Windows will not boot after True Image created partition

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by tuttle, Mar 5, 2005.

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  1. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Help!!!

    I just installed True Image 8.0, so I have the Acronis installation CD,
    build 791. I clicked "Startup Recovery Manager", and it created a partition on my internal hard drive of approximately 1.9 GB, out of available free space of over 4 GB. When the process completed, it said I needed to reboot so I clicked the "OK" button. Now my PC will not bootup.

    The boot process begins, showing the lines of text about RAM testing, PCI devices, etc, but it freezes after it displays the line:

    Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM : Bootable CD not exist ...

    Right after that line, the flashing cursor appears and stays. It will not go any further in the boot process. What should happen next is that it should look for a bootable floppy, and if none is available then it should boot from the internal hard drive. In BIOS the Boot Sequence is set to: CDROM, A, C.

    I tried changing the Boot Sequence to: C, CDROM, A, but it still won't boot. The system was running well and error-free prior to installation of True Image. I do some PC support as part of my job, so I am careful to maintain the PC and keep everything running cleanly.

    Please help. What can I do to boot my system? I need to make this bootable, even if that means removing True Image.

    I purchased a boxed True Image 8.0, so I have the Acronis installation CD, build 791.

    I booted from the True Image CD, and followed instructions I found in these forums. The CD will boot into the graphical interface, so I pressed F11 and removed "quiet", inserted a floppy and entered these commands:
    cd tmp
    mkdir mntdir
    mount /devfs/floppy/0 mntdir
    sysinfo > mntdir/sysinfo.txt

    However, when I pressed "Enter" after that last command, it returned these two lines:
    /proc/bus/ieee1394/devices
    : Unknown error 2


    My system details:

    Windows 98SE
    Pentium III 500MHz. Intel ‘P6’ Model 7 (MMX) 500 MHz. Intel 440 chipset family.
    Motherboard: AOpen AX6BC. Crucial.com's database says this has Chipset Intel 440BX.
    640 MB RAM.
    Generic IDE Disk drive type 46 (from Device Manager, re. hard drive). (Quantum 8.4GB IDE hard drive)
    Free space on hard drive: over 4 GB prior to True Image creating partition. System includes a CD-ROM drive and floppy drive.
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Before doing anything, I'd boot from a Win98 boot floppy and confirm that you can still see the files on your C drive.

    Then run FDISK.EXE and examine the partitions. You should see both the Acronis partition and your C drive partition. Check that the C drive (FAT32) is set to Active.

    I wouldn't change anything at this point, but wait for Acronis tech support to suggest what to do.

    Where were you planning to make your backups? CD-RW, external drive?

    Did you create the bootable recovery media or do you have an Acronis distribution CD? These are both the True Image recovery CD. If so, you can boot from the CD and make a backup image to CD-R or external disk. This is just as a precaution to protect the data on your system.
     
  3. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    That sounds like a good idea.

    Okay, I booted from the Win98SE install CD. At the D:\> prompt I typed C: to switch to the C-drive, as I normally do when installing. Bad news: when I tried to switch to C-drive, it returned this message:
    Invalid drive specification

    Or, has the C-drive been changed to a different letter now because of the True Image partition?

    I then tried booting from Win98SE boot floppy. More bad news:
    I think True Image has really messed up the drive. I await instructions from Acronis support. I sure hope this is recoverable.

    I have an external USB drive. That's what I backed-up to with MS Backup. I bought True Image as I read that it was more powerful and offered better protection. :oops:

    I have the original Acronis CD, which I can boot from. I don't know what to do from there, as I haven't used the software yet. Creating the partition for safety was the first thing I did after installing True Image.

    Win98SE requires drivers to be loaded to support the USB 2.0 card. Will booting with the Acronic CD allow me to communicate with the external USB drive?
     
  4. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Ouch, that is disturbing. The C drive should not change drive letters since it is the first hard disk on the system. One interpretation of what you found is that the C partition has been deleted or corrupted.

    Boot from the Win98 floppy and give the FDISK command. Chose option 4 to display the partitions. You should see a large, primary FAT32 partition with an A for active. The Acronis partition will be the small one.
     
  5. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    That's what scares me. I'm worried that True Image wiped out my drive.

    I entered FDISK and option 4. It returns:
    I answered "Y", and it returned:
    I am really worried that True Image has wiped out my drive. How long does it usually take Acronis Support to reply to help requests?
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tuttle,

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

    We are really sorry for the inconveniences.

    Could you please do the following?

    - Download Acronis Report utility from http://www.acronis.com/files/support/AcronisReport.exe;
    - Run Acronis Report utility and select the "Create bootable floppy" option;
    - Insert a blank floppy disk in the floppy drive and proceed with creating the bootable diskette;
    - Boot the computer under consideration from this diskette and wait for report creation process to complete;
    - Send the report.txt file from the floppy disk to support@acronis.com along with the link to this thread.

    This would provide us with detailed information on the hard disk partition structure.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  7. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Thank you Ilya.

    I have sent Report.txt file, by replying to the Acronis confirmation of my help ticket. The ticket number is: Acronis #208386.

    How long does it usually take to get a response from Acronis Support?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  8. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Tuttle,

    The FDISK info is very revealing. You only have one partition on your drive, and it is the EXT DOS type which is what the TrueImage Secure Zone/Recovery Manager creates.

    The FAT32 partition that your Windows installation was on is gone. Well, I don't think it is gone, it has just been converted to EXT DOS - note that this is the size of your FAT32 partition and not the 1.9GB you wanted for the Recovery Manager.

    How this could happen and the best way to correct it I will leave for Acronis tech support to determine.

    However, I think you would be save and wise to boot from the True Image CD and make an image of the EXT DOS partition to your external USB 2 hard drive. At least you can restore this or Explore it if things go bad the first time you try to correct the problem.
     
  9. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    How do i do that? I have no experience at using True Image yet. What functions should I use? Also, will booting from the True Image CD provide connectivity to my external USB drive?

    Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.
     
  10. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Tuttle,

    No problem. First, connect the USB drive. Second, you have to boot from the CD. Your machine may not do that without a CMOS setting change. So, put the True Image distribution CD in the drive and reboot. If you see a prompt to press a key to boot from the CD, press a key (Enter, spacebar, etc.). If your computer just boots into Windows, you will have to tell the BIOS to look for a bootable CD.

    Reboot. Look for the key to go into Setup. Usually this is the Del (Delete key, but it might be F1 or F2). Press the key to enter Setup. In setup, look for an option to change the boot order from A, C,... to A, CD-ROM, C or CD-Rom, A, C, or anything that puts the CD-ROM before the hard drive. Save the settings on exit, and you will now boot to the True Image CD.

    This CD version of True Image looks almost exactly like the Windows version. Double click the Create Image option. Select the large partition on the first hard disk to backup and follow the prompts. You should also see the USB drive here. When you have to select a destination for the backup image, select the second hard drive, the USB drive. Follow the promps, and when you click Proceed, the backup will start. It should end with a message that the image was created successfully.

    You can also check the image from the main True Image screen. I suggest that you do that. Just follow the prompts to find the image on the USB drive. With any luck, it will be fine, and now you have an image that you can use if necessary to recover data or try another recovery procedure if the first one suggested by Acronis tech support fails.

    If you had to change the CMOS settings to boot from the CD, change them back so you can boot normally from the hard drive when it is fixed.
     
  11. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    It will boot from CD, as I set my BIOS to do so. I always setup a PC with Boot Sequence set to CDROM, A, C, just in case.

    LOL. If it would do that, I wouldn't be having this problem. :D The problem is that it won't recognize and boot from the hard drive at all.

    I will try all that tomorrow. I'll be without this loaner computer, so I'll have no e-mail or net access until tomorrow night, so I'll have lots of time to follow your advice on my temporarily unusable PC.

    Thanks very much!
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tuttle,

    You will certainly get the reply from Acronis Support Team within 48 hours. If you do not get any please let me know. I will take care of the situation.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  13. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Hi Ilya:

    It has now already been more than 48 hours without an answer. I e-mailed Support on Saturday afternoon.

    Fortunately you gave me instructions on Sunday, so then on Sunday I added to the information I sent to Support by sending them my Report.txt. But, I still have not have a reply from Support (other than the automated acknowledgement that assigned the ticket number Acronis #208386.
     
  14. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    It has now been three days without a response to my request for help from Acronis Support, in Acronis #208386.
     
  15. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Support contacted me. They said that the only option is to try Acronis Disk Director Suite to see if it can restore my C partition. They advised me to download Acronis Disk Director Suite demo and use function Recover Partitions.

    In a later e-mail, they added that even if Disk Director can find my partition, I would then have to purchase a copy of the software to recover my partition. Even though it was True Image that wiped out my drive.

    I loaded the bootable disks of Acronis Disk Director Suite demo, and clicked "Recover Partition" which opened Acronis Recovery Expert. The only partition showing was Acronis Secure Zone. I proceeded with the scanning phase, whereupon it showed Searching for Deleted Partitions. Result:

    "No partitions were found using the fast search method."

    I then followed the option to continued with Complete method. It has now been scanning for over two hours, and the status bar shows that it's less than a fifth done, so this will take a while.

    Even if it eventually does find my original disk partition, I still don't know if it's recoverable, and I'd have to buy more software to recover it.

    Acronis offered no explanation as to why TI wiped out my C-drive partition (there was only a single partition on that drive) instead of writing its Secure Zone in the over 4 GB of free space that was available. All they said is that it might have been caused by a software conflict, but I had absolutely no applications or processes running other than Explorer (a.k.a. Windows) and Systray.

    Is this Secure Zone thing, and TI's Startup Recovery Manager, safe to use? Or should they be avoided when we have an external drive to backup images to?
     
  16. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I recall that the SecureZone that you created was supposed to be 1.9GB. Isn't the SecureZone that's there the size of your original C drive? I wonder if by some strange path ATI converted the original C drive to the SecureZone.

    If that's the case, using a partition manager to convert the EXT-DOS partition back to what it was before (NTFS or FAT32) might recover your C drive. At least, it might make it accessible so that you could move your data to a safe place.

    At this point, I think that's worth a shot before you just wipe the drive clean and start over.
     
  17. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Yes, your supposition is the same as mine. In the TI interface, I set it to create a 1.9GB SecureZone, which I assumed would be created in the over 4GB free space on the drive. Instead the SecureZone subsumed the entire C drive. How can that possibly happen?


    Acronis Disk Director Suite demo's Acronis Recovery Expert has now finished its Complete method scan searching for deleted partitions. This is what it found:

    Partition: D
    Status: Deleted
    Label: -VPSGHBOOT-
    Capacity: 8.633 MB
    Free Space: 5.087 MB
    Type: Fat16

    It said "press Next to proceed with undeleting". When I click Next, I see a Recovered Partitions screen which lists the 7.875 GB hard drive, and displays four columns:

    One is labelled "Unallocated" 3.263 GB
    One is labelled "Unallocated" 933.5 MB
    One is labelled "Acronis Secure Zone" 3.677 GB, and that is marked as "Logical"
    One is labelled "-VPSGHBOOT- (D:)" 8.633 MB FAT16, that is marked as "Logical", and there is a check mark there. The screen text says "the recovered partitions are checked off".

    This doesn't look encouraging. I'm not familiar with Disk Director, but it appears that it is offering to recover just an 8.633 MB FAT16 block, so that can't possibly be my system.

    I'll send the results to Acronis Support and see what they say.

    jmk94903, what is your opinion on the questions I posed in my previous post about the Secure Zone and Startup Recovery Manager?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2005
  18. Tatou

    Tatou Registered Member

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    Re-reading the Help PDF that comes with Acronis it seems that in creating the Secure Zone it takes the free space from a partition NOT from the drive. It says "Select the PARTITION to take the space from"
    So if you select C and make the Zone the same space as C it must resize C to nil?

    What about trying to resize the Zone to a minimum amount? Hopefully it might restore the C. Read the PDF file for how to do this.
     
  19. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    I don't think so. That doesn't sound right.

    Anyway, Acronis Support has not offered that as a solution, and they're the experts. I'm waiting for their response to the results I sent them from the Disk Director scan.
     
  20. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tuttle,

    Acronis Secure Zone cannot be created larger than the free space available on the prtition you get the space from. So you couldn't delete your system partition in this way. Also please note that even though you haven't seen processes other than Explorer and Systray there are several other processes that are not shown. One of them could cause the problem with Acronis True Image.

    Dennis will contact you soon again.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  21. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Thanks Ilya.

    I hope Dennis will reply to me today. Because if my disk is not recoverable, then I'll need to reformat and install Windows. If that is the only option, I'd like to get started on it asap because it will take many hours and I have work that needs to be done on that PC.
     
  22. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Tuttle,

    Of course, this can't happen, so it must be magic. Seriously, there isn't any normal path for True Image to do what it did to your drive, so something truly weird happened.

    I agree that none of the partitions to recover look worthwhile. I'd skip doing any partition recovery. What I'd try is to use a partition program to convert the EXT-DOS partition to NTFS, Primary and Active and see what happens when you try to boot. If it won't boot, then try booting from your Windows XP CD and in Recovery Console run FIXMBR and FIXBOOT. If those don't make the drive bootable, I'd make an image of it for possible data recovery and remove all the partitions and start with a clean install of Windows XP.

    After you have Windows XP running, I'd install True Image as my first application and make an image. Then make additional images as you complete various steps such as installing all drivers, doing Windows updates and installing your programs. At some point near the end, Explore the image you made of the old partition and see if there is data that can be recovered.

    As far as SecureZone and Recovery Manager, I have not had problems with them, but I don't use either on my own systems. I backup either to DVDs under Windows or to an external USB 2.0 hard drive or a second hard drive in the system. If I need to boot the system, I use the Recovery CD instead of Recovery Manager.

    I will use the SecureZone on a client's system if their system doesn't have a second hard drive or an external USB 2.0 (or Firewire) drive. Then I can tell them to always make a backup before installing new software or hardware or screwing with the system. They are much more likely to do a quick backup to the Secure Zone than to backup to one, two or three slower DVD disks that they have to remember to format.

    On notebooks which might be out of town when a problem arises, I will turn on Recovery Manager because a client would never think to take a Recovery CD with them unless I taped it to their chest.

    So, in summary, I think the Secure Zone and Recovery Manager are very clever features of True Image which fit certain needs, especially for people who are not very knowlegeable about backing up. However, I prefer to put my backups in other places even though it means I have to watch for that storage drive filling up and remember to delete some old backups to make room for new ones.

    I hope tech support get back to you with their thoughts so you can move on.
     
  23. anon

    anon Guest

    Pretty good advice from jmk if Acronis can't suggest anything to find the partition
     
  24. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    The system wasn't XP, it was Win98SE on FAT32. I don't have any partition software.

    I haven't heard back from Acronis, and it doesn't look like this will be recoverable, so I'm tempted to format the drive and install Win98SE from scratch. I do have a file backup of all my data files, so at least those are safe.

    Great minds think alike. ;) I had been thinking about doing that, so thanks for the confirmation. If some disaster ever befalls me in futurem I could always restore the image of the clean install.

    Can a Recovery CD be burned that contains an image as well as the applications/tools needed to boot from the CD and restore the image? IOW, can you create a single CD that can boot and recover a contained image?

    Or would you have to boot from a Recovery CD (or TI install CD), then eject that CD and then insert the CD with the burned images you're wanting to recover?
     
  25. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tuttle,

    I have replied to you via PM, please check them.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
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