Sunday, May 5. 2013
This is a follow up for my earlier post about Acronis experiences.
So, I decided to get a new motherboard/CPU/memory -triplet. I did what I usually do, except this time I was using Acronis and this time my computer had fake RAID-1 drive from ICH10R-chip. At the time I didn't think none of this matters, I just went forward with the hardware upgrade. New components booted the first time without any real issues. I re-configured the existing drives with the RAID-1 and booted to the Windows for the first time.
My boot drive is SSD, and I have large RAID-1 array for files. I got into Windows, logged in, plenty of grievance as expected. Lots of new devices found, RAID-missing, etc. no real surprises there. I re-partitioned the RAID-1 drive and started Acronis. The idea was to do a restore of my previous data and go forward with configuring the new parts. To my surprise, Acronis announced that it cannot do a restore into my D:-drive. Initially I didn't think much of it, since Acronis said, that it needs to reboot and restore will continue. Sounds good to me.
After the reboot I was in a Linux-environment with Acronis pretty much automatically doing everything. The only choice was to abort the restore and two checkboxes. Shutdown after restore or reboot after restore. There was 800 GiB of data and estimate was 7 hours. I checked the shutdown and left.
Next day I came back to see what happened. PC was shut down. Most likely the restore succeeded and shut down after completion. I booted into Windows to see that there was no D:-drive. The partition was gone too. WTF?!
During following days I repeated the process 3 more times with varying parameters from restore. No results. Windows saw my RAID-1 mirror as a raw partition each time. No files, no resonable results. It would be fair to say that I was pissed. What a piece of crap backup software! The value of backup is in the possibility of doing a restore of it. This "fine" product didn't deliver. Unbelievable!
Next I got a Fedora Linux 18 Live DVD to see how my drives were visible there. Then the idea hit me! In out-of-the-box Linux, a fake RAID ICH10R mirror is seen as two physical drives. Not as single RAID-1 volume. Sure, the volume can be configured into Linux too, but out-of-the-box it didn't do that. What are the chances Acronis' restore Linux does the same? I'd bet serious money on that.
So, apparently in ICH10R there is offset in the drive if it is configured as RAID-drive. Many real RAID-controllers don't do that. A RAID-mirror is two physical drives mirrored and you can take either one of those and it will work as JBOD.
Acronis' knowledge base recommended doing the restore in Windows (sorry, I lost the articlea already). So, The next thing I did was to purchase a True Image 2013 Plus Pack. I got Windows 7 AIK, installed it, installed the newly purchased Plus Pack and started to create a Windows restore image. The image maker did something for a while and then "Error occurred while creating the image". Nothing more. No details. No log-file. No nothing. Completely useless piece of crap!
So, I spent around 9 days while trying to get my data back. I had purchased even more crappy software from Acronis, and had no joy from my new parts.
I went back to square one. Why doesn't the partition restore start in Windows? Why does it say, that it needs to reboot and go to Linux? WTF?! I investigated more and realized that whenever I create a D:-drive, it gets locked by operating system right after it get's ready. That must be the reason for Acronis to want a reboot.
I created the RAID-1 array, quick-formatted it as NTFS, but assigned it as H:-drive. Now Windows didn't want to lock that. Apparently my yet-to-be-restored data had something the OS wanted. The data wasn't available, but OS happily locked the drive while hoping for the data to appear. I did a restore to the H:-drive. This time it took 10 hours. Apparently Linux restore is much faster (or they both took 10 hours, I don't know).
After the restore completed, I just re-arranged the drive letters so that my succesfully restored RAID-1 mirror got the D:-letter again. A reboot and everything was fine! Uuu-jeah! Oh happy, oh joy!
PS. If anyone is interested. There are 3D Mark 20111 results from my box publicly available.