What went wrong in this partitioning operation??

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by pdsnickles, Mar 30, 2009.

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  1. pdsnickles

    pdsnickles Registered Member

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    Okay so I got the latest Acronis Disc Director Suite and since I've never used it to partion anything at all I decided to first try it on a USB External drive before trying it on my brand new computer hard drive with Vista, where I am going to want to create 4 partitions.

    So.... I read the help files and I decided that the first thing I would do is re-partition my 160GB Seagate Hard drive in the following manner:

    I had 3 partitions there already, let's call them E, F and G.

    E was almost out of space and I wanted to increase the space on that partition so I used the Automatic mode in Acronis and I told it to
    1) take about 3 gigs of space from F and add it to E.
    Then I ran the Wizard again and told it to
    2) take about 3 gigs of space from G and add it to E.
    Then I "committed" to the Operation and it asked me to re-start so I did.

    Seems simple enough and I thought this would be a fairly easy and straightforeward task to test Acronis with.

    I watched Acronis begin to do its thing and watched the progress report at the bottom of the screen. It seemed to do everything fine but then when it got to screen 3 (it said "Operation 3 of 5"), it said this:

    "Changing partition parameters HD #2
    NTFS
    Drive F
    Size 28GB
    Current Operation Progress:
    Operation Error. Invalid Partition Size.
    Total Progress 45%"

    This was after about 10 minutes.

    I didn't even know what to do. I had never used the program and nothing I read said in the Help file said what to do in case of an error like this and it was just sitting there doing nothing now.

    So I closed my eyes and hoping nothing would blow up, I hit Escape. That seemed to do it. It put the Computer into a restart mode and then when it started, it had a window telling me that I needed to restart because new hardware had been added. (?) No new hardware was added!)

    So I restarted and then I looked for my drives under My Computer.

    I was horrified to see that my new Toshiba drive which I did nothing at all to, had disappeared, and my Seagate drive which I had just tried to increase partiton size on one partition, had disappeared from My Computer and from Safely Remove Hardware.

    I went into Computer Mgmt and they did not appear there, either. Actually ONE partition of the Seagate appeared there but had no letter next to it. And also another drive (I have 3 Ext's) also had no letter next to it, though all showed as healthy but did not show up in the My Computer folder, only here under Computer Management. And I could not open the Toshiba drive folder up in any manner.

    I used the Safely Remove Hardware to turn off all my ext. drives and then unplugged them all, then plugged them all back in.

    Now they showed up under Computer Management but still not under My Computer.

    I decided to manually assign drive letters to the drives and partitions (which they had before but now no longer had).

    So I did that, and now, thank goodness, they all reappeared both in My Computer and in Computer Management. Whew!

    But.... now I am totally scared of using Acronis on my new HP 750 gig hard drive.

    All I want to do there is basically create a 100 gig area for Vista and programs, then a 25 gig partition for ripping and burning and processing dowloads, a 40gig area for Vista back up using an image (that's plenty big, right?) and the rest of the drive would be just for archiving movies and music and documents, plus photos etc.. I'll still use my external drives for backups too.

    So I wonder, what the heck went wrong with the Acronis operation? I thought it was designed for this work, and I used the Automatic mode because I figured it would be designed to work right and I wouldn't be able to screw it up by going manual.

    Nothing "blew up" but it sure did give me a scare.

    So I guess my question is, Is it at all clear what went wrong? If I knew what went wrong I might feel confident in using it on my new computer, like if I knew that I did a particular thing wrong, so I could avoid doing that next time. But if I can't figure out what went wrong and why, then I think I'll just get and try another partition program instead.

    I sure don't want to start off my new computer set up by having some kind of weird nightmare with Acronis Disc Director Suite!

    Thanks for bearing with this long post and giving me feedback.

    p.s. Is it important that I do this partitioning as soon as I set up my new computer with Vista Premium Home 64bit, or is it just as easy and efficient to do it later after I get up and running?

    Further info I left out:
    I am using XP SP2

    I used Automatic mode in Acronis

    All drives were/are NTFS

    Alll drives were present and accounted for both in My Computer and in Disc Mgmt with Drive Letters before I did the partitioning.

    The Acronis operation not only took away the letters for 2 out of 3 of the drives, it also made my Toshiba drive, which I did nothing to, disappear completely from the computer (My Comp. and Disc Mgmt.)

    The final result of the partitioning operation is that it did nothing. I had ordered it to take about 3 gigs from each of the 2 partitons and add it to Drive E (3rd partition). Drive E now only shows 1.5 gigs free so I am pretty sure that is what it had in the beginning. If it had added 3 gigs each it would now have at least 6 gigs available.
     
  2. pdsnickles

    pdsnickles Registered Member

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    Anyone?
    Is it that it could not "really" do the two functions in one operation (taking space from one partition to add to F then taking space from another partition to add to F)?

    Has anyone else had something similar happen?

    The disappearance of my drive letters makes me reluctant to try again... The thing is, I don't have a drive that I can afford to lose data on and I don't have a drive that is small enough for me to backup first onto another drive (not enough space on other drives). So I want some assurance it is going to work before I try it again.
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Despite what the manual says, it's better to do the steps one at a time than to setup a bunch and run them. It is supposed to work, but many times it fails. Sometimes this is because of errors on the drive or one of the partitions. Sometimes it's because of the program (conflicts, Windows, bugs, etc.).

    I don't even bother with Automatic Mode -- it doesn't give you much control. Manual Mode offers a lot more control over each step. By doing the procedures one step at a time, you know at which point a problem occurs. It also gives Windows (if running DD in Windows) a chance to adjust to each change instead of being hit with multiple changes at once.

    Depending on the changes being made, it's often best to boot to the DD CD to make the changes. This usually is less of a problem when working with non-system partitions, but can still help because Windows isn't running.

    It's also very important to create a disk image backup of the drive being changed prior to making any partitioning changes (no matter which partitioning program you use) just in case something goes wrong. There is so much that can go wrong when you make these types of changes.

    Depending on the changes made, Windows can detect the drive as a different drive (new hardware) even though it's the same drive. This is not uncommon.

    It's hard to say exactly what caused this. There was an error part way through the changes and DD didn't finish. This probably left Windows and the drive in an unknown state and confused it.

    That's good. It could have been much worse.

    Make a backup. Test your backup. Regardless of the backup software you use, make sure it works correctly on the computer. Then you don't have to worry about something going wrong because you know you can just restore and fix it.

    Just make changes to one partition at a time. You may even want to reboot inbetween changes to make sure Windows adjusts properly.

    It depends. If your computer is still factory-setup and you have a recovery DVD (or another form of recovery that is not on the internal drive), then you can play around with making the changes and not worry about it getting messed up. If you get the system all setup how you want and then make changes, make a backup image first.

    ---

    Since you had this problem, I would recommend you run chkdsk /f on each on the partitions and make sure there are no errors before trying to make any additional changes.
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you don't have enough space to save a backup image of the drive, you need to get another external drive that's large enough (if at all possible). Otherwise, proceed with caution. I can't tell you for sure that nothing will go wrong. In my opinion, it's better to "waste" two hours making a backup and have nothing go wrong than to lose everything and have to spend many more hours to recover (if recovery is even possible).
     
  5. pdsnickles

    pdsnickles Registered Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, that assures me at least that it wasn't necessarily anything I did wrong, just that I shouldn't use the automatic mode. I actually thought the automatic mode would be more foolproof. Guess that was a mistaken idea.

    So today I took the same drive and this time decided to make one of the partitions (E) smaller, then create a 1gb new partition just to see if it would work. This is in effect what I am going to want to do on my new computer, so it was a fair test, except on the new computer I'll be doing it with the C drive.

    So I made the E drive smaller first and that worked, except, again, when it was done with the process, the drive letters were no longer there so I could not access the drive. In order to find the drive and the changes I made I had to Safely Remove the drives, then re-start them, and still they only showed up in computer management but not under My Computer.

    Anyway, I could see them in DD so I then formatted the new 1gb partition to NTFS and then I don't remember the exact order of things, but after that somehow I got them to appear again in My Computer as 4 separate partitions with the new 1gb partition.

    So it seems to work okay... But is it normal to have to safely remove the drive after shrinking a partition, and then re-mount it to see it again in My Computer?

    I won't be able to remove and remount when I do this with the C drive on my new machine. Any tips other than just do one partition at a time, then re-start and make sure it's all there before creating the next partition? (And yes, the first order of business will be to make a back-up of the C drive onto my external drive using True Image (if I can get that to work!)

    Any known bugs or possible known problems in shrinking my new Vista 64 C drive using Acronis DD? That is why I got it, just to do this because I was told it would do it better and more reliably than the Vista built in software. Though I am beginning to wonder...
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I've haven't noticed that much, but I do most partitioning from BartPE/VistaPE/WinPE and not from Windows just to avoid Windows problems caused by making changes to the drive while Windows is running.

    Was the drive a removable drive?

    Did you try doing the procedure by booting to the DD CD?

    You can't make changes to the C: drive while Windows is running. DD will have Windows reboot to make the changes or you'll have to boot to the DD CD.

    When you make changes to the booting partition (the Active partition), make sure to boot back into Windows before making changes to other partitions. This can help avoid drive letter reassignment issues.

    If the Vista partition is the booting partition (the default), you can avoid BCD file problems (requiring a boot repair to fix) by editing the BCD file to point to the "boot" partition (instructions can be found here). TI will make these changes automatically when it does a restore, but DD won't.

    The ability of Disk Management is greatly limited compared to DD, especially when it comes to shrinking a partition.
     
  7. pdsnickles

    pdsnickles Registered Member

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    Mudcrab, thanks for that reply... But a lot of this is over my head, I am not sure what you're talking about, and the link you referred me to just confused me. Maybe (?) by answering the following questions I can understand. Please bear with my newbie-ness:

    Yes it was a USB External drive. No I did not boot to the DD cd, I ran it from Windows. I did not see any instructions anywhere that said I should not do these operations from Windows. Are they there, and I just missed them, or ?

    Well when I did the repartitioning of the USB drive above, DD said it had to restart so it did and then it started doing its partitioning before booting up to Windows. Is that what you mean? I assume it would work the same way: I set up the changes I want in Windows with DD open and then it restarts and makes the changes before booting up to Windows. No?

     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello pdsnickles and MudCrab,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    You did not miss them. But it is a common recommendation for all partitioning operations. MudCrab has answered why:

    -to avoid Windows conflict issues
    -to avoid issues with third part programs installed
    -to speed up the performance of the partitioning process

    That's because our CD version is based on Linux, and it works in different way. So This is the first thing we always recommend to customers.

    Yes, this is correct. But not exactly. In Windows you can perform some partitioning, until it is not related to some space reserved by OS. That's why some changes require a reboot to Automatic Partitioner - the part of our program which makes changes after system reboot, when your OS is not involved.

    And again - it is better to use a CD in this case, it will allow you to accomplish the partitioning without Windows at all.

    The goal is to check if your changed Active partition is good and bootable after the process. Do not start another partition tasks, prepare to the next step only when you sure that current is completed.

    And here is the another correct recommendation: please do not perform several operations at once. For example:

    You are going to create a partition from the space which is used by another one. The sequence is:

    1. Reduce the source partition size by value which you want to use for your new partition and commit the resizing
    2. Choose the unallocated space created from previous operation and create a partition.

    Yes, it is possible. You may also use the method described above (resize + create new partition)

    Acceptable. But more convenient way is to get the space necessary to create 4 partitions, and then assign its parts accordingly.

    Correct. It is recommended to check the results after each reboot.

    Yes, Acronis True Image Home 2009 is the program which is intended to backup Home systems.

    You can download the trial version of Acronis True Image Home 2009 here in order to see how it works on your computer.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  9. pdsnickles

    pdsnickles Registered Member

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    Thank you for your - late - response.
    I would suggest that Acronis work on its instructions. No, not everyone just "knows" you're supposed to do these things from the boot cd, and in fact your web site suggests otherwise, that all - and more - can be done via your program, via Windows.

    In fact, the whole program seems to be misleading as to what it can do and what it can not. Then you come on here or elsewhere and find out that you had better not try to do things from within Windows! Very untruthful advertising and very bad for Acronis to mislead people and possibly lead them to ruining their hard drive! Or at least causing MAJOR hassles!

    So I thank you for your response but I hope you will take this criticism to heart, and make changes both to the program and to the website that advertises it as doing things it really - in practical terms - does not do well.

    I have already uninstalled my Acronis Disc Director and am using one of a competitor.
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello pdsnickles,

    Thank you for the recommendations! We are really appreciate it.

    Please be sure that they will be forwarded to appropriate person.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  11. maxreality

    maxreality Registered Member

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    I had the oh-so-common invalid partition size error as well. After about 30 minutes of googling only to find out many others were having the same issue, I decided to do something on my own.

    I created a FAT32 partition using another piece of software. I used EASEUS but I'm sure you can use Norton or any PM. I then had no issues with it. I hope this helps some people out. I feel like there is a bug with the Acronis partitioning.
     
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