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Hi Guys (and Gals),
I have a peculiar problem which has just raised its ugly head and has left me rather confused as to where the problem really lies.
I have an ASUS P7P55D-LE Mobo, with an i7-860 Intel chip and with 4Gb of Patriot Signature 1333 DDR3 RAM, 2 HDD's (both SATA) totaling 1108 Gb (one 300Gb for windows and 808Gb for data in 3 partitions), a DVD Burner (SATA), a 860watt P/s and with Win7 H/P 64bit loaded.

On start-up express gate comes up on the screen then a brief screen that shows loaded drive addresses etc then a short flash screen that says at the bottom of the info "detecting drives-done-no drives detected' the machine continues to run and loads windows OK.
I have Acronis 2010 true image and disk director to backup the system and partition the hard drives (where needed) If I do the backup inside windows everything goes fine. If I need to restore windows (with windows running, though sick) I can do it from within windows also. The problem shows its head when windows will not run and I need to boot into the Acronis boot disk and run recovery from there. BUT it will not. as the BIOS says it cannot see the drives (detecting drives-done-no drives detected) and Acronis reports that there were no drives detected also and cannot proceed.
It seems as though for some reason or another, even though the BIOS sees the drives (enter BIOS setup and drives are reported as they should be) a very short time later the BIOS reports 'detecting drives-done-no drives detected' and then (in the event of trying to recover the C drive from an Image) Acronis also reports that there are no drives detected yet the system boots into windows correctly.
Is it Acronis? Is it some unfound setting in the BIOS. that is causing this error

The relevant BIOS settings are:

SATA config...........option to set to enhanced or compatible tried both and have left it set to enhanced.
config SATA..........tried both, normally set to IDE, when set to AHCI Bios still reports 'detecting drives-done-no drives detected' and continues to load windows and BSOD occurs. reset to IDE, all OK.
other option is RAID and have not tried that.

I maintain about 40 computers for family and friends and though 'my' system is running well some others, on XP, do give trouble from time to time and I am sure I am going to need this answer sometime in the (near?) future.

My Win7 is running beautifully and has been for 8 months and I have no problems with it though a few apps do not like win7 and a few do not like 64bit, but I have no complaints. In keeping with the TV adds, 'windows7 was my idea'. Love it.
Thank you in advance as I am quite sure that a lot of smarter guys than me are out there and will have heard of this in the past or who can nut it out, I cannot.
Looking forward to replies,

Well I might as well start a thread with instructions for Acronis True Image Home 2011. These will hopefully help those thinking of imaging to jump in. Images are easy to create and take about 15 minutes to restore a hosed OS to where it was before the hosing. (This assumes you keep your Images up to date.) I will assume that once you create your first Image, you will see how easy it is and continue to image whenever changes take place in your PC.

First, I clean up all the temporary fluff that has accumulated on my PC. I use CCleaner to help with this. I get rid of all temp files I can find, all temp internet stuff, all this stuff that I do not want in my image. I also defrag and optimize my HD with Auslogics Disk Defragmenter.

Next open Acronis 2011. You will see:


Several items of interest. Under Tools and Utilities see where to create StartUp Recovery Media: this is a bootable Rescue Media


You can readily see the number of different tools available from this excellent product. Because of these features, I like this paid app over the built in Win 7 Backup and Restore. If you don't need this extensive feature set then the included app may be just what you need.

[attachment=89912:Acronis2011-Rescue.png] [attachment=89913:Acronis2011-Rescue-2.png]

Always do this early in the process. You only need one Rescue Media. This will work for all images you create. Always place your Rescue Media on media you can access during complete failure such as CD or DVD. It will easily fit on a CD.

On attachment one you also see the Disk and partition backup. Click this to create your Image.


Here you choose what partitions to Image, what to name your Image, where to place the Image (I use an Ext USB HD), and any Advanced Options such as Validation:


When you have set all the info, select Proceed. That's it, now wait for your Image to be created and Validated. Acronis will let you know when it is done. Do not stop in the middle.

You can also back up your email messages and contacts:


Very simple.

You can use Try and Decide to set up a virtual environment to try new software:


Obviously there is a lot more to this excellent app than what you see here. The point is, no matter what app you use, just make Images. These will save you so much time you will not believe it, especially if you like to "play" with your system as I do. It's easy and quick. Start to finish to create a full HD Image is less than 1/2 hour including cleanup, defrag and validation.

I suspect my issue is with an update/backup of Dell DataSafe that didn't write properly. Last night my Dell Inspiron laptop with a Dell image on it updated DataSafe and saved data out to its recovery partition. It asked to reboot and I let it. On reboot, after the Inspiron 'POST' status bar completes, it goes to a black screen with an 'underscore' cursor blinking in the top left of the screen. It never goes any further.

I booted from the Win7 DVD and it didn't find any boot problems to fix with the "Startup Repair" option. I tried the "System Restore" option and it says that it successfully restored from my most recent point, but upon reboot it still won't proceed from the blinking cursor point. I let it sit at the cursor for about an hour with no change.

It seems like the disk is still "good" but something is messed up with the partition table or the like.

I don't have any recovery images. I'm thinking I might be able to boot to an alternate OS from a CD and get at the disk to pull off some data (my email .pst is really the only thing that hasn't been backed up recently, and I'd hate to lose it), but I'd like to pick the collective brains here about my options to repair the disk tables.

It looks like my next step might be to go to the "Command Prompt" option and follow the steps in but I'm wondering how much the "Startup Repair" option has already tried of those steps, or what would be most likely to work based on the above symptoms.

Any advice or background relating to the BCD would be greatly appreciated. I'm regretting not wiping the Dell image and starting from scratch when I got the laptop a couple of months ago.

I had a problem with one of my programs -- Open Office 3.2 - that uptimately caused my system to get very flaky. I thought "That's no problem, 'cause I'll just restore it from an image backup." So I did -- but the OO install restored as well - or never got removed. I teried it over again -- three times -- just to make sure, and got the same result each time.

Then I tried deleting the partition -- leaving me with a blank drive -- the WHOLE drive as it was all Drive C. Then when I resotee it, it wouldn't boot

So I "started over": I deleted *everything*, and reinstalled Windows 7. Fine. It now boots up. SO then I thought I'd try to restore the same partition -- yup, the same one that I used before. This time, it wrote to Drive C fine, bringing back all the settings etc., and no OpenOffice this time.

How the heck could the first part of this scenario happen? If I restore an entire platter that does NOT have OO installed, where the heck did it come from? Not from the "C" aprtition, because it was not, as I knew before, there, and did not show up after reinstalling Windows?


Backup & Recovery 2010 - Free - Advanced (Non-commercial
use only): NEW 2010 Advanced Edition - Total PC Protection

Available from Paragon here:

Here is an Extract of some of the product details from the Paragon web site:

"Backup Features
Cyclic Backup - complete infrastructure for establishing a self-acting data protection system, fully compliant with the set-and-forget backup policy
Backup to FTP servers - provide a new level of system and data protection.
Backup Capsule - You can place a backup image to a special secured place on the hard disk called the Backup Capsule that has an independent system layout (e.g. a separate partition) and will stay operable should the active file system be damaged. To avoid an accidental removing or unauthorized access of the backup data, this partition is hidden and thus cannot be mounted in the operating system.
Support for the latest hardware as well as hard disk partitioning schemes.
Support of all present day techniques to store backup images
Disk backup to save not only all on-disk information but also the system service structures. It is ideal for making a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs!) or system partitions to guarantee the operating systemís working capability
Differential backup to a sector image to only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus considerably saving the backup storage space. To restore this kind of backup you will require a full image and one of its differentials
Restore Facilities
Restore an entire disk, separate partitions image
Restore with Shrink to restore a backup amount of actual data of the image
Create bootable USB Flash drive, CD or DVD to recover your PC on demand
Advanced Backup Tasks

Differential Partition Backup (Create a differential image of a partition)
Supplementary Tools
Recovery Media Builder: builds a new "recovery media" to boot from in case of an unbootable system
Check Recovery Discs: checks the recovery media for integrity and bootability
Virtualization and Migration Facilities
P2V Migration - Clones an existing software environment into a virtual disk. Migrate a physical system to a virtual environment by converting all installed software and data into a virtual disk of the required virtual machine.
P2V Adjust OS - Recover the OS startup ability after an unsuccessful virtualization by a 3rd party tool.
User Friendly Fault Minimizing Interface
Graphical representation of the data to gain a better understanding
Comprehensive wizards to simplify even the most complex operations
A context sensitive hint system for all functions of the program
Previewing the resulting layout of hard disks before actually executing operations (so-called virtual operations)
Partitioning tools
Create Partition
Format Partition
Delete Partition
Assign/Remove Drive Letter
Hide/Unhide Partition
Mark Partition as Active/Inactive
Modify: change volume label,Test Surface
Check File System Integrity
Operations with Archives
Add an archive to the database
Delete the archive from the database
Restore from the selected archive
Restore File From Archive
Differential backup
Check Archive Integrity
Mount/Unmount the archive"

Today I received my package from PowerQuest, consisting of three CDs. So far, I've been UNABLE to get the PQRE CD to get going and I look for advice or agreement from other users. When I boot my system with the DI 7 CD I setup the IP number of my LAN machine and the number of the "gateway" machine, but I can't get past the screen for "WORKGROUP." My LAN workgroup name is NOT Workgroup and I can't find out how to make it aware of the name. I have put in the IP number of the machine that stores my images but still can't get to see the files from which to do a restore.

If anyone else has any luck, I'd appreciate tutoring.....

I would like to find backup software that meets the following criteria:

1. It does not rely on ghosting/imaging of drives?

2. Perhaps I'm dreaming, but I'd like to find a company that really cares
about support and does not avoid answering questions in online support
forums. Ouch, I just pinched myself, woke up and realized I must be

3. Allows the creation of a disaster recovery CD from which one can boot
and restore a system.

4. Does a true backup, i.e., assures that a file's attributes are correctly
backed up even if the file's content has not changed and the attributes have
been changed.

5. An intelligent backup that does not rely on the Archive bit.

Not sure if this should be here under Win 8 or in Hardware under SSDs.

Emboldened by my recent successes in converting from Win 7 32 bit to 64 bit then to Win 8 64 Bit and finally replacing the second HDD on my PC witha 1 TB unit (in place of previous 500 GB unit) I decided to go for a 256 GB OCZ Vertex SSD as my boot drive.

Using a tutorial to do same in Win 7 out of a local PC mag as a guide I made a System image of the C drive on an external 2 BTB drive then set to and installed the SSD.
Sys Image was about 70 GB

All went well, I ended up in troubleshoot and selected advanced options which has System Image Recovery, that found my system image on the external Drive, I then excluded the 1 TB internal drive from the re-image process, then clicked next, again it confirmed where my system image was and that my computer w=ill be restored from it click finish and then Yes.

System buzzes for a few seconds then I get a message " The system image restore failed"
Error Details: The Disk that is set as active in BIOS is too small to recover the original system disk. Replace the disk with a larger one and retry the restore operation. (0x80042407).

I then tried the refresh your PC option but that gives a message "The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again."

May re install original HDD and wait until someone comes up with suggestions re how to get around the problems I have.

Appreciate any help.


Bob t

The computer is running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on the following hardware:
MSI H61M-P23 B3 Intel H61 Motherboard
Intel Core i5-2500K BX80623I52500 Unlocked Processor - Quad Core, 6MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 3.30 GHz
Patriot PG34G1333EL Gamer 2 Desktop Memory Module - 4GB times 2
Seagate ST500DM002 Barracuda 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - 500GB, SATA-6G
Sony Optiarc AD7280S-OB 24x DVDRW Drive - 24x, SATA
VisionTek 900339 Radeon HD 6850 Video Card -1024MB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0 (x16), 2x DVI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, DirectX 11, Dual-Slot, CrossFireX Ready

I can boot from CD, DVD, USB drive, etc. I cannot boot from the installed system on the hard drive.

When I have only the hard drive available (no USB storage devices, no CD's or DVD's in the computer) the system shows the following codes: 98, B4, 99, A3 and then goes to a black screen with a flashing underscore cursor and hangs. I can get to the BIOS settings with the key, but none of the appropriate settings are out of line.

Kaspersky Rescue disk from a USB stick reports that the Windows volume is not properly labeled and that mounting it might corrupt the data so I backed out.

Partition Magic from a USB stick shows the following partitions:
Partition 1: unnamed 100mb System GPT EFI (ESP)
Partition 2: unnamed 128mb MSR (reserved)
Partition 3: Data 365.8GB Primary GPT
Partition 4: unnamed 99.9GB Primary GPT

Partition Magic allows me to view the files and the entire "C" drive (Partition 4) appears to be fine.

This computer is normally left in sleep mode so the Windows Home Server can wake it up and back up the data files each night. Sometime in the last three days, a power surge apparently got past the UPS and caused Windows "to shut down improperly." We have had some nasty thunderstorms recently. Lost our phone system, several ports on a 10/100 Ethernet switch, our Comcast cable modem, and a WiFi router to a lightning strike about a 1/4 mile from the church last month. We do the best we can afford to protect our equipment from the unreliable power, but stuff slips through.

The repair disk prepared on the computer says to try a repair disk for the version of Windows installed on the computer. A repair disk from a second computer with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit also stops with the same message. I've got images of both the system and the data done by Windows Backup, but I can't get to them because the Windows installation disk and the repair disks all refuse to load windows to get to the backup and restore tools.

Would anyone have any idea how to repair the damage that stops the boot process when I can't get any of the normal repair processes to run?
I'm not worried about our data but it took me two weeks to set up, configure and test all of the software. I could do it quicker now, but I'd really prefer not to.

Thanks, Rich

Helping a friend with a very odd problem and am totally stumped so looking for suggestions. Here's the issue - this guy keeps on his laptop (Win 7 64) a desktop populated with about 40 internet shortcuts. The issue is that - on system start, if any desktop shortcut is doubleclicked the shortcut closest to the bottom right of the screen will actually open. If the webpage associated with the bottom right shortcut is closed, MOST of the time clicking the original shortcut will lead to the correct webpage, but sometimes it takes several tries. After the problem corrects itself, usually after closing the wrong web page and trying again, but sometimes only after multiple tries, shortcuts open the correct webpage until the computer is restarted again.

If I take the bulk of the shortcuts off the desktop, clicking on an interior shortcut will activate the lowest right icon on the desktop regardless of whether it's an internet shortcut or some other type.

So - steps I have taken. First, checking for malware - system is totally clean. Secondly - troubleshooted as many different things as I could, including removing most of the shortcuts from the desktop, resetting all file associations to defaults, a few registry edits I found online to fix odd issues, uninstalling recent updates (he said the problem began with SP1), switching to Firefox, running a Windows Fixit for the desktop, creating a new desktop and moving his stuff there, etc. None of which fixed the issue.

So - I decided to back him up and reinstall Windows. I made a system image of his current configuration, created a normal Windows backup and also one using Windows Easy Transfer. Reinstalled Windows using the factory image on his system, restored his data using the Easy Transfer backup - and problem came back with his settings!

ARRRGH - I am stumped, I can find nobody else with this same issue on the web no matter how I try to search, I don't want to have to do another factory restore and lose all his settings (it's a big enough pain in the neck to reinstall all his software and do all the updates, which are only partially done at this point). What I would most prefer would be someone who knows what the heck the problem is, how to fix it, and then I can restore the original system image and make the problem go away

My OS is Win 7 Pro 32 bit with SP1,and I tried to do a repair install.This failed, as I anticipated, because "the Windows version you have is newer than the version on the DVD" (or words to that effect).
The problem is that I have SP1 but don't know how to uninstall it, because it is not shown in installed updates. I think the reason is that I restored my system previously from a system image, but I am not sure about this.

If I search for SP1 (KB979632) all I can find are 4 files,being 2 Security Catalog files, a MUM file and an SES file.

Can anyone tell me how to unistall SP1 in this situation? If not I will have to try to get hold of a copy of a Win7 disk with SP1 (not a slipstreamed version) or do a clean install, which I hoped to avoid.

Advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and regards,Roy

Currently I am experiencing a seemingly intractable problem. On booting up the following screen message appears under the heading of Windows Boot Manager
" A chemge in either the software or Hardware has caused the need to run the Windows installation Disks choosing the repair option. There is also a reference to "File BootBCD" and "Status 0xc000000f " whatever that sigifies.
There is no response to running the Windows installation discs and I assumed that I have lost my MBR. However I can add that I am fully aware what was the change in the software which has prompted this to come about this being detailed below
To explain since the introduction of Windows 7 in October 2009 I have been dual booting to Windows XP and Windows 7.. Recently I decided it was time to ditch Windows XP and rely solely on Windows 7.
With this in mind I prepared system images of the entire system, also Windows 7 only on an external hard drive. In addition I prepared a set of DVDs containing both the MBR and Windows 7. For good measure also several bootable DVDs On the face of it this was I thought a "belt and braces" approach to prepare me for whatever might arise.
It was at this point from t a Windows Tech Center forum I came acrooss the following listing
"To make Windows start without prompting fpr a dual boot do the following steps - Go to Control Panel/System & Maintenance/System/ AdvancedSystem Setting (on the left tab) select advanced from the tab and click settings in Startup and Recovery - uncheck time to to display list of operating systems then select O.K."
Having done this I founnd listed an earlier operating system ( Windows XP) and Windows 7. I remobved the tick from the former and clicked O.K.
At this point I felt confident about having done this because I knew I had, if things went wrong ,the various backups referre to would provide a remedy
However things did go dramatically wrong because on the next boot I was confronted with the Windows Boot Manager screen referred to above. Moreover nothing done with the Windows installation discs or the various DVD backups previously referred to would restore the MBR and operating system
Any assistance or advice as to how to restore some normality would be very much appreciated.

I cannot start Eudora, but that's not what this post is about so please bear with me. I wasn't worried, I have been leading clean life, eating my greens, and making back-ups. After installing Win 7, and before making the first back-up I had selected to save both program files and data. So all I had to do was restore, right? So that's what I did. At first glance seemed to work," Your files have been restored" it said. Sounds comforting, but Eudora wouldn't start. I tried restoring an older back-up, see how good I've been? I got the same reassuring message, but this time I looked at the rest of the box. "Some program or system files were skipped because they cannot be restored to the original location." My first thought was 'why not?' But no reason was given. There was a link to a log file. Looked at it, every single file had been skipped!

What, I wonder, is the use of a Restore facility that cannot restore? Why would the first line in the box say "Your files have been restored" when not a single one was? DOS 3.0 could do better.

I was going to have to re-install Eudora, but I didn't want to over-write all the mailboxes. I decided to use Explorer to copy these files to a safe place. When I was using XP, I chose where everything would be stored, I knew where to look, and could find it easily. But when I "upgraded" I was told that it was all different now, "Win 7 uses libraries, it takes care of everything..." I believe that was the expression. "And if you want to find anything all you have to do is type the name, or a few words of text and Win 7 will find it in an instant." So when I installed Eudora I had accepted all the default locations, didn't pay any heed to where they were, Win 7 would take care of that stuff.

I bought "Windows 7, The Missing Manual," as recommended by Windows Secrets no less:

"In the first 15 to 30 minutes after you install Windows 7—or in the minutes after you attach a new hard drive—it invisibly collects information about everything on your hard drive."

I searched for Eudora mailbox files. Nothing. I tried a few words from an e-mail I sent yesterday. Nothing. I looked at the Index settings. IE History, Off-line files, and the Start Menu were the only things being indexed. This was the default setting, I had not changed anything because I didn't know how to, nor think I would need to. "Win 7 knows all about these things." It might just be conceivable that some people would feel suicidal if they lost their IE History, I am not one of them, I never use IE. Clearly the Indexing service hasn't been slowing up the computer. Not single document, image, or e-mail indexed.

I have changed the settings now, and run the Indexing, it hasn't found any mailbox files, nor files containing quoted text. I've never seen anything like this in 20 years of using Eudora. If anyone has any idea as to where Win 7 might have hidden these files I'd love to hear from you. The more I see of Win 7 the better I hate it!



So at work I have been tasked with creating a complete (including system state) backup of an HP DL580 G4 server configured Windows 2003 Standard and restoring it into a virtual server (VMWare) installed on the same server. The aim of the exercise is to prove that said physical server (now the host) can be backed up and that that backup can be restored (into the guest VM).

First of all let me say I think it wrong on several levels but the main one is that the virtual hardware is different from the physical hardware and restoring the boot/system of the host into the guest VM is going to be problematic at best, I'm assuming it would work on a server with an identical (or near identical) configuration but that virtual hardware is likely to be quite different. This is probably why VMWare provide a VMWare converter utility but that would not suit the aim of the exercise according to its project manager. They don't have a spare server and would be unwilling to test the backup on the current server.

So I created the backup, built the VM, got the guest to recognise the host Ultrium drive, restored all but the boot/system and it all went swimmingly but, as I expected (and the reason I simply didn't restore the entire machine but left the boot/system until last), the boot/system restore failed leaving me with a VM which won't get anywhere near the GUI, just blue screens and restarts immediately. I don't think this is a virtual machine vs physical machine issue just a driver incompatibility problem brought on by the restore overwriting the VM's proper configuration.

I have subsequently told the project manager that this is highly unlikely to work but he is insisting the test continues (meaning a rebuild of the VM and a new set of restores) so my question is, am I right to take the stance I am (that installing a full backup of a physical system into a VM is likely to fail pretty much every time because virtual hardware is so different from the physical hardware)?

A subsequent question is, is there any way round this issue?



New_System.jpgThis is copied over from a thread in the Windows 7 section where I was dealing with the issue of moving my op system to my SATA drive, and putting my swap partition and backup partition on the original PATA drive that came with my Dell 4600:
Well my Acronis saga continues. I made a Rescue CD. I can boot from it; and, of the 3 choices offered from the Acronis menu, I can boot into my existing Windows 7 op system. However, if I choose behind door number 1, and try to recover from an image, it wont let me restore my C: image to C:

On my setup pictured above it wants to let me restore to my swap partition (which is only 4GB), or to my data partition (why would I want to wipe out my data?)"

So, bottom line, neither a "regular" rescue CD nor a WinPE/Acronis rescue CD work for me the way they are supposed to.

I'd appreciate any suggestions,

Hello all,
Hoping for help or sympathy. Toshiba Satellite w/1Gb ram on XP Home, all updates installed and working AV. Bought used with no Toshiba recovery disks. Last night after working on simple things in Office 2003, closed lid on laptop as I usually do and this morning found it off (not usual but perhaps ran out of battery) at boot got message "can't boot because file ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt" Tried to access repair console with an XP Pro disc but got nowhere. Last Known Good Config and Safe Mode attempts- gave same message. Tried restoring ntoskrnl.exe from my Acronis backup (Acronis said successfully), message then changed to " system32config is missing or corrupt" Again Acronis said successfully. Early on in this process as Acronis loaded there was a messge that some drive sectors could not be read - clicked "ignore all" and things proceeded. Latest message is " system32configsystem is corrupt' I didn't try to restore this as it seems to contain My Documents and other such things.
I have an Acronis image but it's 17 days old and I will have to recreate a fair amount of work - another lesson about backing up more often.
So the question is do I have much hope of fixing things without professional help? or just give up and restore image? Any speculations on why?
Thanks for any help.
Brian S.

Sorry for the length of this post but I think the attempt has to be explained for understanding my problem!

I don't have a lot of tools to help other people with but when I can, I do so my neighbour asked for help with her hard drive. It had developed quite a few bad sectors, kept going into scandisk, and driving her crazy so I suggested a new hard drive. She has a Win98SE and her old drive was 12GB. So I am fairly certain we can use a Western Digital 20GB.

I was able to image her old drive with Acronis True Image and I had saved it to my External USB HD so I was satisfied that restoration should be quick and painless. I hooked the new drive as a slave, and formatted it as FAT32 with Acronis Partition Expert and installed the freshly made image to it. When I tried to boot with the WD as the master drive, I kept getting a non-system disk error? After much frustration with different attempts to properly format this drive, I finally gave up and dug out a Win98SE boot disk and formatted the drive with it. I also took the time to put the original image onto two CDs so I could use Acronis True Image boot disk and then restore the image from the CDs to the WD that was connected as a Master drive. This finally worked successfully!

So what was I doing incorrectly? Why didn't the format by Partition Expert work? Or is it because I needed to do the format /s to put the system files from the Win98SE boot disk onto the hard drive?

I read a review recently about a program that quickly returned classroom computers to their pre class state, obviously an image file situation. I thought it was from Paragon but cannot find any review.
Have looked at Acronis, not mentioned. Apart from Ghost I cannot think of other imaging programs. I have drive Image, Ghost and Acronis but I need this for a friend.
Any help welcomed. This was a dedicated program for the purpose.

Hey Folks,

Looking for recommendations on Drive Imaging software, for XP system back-up and restore. I need a plenary panacea, with which I can restore to full operation from a dead (or new) drive.

A bit about my limitations: My machines are Compaqs, that come with the OS pre-installed and no media. System Restore is provided in a proprietary construct, utilizing a partition on the HD, to restore to the OEM-default installation. Whereas I've exercised the option to create back-up CDs from this, it leaves me with only the option to boot to their Restore util, that only provides recovery to 'factory' settings. This, of course, means cleaning out all the garbage "offers" etc. all over again, re-installing all my apps and utils, and reconfiguring the system. My nightmare scenario is having to replace (or wipe) the drive and be resigned to this short-sighted approach to system recovery.

What I've been trying to find, then, is a solution that would image my configured system (preferably to DVDs - don't know that the systems can support another HD), then provide boot capability to minimalist utils (to mount a DVD and/or check/prepare the HD) and the back-up volume(s) to restore.

A few years ago I used Ghost on another machine; but Symantec has introduced so much bloatware to NU that I no longer want anything of theirs on my system. I also checked out cMaxx, from PC Inspector, but it will not image Sata drives. Have also researched a few others and discounted them for (my) lack of trust in their methodologies (utilizing XML, Diskcopy, and the like, for imaging - concern with XML handling of binaries, etc., and limitations of file/disk/zip-copy on active OS files). The forerunner, for now, seems to be True Image, from Acronis, but that does not seem to provide a boot capability.

Currently still rely on the Norton SystemWorks CD to boot out of sticky situations, but don't know how that will fare when/if Vista comes online. I suppose I could create a bootdisk using FreeDOS and hope it would suffice with the chosen utility (since I've not had positive results with WinXP_EN_HOM_BF, Bootvis, or the Linux solution) but I'm holding out hope for a turnkey solution... don't need the additional headache of futzing with getting the 'solution' to work. Not averse, mind you, to going the extra step(s) to get a reliable approach, but a one-click solution would surely be nice.

Conversely though, if no such animal exists, does anyone have a tried-and-true (non-floppy based) boot solution, with recommended imaging recovery?

Thanks for your insight,

DISCLAIMER: The following procedure worked for me. It is NOT guaranteed to work for you. I very carefully planned and executed this process and still ran into two problems in the EXECUTE stage. Luckily, I kept my head and just tried it again and solved the problem, see notes. I also knew through many previous experiments that my Acronis True Image 2010 images would bail me out if necessary, but I still did this on my laptop not on my desktop which is currently my main machine. I would NOT have attempted this while on the road depending on my laptop even with the TI image! Nuff Said.


Remove Dell Recovery & Utility Partitions

1. Create an Image Back of all partitions on your Boot Drive w/Verify Option!!!!!!!
2. Create a System Recovery Disk!!!!
3. Download Partition Wizard .ISO file & Burn to CD/DVD
Note: If you are using an imaging tool other than Windows 7 make sure your tool has the capability to make a bootable CD/DVD and MAKE IT!!!! If things go wrong you'll need this to restore your backup as Windows will NOT boot!}

Execute: {Be careful so this doesn't turn into an Execution!}
1. Boot from the CD/DVD created in step 3 above.
2. Change the Recovery Partition from Active to INACTIVE.
3. Change the OS Partition to ACTIVE.
4. Apply Changes. {REBOOT...this will fail!}

Fix the Boot Problem:
1. Insert your System Recovery Disk (created in Preparation step 2)
2. Boot machine from your CD/DVD drive.
3. Click: NEXT at the first prompt.
4. Select the appropriate OS partition. (Note: If no OS partitions are shown follow the prompts below and then just execute this section of

the instructions again starting with Fix the Boot Problem: Step 2... This happened to me and the second time through it found it OK!).
5. Click: NEXT.
6. Select: StartUp Repair.

Reclaim your freed disk space:
1. If you're here Windows should have booted properly. For the next steps you can use EASEUS Partition Manager or reboot from the Partition Wizard CD/DVD and do it from there. I used EASEUS since I already had it loaded on my laptop.)
2. Delete the 2 Dell partitions at the front of your OS drive, one FAT and one NTFS (Recovery)
3. Move C: (The OS partition) to the front of the drive by using the MOVE/SIZE feature and setting the space before value to ZERO.
4. Apply Changes. {This will cause Reboot with EASEUS probably not with Partition Wizard since you are not in Windows with it." {NOTE: This takes some time to complete, especially the LAST 1%!}
ARGH! After 4 hours with:
99% Total Progress
99% Current Operation
100% Updating System Information
I gave up and rebooted; required the power switch; no boot.
Booted from System Restore Disk. Not this time bucko...Whip out the TI Boot Disk & Restore the image. Here's a plug for multiple image versions. The one I took today was corrupt. Moved back to the previous one...worked fine...go figure. Even more interesting after restoring the previous generation I tried again to restore the newest generation and it worked!!!!!
5. Repeated all the steps this far but Replacing EASEUS with Partition Wizard this time! This time it was quick and easy.
6. Use Partition Wizard to add the recovered space to the partition of your choice.


1. You may ask me why I didn't use EASEUS for all the operations. Simple the free version does not provide the capability for a Bootable CD/DVD and also does not let you change the partition flags. At least it wouldn't let me change the Active flag on the Dell Recovery Partition. After the experience I asked myself why I used EASEUS at all! As a matter of fact it is now banished from all my machines!!! Long live Partition Wizard!

2. You may also ask why I didn't combine step 5 of Reclaim your freed disk space into step 3. Just me I like taking things one step at a time.

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