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Schedule Clone and restart

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Beginner
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I need a way to schedule a disk clone and ideally, reboot, not wait for a key press to shut down.

Even if its is done outside of the Acronis scheduler.

Basically, I have 2 eSata external drives that I rotate off-Site and are identical to the internal disk so if I have a failure, I can plug in one of the backups and be up and running without a reload/restore process.

To be honest, I really expected this to be a built in function of True Image based on the marketing material. I consider cloning a type of backup and the marketing clearly says "scheduled backups".

Before I go poking around trying to figure out what the clone process stores where on the drive and write a script to replicate it, I hope someone already has, or can provide details on how to.

Thanks in Advance.

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Posts: 3
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#1

I've not read of anyone scheduling a Clone ... Backup (also called Image) yes, but Clone ... no.

Regular Poster
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Comments: 229

#2

I'm not certain how this would be done either. just making a post to track the topic.
If this ability is NOT "built in" to Acronis MAYBE the easiest soultion would be freeware product "autohotkey". Simply click AHK's "record" program and then mouse click your way through launching acronis and doing a clone. when your done stop the recording. Autohotkey has the ability to take its recording and convert that recording in an ".exe" file. This .exe file when run would do your clone for you. From there its a simple matter of putting the .exe on the windows (or acronis pre/task scheduler).

Beginner
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Comments: 12

#3

Macro tools are not my favorite tools. A single OS or app change can blow them out of the water.

Why this function isn't built into the True Image to begin with is beyond me.

As I said over in the feature requests thread, with the price of drives these days, cloning is a viable backup strategy that eliminates the need to restore. Cloned eSata drives are fully bootable and can have a system back up in a matter of minutes which is orders of magnitude faster than any "restore" process.

Others have mentioned mirroring as an option, but automating the rebuild of a hardware RAID 0 mirror when drives get swapped is even harder and if compromised in some manner, RAID replicates the data without regard invalidating the "mirror".

Guess I will see if they are adding to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\BootExecute and try and reverse engineer it. I could replicate that and schedule a restart. If possible, modify their script to reboot rather than prompting for shut down.

Some info from Acronis itself would be a much better option though. ;)

Beginner
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Comments: 12

#4

OK, the reverse engineering has begun... Direction from Acronis still requested and encouraged... :)

I am testing on a spare XP PC I have using the Seagate version to not get into license issue or destroy data on my primary system.

They appear to add "autopartnt" to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\BootExecute as expected. so mine reads: (when you edit the multi-string in regedit)

autocheck autochk *
pgdfgsvc C 1
autopartnt

autopartnt.exe and it's similarly named different extensioned friends are in %systemroot%\system32 [c:\windows\system32 on my system]

.let is unknown
.nam appears to be display messages
.scr appears to be the script file!!!!

Here is the .scr from my test bed to clone a 80GB internal to a 120Gb USB external.

[state]
version 1
id_new 218
computer 1
disk 1 512 398632846
lock_mbr
219 7 63 156280257 C 6 3
disk 2 512 1139319867
lock_mbr
trace 1 5014079
[commands]
op_mark 255
cur_disk 2
copy_geometry 1
op_mark 258
cur_disk 1
op_mark 259
id 219
copy
disk 2
clone 1
begin 0
size 0
user_data 219
consistency 2
begin 63
size 240107427
consistency 1
is_context_filled 1
context_op copy
full_begin 63
full_size 240107427
consistency 0
flush
op_mark 261
cur_disk 2
flush
copy_mbr 1
commit

I grabbed this by just having a modified document open in something to stop/cancel the reboot process after hitting reboot in TI.

In theory, understanding the script file is not required, just making one that does what you want, and making sure a copy is there when you are want, making the registry addition and then scheduling a restart with "shutdown /f /r" should be enough...

That is enough for tonight.

Regular Poster
Posts: 11
Comments: 229

#5

ok you got my attention with your reverse enginerring. SWEET!

as for the restart you are correct I might be inclined to use a -c and -t option so one can abort the cloning if the job was started by accident that way you don't have to suffer through an entire job cycle that you didn't really desire.

something like this should work...
:: -t ## is countdown (in seconds) to shutdown
:: -s means shutdown the pc (-r would mean restart)
:: -c "xxx" is a comment text to user
:: -f forces running applications to close without warning.
::
shutdown -t 300 -f -r -c "Restart of PC in x seconds to let Acronis clone disk TO CANCEL this restart click start run and type \"shutdown -a\" (no quotes)"

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#6

If you do get it to work, it may not work on repeat runs. Only testing will tell. I know on the Linux reboots that it's very strict on its detection and it will only process repeat runs under certain situations. However, this is autopartnt and it may work differently. I would still expect strict detection, though.

I would guess that (at the very least) separate scripts would be needed for the different drives.

Beginner
Posts: 3
Comments: 12

#7

Trying to figure out the registry change. The XP Reg command is nice, but I can't figure out how to append something to the end of the existing Multi_SZ key.

reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager" /v BootExecute /d autopartnt

...wants to overwrite the entire key. :(

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Comments: 4263

#8

If the only snag is this part, I would think a small script or program could be written easily enough to make the changes.

If you add "autopartnt" to the key manually (using Regedit), does the rest of the procedure work correctly? Can you do repeated clones? Does the same script work for both drives or do you need separate ones?

When working on projects like this, I like to verify the entire procedure works manually before spending time on automating it. Sometimes, it's not worth it.

For testing, you could just save the current (unmodified) value of the BootExecute key and then write the entire value back with your code (adding "autopartnt"). Once testing is finished, replace the key with its original value.

Beginner
Posts: 3
Comments: 12

#9

It looks like detection is going to be an issue. :(

I have run a bunch of tests and cannot get a second run to work with modifications to either disk.

Any change to the source or destination appears to break the detection portion of the script, and without some knowledge of what those "disk [N]" and "lock_mbr" parameters are, I think I am sunk. :(

I really like TI, but guess I will have to research alternative products unless Acronis steps up and recognizes this gap in the product.

I hate to try and use a macro, and even if I do, the system still isn't going to reboot when done.

Beginner
Posts: 3
Comments: 12

#10

Not to post about a competing product, but HDClone claims scheduled cloning will be available in their next revision. I really would prefer to use TI. Pleeeeaaaaase...

Beginner
Posts: 3
Comments: 12

#11

I think I found a solution until Acronis gets its act together. Not nearly as full featured as TI, but looks like it will do the job.

XXClone-Pro

http://www.xxclone.com

Beginner
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Comments: 2

#12

Why dont you use the trueimagecmd script - with the /reboot option.

I am experimenting at the mo - I too am a bit hacked off the clone stuff is not built in.

Beginner
Posts: 3
Comments: 12

#13

Unless I misunderstand your question, the script (autopartnt.scr) is not reusable due to strict drive detection built into the execution engine.

Unless you figure out how to edit those Disk 1 and Disk 2 lines to reflect the current checksum or whatever they are, you are SOL using it after the first run.

With the great prices on Fantom and Cavalry eSATA drives, the advantages of scheduled clones for backup and recovery are incredible IMHO. I just wish Acronis would realize it.

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Comments: 1342

#14

Hello all,

Let me assist you.

Unfortunately there's no ability in the current version of the software to schedule a clone, however, I've forwarded your request to the appropriate department, and probably this feature will be supported in the future versions of Acronis software.

Please reply to this thread if you have any additional questions.

Thank you.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 2

#15

Hi

I put these files into a cmd file:

cd\Program Files\Acronis\BackupAndRecovery\
TrueImageCmd.exe /clone /reboot /harddisk:1 /target_harddisk:2

And scheduled it to run in the small hours of the morning.

The only issue is the operator has to reboot the machine in the morning - but no big issue.

Stuart

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 1

#16

Has there been any update to this? Unfortunately True Image 2013 doesn't support scheduling disk cloning either, and doesn't have TrueImageCmd.exe so I can't use a Windows scheduled task to work around this either... :/ It's making my HTPC backups a lot more annoying that it should be.