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Friday, March 12, 2010

Acronis should not be used to create and format drive for Windows Vista and Vista 7

I know this sound funny, lets go back to where it all begins.

First, I got hold of a vanilla machine which comes with the default vendors OS plus one HDD with 1 partition. OK, not entirely true, the OS was downgraded from Vista to XP and the vendor actually have a recovery partition in addition to the normal OS partition. So, if you know me enough, I would love to have Windows 7 on this. And I may not want to kill the original OS. And to make things worth, in this environment, its not OK to burn CD/DVD or use a USB device.

Firstly, we got to make another partition for the new OS. So a few tools comes into my mind. Hiren. Nope, its a boot disc. OK, so we need one that can either work inline or via a reboot shell. Acronis Disk Director 10 was available. So here we have. I reboot and resize the parition and make a new partition for the new OS. The critical mistake I made was I created and formatted the new partition in Acronis. Fatal.

But there were no tell tale sign that something was wrong. Windows 7 can be installed without extracting the files. Just mount the ISO with Alcohol or Daemon Tool, then install to the new partition. Everything went smoothly. Until I started to use Windows 7 and many application starts to give warning error about corruption. One such message came from Live Messenger "MSNMSGR.EXE - File Corrupt". Using chkdsk /f, I manage to find lots of MFT and BITMAP errors. I thought fixing it with solve all the problem. After some reboot, more usage, the error came back again and again. I just could figure out what went wrong.

Now, lets take a look at this thread:

It seems that such problem exist as far as 2006 and these folk found the answer in 2008. And after 2 years later, I splatter all over the wall with this issue. After some chkdsk /r and reinstall, repair startup option etc, I final found the problem. It is Acronis. Apparently, it create a non-standard partition which create problem for newer OS such as Vista and Windows 7. To fix this, I will have to lose my new partition by removing it, then delete the partition and have Windows Disk Manager to recreate the partition. Everything went smoothly after which.

Although Acronis Disk Director was released in 2007, I believe Microsoft and Acronis should issue a incompatibility warning for this. It could had save me lots of time. I guess both parties probably at some point of time point fingers and did not want to highlight this problem, but I just hope no one else have to hard the wall so I posted this here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually it is stated in Acronis site that Disk Director 10 is not compatible with Win 7.
The problem is that althought True Image Home 2010 & B&R 2010 are reported even today on the official site to be fully compatible with win7, actually they are NOT.
One should do a search about "MFT bitmap error" before he or she even tries to take a backup. It has something to do with the VSS technology (sys snapshot acronis uses) and it messes the disk. Chkdsk (/r /f) cant fix it and the ultimate solution is to delete-recreate the partition (after moving the files to another disk). Of course you will loose some files every time chkdsk attempts to "fix" the file indexes. Unfortunately until this day 30/March/2010 there is no solution to this bug even with the official latest build. Acronis was great for my old system (XP) but the latest version has this bug they dont seem able to fix (some months now)

My advice is: DoubleCHECK if this BUG is fixed on later builds before you try backup the (feature-full) Acronis.
It's a pain to rebuild raids

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