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Guide to Restoring a UEFI/GPT Windows System to a New Disk with True Image 2016

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mvp

True Image 2016 does a good job of restoring a UEFI/GPT Windows system to the original disk. Restoring a UEFI/GPT Windows system properly to a new disk is a little challenging. The first point of confusion is the MBR Track 0 check box. I'm not sure what Acronis is doing with that box with a disk initialized as GPT, but the box should be checked. If the MBR box is unchecked, True Image 2016 will not recognize the new disk as a destination if there is no partition structure on the disk. Checking the Disk box and leaving all other boxes checked will result in a restore with the wrong partition odrer. Windows will function properly, but recovery fuctions may not work.

Restoring the system to a new disk with the correct partition order is the second challenge. If you prepare the new disk before restoring, you will get a working Windows system with the correct partition order and properly functioning recovery functions.

Here are the steps I recommend to avoid making drastic errors that could lose your Windows system:

1. You need to know the exact partition layout of your disk with partition sizes. True Image 2016 and Windows Disk Managment will not show the Microsoft System Reserved partition. I recommend using MiniTool Partition Wizard Free for this purpose. You should write down the partiton order and the size of each partition before you start. Here's an example of a Windows system on a 256 GB SSD the has been upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10:

   300 MB Recovery partition

   100 MB EFI System partition (boot)

   128 MB Microsoft System Reserved partition (MSR)

   215 GB Windows C drive partition ( 215 GB x 1024 = 220160 MB)

   450 MB Recovery partition

2. Prepare an Acronis WinPE recovery disk. You will need the WinPE recovery disk to prepare the new disk in the next steps. You can use the default Linux recovery disk only if you have prepared the new disk in advance.

3. Remove the original Windows disk from your computer and replace it with the new disk. 

4. Boot the WinPE recovery disk in UEFI mode. When the disk boots, you will see a command window followed by the True Image GUI.

5. Click on the command window to bring it to the front. Now enter the following lines one at a time to prepare the new disk:

   diskpart

   list disk

   select disk 0 (Make sure you have selected the new disk. If you select the wrong disk you will lose all data on that disk.)

   clean

   convert gpt

   create partition primary size=300

   create partition primary size=100

   create partition msr size=128

   create partition primary size=220160 (You may specify a larger size if the new disk a bigger than the original.)

   create partition primary size=450

   list partition (Confirm you have created the partitions correctly.)

   exit

6. Leave the command window open and click on the True Image GUI to bring it to the front.

7. Start the restore process for a Disks and Partitions restore. When you get to what to restore, do not check the Disk box. Check all the other boxes including MBR Track 0. Click Next.

8. You will see a separate screen for each partition to be restored, except the Microsoft System Reserved partition. At the top right on each screen click on New Location. Select the location on the new disk. The screens will come up in the order of the partitions on the new disk from, first to last, excluding the MSR partition. When you have selected all the new locations proceed with the restore.

9. After the restore completes, reboot and enter your BIOS. Make sure you select the Windows Boot Manager entry as the first boot option. Save the changes and reboot. You should have a fully working Windows system with the original partition order, including the MSR partition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mvp

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Great job Paul,  one suggestion though, in reading through the guide I think some users may be a bit confused about the MSR.  It might help if you place the MSR abbreviation inside brackets after your first mention of it where you describe the partition layout of an upgraded Win 8 to Win 10 system.

The communty here will definately benefit a great deal from this.  Great work!!!

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Hello Paul and Enchanted.

I have discussed the difficulty of recovering a UEFI/GPT Windows system to a new disk, here :

https://forum.acronis.com/forum/101403#comment-306909

 

My solution seems very simple, but it worked really well with Windows 10 :

On the new disk, install Windows exactly as you have installed it on the old disk. So the partitions now have the same size and position.

Then I have used ATI to recover to that new disk (selecting almost all partitions, but not "MBR and Track 0"), without any problem.

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Enchantech,

Thanks. The (MSR) has been added as you suggested.

Alaini,

It was your thread that motivated me to write this guide.

I can see why your solution works for you. You have provided the necessary partition layout on the new disk by installing Windows onto it. This worked for you because your original disk was a standard Windows layout. This will not be the case for users with OEM computers. OEM's can change the partition order and add their own recovery partitions. Another problem is that many users don't have Windows installation media available. I have tried to create a guide that will work for everyone.

Two years ago, when I first dealt with this issue, I used your approach. I installed Windows on the new disk, but stopped the install after the first reboot to save time. Then I restored only the Windows C: partition with True Image. This worked.

The MBR Track 0 issue is a grey area. In my tests, I checked the box and it worked. I suspect if you had checked the box, you would have gotten the same results. I would suggest the box needs to be checked if the new disk does not contain a working Windows system.

If you want to have some more fun with this could you do the following tests:

1. Restore exactly as you did, but do check the MBR Track 0 box.

2. Restore using your method, but only restore the Windows C: partition.

3. Delete all partitions from your new disk and restore selecting the Disk box as well as all the other partition boxes including the MBR Track 0 box. This should give you a working Windows system with a non standard partition layout. It is very important to boot the Acronis recovery media in UEFI mode for this to work. If you do not boot in UEFI mode, TI may convert the new disk to MBR format or not allow it as a destination for recovery.

 

 

 

 

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Alaini,

I did some more test restores here. I have found that checking or not checking the MBR Track 0 box made no difference. I tested the method in my guide without checking the box. It worked fine. I tested your meyhod with the box checked. It worked fine.

I'm going to leave the guide as is just in case there is some hidden use for the MBR Track 0 box that we are not aware of.

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Acronis documentation explains that Disk Signature is a part of a hard disk MBR, it is used for uniquely identifying the disk media.

Some softwares use a disk signature for licensing, so if you don't recover it on a new disk, these softwares could refuse to start.

But the documentation doesn't explain if that's also true for UEFI disks

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2016/index.html#3…

 

Also, this can explain part of the mystery :

[quote]GPT contains a dummy MBR table with a pseudo-partition that spans over first 2 TB of the hard drive.
It's used to trick legacy tools that don't support GPT into thinking that a drive contains valid MBR partition table and a single partition with no free space.
It's safer than letting a legacy tool read the GPT, because it could interpret it as a corrupted MBR and attempt to fix it.[/quote]

http://superuser.com/questions/654798/are-gpt-reserved-and-efi-system-p…

 

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Mustang

Will your solution work functionally the same when using ATI2015 in a upgraded windows 10 environment ?

 

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storageman,

 

Yes. TI 2015 also has the same problem when restoring to a new disk and the Acronis WinPE is 64 bit.

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+1 Mustang. Thank you very much for this excellent post. Can you be bothered to elaborate the MBR / GPT conversion stuff, too as Acronis implemented this in ATIH 2016? I still haven't found the time to make reproducible tests.

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Karl,

You're welcome.

True Image can't convert a Windows system between MBR and GPT. Sometimes they do it by mistake, but the system is not bootable. There are a number of programs availabe that can convert data disks between MBR and GPT without data loss. However, a Windows system disk is a different matter. Not only does the disk need to be converted, but the operating system must be adjusted to be bootable. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional seems to claim it can convert a system MBR disk to GPT. See http://www.disk-partition.com/help/convert-gpt-mbr-disk.html . I'd be skeptical that it would work. Keep in mind you must have 64 bit Windows for it to work.

Send me a PM describing what you are trying to do. 

Edit:

I've had some success converting a GPT Windows system to MBR. I was also able to convert the same system back to GPT. Although that was easier because when the system was converted to MBR the GPT partition structure was retained. I used other third party software to do both conversions. I'll try to create a new install of a 64 bit Windows in MBR format and see if I can convert it to GPT.

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I have done it with Win 7 by following this thread: post #9 https://forum.acronis.com/forum/86819

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Nils,

Thanks. I'll give it a try.

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I was able to convert a 64 bit Windows 7 MBR system to UEFI\GPT following the link Nils provided in reply #10. This uses a Linux True Image 2015 recovery media iso that is available at that link. See instruction below. I then tried to do the same thing using True Image 2016 recovery media. It did not work! The recovered GPT system would not boot.

Here are the steps I used with the TI 2015 recovery media:

1. You should look at the disk using Windows Disk Managment. Write down the order and sizes of all the partitions. You may need this information later.

2. Boot the TI 2015 media in UEFI mode and make a full disk backup.

3. While still booted to the TI 2015 media (must be booted in UEFI mode), do a full disk recovery to the original disk.

4. Reboot and enter the BIOS to set Windows Boot Manager as the first boot device.

5. Reboot and confirm Windows 7 boots.

At this point you should have a working Windows 7 UEFI/GPT system. It will have a non standard partition layout. Acronis will have put the 128 MB Microsoft System Reserved partition first on the disk. If you are happy with that, you can stop here. If you want to correct the partition order, follow these steps.

1. Make a full system backup of the new disk that has been converted to UEFI/GPT. The original backup you made when the disk was MBR will not work.

2. Follow the steps given in post #1 to restore the UEFI/GPT backup to a new disk.

 

Example:

I started with Windows 7 MBR system. The partition order was:

100 MB Fat32 EFI partition

465 GB NTFS Windows partition

 

After the conversion to UEFI/GPT, the partition order was:

128 MB Microsoft System Reserved partition

100 MB Fat32 EFI partition

465 GB Windows partition

 

After I corrected to partition order as illustrated in post #1, the partition order was:

100 MB EFI partition

128 MB Microsoft System Reseved partition

465 GB Windows partition

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In case anyone is interested, I did purchase AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro and it was able to convert the Windows 7 MBR system in the previous post to UEFI/GPT. The resulting disk booted successfully.

I booted the WinPE version of AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro and ran the conversion from there.

The resulting partition order was:

100 MB FAT32 EFI partition

465 GB NTFS Windows partition

Note the absence of any 128 MB Microsoft System Reserved partition. In any case, the system booted fine without it.

 

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Thanks for the updates, Paul.

Any opinions on trying this with Windows 10?

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My guess would be that it would work with Windows 10. Give it a try and let us know.

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No joy!

Fresh install of Win 10x64, ATI 2015 installed with no problems, AcronisBootableMedia_b5539_US.iso, backed up and restored from .iso boot, UEFI only boot.

See image.

I went ahead and let it convert to GPT to see what would happen. It was as was written. No boot.

See image.

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Nils,

I can see why. I installed a clean copy of Windows 10 64 bit as a MBR system. The System boot partition was a 500 MB NTFS partition. UEFI only boots from a FAT32 partition, so TI 2015 had no chance of working.

The good news is that AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro was able to convert the system to UEFI/GPT. They converted the 500 MB NTFS partition to FAT32 and made it the EFI partition. It booted first try. The conversion only too about 10 seconds in WinPE.

 

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Am I the only one who thinks that ATI2016 should handle a system recovery in case of a failed hard drive without having to use third-party tools or jumping through hoops? That is one of the product's advertised features.

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Torsten,

I agree with you completely. The point is that ATI2016 can restore to a new disk, but I'm just not happy with the changed partition order. This thread is intended to give to give advanced users the knowledge to fix the problem.

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Thanks Mustang for the info. A few quick questions as I'm about to try this procedure myself...

Can I pre-provision the new SSD with diskpart with the SSD in an external disclosure via USB? That is, set up the partitions ahead of time without having the drive directly connected to SATA interface, then just use the rescue media to do the partition restores and skip the whole WinPE process (once installing the SSD internally of course).

Second, is there a reason you used 215GB for your windows partition? I'll be using a 256GB drive, so that should provide roughly 238GB of usable disk space, and so I was planning on allocating 237GB for my windows partition. Am I missing something or is that accurate?

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The answer to your first question is I think so. I'll give it a try and report back.

Second, I have set overprovisioning as recommended by Samsung on the SSD. This places 10 percent of the drive (23.8 GB) as unallocated space after the Windows partition.

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The answer to your first question is no. I was not able to set up the new disk in a USB enclosure from Windows using diskpart. When I went through the steps and listed the partitions, I found diskpart had put a 128 MB MSR partition first on the disk. Not what I wanted.

I strongly recommend you stick to the tested WinPE method of setting up the new disk.

Once the disk was setup properly in WinPE, I was able to boot up the Linux recovery disk and do the restore successfully. So, if you manage to get the new disk setup properly using Windows, you will be able to use the Linux recovery disk to do the restore.

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Okay, I tried again and succeeded.

You need to add some commands in diskpart run from Windows.

diskpart

list disk

select disk X  (Where X is the number of the new disk shown above.)

clean

convert gpt

list partition (Shows partition 1 of 128 MB Reserved.)

select partition 1

delete partition override

select disk X

list partition (Shows no partitions.)

Now enter the commands to create the desired partitions.

list partition (Confirm partitions were created correctly.)

exit

Now you can install the disk in your computer, boot the linux recovery media and do the partition by partition restore.

 

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Thanks for doing the extra testing. Much appreciated.

One final question. I see for the EFI partition you provisioned it using the "create partition primary" command instead of "create partition efi" like some others recommend in other threads. Does it matter which command is used to define the partition? I've read the technet notes but having a hard time wrapping my head around what is different between these two.

 

And as far as the overprovisioning topic, I too will be using a Samsung (850 Pro) SSD for this project, and am aware of the overprovisioning. However, in the past I never set up the overprovision space before hand - that is, I let Samsung Magician set it up once Windows had booted up on the new drive. I see they have v4.9 out for magician which is supposed to fully suport Win10. I'm curious if it's better to leave that 10% unallocated while paritioning like you did, or if it's ok to let the magician software set that up automatically like I did in the past with Win7 systems.

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The reason for creating the EFI partition as primary instead of EFI is that TI requires a reboot in tne middle of the restore if it is set up ahead of time as an EFI partition. At least that is how it works in WinPE. I did not test this aspect with the Linux restore. After the restore, you will end up with a proper EFI partition and the disk will be layed out as it was originally.

Using Samsung Magitian after the fact is probably the best way to go for overprovisioning.

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[quote=Alaini]

Acronis documentation explains that Disk Signature is a part of a hard disk MBR, it is used for uniquely identifying the disk media.

Some softwares use a disk signature for licensing, so if you don't recover it on a new disk, these softwares could refuse to start.

But the documentation doesn't explain if that's also true for UEFI disks

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2016/index.html#3…

 

Also, this can explain part of the mystery :

[quote]GPT contains a dummy MBR table with a pseudo-partition that spans over first 2 TB of the hard drive.
It's used to trick legacy tools that don't support GPT into thinking that a drive contains valid MBR partition table and a single partition with no free space.
It's safer than letting a legacy tool read the GPT, because it could interpret it as a corrupted MBR and attempt to fix it.[/quote]

http://superuser.com/questions/654798/are-gpt-reserved-and-efi-system-p…

 

[/quote]

So, what's the verdict on the disk signature piece? Should we Restore disk signature in addition to the MBR Track 0 to the new destination disk? It sounds like Alaini is suggesting checking this option to play it safe, but unsure if it is truly necessary or if there are any downsides. Any additional insights?

I'm just about to test this out - got the test destination disk all laid out successfully at this point thanks to this thread.

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I've done some research on the MSR partition and it shouldn't make any difference if it is placed first on the disk. The partition isn't even used. I only found one instance of it being used. If you use Dynamic Disks it stores the Dynamic Disk Database.

I was able to restore my UEFI/GPT computers using the Linux Boot Media. This way the product works as advertised.

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Has anyone found a reason not to restore the disk signature or the mbr?

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The problem with moving the position of the MSR partition has been with the Recovery partitions. The Windows BCD file specifies the position of the Recovery partition. If Windows does not find the Recovery partition at the specified position, the Recovery function does not work. In the case of a standard Windows installation, the Recovery partition is first on the disk. After a True Image restore, the Recovery partition would be second on the disk. This caused the Recovery function to be broken.

I've just done some additional testing using True Image 2016 build 6027. Restoring to a new disk still puts the MSR partition in the first position. Howerver, I found that the Recovery function was still working. A check of the BCD file showed that the file had been modified to specify the Recovery partition was second on the disk. I assume Acronis made this modification during the last phase of the restore at the point it says syncronizing with the operating system. This is a big improvment! I'm not sure if build 5634 had this improvment or not. I also don't know what effect moving the MSR partition has on various OEM recovery partitions. There still could be problems here depending on how the OEMs impement the Recovery functions.

 

Nils,

The MBR question was discussed earlier in the thread. Reply #5 has a possible explanation. In my tests it didn't make any difference. I can't see any harm to restoring the MBR at this point.

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Thanks for clarifying that it effects the Recovery partition. I don't use the Recovery partition so I should be fine.

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ATI 2016 Build 5634 places MSR partition at the beginning of the disk. It does not effect the other partitions. I've tested it on a UEFI GPT disk with Recovery Partitions. This is still the most stable build of 2016.

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The MSR partition isn't supposed to be the first partition. It is supposed to immediately preceed the operating system partition. A clean installation of Windows 8 or 10 places this partition third on the disk. Its incorrect placement caused frequent boot issues on one of my UEFI computers. After correcting the partition order the issues haven't returned. The MSR partition's location affects the location of the Windows Recovery tools partition and the EFI System partition. Instead of being partitions 1 and 2, they become partitions 2 and 3. On factory installed systems this breaks the recovery functionality because the config.xml files makes calls to those partitions by the partition number at which they were originally located. It can also cause the creation of duplicate NVRAM firmware entries that will cause a hang at the UEFI splash screen.

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I disagree. Acronis fixed the problem in Build 5634. Even though MSR is the first partition it doesn't effect the Recovery or Tools partitions. I performed a restore with a previous version of Acronis and it did break the Recovery and Tools partitions. System works fine with  a restore using Build 5634.

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Are there any updates to this issue? Are later build or versions able to handle the MSR properly and not place it first?

I'm trying the guide at the top of this post now.

Thanks

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Hello, everyone!

----

Mustang, what you said in you last comment is not 100% true ("The Windows BCD file specifies the position of the Recovery partition.") Actually, the way Windows' Boot Manager and the BCD identify partitions on a GPT disk is by their IDs (i.e. their GUID), instead of their position on the disk. This is why the position of the MSR does not affect the bootability of the system or the proper functioning of the Windows Recovery Environment.

----

Joey, may I ask you to provide more details on the issue you have described?

What boot issues did you experience exactly? In what way was the recovery functionality broken? What are the config.xml files you have mentioned?

As to the duplicate boot menu entries - this problem was already reported to the development team.

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Hi Dmitry,

I appreciate your response. However, I do stand by my last comment.

So users can understand a little better, I'll give a very brief explanation of how the recovery function is specified in the bcd file. I'm sure you understand most of this, so please don't be offended. The bcd can be read by opening a command prompt as administrator and entering bcdedit /enum all. Here's how to track the recovery function. First look at the Windows Boot Loader entry for Windows. It specifies that recoveryenabled=yes and that recoverysequence={GUID value}. All you need to look at is the last two characters of the first block of characters in the GUID value. The rest are all the same in all the GUID's in the bcd file. Follow the recoverysequence GUID to see the Windows Boot Loader entry for the recovery partition. In that you will see device and osdevice values. In the device and osdevice values you will see ramdisk=path. In the first part of the path you will see Device\HarddiskVolumeX. Where X is the position of the recovery partition on the disk. In a freshly installed non-OEM Windows system, X will equal 1 to represnt the first position on the disk. When the recovery partition is not in that position it become "broken." As a test to see if the recovery function is working, you can go to Control Panel/Recovery and try to create a recovery USB drive. When the recovery function is broken, you will get an error message telling you the drive cannot be created. As I said in my last comment, build 6027 does not break the recovery function. Earlier builds of TI 2016 up to some build number and all builds of TI 2015 and TI 2014 did break the recovery function when it was originally placed first on the disk. This is by no means a complete expanation of the issue or how the recovery function is specified in the bcd file.

Please try a restore to a new disk of a freshly installed Windows system using an earlty build of TI 2016 to see if you can duplicate the problem. If the restored system can't build a Windows recovery disk from Control Panel/Recovery, the recovery function is broken.

 

 

 

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Dimitry,

Before migrating this system to a SSD I had only recovered the OS partition so all of the other partitions had always remained in their original location.  At this point I was not aware that the MSR partition existed.  I used the 2014 bootable media to perform the migration.  After it completed I disconnected the original disk and powered on the system with the new disk.  The UEFI spalsh screen appeared longer than normal before a message appeared that said no boot device.  I restarted the system and used the boot menu to select the new disk and the system booted.  Restarts functioned correctly but shutting down the computer and powering it back on always resulted in the no boot device message.  When the original disk was connected every thing worked correctly.  My first thought was that I had a bad disk so I ran diagnostic utilties on the disk and it passed everything.  I compared the disks with disk management and they looked identical.  When I used diskpart to compare the disks I found that the location of a 128 MB Reserved partition was different on the two disks.  While researching this partition I found the following UEFI GPT partition guidelines for Windows 8/8.1.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825686.aspx

I tried repairing and rebuilding the BCD but the system still would not recognize the disk during a normal power on. 

I found that Macrium Reflect v5 was capable of specifying the MSR partition's location during recovery.  I used it to create a backup of only the WinRE, ESP, and MSR partitions from the original disk and restored them in the correct order on the new disk.  After this the disk functioned 100% correctly including the advanced Windows recovery options.

As long as the partitions are in the standard UEFI GPT order there are no boot issues.  Based on this behavior I think that some early UEFI implementations simply stop looking for the EFI partition on the disk after it sees the MSR first(indicating that it is a data disk) and moves on to the next device in the boot priority.  Placing this partition in the correct location has been simple and straight forward with the other disk imaging programs I have tested.

On my Windows 10 systems I use the partition scheme in the link below.  This layout eliminates the creation of multiple Windows Recovery tools partitions when new builds are installed.

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn898510(v=vs.85).aspx

The standard Windows 8.1 and 10 partition layouts are a little different but both place the MSR partition immedately before the OS partition. After the hours I wasted troubleshooting this issue, all of my UEFI GPT computers will adhere to the standard GPT partition configurations.  I will not use or recommend a product that isn't capable of placing the partitions in the correct order 100% of the time.  If its location doesn't matter why does the Windows installation media give a warning when the MSR partition is first?

https://forum.acronis.com/system/files/forum/2016/02/112029/msrpartition1.png

https://forum.acronis.com/system/files/forum/2015/10/101550/msr_first.p…

https://forum.acronis.com/system/files/forum/2016/02/112029/default.png

https://forum.acronis.com/system/files/forum/2016/02/112029/recommended.png

The ResetConfig.xml file accompanies the factory recovery image and is used by Windows push button reset.  The red 1  in the example below specifies the partition location of the Windows Recovery tools partition.  On a system that is migrated to a new disk with True Image this partition location is now occupied by the MSR partition.

 <SystemDisk>
         <DiskpartScriptPath>ResetPartitions-UEFI.txt</DiskpartScriptPath>
         <MinSize>75000</MinSize>
         <WindowsREPartition>1</WindowsREPartition>
         <WindowsREPath>Recovery\WindowsRE</WindowsREPath>
         <OSPartition>4</OSPartition>
         <RecoveryImagePartition>5</RecoveryImagePartition>
         <RecoveryImagePath>RecoveryImage</RecoveryImagePath>
         <RestoreFromIndex>1</RestoreFromIndex>
         <RecoveryImageIndex>1</RecoveryImageIndex>
      </SystemDisk>

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj127002.aspx

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Mustang,

Thanks for the helpful tutorial. But I noticed in ATI2016_userguide_en-US, in section 5.1.1.4 (Recovering your system to a new disk under bootable media), that the document recommends, as you do, that the order, location, size, and type of partitions on the new disk have to match the original disk that was backed up. And they provide a procedure to do just that: you make a note of these attributes for each backed-up partition, then as you select these partitions to be restored, you specify these attributes for the target disk. The disk is then presumably formatted and partitioned accordingly. And the final result should be a new disk that is identical to the old disk (barring size changes).

So if a Linux recovery disk were booted in UEFI mode, should the above documented process not produce the same results as your process?

Also, Just FYI, I recently upgraded my PC from 8.1 to 10, and my partitions look quite different from your example. See attached MiniTool Partition Wizard screenshot. Still, I would expect that any procedure that maintains the original partition order and type would work.

Best,
Dennis

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So I may have answered my own question. Of the 7 partitions in the MiniTool attachment I sent, partitions 3 and 6 are apparently not backed up. And I have been unable to find a way with the Rescue Media TI GUI to create a partition when there's no backed-up partition to restore. So were I to try to restore my partitions to a new SSD in this fashion, I woulld only end up with 5 rather than 7 partitions, and partitions past partition 2 would have the wrong number.

Your procedure by contrast allows for using the command window to execute the 'create partition' command. This would allow me to create all 7 partitions even though I would only restore 5 of them.

That said, if all the partitions had been backed up, do you think the procedure in the User Guide PDF would do the trick?

Dennis

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It's easy to see (for me too late) why this product gets 1* from many reviewers. I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning trying to recover a Samsung Series 5 ultrabook from an Acronis backup to a new SSD. So far, I'm still trying. The result, many results... is a failure to boot. No software aimed at the gerneral public should be like this, surely?

I'm going to try Paragon or Easus and see what happens.

 

Steve

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Steve, did you boot your recovery media in the same manner as the OS was installed?  If you have a UEFI/GPT install OS and boot the recovery media in Legacy/Bios mode, it will try to create an MBR partition scheme and not be bootable.  Cloning also has limitations due to sector size differences among drives and doing a backup and restore instead of a clone avoids those limitations.  

Use whatever backup software works best for you.  I've used them all and supplement with others from time to time as well.  However, offline backup and recovery is the best feature of Acronis and works flawlessly for me every time.  The key is knowing how to use the media.  In years past, it was very easy with only Legacy/MBR/Bios on the market.  Nowe we have motherboards that support Legacy and UEFI and 32 and 64-bit.  Some other backup products limit the bootable media to just one type of boot (the one that matches the OS) - in that case, it can be easier.  However, that same media may not work on other systems.  Acronis is unique in that it can be used on any type of motherboard, but knowing which method to use for your recovery is key:

This may be of use as it explains a little more and has some screenshots of the different bootable media methods and how to access them in a bios using the boot override command:  https://forum.acronis.com/forum/122101#comment-374851

Check the license for EASUS - it's a one time install - period.  Paragon is nice at times, but found that it failed to restore when both ACronis and Macrium had no issues.  Paragon also doesn't support eMMC hard drives (flash hard drives in many tablets - which I found out later).  There is no perfect backup software - they all do things well and all have issues too.  Use the one(s) you feel are the most reliable - being able to recover is the common goal. 

 

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Thank you for your kind reply. The laptop is with my friendly local repair shop now - and he is struggling, too. It has UEFI and I now discover that it has a small 25gb (?) SSD hard-wired onto the motherboard which acted as a cache to speed the mechanical hard drive along a little. After I upgraded to Windows 10, I decided next to upgrade the hard drive to a Samsung 240GB SSD. When I tried to clone the original disk to this new drive (dobe offline, using a USB Acronis WinPE recovery disk), I couldn't proceed as the partition that I needed to clone was greyed out. I later found out that this was because it was a "dynamic" partition and that Acronis will not clone such partitions. This was the beginning of my problems.

Having failed with the Acronis cloning, I then did a backup, which similarly failed. Next, I tried to do a clean install of Windows 10 (I was upgrading from 8.1) and all seemingly went well with the machine booting speedily; but, no, it wasn't to be: Windows had installed itself onto the tiny 25gb SSD rather than onto the target 240GB Samsung SSD. This had, I discovered, remained hidden to Windows and even to some partition software that I downloaded from the Internet. Windows Device Manager "saw" the disk but Disk Management nor partition software could see it.

You can by now sense my frustration and some anger at Acronis as none of this was made clear at the point of purchase or during use, and when issues arise I was left without immediate help.

I have used Paragon on relatives' machines without issue, but I use Acronis on my machines and have for years. I'm hoping the repair shop will be able to sort it out but I am even beginning to doubt their chances. The original partitioning of these Samsung machines, the small on-board SSD/cache and the use of dynamic partitions seems to be designed to make life very difficult for future upgraing. 

Thanks again for your kind help.

 

 

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I think the cached drives have been a problem for others too, still trying to find some more specific forum posts that are more common, but i'ts getting late so am going to turn in for tonight. This one is old, but may be onto something.  Perhaps you can disable the cached drive in the bios and try again, or if that doesn't work, can you physically disalbe the cached drive and still boot the machine? If so, perhaps you could then backup and restore after that?

http://forum.acronis.com/forum/30445#comment-113096

 

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One other note.. if you can disable the cache drive (physically or via the bios), when attemtpting to install Windows 10, how you boot the Windows installer makes a difference too.  If the disk is formatted as GPT, you must boot the Windows installer in UEFI mode so it detects a suitable drive to install on.  Likewise, if you have an MBR formatted disk, the Windows installer must be started in Legacy mode or it won't detect that drive as a suitable install location either.

I believe that using a DVD for a Windows install may have limitations too (it shouldn't but other forums suggest this).  If possible you can use the Windows 10 media creation tool and create a UsB installer which will definitely support both UEFI/GPT and/or Legacy/MBR installs if you specifically use your one time boot menu to pick the install method. 

Ultimately, the goal would be to use Acronis and just restore the image... with that cache ssd a clone isn't going to work because it does see it as a dynamic disks and cloning is not supported on dynamic disks, but a backup and restore should, especially if we can take the cache drive out of the picture before making the backup image. 

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Another note (I'm signing off now):  

45886: Hybrid Drives Are Not Supported in Acronis Bootable Environment

was written for 2015, but can't find an update for 2016.

 

So assuming this is an unsupported backup scenario, if you're up for a clean rebuild, perhaps you can't remove the hard-wired cache SSD, but can you disable SSRT in the bios?  If not, can you change the SATA mode from RAID to AHCI? If you can switch to AHCI, perhaps it will detect both drives as separate internal drives and allow a windows 10 install to the new SSD as long as it's formatted correctly (GPT or MBR) and you are booting the Windows installer to match how the drive is formatted.  

http://superuser.com/questions/899693/how-do-i-properly-disable-intel-s…

If you can get Windows to install correctly this way, Acronis (or other backup products) should have no trouble backing up and restoring down the road (I'm guessing cloning would work too).

And make sure you have the most current bios revision from your manufacturer too - it may help provide better compatibility for different drive setup scenarios if there is something newer.  Just curious, but what is your PC or motherboard make/model?

 

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Thanks so much for your generous help. The repair shop is trying to disable the onboard SSD / cache and then install Win 10 on just the new Samsung SSD. I'll find out later this morning how they faired. As of late yesterday afternoon, the technician said he'd tried 6 separate Windows instals without success.

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Steve,

This is an interesting problem. My gut feeling is that there is driver that needs to be added to WinPE to make it work. If that is true, it would also be the case for a clean install of Windows. Drivers can be added after Windows installation media is booted. If I were you, I would go to the original manufacturer of the laptop for support. I would ask them if they could supply the necessary drives in the format that WinPE will accept. They may also be able to supply the steps needed fo a clean install of Windows.

You could also try to identify drivers from a working Windows system on the laptop. I have a thread that helps with this process https://forum.acronis.com/forum/100770 .

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Hi - thanks again for your help on this. The laptop is now working well. We had to force the laptop to use UEFI then hide the on-board SSD (28gb) which now appears as "Foreign" in Disk Management. Then all went well. I'm just now cleaning up the files before creating an Acronis 2016 backup. I have my fingers crossed.

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Ditto for reaching out to the manufacturer.  Most of these SSD cache setups I have seen do so using Intel Smart Response.  The cache is setup using a RAID 0 volume via Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers.  Those drivers along with the Intel Management Console are the necessary pieces to get this setup to work.  I am supplying a link that gives an indepth on this below:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/248828/how_to_setup_intel_smart_response…

Since the setup here is a RAID 0 done in software it is a dynamic disk scenario therefore not supporting cloning.  The cache itself will keep the main drive greyed out when attempting restore operations.  The workaround is to remove the SSD cache using the Intel Management Console which breaks the RAID 0.  Perform the restore to the main drive then, re-establish the RAID 0 SSD cache via the Management Console

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Thanks. So far as I can tell, the laptop has been left with the cache ssd drive effectively disabled (i.e. it appears as "foreign" in disk management), and I'm disinclined to import it given all the troubles this has caused; after all, it is such a small drive and adds nothing to the laptop compared with the new 240gb SSD.