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How to recover using acronis

Posted on 2008-06-20
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
My son has a pc he using for gaming. XP Sp2. After returning from a vacation the machine will not boot up. It seems to be powering up correctly, displays the normal memory mgmt data, etc. The last thing it displays is F11 Acronis Starup Manager, then the display clears and the system hangs.

I tried pressing F9 to recover (one of the options in the boot up screen) when I do that I get
No HPA enabled, any key to boot. It hangs at that point, but does not clear the display.

Assuming that I had to be looking at hardware, since I hadn't changed anything, I took the skins off and gave it a good cleaning. Reset the cables, etc... the disk seems to be powered up and spinning, but of course that doesn' mean much.

I also tried recovering from the acronis backup disk...but I haven't done that before. I loaded the CD, rebooted the machine and pressed F11 when the msg came up. It read the CD and spit it back out.
I suppose it c/b a bad cd...but I'm guessing that I'm doing something wrong, so I thought I'd ask if anyone has a suggestion on what to try next. Possible bad hard drive?

Thx!
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Question by:BillTr
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by:cybrexus
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Boot to BIOS and verify that the HD is recognized correctly in BIOS.
Maybe booting your Windows XP CD, going to Recovery Console and running chkdsk /r first might repair any errors
I always recommend Users run the following in Recovery Console, and in this order:

fixboot
fixmbr
chkdsk /r
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by:BillTr
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I tried rebooting from the windows cd (xp sp1) but it just goes back to the same bland screen. I'd made the cd the primary boot device via the bios first. I see the light come on, so it looks likes it pings it.

Hmmm.... dumb question. Shouldn't I be able to boot from the acronis backup cd too?
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by:phrank82
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What version of acronis are you using?  Lots of folks, including me, have had problems with v.11.

If I were you, I'd set acronis aside for now.  Your time would be much better spent following cybrexus's suggestions to check for and repair any errors on your boot drive.  Use the recovery console.  See this microsoft article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307654

Good luck.  Let us know what happens.
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by:BillTr
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Shouldn't I be able to boot from the xp disk? If no, can I make a bootable cd? The microsoft link had me creating floppies, I'd have to run to the store to buy those.

I did try booting from the xp disk, after pointing the boot bios at the cd drive, but get the same empty display.

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by:smiffy13
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yes: you should be able to boot from your XP disk, maybe something has gone wrong with your CD drive. Can you test the disk on another PC?
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by:nobus
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>>  I did try booting from the xp disk, after pointing the boot bios at the cd drive, but get the same empty display.   <<    this tells me it is booting from disk, not cd

So test if you can boot from another bootable cd, like : ubcd :  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
comes in handy for troubleshooting further !
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by:alikaz3
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>>>>>HPA enabled


You are hitting F9 for recover, but you have acronis installed, which uses F11. I bet you are getting that error because you are trying to start the HPA (sounds like Hewlett Packard Assistant to me). The HPA recovery was probably broken upon installation of Acronis.  I would just boot using F11, this will get you into the Acronis Recovery Manager. You should have your backup image saved in a special partition called "Acronis Secure Zone". So do this:

Boot using F11
Click recover
point to acronis secure zone
continue through the wizard, one recovered, reboot.

Let me know!
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by:BillTr
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Sorry, I just haven't had a chance to work on the machine the last few weeks. I will try some of the advice tonight and update the ticket tomorrow.
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by:BillTr
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Still no luck. I tried booting from a diagnostic floppy, which uses DRDos and got exactly the same hang condition.

I think the acronis CD is readable, I took it to a second machine and was able to pull it up, see the files, etc.

My inclination is to say that it must be the disk controller or the motherboard, since I get the same symptoms when booting from different devices. Odd.  I had machine on a surge protector, it was working fine. We turn it off for a week and then it fails to boot.

It's an old machine, probably time to upgrade anyway. Let me know if you have any other ideas. Thanks!
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by:nobus
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look for bad caps :   www.badcaps.net
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alikaz3 earned 300 total points
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My first suspicion is that your data is corrupted, be it your windows files or your Master Boot Record (MBR). The Acronis software works with a special partition on your hard drive, called the Acronis Secure Zone (usually named ACRONIS_SZ). This is a FAT32 format partition, usually placed at the end of the hard drive.

If it is a hardware failure, I would walk through the standard diagnostic procedure before getting a whole new computer. The most likely suspects are RAM or HDD, as RAM is sensitive to heat damage (you mentioned the computer needing to be cleaned), and the HDD has moving parts which will always eventually fail. I would boot from a bootable utility disk such as Knoppix or UBCD/UBCD4Win


http://www.ubcd4win.com/
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
http://www.knoppix.net/

These all have the same basic functionality, but are fundamentally different. I'd say just do the regular ultimate boot cd, since you are doing HDD and RAM tests. This is the procedure:

Download the .iso file from the site
Burn the iso directly to a disk using a burning program that burns isos to disk (http://cdburnerxp.se/ is free if you don't have one)
insert the disk and boot from it
navigate to memtest 86 and let it run for at least 30 mins
If the system does not fail, proceed to hdd tests
navigate to a hard disk tesk (hdat2 works - info at http://www.hdat2.com/) and let this run for longer (full duration of disk test)

If the system passes these tests you can be pretty confident that these pieces of hardware are fine. If not, you will have them ruled out. How old is this system? Let me know the specs and I can tell you if it is worth buying parts for. Let me know!
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by:BillTr
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Sorry to be so slow. I finally got around to trying this and got basically the same result. It does say something about booting from ultimate boot cd, then a quickly flashes the same acronis boot f11 msg. followed immediately by a blank raster.

Now I'm thinking motherboard....since it won't boot from cd or disk...but it evidently could read the cd rom because it correctly ID'd the ultimate disk.

I could try reseating the memory chips, but I would have expected it to give me some kind of error on a memory issue.

Though I have no experience in pc repair. Could the messages I'm getting on the screen be coming out of rom?  And ram still be failing?

Thanks for the help and patience...
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by:nobus
nobus earned 200 total points
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ram is the first thing to test, then disk, to know if the basics are ok.
did you try the ubcd on another pc, to be sure it is bootable, and ok?
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by:alikaz3
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nobus is right on there, if you have another computer to test the boot disk and ram in, you can confirm they are solid. That would definitely be the best next step. Make sure to get a computer that has the same ram type, if you can't you can either take the machine to a computer shop for a memory test (they may charge you a bunch of money), or just order new memory (if it is ddr2 it is very cheap nowadays). Try that out and let me know if you can't test the memory. Just post your memory type or motherboard model and memory amount and I'll find you the best deal.
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by:nobus
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BTW - all diags can be found on the ubcd  - link above
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by:BillTr
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The disk did boot up on the other pc just fine. So, I get the same symptom when I try to  boot normally, boot from CD (ubcd & acronis) or floppy. The ubcd does not give me the diags screen on the problem box.

Since it passes the original memory test during the boot process, I'm inclined to say the memory is probably fine. Since it runs the bios, I would think the basic motherboard functionality must be there. It's failing when it goes to read from any of the media...Maybe a disk controller?
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by:nobus
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>>  The ubcd does not give me the diags screen on the problem box.   <<    disconnect all disk drives, and boot from cd to test - it MUST give the screen
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by:BillTr
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I tried this by disconnecting the hard disk, but got the same result. It does read the CD in each case, because it prompts me for booting on the ubcd. I press enter and it goes to a blank raster.

I'm going to call it a day on this one, but I'd like to award the points anyway. Is that allowed?
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by:nobus
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awarding points is allowed
but can you boot from any bootable cd?
if not, you maybe looking at a bad cd, cd drive, cable or even ram
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by:alikaz3
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Yea I'm going to lean towards bad ram too. Were you able to find any replacements to try?
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by:BillTr
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No, I didn't try replacing the ram. I did reseat it.

Question: I see a mem test come up during the boot sequence. Isn't that checking the RAM?

I gave the machine to the friend who built it for me. He's got extra hardware so he can easily swap things out, where I couldn't. I didn't want to take things out of the other machine, since it's still working.
I'll let you know what he finds.

Thanks for the all good advice..
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by:alikaz3
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>>>Question: I see a mem test come up during the boot sequence. Isn't that checking the RAM?

It is a ram test, but not really. It basically "calls up" all the memory addresses to see if they respond. A true ram test will fill the ram and then retrieve the written data and verify nothing has changed. This usually takes nearly an hour to complete using a good program (depending on ram type/amount).

Let's say for your case:
You might have some bad memory chips in the first stick, when the system goes to load the OS (either off your CD or HDD), it transfers the initial data to the ram, then sends an execute command. If the data is being copied to the ram and cannot be read back, it will produce that blank raster screen you are seeing.

Now of course this could be something else - like your motherboard. Checking the ram will allow us to move further.
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by:nobus
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test your ram with memtest86+ from www.memtest.org
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by:BillTr
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My friend says he reloaded the OS and it came up, so now I'm really confused as to why it wouldn't boot from the CD...but it sounds like he's got it going.

Thanks again to all that contributed!
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