Skip to main content

Why is GPT default when cloning an MBR disk?

Thread needs solution
Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 5

This is utterly annoying. I'm using the desktop version. As booting from a media disk every time I wish to clone, just isn't an option.

Cloning via usb … source drive is MBR. Why on earth would ATI want to automatically convert the destination to GPT? And why is there not an option to avoid this? Was there never a consideration that, quite possibly, someone might use this software to clone a drive from a different machine? Or do I need to upgrade my license?

Please, provide an option in the clone process to choose the destination type. If there is one, I'm just blind and can't find it. Yes, the machine I am using the desktop software on is UEFI. But the drive I am trying to clone is from an older system that does not support UEFI. Therefore, I need to maintain MBR. Or I have to go through another software when done to convert it back.

Did a quick google search, didn't really find an answer.

0 Users found this helpful
Forum Hero
Posts: 50
Comments: 8170

#1

Default behavior is that formatting is based on the machine running the clone tools boot mode.

UEFI boot results in GPT format.

Legacy boot results in MBR format.

If you can boot your machine in Legacy mode using recovery media you can clome MBR successfully. 

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#2

William, welcome to these public User Forums.

The option is available when cloning but this depends on the choices you make during that cloning process, i.e. if you choose Automatic (recommended) on the cloning panel, then the target drive if using a UEFI system will be migrated to GPT if was MBR.

If you want to clone MBR to MBR from a UEFI system, then you will need to choose Manual on the cloning panel, then choose the partition format used for the target drive when asked.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 5

#3

IMO … this software shouldn't automatically choose the destination format based on the system specs. It should choose based on what the actual format of the source is. Seems like such a simple idea. Or at least it should provide an actual option to manually choose. Which it does not. Manual mode allows me to exclude a partition, but not to choose a format between MBR/GPT. It never asks. Am I missing something?

I use other softwares as well … but had hopes for this one, since it is newer than what I currently use. The older programs I use, which are no longer supported, accomplish cloning without the hassle.

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#4

Acronis caters for the majority of users with these options William, and legacy / MBR systems are becoming less and less as time passes, whereas UEFI / GPT is the norm for all recent systems, hence this is what Acronis have focused on.

My computer is in the middle of a long backup task at present so I cannot simulate the manual clone process to find the steps needed to select the target partitioning format (MBR vs GPT) but this has been raised in the forums previously and the option is present.

The alternative option here is by using the Acronis rescue media to perform cloning, where the boot mode used will dictate the partition format used for the target drive, i.e. boot the media in Legacy mode to get a MBR target for the clone.  This isn't as convenient as the Live Clone option provided with ATI 2018 & 2019 but definitely works, albeit it requires a dedicated environment to use.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 5

#5

I will run it again in the morning when I get in, and choose manual, again. I've done it a few times, and even initialized the destination drive as MBR (in windows disk mgmt) before running a manual clone. I still haven't seen an option to pick MBR. It just says that the destination will be converted to GPT. I'm all ears if someone can point me to where this option is.

In my work environment and market, I have the need to swap drives and clone on the fly via usb port. The machine that has ATI 2019 on it … its not ideal to keep rebooting and changing modes in bios. I understand MBR is older … but there's still plenty of need for cloning software to handle it easily. After all, I can't possibly be the only one with customers who still run XP, and there's quite a few. Many more still on Windows 7.

 

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#6

In my work environment and market, I have the need to swap drives and clone on the fly via usb port. The machine that has ATI 2019 on it … its not ideal to keep rebooting and changing modes in bios. I understand MBR is older … but there's still plenty of need for cloning software to handle it easily. After all, I can't possibly be the only one with customers who still run XP, and there's quite a few. Many more still on Windows 7.

If this is a repetitive business requirement to clone drives, then I would suggest investing in a hardware dual-dock clone solution where you could put the source & target drives in the dock, independent of needing to connect to a computer then perform a bit-for-bit clone where the format of the drive is not important.

I use an Orico dock I got from Amazon that does this (no longer shown as available - but lots of alternatives).

With regards to your customers still running XP, then unless these computers are permanently offline, these represent significant risk to business, as will be the case for Windows 7 after Microsoft drop all support for it early next year.

Forum Hero
Posts: 50
Comments: 8170

#7

William,

Since you have a need to clone frequently have you looked at the HDD duplicating station products on the market?  These devices can be set to clone from one disk to another without a software component so if you have a high need for cloned drives they are a good solution.  Some of them can be set with clone as default making it a plug the disk in and clone task.  Check out the link below:

HDD Duplicators

 

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 5

#8

Will check out that option, thanks. Most cloning needs are for end users. While I try to get those customers to upgrade, it's low income in my area, so many aren't in a position to afford it. And they keep kicking the can down the road. None of my commercial clients are still running XP, except for the ones that require it. Which is to say those machines are interfaced with other equipment that requires it, and upgrading isn't viable.

I do use a couple of other softwares … such as the older Norton Ghost, and an older Media Tools Pro for mirroring drives, and recovering drives with bad sectors. MTL though, destination drive requires resizing when the two drive capacities don't match. And there's a few others I use from time to time.

Just wanted something newer and up to date. Had hopes for this one. Aside from it forcing the destination drive to conform to the system specs instead of the source specs, it seems like a nice software.

Forum Hero
Posts: 50
Comments: 8170

#9

The True Image software is a good product.  It does have a learning curve so takes some effort on the users part to learn some things before using.  If you have a need for large scale mass cloning though the devices I linked you to are viable solution.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 1

#10

I was about 10 seconds away from finding a different Imaging solution when I realized this interesting factoid. I found that when you initialize your drive in windows 10 it will initialize to the same Boot type that is installed on the machine your using or at least the new build of windows 10 forces GPT. ATI in turn, uses that boot type when imaging. The Solution I came to realize was to.

1. If you're using a GPT boot method on the computer you're imaging from or windows 10 1803+?? that you need to be mindful when initializing the disk to choose MBR boot method otherwise you will use the default boot method of the computer you are using. I'm unaware if Acronis only has this issue when using a computer using GPT and imaging a MBR or if the same disaster applies when booting from an MBR machine. Either way it seem like a simple fix in a version going forward. ATI should be able to detect the boot method the the disk being imagined from and use it.

Also something to note, you will most likely need to use Diskpart to delete all partitions created after the failed image, then you should be able re-initialize the drive to MBR.

 

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#11

Dave, welcome to these public User Forums.

ATI is a home user focused application where Acronis expects most users to use cloning to create a duplicate copy of a drive in the host computer to a new drive to be used in the same computer, hence it follows the BIOS mode used by the host computer.

If you want the greatest control over which partition scheme will be used when cloning, then use the Acronis Rescue Media for that task, as that media is designed to work as either Legacy or UEFI and will produce a clone according to the mode used to boot from it.

KB 59877: Acronis True Image: how to distinguish between UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot modes of Acronis Bootable Media

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 1

#12

I have the same problem as everyone (and it seems to me that it is very common on the net). when I had Windows 7 on my PC from where I restored the images of my custumers' PCs I could easily format the MBR or GPT support initially and recover a relative image of the same format without Acronis transforming anything.
Now that I have windows 10 on my pc with Acronis 2018 this performs this automatic conversion from MBR to GPT.
It's very uncomfortable. The only solution that I have now adopted is to boot with a Media Builder directly on the client's PC and restore the image from an external disk.
With the passage of time .... the software gets worse :-(

Forum Moderator
Posts: 159
Comments: 5646

#13

Hello Simone,

thank you for sharing your experience! I've registered your feedback along with comments in this thread in the internal change request to support selection of the boot mode. However, this change is not likely to be implemented in the near future due to the reasons already mentioned by Steve..

 

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

#14

This is not uncommon and is easy to fix.  Your software already has that capability.  Please make it available  to users.  

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#15

I'm also very disappointed to see the lack of this feature. There are other (free) tools out there, that can do it. The upgrade I made to Acronis 2020 last year, will be my last one, if this remains the case going forward.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 159
Comments: 5646

#16

Thank you, Frank! Added your comment as a vote for the existing feature request TI-179333 Allow selecting the boot mode (BIOS or UEFI) after recovery/cloning. Currently, Acronis Rescue Media can be used as workaround https://forum.acronis.com/comment/515182#comment-515182

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#17

I appreciate you adding my vote to the list. I realize the rescue media can be used, and in the past, that is how I always used Acronis.

In this case, though, both drives (the original drive and the new one) are in an external usb drive station, so there is not really a need to boot out of the operating system. To clarify, I'm using my desktop computer to prepare an SSD for my laptop, by copying the old laptop drive to the SSD.

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#18

Frank, having both drives in an external caddy will still follow the BIOS mode used by the PC being used in the current implementation.

Cloning laptop drives has other considerations here too due to the way Acronis tries to apply configuration changes to the BCD.

Please see KB 56634: Acronis True Image: how to clone a disk - and review the step by step guide given there.

Note: the first section of the above KB document directs laptop users to KB 2931: How to clone a laptop hard drive - and has the following paragraph:

It is recommended to put the new drive in the laptop first, and connect the old drive via USB. Otherwise you will may not be able to boot from the new cloned drive, as Acronis True Image will apply a bootability fix to the new disk and adjust the boot settings of the target drive to boot from USB. If the new disk is inside the laptop, the boot settings will be automatically adjusted to boot from internal disk. As such, hard disk bays cannot be used for target disks. For example, if you have a target hard disk (i.e. the new disk to which you clone, and from which you intend to boot the machine) in a bay, and not physically inside the laptop, the target hard disk will be unbootable after the cloning.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#19

Steve,

Indeed, it does not work, although the problem I was having is that Acronis wrote the disk as GPT instead of MBR. I wasn't aware of the "bootability fix." I think I actually got it to work once by backing up each partition and then writing them partition-by-partition to the new disk. But that's just a lot of work.

It sounds to me like Acronis is just second-guessing too much. Why not just make an exact copy of the source disk to the target? That's what many of us expect. The funny thing, as I mentioned before, is that there is free software (Minitool Partition Wizard) that can do this perfectly, without having to boot to "rescue media" or any such thing.

Acronis is making an easy task, very hard...and I guess this is because some users actually want that kind of functionality.

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#20

Frank, we hear you loud and clear as other users here but not sure that Acronis have also heard the same clear message!

I like Acronis obviously with my MVP status, but I will use whatever tools will do the task I need doing, which means I will also use other products such as MPW or MR etc.  In fact, having been doing so for the last couple of days fighting a dying mSATA SSD in a Dell laptop for family!  Bad clusters on a SSD are a nightmare! (Have managed to get Win 7 working on a new SSD after too many attempts at recovery using ATI & MR, but now fighting Win 10 upgrade 'migrate_data' errors!).

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 1

#21

It is quite simply mind blowing that any backup application would change or convert any backup to another format.  

Why is is so hard to recover the image I have made and keep it in the same format? 

Is it not the primary purpose of a backup program to recover EXACTLY what I have backed up and reimage that EXACT backup to the same or other medium ?

The majority of our systems still using Windows XP and Window 7 that can not be upgraded due to hardware and custom software installed and the amount of wasted time when images do not not boot as they as GPT is a waste of resources and time.

If I am a user with limited knowledge, who recovers my own PC image back to another drive and it is already GPT then is would be recovered as GPT if Acronis recovered the image EXACTLY as backed up. There is next to no use cases where it is required to covert from MBR to GPT. 

We purchased over 300 licences here for Acronis 2019 and when the time came to get another 300 I can tell you we didn't go with Acronis and never will again. Sorry to say every version just gets worse and worse and has been since 2014, the last good version.

Legend
Posts: 102
Comments: 22355

#22

Colm, welcome to these public User Forums.

Please submit your comments direct to Acronis using the Feedback tool in the ATI GUI Help area, as the more users who say this to them, the better the chance that this unwanted behaviour might change or that the program will give users the choice of what partition scheme is to be used instead of blindly following the scheme used on the PC where the tool is being used.

I suspect that someone at Acronis thought this might get users to buy more licenses so that all these type of operations are only done on the PC where drives are to be used, but instead have alienated users by causing unnecessary problems doing what should be a straight one for one clone action.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 5

#23
Steve Smith wrote:

I suspect that someone at Acronis thought this might get users to buy more licenses so that all these type of operations are only done on the PC where drives are to be used, but instead have alienated users by causing unnecessary problems doing what should be a straight one for one clone action.

Personally, I'd be happy to pay for a "tech license" if it meant these features we're looking for could be available. Have an end user version and a tech/business version. It's not rocket science. :) 

Forum Moderator
Posts: 159
Comments: 5646

#24
Colm McCallion Work wrote:

It is quite simply mind blowing that any backup application would change or convert any backup to another format.  

Why is is so hard to recover the image I have made and keep it in the same format? 

Is it not the primary purpose of a backup program to recover EXACTLY what I have backed up and reimage that EXACT backup to the same or other medium ?

The majority of our systems still using Windows XP and Window 7 that can not be upgraded due to hardware and custom software installed and the amount of wasted time when images do not not boot as they as GPT is a waste of resources and time.

Hi! I've added your feedback as a vote for the feature request TI-179333 Allow selecting the boot mode (BIOS or UEFI) after recovery/cloning. As far as I know, the auto-conversion was implemented in order to simplify the process of migration to the new hardware. Hopefully, we'll get more flexibility for the scenarios where conversion is not needed.