Post by Shyster
(reply, take 2)
Thanks for both of your posts; you seem both experienced with, and confident
in, this procedure, which gives me a great deal of comfort. I think that,
with all due respect to Malke, I will follow Anna's procedure. I believe I
recall seeing your step-by-step for Acronis on another thread, Anna, but I
would be very grateful if you were willing to repost it here.
I'm going to attempt the "surgery" this week-end, so I'll post a
recovery/post-mortem update on Sunday.
BTW, since I've got the experts' attention here, anyone got any ideas about
an old Sony VAIO (I think it was the first one they released, back in 2003)
that has recently developed a problem with finding the HD on startup? It
started about three weeks ago as an occasional problem, but has now
degenerated to the point where I usually have to restart three to five times
before it will find the HD and boot.
I'm not particularly worried about this one since I'm going to be replacing
it soon anyway. I was planning on using it as a learner once I replaced it,
including physical learning, which means it will almost undoubtedly end up
being trashed in any event, so I'm willing to have a go at taking it apart if
anyone can give me a sufficiently good reason to do so. Otherwise, once the
internal drive craps out for good, I'll probably just plug in a USB HD and
set that up as the boot drive.
The step-by-step instructions for using the Acronis True Image program are
posted below. You'll note that these instructions contain information on
both the disk cloning & disk imaging capabilities of the ATI program. In
your situation at present you'll be specifically concerned with the disk
cloning operation. I wanted to make that clear to you at the outset. However
the information concerning the ATI disk imaging capability may be of future
interest to you (and others).
Re your last comment concerning the problem you're having with the Sony
machine that "I'll probably just plug in a USB HD and set that up as the
boot drive." Please understand that ordinarily a USB external HDD is *not* a
bootable device. While there have been a number of reports that it is
possible to achieve this desirable result, we've never been able to do so.
I'll pass on offering any advice at this point re the problems you're
experiencing with that Sony PC. Perhaps at a later date you can provide more
details as to the precise nature of the problem, how it arose, the
hardware/software involved and any other details that would assist someone
suggesting this or that course of action. And if and when you do, be as
comprehensive as you can.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Using the Acronis True Image Program to Backup
& Restore One's Hard Drive...
Using the Acronis True Image program there are two different approaches one
can take to back up the entire contents of one's day-to-day working HDD,
i.e., the operating system, all programs & applications, and user-created
data - in short, *everything* that's on one's HDD...
1. Direct disk-to-disk cloning, or,
2. Creating disk images
By using either of these strategies the user can restore his or her system
should their day-to-day working HDD become inoperable because of
mechanical/electronic failure of the disk or corruption of the system
resulting in a dysfunctional operating system.
In undertaking either of these two backup & recovery processes you're
dealing with two hard drives - the so-called source & destination disks -
the source disk being the HDD you're backing up and the destination disk
being the HDD that will be the recipient of the cloned contents of the
source disk or the recipient of the disk image you will be creating.
When using either process it's usually best for most users to use an
external HDD as the destination drive, i.e., the recipient of the cloned
contents of the source disk or the recipient of the created disk image. This
can be either a USB or Firewire or SATA external HDD. While another internal
HDD can also serve as the destination disk there's an additional element of
safety in using an external HDD since that drive will be ordinarily
disconnected from the system except during the disk cloning or recovery
One other suggestion. After you install the Acronis program on your computer
it's a good idea to create what Acronis calls their "Bootable Rescue Media"
(CD). In most cases the recovery process (described below) will utilize that
Acronis bootable CD to restore your system. This "rescue" CD is easily
created from the program by clicking on the "Create Bootable Rescue Media"
icon on the opening Acronis screen and simply going through the screens to
create the bootable CD. The following are step-by-step instructions for
using the Acronis True Image 9 program to clone the contents of one HDD to
an external HDD. (The steps are essentially the same using the newer ATI 10
1. With both hard drives (source & destination disks) connected, boot up.
Ensure that no other storage devices, e.g., flash drives, ZIP drives, etc.,
are connected. It's also probably a good idea to shut down any programs you
may have working in the background - including any anti-virus anti-spyware
programs - before undertaking this disk-to-disk cloning operation.
2. Access the Acronis True Image 9 program and under "Pick a Task", click
on "Clone Disk". (In the ATI 10 version click on "Manage Hard Disks" in the
"Pick a Tool" area and on the next screen click on "Clone Disk").
3. On the next "Welcome to the Disk Clone Wizard!" window, click Next.
4. On the next "Clone Mode" window select the Automatic option (it should
be the default option selected) and click Next.
5. On the next "Source Hard Disk" window, ensure that the correct source
HDD (the disk you're cloning from) has been selected (click to highlight).
6. On the next "Destination Hard Disk" window, ensure that the correct
destination HDD (the disk you're cloning to) has been selected (again, click
to highlight). Click Next.
7. On the next window, select the option "Delete partitions on the
destination hard disk". Understand that all data presently on the disk that
will be the recipient of the clone will be deleted prior to the disk cloning
operation. Click Next.
8. The next window will reflect the source and destination disks. Again,
confirm that the correct drives have been selected. Click Next.
9. On the next window click on the Proceed button. A message box will
display indicating that a reboot will be required to undertake the disk
cloning operation. Click Reboot.
10. The cloning operation will proceed during the reboot. With modern
components and a medium to high-powered processor, data transfer rate will
be somewhere in the range of about 450 MB/min to 800 MB/min when cloning to
a USB external HDD; considerably faster when cloning to another internal
11. When the disk cloning operation has been completed, a message will
(usually) appear indicating the disk cloning process has been successful and
instructs you to shut down the computer by pressing any key. Do so and
disconnect your USB external HDD. If, however, the destination drive (the
recipient of the clone) has been another *internal* HDD, see the NOTE below.
12. Note that the cloned contents now residing on the USB external HDD take
on the file system of the source drive. For example, if prior to the
disk-cloning operation your USB external HDD had been FAT32-formatted and
your XP OS was NTFS-formatted, the cloned contents will be NTFS-formatted.
There is no need to format the USB external HDD prior to the disk-cloning
operation. Similarly, there is no need prior to the disk-cloning operation
to format an internal HDD should you be using an internal HDD as the
destination drive .
13. Restoration of the system can be achieved by cloning the contents of the
data residing on the external HDD to an internal HDD through the normal
disk-cloning process as described above.
NOTE: Just one other point that should be emphasized with respect to the
disk cloning operation should the recipient of the clone be another internal
HDD and not a USB or Firewire external HDD. Immediately following the disk
cloning operation the machine should be shutdown and the source HDD should
be disconnected. Boot ONLY to the newly-cloned drive. DO NOT BOOT
IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CLONING OPERATION WITH BOTH DRIVES CONNECTED.
There's a strong possibility that by doing so it is likely to cause future
boot problems with the cloned drive. Obviously there is no problem in this
area should a USB or Firewire EHD be the recipient of the clone since that
device is not ordinarily bootable in an XP environment.
Disk Imaging: The following are step-by-step instructions for using the
Acronis True Image 9 Program to create disk images for backup purposes and
using those disk images for recovery of the system. (The steps are
essentially the same using the newer ATI 10 version):
Note: The recipient of the disk image, presumably a USB external HDD or an
internal HDD, ordinarily must be a formatted drive and have a drive letter
assigned to it. Recall that in the case of a disk-to-disk cloning operation
as previously described, an unformatted or "virgin" HDD can be used as the
Before undertaking this disk imaging process it's probably best to close all
programs running in the background including your anti-virus and other
1. With both your source and destination hard drives connected, access the
Acronis program and click "Backup" on main menu.
2. The "Create Backup Wizard" screen opens. Click Next.
3. The "Select Backup Type" screen opens with two options: a. The entire
disk contents or individual partitions. b. Files and folders. Select a. and
(In the ATI 10 version four options will be listed: My Computer, My Data, My
Application Settings, and My E-mail. Select the My Computer option and click
4. The "Partitions Selection" screen opens. Disk 1 and Disk 2 are listed
with their drive letter designations. Check the disk to be backed up -
presumably Disk 1 - and click Next.
5. An informational message appears recommending an incremental or
differential backup if an original full backup had previously been
created.Since this will be the first backup we will be selecting, just click
OK to close the message box. (You can check the box not to show that
informational message in the future).
6. Next screen is the "Backup Archive Location". In the "File name:" text
box, (in ATI 10 version it's the "Folder:" text box) enter your backup drive
letter and enter a file name for the backup file, e.g., "F:\Backup 5-25".
The Acronis program will automatically append the ".tib" file extension to
the filename. Click Next.
7. "Select Backup Mode" screen opens. Select "Create a new full backup
archive" option and click Next.
8. "Choose Backup Options" screen opens with two options:
a. Use default options
b. Set the options manually.
If you select the b. option, you can select various options listed on the
next screen. Two of them are of interest to us:
Compression level - Four options - None, Normal (the default), High,
Maximum. There's a "Description" area that shows the estimated size of the
backup archive depending upon the option chosen, and the estimated "creation
time" for each option.
Backup priority - Three options - Low, Normal, or High Low - "backup
processed more slowly, but it will not influence other processes running on
(Default) Normal - "normal speed but backup process will influence other
processes running on computer." High - "normal speed but backup process will
strongly influence other processes running on computer."
With respect to the compression levels, we've found that when using the
Normal option the original data is compressed by about 20% - 25% and that
the High and Maximum options will result in a compressed backup file only
slightly higher than that. However, the amount of time to create the backup
files when using the High or Maximum compression level is substantially
greater than when using the Normal compression level. So unless disk space
is very tight on the destination drive, i.e., the drive where the backup
file will be saved, we recommend using the Normal compression level (at
NOTE: You can set the Compression level and Backup priority defaults from
the Acronis Tools > Options > Default backup options menu items.
9. "Archive comments" screen opens allowing you to add comments to the
backup archive which you can review during the Recovery process. Click Next.
10. The next screen summarizes the backup operation to be performed. Review
the information for correctness and click the Proceed button.
11. The next screen will display status bars reflecting the progress of the
backup operation. After the backup operation finishes, an informational
message will appear indicting the operation was successfully completed.
Incremental Backups (Disk Images)
1. After the initial backup archive has been created you can create
incremental backups reflecting any data changes since the previous backup
operation. This incremental backup process proceeds considerably faster than
the initial backup operation. This, of course, is a major advantage of
creating disk images rather than undertaking the disk-to-disk cloning
process. Then too, since these created disk images are compressed files they
are reasonable in size. And because the incremental disk images can usually
be created very quickly (as compared with the direct disk-to-disk cloning
process), there's an incentive for the user to keep his/her system
up-to-date backup-wise by using this disk imaging process on a more frequent
basis than the disk-cloning process.
Note that you must create the incremental backup files on the same HDD where
you stored the original backup archive and any subsequent incremental backup
2. Access the Acronis program as detailed above and move through the
screens. When you arrive at the "Backup Archive Location" screen, click on
the original backup archive file, or if one or more incremental backup files
were previously created, click on the last incremental backup file and
verify that the correct drive letter and file name are shown in the "File
name:" text box. After clicking Next, the program will automatically create
a file name for the incremental backup archive file, using the original file
name and appending a consecutive number - starting at 2 - at the end of the
file name. For example, say you named the original backup archive file
"Backup 5-25". The first incremental backup file will be automatically named
"Backup 5-252" and the next incremental file "Backup 5-253", etc.
NOTE THAT ALL YOUR INCREMENTAL BACKUP FILES MUST BE PRESENT FOR RECOVERY
PURPOSES. DO NOT DELETE ANY OF YOUR PREVIOUSLY-CREATED INCREMENTAL BACKUP
FILES FOLLOWING THE CREATION OF A CURRENT INCREMENTAL BACKUP FILE. YOU CAN
DELETE THE INCREMENTAL FILES ONLY AFTER CREATING A FULL BACKUP ARCHIVE AS
DESCRIBED IN THE PREVIOUS SECTION.
3. On the following "Select Backup Mode" screen, select the "Create
incremental Backup" option, click Next, and proceed through the screens as
you did in creating the initial backup archive.
Recovery Process (Disk images): We'll assume the recovery will be to either
a non-defective HDD that has become unbootable for one reason or another, or
to a new HDD. The HDD to be restored need not be partitioned/formatted since
the recovery process will take care of that function.
Note that in most cases you will be using the Acronis "Bootable Rescue
Media" (CD) that you created when you originally installed the Acronis
program. If you didn't create that bootable CD at that time, you can create
it now from the Acronis program (assuming You can access the program at this
time) by clicking on the "Create Bootable Rescue Media" icon on the opening
Acronis screen and simply going through the screens to create the bootable
Note: If the recovery will be made to a HDD that is still bootable and
you're able to access the Acronis program on that drive, then you can
undertake the recovery process without the need for using the "bootable
1. With both the drive containing the backup disk images and the drive you
want to restore connected and with the bootable rescue CD inserted, boot up.
2. At the opening screen, click on "Acronis True Image Home (Full Version)".
3. The program will open after some moments. On the "Pick a Task" screen
that opens, click on "Recovery".
4. The "Welcome to the Restore Data Wizard!" screen opens. Click on Next.
5. The "Archive Selection" screen opens. Navigate to the drive containing
the backup archive file(s) and select the last incremental backup file or
the original full backup file if no incremental backup files were
subsequently created. Ensure that the correct drive letter and filename are
entered in the "File name:" text box. Click Next.
6. In the Acronis version 9 program, the "Archive Date Selection" screen
opens. Select (highlight) the last incremental backup file from the listing
and click Next. This screen does not appear in version 10.
7. The "Restoration Type Selection" screen opens. Select the option,
"Restore disks or partitions" and click Next.
8. The "Partition or Disk to Restore" will open. Click on "Disk 1" and click
9. After some moments the "Restored Hard Disk Drive Location" screen opens.
Select (highlight) the HDD to be restored and click Next.
10. On the next screen select the "Yes" option to delete all current
partitions on the destination HDD. Click Next.
11. On the next screen select the "No" option and click Next.
12. On the next screen you have the option to validate the backup archive
before restoration. Click Next.
13. The final screen before the restoration operation begins will open.
Confirm that the information as shown is correct. Click Proceed.
14. Click OK when following completion of the recovery operation a message
appears indicating a successful recovery operation.
15. Remove the Acronis bootable rescue CD and close the Acronis program. The
system will reboot. A Windows "Found New Hardware" message followed by the
"System Settings Change" message box may appear on the Desktop. If they do,
click Yes for a reboot.