8124: new user - can't create usable disk image on external drive

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Steve Dahlberg
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First time user of Acronis, former Ghost user. I want to image my 160 GB NTFS C: drive to a 200 GB NTFS external Maxtor USB drive ASAP. I've got a system that is failing and it is critical to my workflow to image the current system drive rather than the days and perhaps weeks it would take to reinstall and revalidiate all the apps. Latest version and build of 2010, bought it in December. Attached typical log file from latest attempt - all log files read about the same. No response from Customer Service after several days.

Installed Acronis, went to Backup, Disk & Partition Backup, kept the default of C: drive only, wasn't sure if i needed to do Sector-by-Sector in order to create an image and not a file archive so i enabled it, it correctly reported my C: drive size (also correctly reported my used area on C: before i enabled sector-by-sector), did NOT check the unallocated space option, kept default of Create New Backup Archive, browsed to my Maxtor USB drive (I:), hit Finish.

First time i enabled the option Turn computer off when finished, 2nd try not, but result is same both times - creates a 49GB .tib file on the USB drive, and Acronis still warns me that my system is not backed up when i start it, urging me to run backup.

Also, to test the image, i went to Recovery, Disk & Partition Recovery, browsed to the tib file on my I: drive and get a popup error box "Error While Opening Archive File" with message "This is not the last volume of the backup archive.".

So far, i've tried setting the Options to Full (defaulted to Incremental) and have tried with Sector by Sector and without, always get the same error message when going to Recover Disk and Partion

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Related questions - Do i have to enable sector-by-sector to create a true disk image in the tradition of Norton Ghost? Should i be upgrading to 2011? Do i have to pay an upgrade fee having just bought it in December and installed it last week?

Thanks!

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DwnNDrty
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You do not have to do Sector by Sector - the Backup takes much longer if you do and the file is larger.


Seekforever
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If you want to test the image the best way is to attempt a restore to a spare HD. The next best way is to validate the image with the TI rescue CD. This is very important since it is the environment that must run to restore the active partition and it is Linux, not Windows, so it uses different drivers, etc.

You seem to have some other issues.

Rather than go to a USB drive, do you have space on a spare partition on an internal you can use. Internals are usually the least problematic of target devices. If you don't, you can still write the archive to the same partition as being backed up if there is enough room. TI will give an error message but it will work.

Do a Windows validate as well when creating the archive. The validation process, even in Windows, does provide some confidence your RAM and disk subsytem is good.


Steve Dahlberg
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Thanks everybody.

Hmm, don't have room available on the internal drives, have to use the Maxtor external USB drive. Last log entry is always "locking partition C: ... " or similar, FWIW.

So, are you saying that the Recovery, Disks & Partitions should not be expected to be able to do a restore from the tib file? That's a bit confusing ... It seems like the app should be able to recognize its own image file, but again i'm totally new to Acronis.

That sounds like a good idea to try to validate - will the process be obvious? Can i use the boxed cd that was mailed to me (the instructions imply to use that unless you ordered online and downloaded the product) or must i create my own regardless?

I don't recall the Windows validate - was that in the Options section when creating the image in the first place?

------------

If Sector by sector is not necessary to create a disk image, what advantage is there to using it and creating the larger tib file? There must be some reason for its existence ... ?


Seekforever
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It should be able to restore from the tib file but if you are restoring the active partition, typically C, Windows can't be running. One of the first things TI does when restoring a partition is to delete the partition and this would kill Windows. Therefore a version of Linux is loaded and the PC rebooted. The same Linux environment is present on the rescue CD so whether you start a disk/partition recovery in Windows or by booting the CD the Linux environment comes into play. For restoring files and folders this is not an issue but you must ensure the Linux environment works properly on your PC before you really need it. People have validated archives in Windows thinking all was well but found to their horror that the Linux environment doesn't work when they really need it.

The validate will be obvious, the progress screen will say Validating archive and if it works a succeded message will appear and remain on the screen. It will also be entered in the log.

The Windows validate is in the options section of the wizard or you can make it a default setting by doing it in the Tools menu.

The validate reads the archive file into RAM and calculates a checksum for every 256K of data. It compares it with the checksums that were calculated and included in the tib file when it was created. They all must perfectly agree or the archive is declared corrupt.

Why you are getting your error may or may not be uncovered by the validate. TI writes metadata about the structure of the archive in the last volume and if it can't find this data it can't make sense of the archive structure.

If your CD boots you can use it. However, you should check the version and build number to see if it is the latest build for that version. If not, you can register and download an update from Acronis. Acronis updates are the complete program, not patches.

Please include you OS and TI version and build number in your post - it may help.

BTW, the version and build number is in Help About but you likely will have to press the Alt key to get the Help to appear.


Steve Dahlberg
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Very interesting, thanks.

Build is latest, 6053, OS is XP Home.

One other detail is that the tib file is always around 48 GB even though the source drive is at 110GB used of 150GB total, and the estimate

It is also interesting that it always says "Your system is not fully protected" and urges me to perform a backup, so the app itself, both in whatever record-keeping it does and when trying to read the metadata with the Recover, Disks & Partitions tool is convinced i haven't created an image (unless it requires me to do a file archive rather than an image to feel like i've backed up my system?).


Steve Dahlberg
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How do i know if Windows validation succeeded or failed? There's no log entry in either direction, just that the option was set (log file attached).

At any rate, same results as before, got the "not the last volume" error when trying to open the resulting TIB in recovery. Next step will be to run the LInux boot evalution process. Am hoping i can choose this option prior to having to specify a target drive for any restore, as now i'm worried this apparently flaky application might try to start reimaging my drive against my intent, which would be bad.

Also, i noticed in the Windows Application log five entries a second apart around the time that would have been late into the imaging process or near the very end of it - no corresponding entries in TI log - they always stop right at the start of the imaging process when locking partition C: ... really bothers me that there are no concluding log entries for a process that shows the green "Successful" icon in the calendar afterwards). It relates to some sort of disk performance module which reports:

"Unable to read the disk performance information from the system. Disk performance counters must be enabled for at least one physical disk or logical volume in order for these counters to appear. Disk performance counters can be enabled by using the Hardware Device Manager property pages. Status code returned is data DWORD 0."

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como
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From the log entry, it looks as though the process is not completing.
Try booting from the CD and see if you can make a successful image from it, you do not need to check the sector-by-sector box to make an image that will restore. Make sure that you set the options from the list on the left side of the screen including a validation.
You state that you system is failing I would buy a new hard drive to restore to now rather than later, also have you run checkdisk on your drive, one of the reasons that TI fails to make a file is bad sectors.
If you have not done so download the user manual from the Acronis website, (you may need to register your serial number first) also download and read GroverH’s guides obtained in his signature in any of his posts just enter his name in the search box at the top of the forum.
If you are unable to make and restore an image from the CD download and burn the more up to date iso on the website, you will have to log in to obtain it.
If this fails then I would suspect that you have a hardware problem such as flaky memory, there are a number of posts on this and the old forum re poor hardware.


como
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From the log entry, it looks as though the process is not completing.
Try booting from the CD and see if you can make a successful image from it, you do not need to check the sector-by-sector box to make an image that will restore. Make sure that you set the options from the list on the left side of the screen including a validation.
You state that you system is failing I would buy a new hard drive to restore to now rather than later, also have you run checkdisk on your drive, one of the reasons that TI fails to make a file is bad sectors.
If you have not done so download the user manual from the Acronis website, (you may need to register your serial number first) also download and read GroverH’s guides obtained in his signature in any of his posts just enter his name in the search box at the top of the forum.
If you are unable to make and restore an image from the CD download and burn the more up to date iso on the website, you will have to log in to obtain it.
If this fails then I would suspect that you have a hardware problem such as flaky memory, there are a number of posts on this and the old forum re poor hardware.


Steve Dahlberg
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Seekforever - i booted to the Acronis cd and it went into an Acronis GUI just fine, no driver issues, but from there i couldn't find anyway to directly validate the the tib file. The help file said to go to Options, Local Storage, and then set it to validate either upon backup creation or prior to recovery (these options are not in the boot cd GUI but in the Windows program), but there was not way i could see to run validation in real time on a selected tib file. I tested Recovery on the tibs i've created and they all gave the same error message they do in Windows, about it not being the last volume of the archive.

Como - the HDD isn't failing, the mobo had some bulged caps and was shutting down a few months back and i had the bad caps replaced, so i'm running fine but am obviously on borrowed time. I've run diskcheck/repair before the image creation attempts and there are no bad sectors reported on the drive, so that's not what's causing the it not to complete the process. However, the disk is of an age where i'd expect it to start going bad. It's a great Western Digital but it's from 2003 and it's been worked hard most of its life (digital audio and video editing and production, plus some gaming on a regular basis).

I do IT for a living now and was a coder in a past life and so far i'd say this product absolutely sucks. I'm willing to give it a little more effort before trying something else because the person that recommended has used it for a couple years (though hasn't tried the latest version yet) and he loves it.

Are there any users in here that have had better success with another current imaging program? I used to be a Ghost user for years but moved away from Norton because i don't like how their products in general started to mess up machines. We use Zenworks at work and it works pretty well, just out of the loop now on home-use products and this first foray has wasted lots of time and money and i can't even create a backup much less restore from one.


Steve Dahlberg
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addendum -

1. application log errors that occurred around what i think would have been the end of the imaging creation were five in a row of the same:

"Unable to read the disk performance information from the system. Disk performance counters must be enabled for at least one physical disk or logical volume in order for these counters to appear. Disk performance counters can be enabled by using the Hardware Device Manager property pages. Status code returned is data DWORD 0."

I went to device manager and looked at properties on both the physical disks and the single volume C: and couldn't find anything that seemed to relate.

2. The help file in the Acronis boot CD GUI said i could also validate in Windows by rightclicking. Just tried that and the error that it gives is similar to but different from the one REcovery gives when trying to start a restore:

"Cannot open backup archive on the specified device. Either there is no archive on it, or the archive is corrupted."

Also, it seems to pass Windows validation when creating the image when i enable that and starts the image creation, gives an estimate that varies from an hour to 90 minutes. Also tried bumping up from the default Low Priority to High Priority, didn't try Medium Priority. It seems like it gets halfway through the image creation and stops, without logging any errors. However, when i come back later, i'm always at the login screen, even though my desktop has no screensaver set.


Seekforever
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Both Windows and CD: Select archive and right-cick on it. Validate is on the pop-up menu.


como
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As Seekforever in post 11 above or as options ar bottom left in the screenshot

Re your error message I Googled it and got several hits I dont know if any will help

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Steve Dahlberg
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Nod, the validate returns the same error message no matter where it's done from and it more or less matches the TI error when attempting recovery.

I've narrowed the problem some - i can make a successful image to another SATA drive on board, but that won't work for the long term, i use that drive as my workspace for digital audio and video production. I need to get it to work with the external Maxtor USB drive.

I tried one this morning with the write speed option reduced to about 60%, but same failure to complete. Guess i need to Google some on this narrower problem, unless someone in here knows of tricks or workarounds to get TI to work with the Maxtor external. It's been about two weeks since my submittal to Customer Support.

Discovered lots of other odd/buggy behavior in the course of these tests with logs and how it handles running out of room even when set to overwrite prior backups, but can save that for another discussion - mainly just need to figure out how to get to creating images to external USB drive target. Thanks for any help.


Seekforever
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The general advice for externals is:
Use rear connectors on the PC to reduce the effective cable length.

Make sure there are no external hubs in the path.

As a last resort, unplug every unneeded USB device.

See if there are some USB BIOS settings you can fiddle with such as Legacy Support.

Note that some USB chipsets in the devices and on the motherboards don't like to play nice together although this is much less common with modern hardware.


como
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Have you tried moving the image from the internal to the external drive? Go to recovery, right click on the image, and move.
Validate the image on the external with the rescue CD, if it still won't validate then as Seekforever says it’s your USB chipsets at fault.
Some time ago on the old forum there was long discussions on which USB chipsets worked best with TI and external drives although I would have thought modern chipsets would not have the same problems.


Seekforever
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Como's idea is good. A slight variation on it is:
Download a free checksum calculation program.
Pick a large archive file on anyfile that is in the GB region. The bigger the better since some USB chipsets have trouble with large files only.

Run the checksum calc on it and record the value on paper.
Copy the file to the USB drive with Windows Explorer and run the checksum calc on the file on the USB drive. The checksums must agree.
Copy the file from the USB drive back onto your HD (don't overwrite the original). Run the checksum calc on the file on the HD. It also must agree.

Any differing checksums says there is something wrong with the USB HW or SW and TI is out of the picture.


Steve Dahlberg
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Excellent suggestions. I'll try them if i don't end up buying a new external drive:

I'm thinking about just buying a newer external drive tomorrow when i'm out shopping after a failed attempt to find out if there are firmware updates available for my 200GB Maxtor OneTouch II USB/Firewire USB drive (got into an infinite loop on Seagate's website).

I wish Acronis published a list of known good USB drives so i could save myself the trouble of reinventing the wheel by trial and error. Are there any informal user-created lists for TI out there?

---------------

Just for the curious - adjusting the write speed to the Maxtor USB drive resulted in different but consistent error messages at image creation failure that varied with the three settings i attempted (roughly 30%, 50% and 70% write speed). They ranged from "out of storage space" (tons of storage space on source and target drives) at low speeds to "specified file does not exist" at higher speeds, to just no error at all in the logs at highest write speeds and a green success square on the calendar, but the image is always unreadable and reports as corrupt during validation after the fact.

Acronis TI does not seem to handle errors well at all. I thought it'd hosed the USB drive but i managed to get it back. It also starts writing DiskPerf warnings to the Application log twice per minute indefinitely, for hours and hours after the backup fails, and then i can't even open Task Manager due to "Application Failed to Initialize", and all sorts of hard disk warnings in the System logs and i have to force a restart by hand - this all makes me very nervous about trusting a program that poorly written with my data, especially before until i've succeeded in making a complete disk image - chicken and the egg problem.


como
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I tried to do a search on the old forum but as it is locked, it seems that we are unable to carry out a search but from memory, the problem revolved around Intel chipset. Perhaps some of the old stagers are able to remember.
I have been a user of TI since version 8 and a reasonable active member of the TI forums and cannot remember anyone getting the error messages you refer to in post 17.
I don’t know if you know what these error messages mean, but you could Google them if not.
Another suggestion would be to send a PM to one of the Acronis modulators on this website and refer them to this thread. As you have only recently installed TI, I believe you are out of date for the free live chat support.


como
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One more thing you could try is to test your memory see http://forum.acronis.com/content/1669 for instructions, at least it will prove whether your memory sticks are at fault or not.


Steve Dahlberg
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UPDATE:

Well i've created my first bonafide image to the USB drive, and it's to the same Maxtor Onetouch II USB drive that's been my target all along - i used the boot disk and ran the disk imaging backup feature from there rather than from Windows, maximum write speed, Verify enabled, and for once it finished successfully, and when the Recovery option in TI recognizes it and seems ready to proceed with a recovery. I guess after all this i can't really trust it until i do an actual restore to a drive, but i don't really have a drive for that.

I'm going to buy a Seagate 1TB USB drive in the next day or two, and i hope to be able to image to that one as well - maybe that one will work from Windows without having to change BIOS settings, boot to cd, etc ...

I assume this eliminates memory and USB drive chipset as culprits, but i did not try the checksum or using TI to move to move the image i created successfully from Windows on an internal SATA drive.

My main concern now is that there will be driver issues if my system disk dies and i try to use the image either from the internal SATA or the Maxtor USB external drive to restore to a new system disk that i'd purchase. Is the fact that i can boot and run TI jobs from the boot cd plus the successful completion of the image creation with Verify on enough for me be sure that my image will work fine for recovery in general?

And also if i get another (current) version of my Western Digital six-year old drive drive that is larger and a current model, will i need the Add-on pack to get so-called Universal Recovery to be sure i can restore to a drive not completely identical to the older drive that i imaged from?

Any caveats i should know about if indeed i do get the Add-on Pack? Will i need to create a new complete image once i have the pack or is the universal driver part of the operation not embedded into the image so i can use any existing images (full and differential) created prior to installing the Add-on?

Thanks.

-steve


Seekforever
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If you can create and validate an image using the boot CD the probablility is very high you will be able to do a successful restore when you need it. However, there is nothing like doing an actual restore to a spare drive and then booting it up.

You can also boot up your TI CD, select an image as if you were going to do a restore and validate it as part of an independent task. After the sucessful validation run through the restore wizard as if you were going to restore but CANCEL out at the screen where you have to click Proceed to do the restore. The validate demonstrates that TI can find and read the archive into memory properly and the data matches the checksums. Working through the wizard shows that TI can see your target drive and is happy.

The fact you created the archive and validated the archive with the rescue disk already virtually assures you that the above will work also.

You do not need the Plus Pack or Universal Restore to restore and image to a different make, model or size of HD. The only caveat is that the drive be big enough to hold the size of the restored image. TI has all of the smarts to resize partition etc if need be.

The Universal Restore is only for restoring an archive to different hardware such as a motherboard where changing drivers is necessary. When you restore to your own PC the proper drivers are already contained in the image.


Steve Dahlberg
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Ah, got it, thanks, that makes more sense. If i do decide to add the Plus Pack (i'm assuming Plus Pack = Universal Restore, or are their other ways to get UR other than the PP?), any gotchas to watch out for?

Nod, i already did what you suggest, did a Validate and then start the Restore process far enough along and then cancel out before Proceeding. I actually did this both from the boot CD and from Windows. Not sure why it just didn't want to create a non-corrupt image from within Windows, but i'm fine with creating one from boot CD. May try an update to the image from within Windows and see if it hoses it ...


como
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Steve Dahlberg wrote:
Not sure why it just didn't want to create a non-corrupt image from within Windows, but i'm fine with creating one from boot CD. May try an update to the image from within Windows and see if it hoses it ...

When I used to try to create an image from my old XP machine with TI 11 to my Seagate external drive I had to reduce the HDD writing speed down one or two notches to create images that would validate, which I believe you have tried. Because of the time issue, I started creating them on an internal drive and then copying to the external drive with Windows Explorer.
On my new machine with Sata drives and Vista or Windows 7 I can create images direct to the same external drive without any problem


Steve Dahlberg
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Como, interesting. yeah, going to one of my internal SATA drives it was fine, just the external Seagate. Not sure i ever tried 1 or 2 notches, more like 3, 5, and 7, and got different sets of error messages at each speed.

Bought a Seagate 1 TB last week, just haven't had a chance to use it yet, and once i got the system disk (IDE disk) imaged outside of Windows to old Seagate usb i felt better.

But, did you move from your internal SATA to old external Seagate in Windows Explorer? I thought i saw a post somewhere saying the "right" way to move them was from within TI (which of course goes back to the TI not liking the external drive in Windows). What do you "lose" by moving it in Explorer? Just that TI loses track of the fact that you made the backup and its current status?


como
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Steve Dahlberg wrote:
But, did you move from your internal SATA to old external Seagate in Windows Explorer? I thought i saw a post somewhere saying the "right" way to move them was from within TI (which of course goes back to the TI not liking the external drive in Windows). What do you "lose" by moving it in Explorer? Just that TI loses track of the fact that you made the backup and its current status?

The old XP machine that I referred to only had IDE drives and TI 11 installed, I copied tibs from the second drive to the external using Windows Explorer with no problems.

I bought a new machine some 18 months ago, this came with two sata drives and I installed TI 11, again I backed up to the second drive and copied tibs to the external drive with Explorer. I was also able to create validated images to the external from within Windows however the rescue CD did not see the sata drives, after reporting this to Acronis they gave me a link to a TI 11 iso that did.

I have since upgraded to TI 2010 but I understand that since TI 2009 Acronis have used a new database that keeps a track of the images and that it is no longer recommended to use Explorer, as TI will not be able to list your image files when I get time as a experiment, I will copy a image file to the external and see what happens.

Edit
See post 2 in this link http://forum.acronis.com/forum/7146
Although the link is about deleting image files I understand that this applies to moving files as well.


Seekforever
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Yes, TI uses a database but any image can be found via the Browse Button in the restore wizard. I do manual backups and never pay any attention to the database stuff for the most part. I just browse to my archive location.


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I'm a 'newbie' to the world of IT - so I've not been able to follow much of the language in previous posts in the string Steve Dalberg has created; however, here's my problem: I bought Acronis pc backup and recovery, ver 2010 this past week. I needed to move all programs and data files from my older Dell desktop into an iomega 1tb, desktop drive; inorder to have it available to move into a new replacement pc for the old Dell. (not sure exactly when I will get the new pc; wanted to be sure I had a good, recent copy of data and programs from the old Dell, incase it fails before I get the new pc). I used the boot disk in the TI 2010 box, followed the instructions to move the data into the io drive; did it overnight, unattended; checked in the morning and had a screen msg on the Dell indicating 'it had a ms related problem and had to close'. I need a simple way to check the IO drive to see if the data and program files were transferred ?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Phil


como
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If you have bought Backup and Recovery you are in the wrong forum, this is the True Image forum, you should be posting in the Backup and Recovery forum (first in the list)

If you do have Acronis True Image then as a start look at the Guides in Item 7 of GroverH sticky at the top of this forum "Grover's Index of the Accumulated Wisdom by Many"