Using one 250G drive to store & test images

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by pacmanj, Jun 15, 2005.

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  1. pacmanj

    pacmanj Guest

    I'm trying to work out a reliable, simple, low cost backup strategy for my home pc.
    I'm using Win XP Pro.

    [ Drive #1 (74.5 GB) ] %Free
    #1 (Active) NTFS C: 39997 MB 25
    #2 NTFS E: 39997 MB 36

    [ Drive #2 (37.3 GB) ]
    #1 FAT32 D: 24152 MB 4
    #2 NTFS F: 14001 MB 8

    The two hard drives are IDE drives.

    What I'd like to do, is install a 250G ide drive which would be used only for backup data. Use a software application to save one mildly compressed image of each logical drive to the 250G disk. I also want to do a test restore of each image after it is saved.
    To do the restore, I'm thinking that I can make at least one 40G partition on the 250G disk, and restore each image into that partition for each test.
    For the image of the C: drive, I'd also like to test the restore by booting XP Pro from the 40G partition on the 250G drive.

    Is there problems with using the Image Backup application to restore an image into the 40G partition on the 250G drive, will the application insist on disregarding the 40G partition and just over write the whole 250G space, wiping out all of the other backup images ?

    Can TI do this ?

    What do others think, is this a workable strategy. Is there other strategies that better meet my original criteria, reliable, low cost, simple?
     
  2. S-Conley

    S-Conley Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2004
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    I have my PC setup similar to what you have described except I do not restore the images to make sure they work: that would be very time consuming with the amount of data I have.

    In order to boot from the 3rd hard drive after you have restored the image to a partition on it, you may have to use a 3rd part boot manager. Some PC BIOS will let you press a function key during boot and then select which disk drive you want to boot from. I have had very little success in making that work. I bought a program, BootIT NG, which does what I want. It also has imaging software but nothing close to TrueImage, in my opinion. You will also have to be careful that the restored image is in the same spot in the master boot record since the boot.ini file refers to the partition number: BootIT NG can take care of that for you.

    When you run your restore, you can select the 40gig partition on the 3rd drive. TrueImage will overwrite it.

    I currently have 4 drives in my PC. One is a 250 gig drive that has the TrueImage Secure Zone on it. I use TI to backup to the secure zone. I used to use a NFTS partition to put my images in but decided to try letting TI manage the backups in the secure zone. I always check the reliability of the image by selecting "Yes, I want to verify the image archive, as part of the restore. I have never had a corrupt image file.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. pacmanj

    pacmanj Guest

    Thanks for replying s-conley.
    I'm asking these questions to try and be sure my plan will work, before I shell out the money for a new 250G hard disk.

    I would like to do a test restore, even if I have to leave the machine running overnight to do it. In my mind it's the only way to be certain that the saved image is restorable. I have read more than one horror story on various forums, where something went wrong, but it was after the catastrophic failure, when it was too late.
    As far as getting the PC to boot of the 3rd disk, I planned on unplugging the c: drive ide cable and plugging the 3rd disk into the c: drive ide socket on the motherboard. I'm thinking that if the PC bios has been using the c: drive on ide socket, it shouldn't know that anything is changed ?
    On this point I'm not sure if there may be any problem with getting the 3rd drive primary, extended, etc. partition stuff to be the same on the 3rd drive as it is on the hard drive that has the c: drive partiton, if you know what I mean ? I'm not too confident about disk partitioning and PC bios interactions, as the only time I've partitioned is the once when I set up my home PC.
     
  4. S-Conley

    S-Conley Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Plugging the 3rd drive into the motherboard where the 1st drive was should work as long as the master/slave jumper on the 3rd drive matches the 1st drive (assuming they are IDE drives). If they are serial IDE then there is no issue.
    Another important issue is that the partition number in the boot.ini file must be correct. If your C: partition is the first partition on the 1st drive (which is usually the case), then your restored partition on the 3rd drive must be the first partition on that drive as well. You can edit the boot.ini file on the 3rd drive before you change the cables to make the partition number match the location on the 3rd drive; however, I've had much better luck by making the restored partiton the same partition on both drives.
    Boot.ini is located in the root of the partition and is a hidden system file.
    You can edit it by typing NOTEPAD F:\boot.ini
    where F: in my example should be replaced with the actual partition letter for the 3rd drive.
    The file will look like (the important part is the "partition(1)" entries:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=0
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    The "partition(1)" entry need to match the partition number on the 3rd hard drive.

    Be careful to NOT modify the boot.ini from your real C: or else Windows will not boot.

    There is a utility which will allow you to modify the boot.ini file from a bootable DOS floppy that I use. It is freeware and comes in handy:
    Look at http://www.bootitng.com/utilities.html
    for the download "EditBINI".
    This utility is good for the situation where you restored your C: drive onto the 3rd drive, changed the IDE cables and forgot to change the boot.ini on the 3rd drive. It will let you fix the boot.ini file without having to put your hard drives back where they were.
     
  5. TonioRoffo

    TonioRoffo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Posts:
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    ...or run the windows console from CD after restore on any system, and run bootcfg /rebuild, the above process has been automated :D
     
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