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Windows 7: System Image Recovery

27 Nov 2010   #170
BrodyBoy

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

I'm starting to wonder/speculate on something. Any feedback & corrections appreciated.

The self-monitoring feature built into modern HDDs seems to work like this:
  • It triggers a S.M.A.R.T. error when it detects a problem.
  • It "flags" the drive as BAD.
  • Disc diagnostic tools see the error condition, and immediately report "Ooh, we found an error...BAD DRIVE!" Even though they don't actually identify any specific problems.
  • When Windows boots, it, too sees the flag & immediately says there's a serious drive problem, better back-up data ASAP, etc., etc. But it's only reading that flag...it doesn't independently validate the diagnosis.
  • Once this "bad" drive is flagged in Windows, maybe certain applications (like back-up programs?) will in turn presume they're operating on a bad drive and trigger conditional behavior based on Windows' report.

Everything "downstream" trusts the S.M.A.R.T. report....but what if S.M.A.R.T. itself has malfunctioned? If NO other disc utility actually finds any errors other than the flag in the drive's self-report, and the only programs having conniptions are the back-up programs.....are we sure that drive is really bad?

If I disable S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, might the error flag be removed and the responses it triggers in Windows be avoided? Is it worth trying? Or do I have have my head totally lodged up a dark place here....?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2010   #171
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

If I'm repeating something others have suggested I apologize. Have you tried running an independent hard drive testing tool like SeaTools? You don't have to be using a Seagate drive to run the tool.

SeaTools for Windows | Seagate
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2010   #172
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

BrodyBoy,
I don't dismiss anything including your SMART hypothesis. But I think I think it may be stretching it a little to think that Windows would allow (be "smart" enough") use this data in the way you suggest. I don't think disabling it would hurt. I forget what you are using for SMART reporting ---try CrystalDiskInfo.

By all means use SeaTools I have some Seagate drives and use the tool occasionally but generally feel comfortable with the Windows check. A proper sector scan & repair on a 1TB drive is SLOW. I suggest you run the disk scan as I suggested earlier from Windows
From windows > goto Computer. Your drive c: will be shown>right click, select properties>Tools>Check now> click 2 boxes >start
Because you are checking the OS drive the computer should restart and take ages to finish the job.


This should take on the order of an hour or more for 1TB. I've done it heaps of times you will also see progress feedback.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2010   #173
BrodyBoy

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
If I'm repeating something others have suggested I apologize. Have you tried running an independent hard drive testing tool like SeaTools? You don't have to be using a Seagate drive to run the tool.

SeaTools for Windows | Seagate
Yes, that was the first thing I did. It appeared to me that it just saw the S.M.A.R.T. flag and made the "bad disc" call as I described above. The short test didn't actually report errors other than that the disc had been marked as bad. The long test would abort, say that S.M.A.R.T. had found irreparable errors, and issue a Warranty Validation Code.

So that didn't get very far at all. I trust the error code too, and I don't want a new computer running a problem drive. I've already RMA'd it. But it seems to work fine, so I thought I could just create an image to replicate the installation on the new drive. That's when all these failed back-up attempts started.

To be clear, it's only when trying to create a system image that there's any problem. Otherwise, it seems to boot up and run normally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Nov 2010   #174
BrodyBoy

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

@mjf:

SMART monitoring was enabled by default in the ASUS motherboard. I've never used another program for that....I've never had a disc trigger a SMART error. Lucky I guess.

Windows flashes a pop-up about the drive problem immediately upon booting....that's what makes me suspect it's just using the SMART flag.....and then at regular intervals (~10-15min) after that.

I'll try running the scan again. I went outside Windows to do it because the other method would say that access to the disc was prevented by a recently-installed program. I assumed that was Acronis. I'll try uninstalling it and running the Windows test again as you described.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2010   #175
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

The boot manager and BCD live in the 100MB system reserved partition and Windows uses that partition as part of its imaging. This might explain your boot manager getting corrupted. If there isn't at least 50MB free in this partition windows imaging is likely to fail.

You think your drive is bad enough to return it. Yet you would trust an image from it - if you could make one. Acronis doesn't like imaging the drive???

So keep going if you like. Download Macrium and try it. I use it also and have restored from its images.

I meant also to ask - Are you confident that your 400GB internal HDD is installed ok?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2010   #176
BrodyBoy

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
The boot manager and BCD live in the 100MB system reserved partition and Windows uses that partition as part of its imaging. This might explain your boot manager getting corrupted. If there isn't at least 50MB free in this partition windows imaging is likely to fail.

You think your drive is bad enough to return it. Yet you would trust an image from it - if you could make one. Acronis doesn't like imaging the drive???

So keep going if you like. Download Macrium and try it. I use it also and have restored from its images.

I meant also to ask - Are you confident that your 400GB internal HDD is installed ok?
Yes, I'm confident in the 400Gb drive...the M/B & Windows both recognized it immediately, the format completed normally, items copied to it normally. Why would you suspect that I shouldn't have confidence in it (or its installation)?

"You think your drive is bad enough to return it."
I based that on the SMART error. The minute she called and said she saw that on start-up three days ago, I felt I should replace the drive. (She'd had the computer less than a week.) I went over to create an image then.....and thought I had.

FWIW, chkdsk found no problems in the System Reserved partition. No errors, and nearly 70Mb of free space.

You've been very patient, and I sincerely appreciate it. But I suspect I've exhausted your patience with this odd & intractable issue. I may try a few more things...if they work, great...if not, I rebuild. Thanks for all your suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Nov 2010   #177
gringoal

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 
System Image Recovery in Windows Home Premium

I have been trying to do an Image Recovery. The Windows Backup Image is on an external HD. Nothing shows up in the "Re-image your Computer" selection (I do not get the selection box in your System Image Recovery step 3) when I enter the network path in the search network option I get a network connection error. I have tried copying the Image to an Internal drive (not C but the same thing happens.

I have just read the "Warnings" in the Create an Image Backup Forum and it says "Only the Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise Editions can backup to a network location."

Does this mean that as I am using Home Premium I must use the Command Prompt at Boot option, will I be able to access my external drive backup, will it work?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Nov 2010   #178
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Gringoal, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Does any of the NOTE box under STEP ONE apply to you? If so, be sure that you do that first.

If the external drive is connected via a USB port, do you have your BIOS set to see USB devices at boot?


If all else fails, you will be able to manually extract any files that you may need from the system image backup using the tutorial below to help show you how to.

System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management

Hope this helps for now,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Nov 2010   #179
gringoal

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 

Thanks Brink.

My head is spinning here ! hope you're still around

Firstly i have never moved or renamed WindowsImageBackup since it was first created it is located on an external USB3 1TB Western Digital drive H:

I do not see the words "see USB devices at boot" in the BIOS but all references to USB are "enabled."

I tried Extracting files using Disk management but when I hit OK after Step 6 my computer froze for a long time and then rebooted with a "Recovery from a Major Widows Error" message

It might help if I understood what this process is trying to do. If I am navigating to external drive H: to find the Image where am I extracting it to and how does a new partition get created ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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