True Image 2014 cloned onto TWO drives instead of the one I selected
Okay, I'm a bit overwhelmed right now because I think Acronis formatted my data drive even though it should not have been involved. I will err on providing too much information, as I have no idea how I could have screwed this up. The TL;DR is:
Computer had drive C and D. Added drive E. Instructed Acronis to clone C to E. Acronis cloned C to E, AND formatted and cloned C to D. All my data on D is gone.
Here's what happened in detail:
I'm running Windows 7 with Acronis True Image 2014, with a 240GB Crucial SSD as my system drive, and a 2TB HDD for the majority of my data files. I just got a 1TB Samsung SSD with the intention of replacing the Crucial as my system drive.
My motherboard has two SATA chipsets, an Intel SATA 6 Gb/s and a Marvell SATA 6 Gb/s. I had the 240GB SSD and the 2TB HDD connected to the Intel sockets. The motherboard info states that "[The Marvell] SATA ports are for data hard drives only. ATAPI devices are not supported," which might mean that those ports are not bootable, or it might just mean that you can't connect something like an optical drive to them. Anyway, I installed the Samsung SSD into the Marvell socket for the cloning process, and planned to switch to the Intel sockets later if the SSD wasn't a boot option.
I started Acronis True Image in the Windows interface, first formatting the SSD as NTFS (all my partitions are NTFS). I then used the Samsung SSD software to over-provision the SSD by 10%, which looked like a 10% shrink of the partition in Acronis. Then I started the cloning process, to transfer the image from the 240GB SSD to the 1TB SSD. I chose manual mode, as the 240GB SSD had two partitions (one was 100MB, and I don't know if it has a purpose) and I wanted to make sure that the large partition filled the new drive, and the 100MB partition was not expanded proportionally onto the new SSD. I also had to manually set the destination size, in order to preserve the 10% of unallocated (over-provisioned) space. After making all the selections (and very carefully choosing the correct source and destination drives), it asked me to restart to finish.
My computer shut down and booted into Acronis, and I unchecked the option to "restart after process is complete" or something like that. I waited for ~40 minutes, after which it restarted automatically (*facepalm*), and booted into Windows. There were immediately problems, with programs not booting, shortcuts pointing to unavailable files, and Windows having to create a new swap file on the system drive (SSD), as it was unable to find anything on the data drive (HDD). After trying to find my data and figure out which partitions were on which disks, this is the current state of everything:
240GB SSD: Cloning source drive, same as before. This is a good thing.
1TB SSD: Cloning destination drive, has one 100MB partition from source drive, one ~800GB partition from source drive, and 10% unallocated. This is a good thing.
2TB HDD: Innocent bystander drive with most of my data. Nothing should have happened to it, but now it has one 100MB partition from source drive, and one ~240GB partition from source drive. The remainder is unallocated. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING.
If anybody can help me figure out what might have gone wrong, and how to fix it, I will be forever indebted!
Tim, welcome to these public User Forums.
I have never heard of ATI cloning on to 2 connected drives and do not recollect ever seeing this behaviour being reported in these user forums.
Unless you have a backup image of your second data drive, then sorry but your only recourse for this issue would be to try using a partition recovery program to see if you can get your data back again.
Cloning is a potentially 'dangerous' process (in terms of risk to data due to mistakes or issues arising etc), hence forum topic: [IMPORTANT] CLONING - How NOT to do this - was written nearly 2 years ago to try to alert users to the risks involved.
Hi Steve, thanks for the response. I know it sounds unbelievable that Acronis True Image could have cloned to two drives simultaneously, but the whole operation completed as one unit, with one reboot, and the two of my drives ended up as described. One additional thought that came to mind is that I had some symbolic links (NTFS junction points) on the original system drive (C:) that linked to folders on the data drive (D:). There is still no good reason for this to cause D to be overwritten when cloning from C to E, but perhaps if Acronis doesn't properly handle symbolic links across partitions or drives, that may have somehow caused this.
Unfortunately the drive did have some data that was not backed up. This drive was originally my backup, but as my system drive filled close to capacity, I had to start deleting the larger files from it, so that there was only one copy left (on the data drive). The ironic part is that I recently began paying for unlimited cloud backup, but figured that I should move everything over to the new SSD before syncing so that I wouldn't have to upload the gigs of data twice (just because I moved it locally between drives).
Do you happen to have any recommendations for partition/data recovery programs? It's not worth it for me to pay hundreds for a professional data recovery service, and I'm somewhat reluctant to send money to Acronis to fix this problem.
Tim, symbolic links may be a part of this issue but have not read of any other reports from other users with similar cloning errors?
In terms of data recovery programs, I haven't really had a great need for these myself but there are a mix of both free and paid programs available that you could try. The key here is to avoid any actions that cause any new data to write to the drive you need to try to recover.
See webpage: EaseUS Data Recovery For Windows
Webpage: Active@ Partition Recovery
Webpage: How to Easily Recover Lost or Deleted Partitions (using Acronis Disk Director 12)
Webpage: PARTITION RECOVERY FREEWARE
Hi Steve, I have good news!
I managed to recover my data partition using the Open Source TestDisk partition recovery software! I am incredibly lucky, because I think the region of the data drive that Acronis erroneously cloned onto was actually the location of an old backup partition. My main partition on the data drive started after that, so it was not overwritten! I am super appreciative that TestDisk is provided for free, as I was doubtful that it would save me in my situation. But given that it did not cost me to try it, I did and it worked, so I was happy to pay him after the fact.
I still have no answers as to why Acronis True Image cloned to both of my drives simultaneously, but if I were to investigate further, I would check to see how Acronis behaves with NTFS partitions that have symbolic links that point to other drives.
I also wanted to personally congratulate you a couple of weeks ago when I saw that you had reached 14,000 posts on this forum. You are a true hero to be of such help while maintaining such a positive demeanor on this forum! Few people could do what you do.
Thanks again, and happy new year!
Tim, thanks for sharing your update and pleased to know that you were able to recover your data by using TestDisk (will add that to my bookmarks!). Thank you for your kind words - the forums help keep my grey cells active after taking retirement and I've always enjoyed being able to help people by drawing on the skills I developed during my 30+ years in the computer industry.