23. ctal

    ctal Registered Member

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    Joe -- If you start at the top level of the paper I had linked to, and follow some of its links, you'll find some good background on the things Minimax is suggesting you look at:

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/

    This entire paper, although it focuses on multibooting, is really fascinating and authoritative reading on partitioning, boot records, disk utilities, and related subjects.

    It seems like what you are ultimately trying to accomplish is to get the external drive out of the loop that would be involved in swapping the drive in the tray into the PC, and restoring to it. How's this for an approach? Create 3 partitions on the drive in the tray -- a large one starting at the beginning of the disk, which is left empty; a smaller one for data backups; another smaller one to hold an image of the c: partition on the drive in the PC. If you need to insert that drive into the PC, after physically installing it you would then simply restore from that image to the empty partition. It is important to have the empty (to be restored to) partition located at the start of the disk, because you want your c: partition to be located on the fastest part of the disk for best performance (the fastest being the physically outermost part, which corresponds to the "start" of the disk).

    As you appear to realize, by imaging a single partition and restoring to a different disk you risk having a non-bootable restoration due to the much-discussed mbr anomaly, but hopefully that would not happen when both disks are physically identical.

    I'm not certain, though, that the "found new hardware" message will go away when you go to the 40gB second disk, and subsequently swap it into the PC and restore to it. If you are restoring only your c: partition to the second disk (as opposed to restoring an image of the entire original disk), then I believe the "disk signature" in the mbr area will be different from the one contained on the original c: disk, and when you boot up Windows will recognize from that that it is running on a new drive.

    Continued good luck!

    -- Al
     
  24. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Yeah - obviously I'm confused also which doesn't help. The goal was to have a drive that had a recent bootable backup of the working drive, in case the working drive failed. This way the operator, could just swap drives and be off and running. I first thought the MBR solution was part of it, but it does appear to a) require a valid MBR, b) require that XP not "see" the drive and c) be in the ThinkPad itself when performing the restore (I imagine the BIOS is involved here as you suggest).

    I will check into it how this all works, but I think deleting it is fine, the data on there is worthless unless it's bootable. I can only seem to make it bootable by either doing a restore when it is in the ThinkPad itself or if it's cloned. So for the situation where I lose the 40G primary drive, and need to go to the backup, cloning is no good (source is shot), so I'll have to replace the bad drive with the backup drive, and restore the last image of the good drive to it. Since this effectively deletes the data, I may as well have a clear partition anyway. This scenario seems to work though it would require me being around to perform the steps. At least I can schedule the backups.
     
  25. FTJoe

    FTJoe Registered Member

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    Al - thanx again. Exactly what I'm going to do, get the larger drive, image to a hidden partition on that, then have those image available to restore to the unallocated partition at the beginning of the drive. Don't really have room on the 20G drive to do all that. I really do plan on trying to read up on all this to see if it is possible to get it working the way I want. I was actually going to ask about FAT32 vs NTFS because I basically had this set up on the old ThinkPad and docking station and I could swear it was working (2 20G drives were the primary and backup). I'm also sure I had FAT32 primary partitions as I thought that made them "more accessible" from DOS/utilities. The ones I'm playing with now are NTFS. If I have the time, when I get the new drive, I can play around by converting the NTFS to FAT32, cloning that and seeing how it all works with FAT drives.

    Thanx again,
    Joe
     
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