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Partitions not restoring correctly

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Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 13

So I made a recovery file (it’s actually 2 .tib files) of my computer and I am trying to restore the recovery to the same disk it was created from to return it to the state it was in when the recovery file was made.

When opening the recovery file in the Recovery Wizard it shows that it contains the following:

Disk 1

NTFS (Unlabeled) (C:)

Flags: Pri

Capacity: 931 GB

Used Space: 20.26 GB

Type: NTFS

 

NTFS (System Reserved) (D:)

Flags: Pri, Active

Capacity: 549 MB

Used Space: 30.53 MB

Type: NTFS

 

MBR and Track 0

Type: MBR and Track 0

 

So far so good, the C: and D: partitions shown are the correct sizes and types as the original was.

==========================

Next I select “Disk 1” in the what to recover step and it checks all three boxes to the left of the above partitions & MBR.

(Maybe this is the mistake?  Maybe I need to recover the partitions separately?)

==========================

Next I select the correct disk in “Destination of Disk 1”

It warns me the drive has data and will be erased.  I select okay.

==========================

Next I review the summary of operations.  This is where the problem appears:

The summary on the “Finish” tab shows the following.

Number of operations: 4

1. Clearing disk

 Hard disk: 1

 

2. Creating partition

Hard disk: 1

Drive letter: -

File System: FAT 32

Volume label:

Size 100 MB

 

3. Recovering partition

Hard disk: 1

Drive letter C:

File system: NTFS

Volume label:

Size: 931 GB->931.3 GB

 

4. Recovering MBR

Hard disk: 1

====================

So the obvious question is, why isn’t the 549 MB System Reserved NTFS partition being restored and why is there a 100MB FAT partition being created instead?

And of course how can I get back the original partitions (including the system reserved partition) as they were when the recovery file was made?

Thank you!

 

 

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Forum Hero
Posts: 58
Comments: 7302

Was the original OS install legacy? It appears it may have been, but when you are restoring, you have booted the rescue media in uefi mode and it is going to restore as uefi/gpt.

https://www.itprotoday.com/windows-8/q-what-tips-will-help-me-install-windows-uefi-machine-i-built-myself

This should be fine though, as your system appears to support this since it probably booted rescue media in uefi mode. I can only guess though. Use your bios one time boot menu to be sure.

https://kb.acronis.com/content/59877

Note that your original configuration is only using 30.53MB and will fit in the new 100MB partition just fine, regardless.

If you did a full disk backup and are restoring the full disk, the resulting partition scheme will be bootable and recovery working. Acronis can transition a legacy install to UEFI if you want. Or, you should boot the rescue media in legacy mode to keep the legacy install during recovery.

FYI, windows 10 is recently bugged with restore points after a major upgrade... 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/windows-10-wont-boot-when-using-system-restore-after-updating/

The latest round of Windows 10 updates and/or major upgrades is freaking havoc for some people and I suspect it is causing issues for some backup software restores too. So far, things are still going fine for me after upgrading from 1809 to 1903 about 2 weeks ago, but I suspect that different systems may have different results.

Forum Hero
Posts: 58
Comments: 7302

Here's another great article about verifying legacy vs uefi OS install. Ideally you'd want to check before a recovery to be sure. 

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/85195-check-if-windows-10-using-uefi-legacy-bios.html

Forum Hero
Posts: 36
Comments: 7018

It appears that you have 2 lettered partitions on the same disk C; and D:.  Your Reserve partition shows to be on the D: partition which lends some credence to Bobbo's suggestion of Win 10 upgrade being involved.  I have had an experience where a Win 10 upgrade moved an EFI system partition to another lettered partition myself so this can happen but I cannot explain why.

If you are restoring the entire disk (both C and D partitions) then you should be fine even though you do not see the Reserved partition listed in the app.   The recovery operation should restore all partitions even unlettered ones that are on disk.

Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 13

Thank you all for some great information.  I had determined that the computer is currently using UEFI and wrote a response, but now I can skip all that and cut to more specific things since you guys pointed me in the right direction.

So apparently, because the computer is booting UEFI, according to Bobbo_3C0X1's link > https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/85195-check-if-windows-10-using-uefi-legacy-bios.html

that's why it set up the 100 MB partition instead of the ~500 MB partition as shown in the legacy bios Disk Management screenshot in the link.

In fact when I go to Disk Management my 100 MB partition looks just like the one in that link and says the same (EFI System Partition)

So it looks like this is the standard for installs to a UEFI machine and it installed the way it is supposed to.

But I still feel a little queezy that it's a FAT partition and not NTFS.  I don't know why that happens, whether it is supposed to be that way and whether or not that could be a problem down the road.

The bottom line is that this is my nice new toy and I want to get it off to the best start possible.  That means the most solid foundation I can give it.

If you guys think it should be okay, that goes a long way for me, and sounds like you do.

 

===============

Side note regarding updates:

The original OS that came installed on this machine is 10.0.17134 build 17134 (Win 10 Pro).  This is the one that I made the restore file with and what it is now reset to after I restored it.

Yesterday, I did all the updates to the latest Win 10 version to see what would happen (I believe it took it up to 1903).

I didn’t do much of a test, but things seemed to work okay except for some problems that prompted me to think I might disable updates and leave things the original way they are after this restore.  For example, all my taskbar shortcuts stopped working and generated error messages after the updates but worked fine in the original install.  That in itself is probably something I can fix, but it got me worried about what other problems the updates caused.  Since its an older machine, I’m thinking I might just forget about updates altogether and disable them.  I was attempting to update it one time to the latest and then shut updates off permanently.  Still thinking about what I want to do about that.  On the one hand I like the thought of having the latest and greatest, on the other hand I like my computer to work  What to do? :)

Might try the updates one more time now, test some taskbar shortcuts and if it has the same problem restore the original version one more time and shut off updates permanently so I don't have more problems.

I need a solid foundation here so I can start trying to rebuild my computer programs and configurations after a nasty crash on my laptop and get back to business.  Don't want to have to keep fooling around with the OS, so maybe the best bet is to forget about the updates.  Or, maybe I'll wait a while until there is something more stable available for updating and create a restore file before trying it.  Still thinking about that.  I hate having to spend so much time worrying about the darn OS.  It's 2019, can't MS just make it work?!

But anyway, I think you both are saying that the restore with the 100 MB FAT partition seems to be fine.  And that's the main thing I wanted to know.  I didn't understand why it did that, and now, thanks to you guys I do.

I welcome any other comments about anything I said.

Thanks for all the help!

 

Forum Hero
Posts: 36
Comments: 7018

Ryan,

The System partition must be formatted as FAT32 so yours is correct.

For more on UEFI/GPT partition layout see the excerpt below:

Windows partition requirements:

  • System partition

    The device must contain a system partition. On GPT drives, this is known as the EFI System Partition, or the ESP. This partition is usually stored on the primary hard drive. The device boots to this partition.

    The minimum size of this partition is 100 MB, and must be formatted using the FAT32 file format.

    This partition is managed by the operating system, and should not contain any other files, including Windows RE tools.

    Note  

    For Advanced Format 4K Native drives (4-KB-per-sector) drives, the minimum size is 260 MB, due to a limitation of the FAT32 file format. The minimum partition size of FAT32 drives is calculated as sector size (4KB) x 65527 = 256 MB.

    Advanced Format 512e drives are not affected by this limitation, because their emulated sector size is 512 bytes. 512 bytes x 65527 = 32 MB, which is less than the 100 MB minimum size for this partition.

     
  • Microsoft® reserved partition (MSR)

    Beginning in Windows 10, the size of the MSR is 16 MB.

    Add an MSR to each GPT drive to help with partition management. The MSR is a reserved partition that does not receive a partition ID. It cannot store user data.

  • Other utility partitions

    Any other utility partitions not managed by Windows must be located before the Windows, data, and recovery image partitions. This allows end users to perform actions such as resizing the Windows partition without affecting system utilities.

    Protect end users from accidentally modifying utility partitions by identifying them using a GPT attribute. This prevents these partitions from appearing in File Explorer.

  The MSR partition will not be shown in Disk Management or most utility software.

There is a big difference between Windows Updates and Windows version upgrades.  Updates should be installed because they contain fixes for issues and security patches.  Version upgrades (1809 to 1903) as an example can bring problems at times.  Best practice is to create a backup of your OS drive just prior to doing an upgrade as insurance you can get a stable system back if needed.

 

Forum Hero
Posts: 58
Comments: 7302

It's as Enchantech shows above. Funny thing is UEFi requires a FAT32 boot partition and legacy requires NTFS (also mentioned in the original article link up above).

100MB is the "norm" in most cases but there are times when it's larger. Windows 10 upgrades also tend to create new recovery partitions at the end of the disk, while leaving older ones earlier on the disk. And the newer ones s em to be growing larger so you'll likely see them with different sizes. I've had duplicate recovery partitions my last 2 major upgrades.  You can find the active one using

reagentc /info

There is a lot of win 10 flakiness with 1903 right now. I would hold off for a bit, but would not hold off on updates on the entirely. There are a lot of nasty 0 day exploits and they keep coming out. Even XP got a patch recently because it was a vector to other Windows systems across networks.

Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 13

Enchantech wrote:

There is a big difference between Windows Updates and Windows version upgrades.  Updates should be installed because they contain fixes for issues and security patches.  Version upgrades (1809 to 1903) as an example can bring problems at times.  Best practice is to create a backup of your OS drive just prior to doing an upgrade as insurance you can get a stable system back if needed.

===========

Thank you.  When you let Windows 10 do the updates, does it also upgrade the version?

All I can say is that last night, I let this raw install do all the updating it wanted until it finally said it was up to date after an hour or two and maybe a dozen or more restarts.  When I was done, the few apps that I had pinned to the taskbar generated an error when I clicked on their taskbar icons.  Seems clear the updates caused that.

I knew I had a full backup of the drive in the raw state and very little was added, so I could restore if I had to.  And that's what I did because I was concerned the updates ruined other things.  So now I have the update service disabled.

It does, however still let you update Defender database even with that service disabled.  I'm not fond of Defender though as the interface is really difficult to use effectively and it seems to get a whole lot of false positives so far.  It does find stuff, but it's so clunky that it's almost useless.

I never let my last OS, Windows 7 on my laptop update in the maybe 5 years or more I had it and never had any problems.  I think all of these security patches are necessary for businesses, but 95% of them do nothing for most consumers.

But yes, before enabling the update service I would do a full drive backup.  That is clearly a smart idea since trying to undo an update is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.  The scary part is that probably 99% of users just get the updates automatically and have to live with whatever happens.  I don't like not being able to control when I get them,

I see that WIndows 10 is now letting users have SOME control over when they get them.  But it still forces them on you.  How can they keep doing this after they have pushed out some really messes?  Service disabled, I'll decide when and if I get them now thank you MS.

PS:  I hate Windows 10.  Was holding off as long as I could to upgrade from 7 which I love.  I really don't like the cartoonish interface.  Bugs the heck out of me.  I just use my computer for personal work and browsing.  Don't need the CPU hogging animated tiles.  But I guess this is where it's at now.  Looks like it's built for third graders.

Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 13

Bobbo_3C0X1 wrote:

It's as Enchantech shows above. Funny thing is UEFi requires a FAT32 boot partition and legacy requires NTFS (also mentioned in the original article link up above).

100MB is the "norm" in most cases but there are times when it's larger. Windows 10 upgrades also tend to create new recovery partitions at the end of the disk, while leaving older ones earlier on the disk. And the newer ones s em to be growing larger so you'll likely see them with different sizes. I've had duplicate recovery partitions my last 2 major upgrades.  You can find the active one using

reagentc /info

There is a lot of win 10 flakiness with 1903 right now. I would hold off for a bit, but would not hold off on updates on the entirely. There are a lot of nasty 0 day exploits and they keep coming out. Even XP got a patch recently because it was a vector to other Windows systems across networks.

This is all mysterious to me.

Why would UEFI create only a 100MB FAT partition and legacy create an ~500MB NTFS partition?  What the heck is that about?

Another mystery...

So my ATI "system reserved" image file is ~500MB NTFS.  I assume when the seller of the computer installed Windows 10, they did with the bios in legacy mode, or used whatever process that caused it to end up like that.

But when I restored this image, with the bios in UEFI mode, how did ATI know to create the 100MB FAT partition and not use the ~500 MB NTFS partition that was included in the backup?  ATI is not a Windows installer.  If I had used a Windows installer, I would expect it to test what kind of bios mode is being used and set the "system reserved" partition accordingly.

But I would have expected ATI to just slavishly restore the images the way they were in the backup.  Where did the instructions to create the new 100MB partition and ignore the partition in the backup come from?  How would ATI know to do this?  First it would have to know it was a Windows 10 image in the first place.  Very mysterious!

I am afraid to allow the computer to update at all now since when I tried it last time, it screwed my taskbar links.  That;s the reason I restored from my backup image in the first place.  The updates seemed to cause problems.  Also, yes, I have been reading about the controversy over 1903.  I have updates disabled for the time being.  Not sure what I am going to do.  I am not feeling good about updating.  The computer came with updates to December 2018, so it is several months behind.  But I don't want to get everything installed and configured then roach my system with a bad update after all that work.  It's a dilemma.

Forum Hero
Posts: 58
Comments: 7302

Ryan, Acronis does interact with the OS in the restored image.  It is able to determine the OS type from the system reserved information in the existing backup.  This is important/necessary because...

If you are restoring an original legacy OS as legacy again, it may end up being exactly the same.  If you are restoring an original legacy OS and converting to UEFI/GPT, it has to be updated and recreated.  Remember, legacy requires an NTFS partition to boot from and UEFI requires a FAT32 partition to boot from so this conversion has to take place.  These partition schemes are Windows limitations.

As for the sizes - see https://www.howtogeek.com/192772/what-is-the-system-reserved-partition-and-can-you-delete-it/

Essentially, Windows 7 was 100MB by default, 8 was 350MB by default and 10 is 500MB by default.  However, the size varies from system to system and does not always follow this default scheme.  The size is not important unless running out of room for some reason, but when only using 30MB of 100MB - you're not going to run out of space on it.

I would not be afraid to update, now that you now you can successfully restore a backup and have a fully bootable system.  Before doing any updates, I would take a full backup again though - to make sure I have the most current backup possible.  Windows 10 updates have been brutal these last couple of months.  I just tried to use windows update for 1903 yesterday, and the media creation tool and both failed miserably.  They didn't hose my system, but they just wouldn't upgrade.  I ended up upgrading using the Windows 10 update assistant (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3159635/windows-10-update-assistant) which worked much better.  

No matter how stable and safe you feel with the current patch status, you are susceptible to more malware and ransomware when you are outdated.  Just takes the wrong drive by website or attachment to unleash havoc.  Not if.. but when.  Maybe not for years to come, but I'm not willing to risk my personal data - I've been a victim of online identify fraud (despite my best security efforts) and it is not a fun experience.

 

Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 13

Bobbo_3C0X1 wrote:

Ryan, Acronis does interact with the OS in the restored image.  It is able to determine the OS type from the system reserved information in the existing backup.  This is important/necessary because...

First, thank you for the great info!  Interesting.  ATI has more AI than I thought! :)

Essentially, Windows 7 was 100MB by default, 8 was 350MB by default and 10 is 500MB by default.  However, the size varies from system to system and does not always follow this default scheme.  The size is not important unless running out of room for some reason, but when only using 30MB of 100MB - you're not going to run out of space on it.

Okay, but this is a fresh system.  Is it going to grow to >100MB as I install programs, do updates, etc?  What kind of things make it grow?

No matter how stable and safe you feel with the current patch status, you are susceptible to more malware and ransomware when you are outdated.  Just takes the wrong drive by website or attachment to unleash havoc.  Not if.. but when.  Maybe not for years to come, but I'm not willing to risk my personal data - I've been a victim of online identify fraud (despite my best security efforts) and it is not a fun experience.

I'm currently running v1803 17134.765

Interestingly, even though the update service is disabled it still seems to be doing some kinds of updates.  Maybe security updates?  It did not update to any version after 1803, but it does show it did a cumulative update to the 1803 version I was already running even with the service disabled.  I wonder how that happened and what it means.  Maybe it is installing critical security updates and just not going to newer versions?

Just as a side note.  I managed dozens of financial accounts and millions of dollars on my XP and then Windows 7 laptops for maybe 15 years.  Never did updates, never used any kind of malware protection ( I did use a good firewall though that issues warnings for ALL outgoing traffic).  Never had any problems with a breach of security.  I did get a couple of infections during that time which I manually removed, and one that I decided to do a complete reinstall.  Still didn't cause me anything but an inconvenience.  Yes, the threat is real.  But I think it's just as much about bad luck as poor security in many cases.  Of course in a large organization the chances of a breach increase and you have to use measures.  But for an individual user, I believe the risk is overblown (of course this assumes they have at least a basic understanding of the technical issues of security which I realize many users don't).