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bartholomewking

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Posts posted by bartholomewking


  1. OK, I did successful a test demonstrating in this instance, i.e. my case that Speedstep is the problem.

    I stress that, but in so saying it is likely to apply for others also. (yes, it's a disclaimer!)

    I proceeded as follows:

    FIrst, booted into BIOS (F2 in my case) and turned OFF Speedstep, and saved settings.

    Restarted the machine.

    I booted from the Macrium PE partition on my system drive (this is created from the Macrium Reflect application menu):

    Other Tasks > Add Recovery Boot Menu Option ...

    After this option is set the option to boot appears on a boot time menu when you reboot the machine.)

    • Start up the machine
    • I choose the Boot Menu option to go into the Macrium Reflect PE environment. (you can also boot from CD or USB stick from BIOS)
    • NB, partitions will be overwritten, so if something goes wrong, then a USB or CD is essential
    • once booted, (the DOS stuff optional) open a command shell (CMD), enter the commands below to change the power scheme i.e. make it run a little quicker. Worked for me
    • you can also run taskmgr from the CMD environment to see what the machine is actually up to.
    • choose the required partions for restore, press restore and there it is

    DOS (CMD) commands:

    to list the available power schemes ( i.e. performance)

    X:\Windows\System32>powercfg /L

    Existing Power Schemes (* Active)

    -----------------------------------

    Power Scheme GUID: 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e  (Balanced) *

    Power Scheme GUID: ce0fbd01-98fc-442c-b326-d8df81d29e84  (High Performance)

    Power Scheme GUID: d82a8bef-8323-45c7-a201-45e5369f5b56  (Power Saver)

    to change the power scheme, powercfg with the /S option followed by the GUID of the desired scheme

    X:\Windows\System32>powercfg /S ce0fbd01-98fc-442c-b326-d8df81d29e84 

    X:\Windows\System32>powercfg /L

    Existing Power Schemes (* Active)

    -----------------------------------

    Power Scheme GUID: 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e  (Balanced)

    Power Scheme GUID: ce0fbd01-98fc-442c-b326-d8df81d29e84  (High Performance) *

    Power Scheme GUID: d82a8bef-8323-45c7-a201-45e5369f5b56  (Power Saver)

    The above change the power scheme. In my case at boot the default was the balanced scheme. I saw one report showing that the default was the High Performance, but in my instance this was not so.

    Obviously the GUIDs may be different. Not sure, but possibly. These  steps aren't actually necessary but may speed things up a bit.

    This restored my partitions in about 50 minutes with no problem.

    Anadavari's earelier point about the chkdsk /R is also relevant I think. good and prudent.

    The fact that Throttlestop exists at all, and that all hell broke loose not long ago when the version in the wild became unlicensed, and thus ceased to function, without notice proves that similar related problems exist on other makes and model of system. (Throttlestop is an excellent bit of software for controlling PC performance, and  is available at Techpowerup as a free download).

    I guess that had I been more patient, that the restore would have succeeded but I did wait for 10 minutes or so staring at a darkened disc activity light before I decided something was wrong.

    I mentioned in an earlier post about Hirens boot CD.

    Well it turns out it's explicitly Not a CD, but A USB utility, and it looks great. It does include within its PE the Macrium PE. In other words, you can start up a Macrium Reflect session from within a windows environment with all the discs dismounted. There's also a plethora of useful utilities like the old XP version ... Every home should have one.

    I consider this a solution for my problem and hope others may find it helpful. This is a solution for a Dell Latitude Laptop, but read between the lines ...

    Cheers!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  2. 3 hours ago, Andavari said:

    If it's a heat issue why not get one of those laptop stands with little feet on the back. I've had one of those since day one, it raises the back of the laptop about 1 inch off the table for more air flow. It also helps prevent the laptop from getting heat-soaked on the bottom and prevents throttling since it isn't technically sitting directly on the table surface it's just the little feet on the stand that are, so it prevents the table absorbing heat and then releasing it right back into the laptop bottom casing. A good free quick and cheap way to test that would be to use some water bottle caps taped onto the bottom of the laptop, then have the laptop do something taxing to see if it throttles or not.

    Hi,  I don’t believe it’s a heat issue so much, the machine runs within thermal specs. the references I made towards throttling may be relevant, but aren't an issue generally. the use of Throttlestop and HWinfo64 cure it to all practical purposes.

    The cause of the throttling is the way that the Dell machines of this series (circa 2010) deal with different capacity power supplies, e-ports and thermal control. It's just plain buggy!  A google search on the subject will find thousands trying to solve the problem.

    I use Throttlestop and HWinfo64 to alleviate that. HWinfo64 may seem odd to mention in this context, but it has fan control that works for the Dell, it doesn't fight with the built-in fan control. Speedfan (I mentioned before) fights with the built-in control I found, so the fan is constantly revving up and down. Speedstep slows the fan, system increases and so on. This then sounds almost like heavy breathing and leads to neurosis and paranoia. It is also a poor accompaniment to music recording with a microphone.

    These factors are not so much of an issue, if the machine is run on external power, but with all peripherals disconnected. i.e. bare bones, just enough to do the required restore task, 1 external USB drive with the backup on it, no e-port, additional discs and all other USB stuff disconnected.

    Of course, in PE neither Throttlestop or HWinfo64 are running.

    But, I think all that is a digression from the restore issue. It could be contributing, but the system doesn't exhibit extreme throttling symptoms. e.g. you can still move the mouse about, other items in the PE environment seem to be working. I've since found out, that Task Manager or a variant thereof, can be run from within the PE environment. I would certainly have used that had I known at the time to get a better idea of what was going on.

    Speedstep on the other hand may be significant, but a significance yet to be tested. This involves the control of the idle states in the processor. It can be configured on and off in the BIOS.

    Generally, I have it on. When it is I get event viewer messages complaining that the Bios is controlling the processor state i.e.

    Event 37: The speed of processor X in group Y is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 71 seconds since the last report. (these come in groups of 4, one for each logical processor)

    I think this is a symptom of an older BIOS, a newer Windows 10 and a misunderstanding between the two. Hence Dell does not "support" these older machines under Win 10.

    The processor can burst up to its max state and also be throttled by the Firmware/Hardware when Speedstep is enabled. For most things Speedstep doesn’t make a lot of difference, but I'm sure for games, and certainly for realtime audio it can be beneficial.

    While writing the previous paragraph I found a link entitled "Slow Backup or Restore under Windows PE Rescue Media with Intel SpeedStep" the content of which looks uncannily familiar!

    https://forum.macrium.com/Topic22409.aspx

    This only goes to show that GI(not always)YF

    OK .....

    TESTING TESTING TESTING.

    Testing is all that can be done now. But, understandably I'm not in a hurry to do that. I will inevitably have to at some point, and I have the backstop of a second machine. Should things go awry.

    But I've found these additional things.

    • in the PE run a CMD shell, and type taskmgr. the link above to macrium also talks about powercfg.
    • Exploring the PE environment's command shell looks like a very good idea. however, "Help" and "?" don't work so it has to be RTFM i'm afraid.
    • There is a new version of Hirens Boot CD PE for WIndows 10. It has Reflect in it. To what extent and how it works at this point I don't know. I found it late last night, and got no further than buring the ISO. That by itself could be excellent news! The old Windows XP version was a life saver.
    • It's all horribly complicated and there are far too many variables.

     

    Thanks so much Andavari and Hazelnut.

    I don't consider this solved or closed, but now the next step seems obvious.

    I will report my findings .....

    If anybody else tries anything like it, it would be interesting to know.

    Kindest Felicitations and Cheers!!

     

     

     

     


  3. 1 hour ago, Andavari said:

    I wonder if it was because it was a standard image instead of a clone, and I'm surprised actually that a standard image would work to fully restore it. I've been wondering that myself such as what if at some point my boot M.2 SSD failed, all I have to restore from are standard images I've made created using Macrium Reflect Free, and the disk imaging built into Windows 10.

    The backups are run on a schedule each day at about 5.00am. I did this for a long time before the SSD. the only time I've had a problem is with the SSD. There is of course all the oddness of Trim on an SSD, and I notice that Reflect gives the option of Trim or not to Trim on restore. I must admit I didn't try all the permutations . I just wanted to restore, not wear the damn  thing out. It took about four attempts before I suceeded. :lol:

    You can mount the backups while in Win 10, find all the files you want and restore them en mass or individually without issue., the Boot and Rescue partitions are there.

    Like I said, I can only not restore it when it's mounted in the Laptop itself running from the Macrium Boot PE environment (irrespective of medium, eg USB/Disc/Recovery Partition), and this worked just fine with HDD. When I mount the disc in another machine, I can restore the very same backup fine, but that machine is up and running in Windows 10 and not Windows PE. also of course it's a different machine with different hardware. It's a Dell XPS 430.

    Clone does work, as that is how I transferred the operating system in the first place. i.e. HDD cloned onto SSD. SSD is a little bigger so had to move the partitions around a little afterwards, but it all  worked without any issue that I noticed.

    Clone would not be useful for me as a daily backup regime however as it would consume too much data and time.

    I'm erring towards thinking it being a hardware/firmware foible of the Dell Laptop. I made a comment in the original post about Speedstep. I've had some wierdness with this technology on this very same laptop. The Dell Latitude series is notorious for strange fan behaivour and throttling. It gets more peculiar with a docking station, or e-port as they call it. The machine is actually not supported as such under Windows 10, just a little too old. Last supported windows is Win 7 64bit.

    It's pretty much unusable without running Throttlestop, and I use HWinfo64 to control the fan. Speedfan just fights with the BIOS and it starts to sound like an anonymous nuisance telephone caller. If you don't use Throttlestop the throttling will set in and the machine will perform very poorly, to the point that it becomes unusable. . There are pages and pages about that sort of thing on Dell forums.

    The Bios is updated to the latest available. Contrarywise, it has worked (i.e. restore) in the past reliably with HDD.

    Mentioning Windows 7 above makes me think that a trial of a Windows 7 based PE might be a good idea.

    I'd do an experiment of disabling Speedstep and trying the restore when I get the inclination or necessity. It's just very time consuming, and of course as it's my main machine a nuisance to do so.

    Still, knowing the answer would be a good thing. When the machine is in the PE environment, the restore just appears to stop. It could be ( after considering what I just wrote) the throttling coming into play. One of the weird things that happens is that the machine Restarts increadibly slowly compared to a cold start when Speedstep is enabled. I'll admit the Speedstep thing only came to mind after all this, and I didn't try a restore with it disabled.

    Just too many variables and too little time. Plus I don't want to wear out my shiny new disc, people get paranoid about where to put the swapspace when they have an SSD! I don't want to be repeatedly re-formatting it to get an answer. On the other hand I don't want to lose my data.

    what a conundrum.

     

     


  4. 2 hours ago, Andavari said:

    Where you able to fully restore the system using just a standard disk image that backs up all of the Windows partitions, or was it a disk clone? Also did you have the laptop plugged into the power brick when attempting the restore?

    ----------------

    Perhaps before making any future disk images run chkdsk /f on the SSD first, I always do that before making any backup image.

    On an old laptop with an HDD maybe two or so years ago that I couldn't get Macrium to successfully finish creating a disk image on was because of some disk error(s). However on that laptop chkdsk /f didn't help either, I instead had to run chkdsk /r to perform a full surface scan which corrected errors, and only then did Macrium finish without issue. I know this is the exact opposite because you were trying to restore, however I wonder if a disk error could cause a restore to fail. I had read online a few months ago that SSD's can have bad blocks too.

    Hello there. It was a standard disc image + a differential.

    i.e. i restored from the latest differential. I have done this lots of times before (but mostly to HDD).

    I tried restoring the partitions separately ( there were 3 on the disc ). but that didn't work either.... that is two of the partitions did restore, but they were small.

    they would be the boot and recovery partitions. the system partition seemed to be the one in which the freeze took place, but this obviously is the bulk of the size, the other two being < a Gig in total.

    The machine was on power throughout.

    The SSD is pretty new (approx 4mths) I will give it a chkdsk /R at some point soon just to be certain. that's a good point. I did however at one stage wipe the thing with mini partition tool. no guarantee that would have picked up anything dodgy though.

    I regularly chkdsk all discs  (/F), no problems.

    the intersting point is that it will restore on the other machine without apparent issue. The only time I see an issue is under the circumstance I described.

     

    will run the chkdsk /R soonest and see.


  5. Hello there,

    I was hoping that somebody may be familiar with this problem.

    It’s been a while since I have been on this forum, and since the last time my systems have changed considerably.

    My main machine is a Dell Latitude E6410 (i5-520M) laptop with the latest BIOS running 64bit Windows 10 (pro), with a Qumox (Maxmemory X100) 256GB SSD. There appear to be no special drivers for this disc.

    I am running Macrium Reflect (free edition 64bit v7.1.3317) as backup software.

    I use a weekly turnaround, full system disc image on a Sunday, differential every weekday and Saturday, each verified during that process.

    Like many others I downloaded and installed the now notorious W10 October update.

    This installed without serious incident, however I ran into a few irritating problems afterwards. The most significant was performance related (Dell - Intel Chipset?), and there were others that banged my OCD bone beyond tolerance. When it became apparent that there was not going to be a fix soon, I decided to restore the final image I made prior to all this.

    On attempting to restore:

    I used the Macrium Boot Windows PE from the boot disk.

    I then tried the USB stick with the PE environment.

    I then tried a CD

    All of the above booted as expected and the restore ran,  but only partially.

    In each instance the restore proceeded as expected, but then after a while the disc activity light stopped, and no further activity took place. The PE environment still seemed to be active, but did not finish the restore. I may have given up prematurely, but it looked to me like nothing further was happening.

    I installed the SSD disc in another (desktop) machine and removed the partitions from it entirely.

    I returned it to the laptop and tried again. The same symptoms. Restore ran with constant disc activity, then apparently ceased anywhere from approx. 9 – 40%. I waited a while, but after several minutes gave up, this being pretty time consuming and not without stress.

    Eventually the solution I chose was to connect up the SSD in another (desktop) machine and run an image restore of the same backup but on that other machine while it was running full Windows 10 (again 64bit). That was successful and without incident.

    The laptop is back up and running perfectly with the previous 1803 version of Win 10.

    I think this is likely to be some sort of foible with the Dell Laptop and SSD discs, the machine is quite old.

    I have succeeded in the past with this scenario on this same machine, but did have difficulty with the SSD .. taking a couple of attempts before success. Before I had no difficulty restoring to a 7200rpm 250GB HDD that it replaced, and did this on a number of occasions when the HDD was installed.

    There does not appear to be a problem with any of the hardware involved, and the system works pretty well and passes every test I can think of.

    I have an inkling that having Speedstep being turned on in the BIOS may be a factor, but just got too fed up to test that theory.

    I’m pretty sure that I tried to do the whole restore thing with nothing other than an external USB disc and the laptop undocked and other external  and internal discs removed. Next time, I’ll be more circumspect, but for the time being I don’t want to go through the exercise again without good reason.

    The 'good reason' of course, is likely in the pipeline with the re-issue of the Windows 10 October update, which this time I have deferred in the update settings for as long as possible as a configurable screen grab and paste buffer really aren't worth that much trouble.

    Any thoughts on this matter would be very gratefully received, especially experiences of any similar experiences.

    Kind Regards and thanks in anticipation.

     

     


  6. Just out of interest:

    There appears to be a known bug in earlier Linux Kernels that fail to pick up on some SATA interfaces

     

    Transcribed from photo mentioned in post #19 above as my machine attempts to attach one of the SATA drives:

     

    ata1.00:failed to set xfermode (err_mask=0x40)
    ata1.00:disabled
    ata1:exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen t4
    ata1:irq_stat 0x48000000, interface fatal error
    ata1:hard resetting link

     

    i.e. the system cannot attach the device
    This would explain some of the discrepencies described in the same post.


  7.  

    Hi, bartholomewking. 

    Thanks very much for the analysis, very helpful & useful for me.

     

    However, I think the link in post #17 goes to version 5.2.6551. 

    Unless I copied something wrong, the link to version 5.2.6526 is: 

    http://filehippo.com/download_macrium_reflect/57471/
    

    Sorry login123, you're absolutely right on the link!! (I've changed it in the original post to prevent further confusion).

     

    I have confirmed that the version I have been testing is 5.2.6526 from help->about within the software just to make sure.

    And thank you for the suggestion in the first place Hazelnut.

     

    Sadly, however from my own point of view, I have to report failure.

     

    Unfortunately I have installed the older version (Macrium Reflect 5.2.6526) and created the Linux based recovery environment.

    This also does not recognise my SATA discs.

     

    My own Linux installation does, and the Paragon Linux recovery system also does.

     

    Why there is this discrepancy, I don't know other than guessing. There is a verbose logging switch when configuring the Linux based recovery option on creating the environment, which results in linux boot messages as the system is started in this environment. However as far as I can see this log is not accessible post boot, and no amount of keystrokes that I have tried at boot-time will pause the screen as the messages scroll so that I can examine them in more detail.

     

    (I’ve now managed to photograph them on my telephone) <_<

     

    From the photos I can see boot messages that appear to be failure to configure the SATA controller. I'll try and decipher what they mean but that could take some time ....

    I’ve also read something similar to this effect on some Linux forums. I suspect there’s something weird going on with the mix of software/drivers and my configuration as individual discs versus RAID. The fact that two different Linux derivatives get differing result imply differences in their kernel ... But that is a whole different subject.

     

    I suspect it is exacerbated by with my particular SATA controller and the version of the BIOS on my motherboard. Sadly this is at the latest revision that is available. I have noticed the odd strange thing changing in the BIOS in the SATA setup, post configuration. Although it’s interesting as to why (as ever), it doesn’t give me a practical problem, but it does de-value the functionality of the Macrium Product on this particular machine.

     

    I don't think this is any kind of deficiency of the product, which on the face of it seems excellent. As I say, I suspect it's a peculiarity of my particular setup.

     

    Having said which it does emphasise the need to test critical functionality such as backup and recovery.


  8. I found a download. You have to go back as far as version Macrium Reflect 5.2.6526 http://filehippo.com/download_macrium_reflect/57471/ to get the actual installer [edit link corrected] . Later versions download a stub that downloads an installer, and points at the latest version even though it says version 5 by the looks of it.

     

    This version does enable the creation of Linux Based and the earlier Windows PE 3.1

     

    quote from the Rescue Media Wizard:

     

    "Linux provides a compact and efficient rescue environment to restore all Windows operating systems.

    Note: This option enables you to restore your imaged partitions to exactly the same size and position as they were at the time the image was created.

    If you require greater flexibility then choose the Window PE edition"

     

    I'll see how it goes and let you know.


  9. Hi Mta, I was just testing out the product.

     

    Everything I ran was from Windows. However I wanted to see what would happen in a simulated disaster recovery situation, as I suspected there might be some problems with my drivers from past experience. Also, it would more likely be quicker to run a backup from the Recovery Medium as the machine is doing nothing else, no multitasking as such, nothing else going on, and all files as they were at the time that the machine was shut down. The disc image produced would be as near perfect as it could be ... in theory (remember my little firefox problem earlier in the thread?)

     

    For others reading this: if your system disc gets trashed for some reason, you need to restore a backup image to it. In that instance you would (probably) need to run the PE environment from a USB disc/stick or a DVD. You can install the Recovery Environment as an alternative boot option on the system disc, but in the event that a disc drive actually fails, it's a bit like nailing the life raft to the deck of the Titanic.

     

    Windows PE is a subset of Windows. It is a Microsoft Product, and to a certain extent independent of the version of operating system you are using. It can be modified by the OEM (in this instance Macrium) it gives you a limited set of Windows functionality tailored by the software author. So, it is more or less limited to booting, allowing you to save data and create images or clones, and more importantly to restore them without booting into Windows proper. The Macrium variant of PE also allows access to the command line. The Paragon products I have mentioned earlier can do similar things. They have a package called Paragon Rescue Kit (based also on PE but also can be Linux based I seem to recall). It too creates their version of an environment specifically for backup and restore, and fixing boot problems, the proprietary bit of each manufacturer's version understands their particular backup format.

     

    There is an article with more detail here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766093%28v=ws.10%29.aspx (I think it’s a little out of date, but gives the gist)

     

    With any of these backup software suites it is imperative to create some sort of boot medium for the circumstance in which the boot drive is corrupted/damaged/written off, otherwise the machine could become unusable and all the data on the internal boot medium (i.e. system hard drive) lost. When I say unusable, I mean until access to a recovery disc and the ability to restore from a backup. In Macrium one of the things that is necessary is to create the boot medium, or Rescue Media as the MR software calls it.

     

    Under the menu item "other tasks" at the top of the main menu in MR there is an option to create such an item (the program tells you do this when it is run, unless you uncheck the nag screen). It gives you the opportunity to write the PE environment (or mini-operating system) to a bootable USB memory stick, or a DVD. These should be retained and put to one side for security. If there is a failure of the boot drive for some reason on the machine e.g. corruption sufficient to make the machine impossible to start up, then these can be used to rescue the situation. Myself I would knock out a couple of DVDs and put them securely to one side. My prejudice would be to use a DVD+R. USB memory sticks are all very well and portable, but can easily be written over, swallowed or flushed down the toilet ... and that would be bad :unsure:

     

    As the recovery environment is built, drivers are loaded onto it from the host machine upon which it was created, so that it will (actually, should) work for that machine. It is possible that not all the drivers required would be on Recovery Media created on another machine. (that would certainly be the case on my system for example).

     

    On my system, the snag appears to be that the generic Windows PE environment is built upon the Windows 7 kernel, so the drivers for my SATA devices which date back only to XP and not beyond, are not understood. There do not appear to be any later versions available, although rather oddly, I can install Vista and it does see the discs. Sadly I haven't found a way of extracting them from the Vista installation disc. One of the significant changes from XP to Vista and subsequent Microsoft operating systems was the structure of device drivers. The net upshot is that I can't access two of the discs on my box from the Recovery Environment in the situation that the boot drive is disfunctional.

     

    It seemed prudent therefore to test for such and other unexpected circumstances, as all the backups in the world are useless if one doesn't have the means to restore them!

     

    Version 5 of the product had the means to create Linux based, and for that matter BartPE recovery discs, that would probably solve my particular problem. I had a look at the Macrium user forum, and the answer to the question why was it no longer available was something along the lines of “it’s expensive to maintain, and not many people use it”. They have no current plans to re-introduce this feature, but will bear it in mind.

     

    Unfortunately the download from the site, only downloads a downloader for the installer program, and that is now version 6. Sites claiming to host version 5 point at the downloader. This downloads version 6. I suspect though if there is a version 5 setup that somebody has extracted in the past, then you might install more than you bargained for!


  10. Hello all and @Mta,

    I did an uncompressed backup of my Linux partition and in summary this was indeed quicker.

     

    Macrium Reported:

    I/O Performance: Read 545.6 Mb/s - Write 172.3 Mb/s

    CPU usage was also notably lower, running around about 25% most of the time.

    Sadly the backup did not complete as the backup device ran out of free space, and I haven’t got any more readily available.

     

    The bad part about this was it didn’t warn before attempting to do the backup that this might happen, and the good part was that invited a secondary location when it encountered the problem so that it could continue.

     

    For me very sadly I cannot realistically use the product on my machine. It’s a driver issue. I can’t find drivers for the SATA/RAID device on the motherboard I have that run under windows 7. I don’t think they exist. Therefore the Windows PE environment does not find the SATA discs on my system. As I’ve got something that is proven and works for me I will continue with that. However I will put this for myself on the back burner and certainly re-examine this product when I have a newer machine running. It seems an excellent product and many of the features look superb. For me it’s not an XP issue, it’s a driver issue but I would encourage XP users with older machines to ensure that a restore is possible from the PE environment booted either from a USB memory stick or a DVD just to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises :o .

     

    I’ll probably leave it installed on the machine as it has some extremely useful features that could be otherwise employed. There is a possibility of digging the drivers from a Vista install CD, I know they work because I’ve had Vista running on this box, however I can’t easily find them, and to be honest at this point it probably isn’t worth the time and effort.

     

    Hope this info has helped.

     

    N.B. The above apply to version 6 of Macrium Reflect. Version 5 inlcuded a Linux Boot Disc. Macrium don't seem to allow a download of this version, and the Version 5 boot disc cannot understand version 6 archives I have read.


  11. MTA,

    OK, well I booted into the Macrium PE windows environment and somewhat unsurprisingly to me not all my disc drives were visible. As I have mentioned before in other threads, the machine is old, and that's why it's still XP ....  Drivers!

     

    I used the option "find unsupported devices", and it found the Ethernet Card driver, by manually pointing it to look in the system32 directory on my system disc ( rather helpfully labeled D: )

     

    However, as I say, my machine is old, so this should not apply to many others. I will also look again in the Macrium package WinPE package manager at the Recovery Media options. I think I'm going to have to build a custom PE environment and include my existent disc drivers in it. Worryingly though, the PE kernel that is built has a minimum spec of windows 7, so it may not work. As to that "not tonight Josephine", it's late.

     

    Slightly more worryingly however on reboot into Windows the message "The Cfg Registry key denied access to SYSTEM account programs so the Service Control Manager took ownership of the Registry key." was found in the Event Viewer System Log. Intuitively I'm not too worried about that, that message can be the sign of a trojan, but as it found the Ethernet driver it's not unlikely that the PE environment made a change to the Registry that XP didn't like. We'll see. F-Secure, the virus prog I use, found no problems. It also has an additional Rootkit diviner and that also found no problems. Along side this I ran Hitman Pro, which is a belt and braces program that finds things unsigned or  "suspicious" and tries to upload them to the could for analysis. Apart from Google's Analytics Package which keeps getting installed by an antipodean product I'm not allowed to mention, and a few C++ executables I and others have written nothing it regarded suspect was found.

     

    That aside being a blessed nuisance, the boot environment does allow for the creation of images. That may be a quicker and more secure way than from within windows.

     

    [edit: I rebooted from the same boot disc DVD into the Macrium Recovery Environment. I tried to reproduce the "find unsupported devices" issue detailed above. This time the program responded that it did not discover any unsupported devices. As this is a DVD and very definitely read only, then the only place that the program would be likely to save that information is in the registry or some file on the hard disc. I did a search using 'Everything' looking for *.ini, *.cfg and so forth with the 'datecreated:today' modifier in the search and found that the MR program has created a %SYSTEMDRIVE%\boot\macrium folder and a number of sub-folders with BCD entries (vista and above) and a file "reflect.cfg" which has binary content. There was also Drivers folder which contained Disk(empty), Network ( which contained my ULi Lan driver and .inf file) and USB ( also empty ). As might be expected the event viewer message was not reproduced. It does sound to me like the Recovery Media program did do something a bit cheeky to the registry when windows was not active, this would probably not happen with Vista and above. Sadly this sort of thing seems to be more the case with recent programs that still support XP.

    There is also a Drivers folder therein with sub-folders Disk, Network and USB folders on the DVD Rom each of which is unpopulated. In the scale of things this is a minor problem. If the truth be told, I now remember, I had to load a floppy disc on the version of XP I originally installed to get the SATA devices recognised]


  12. Yup MTA, it does beg the question whether a backup is a backup if you're doing something while it's running! In my Unix days, you'd put the system into single user mode so nothing else could be done. I'm not sure MR would run in "safe mode", which I guess is the nearest equivalent. I found out how to restore an individual file, so I opened the documents and settings\firefox\profiles folder in the backup image and there was no places.sqlite.corrupt on the backup. It's got to be a pretty minimal chance the thing that happened, and as a matter of fact I tend to do a backup then go to bed, or go out, or write a lengthy book, so it's not usually an issue. To be honest, without some research I can't envision how an image backup can be a true image of a quiescent machine if it isn't, quiescent that is. I'm not really sure what the VSS service does.  I will boot up the PE disc and see what you can do in that. I only installed the thing last night but well impressed so far. I've used the Paragon product(s) for quite a while, and I suspect they come from a Unixy background. After all, "it was hard to write, so it ought to be hard to use". That's a little unfair, but the interface does take a bit of getting used to. Some of their other product free versions are also very useful for disc related tasks. For XP there was when I last looked a copy of "Paragon Drive Copy Free Edition for XP" which became available after XP support was withdrawn.

     

    I must admit, apart from my first ( and quite alarming ) glitch, I think it looks  like MR is a great product. It also has apparently backed up my Linux partition. I haven't tried to restore anything yet (apart from one file) so i remain a little sceptical. I will try an incremental when there has been time for an increment to have happened. And yes you can restore individual files/folders, it talks about incrementals in that respect as well in the PDF manual ( in my old age i am starting to become an advocate of RTFM ), however I tend to read it after I've got a bit familiar with whatever the program is and botched a couple of things. I'll maybe do a test of the backing up the Linux partition ( it's the smallest ) with and without compression and see what happens. That should be a reasonably valid test of speed. I suspect the overhead of the compression is the thing that slows it down. The CPU was nearly maxing out when the full compression version was running and it took about 1 and a half times as long,  with little reduction in eventual file size over 'medium' compression. I should imagine that processor is the rate controlling step, especially if you are using SSD USB 3.0 and so forth.

     

    [Edit: just having had another look at the throughput data above, that would indicate to me that the CPU is the rate controlling step, at least on my machine. If space is not a consideration, and speed is the issue, I would also suggest trying an archive with no compression. Of course, if you have a processor capable of modeling the weather systems of gas giants that might not be the case.]


  13. Hello all, I read your post with interest Mta. I was quite astonished by the disc image backup speeds you were achieving.

    My machine is quite old now, but serviceable. I thought I would do an experiment to hopefully add something to the debate.

    I downloaded the Macrium Reflect product (free) from their website. I had just performed a backup using Paragon Backup and Recovery Free version that I generally use.

     

    I did two Image Backups using Macrium to an external USB 2.0 IDE disc. The first was with the default medium compressed data, and the other with the maximum compressed data.

    The comparison with Paragon is not entirely fair as the Paragon image backup was performed with the same source disc, a little earlier granted, but to an internal SATA drive. This backup one would have expected to be much quicker given this advantage. This was necessary because of the availability of backup space. The results however speak for themselves. The backup I took with Paragon was with their maximum compressed data configuration.

     

    After a disappointing start with Macrium, largely caused by user error:

    (I forgot to remove the backup drive from the list of drives to be imaged. This immediately resulted in the error: “MFT corrupt - Error code = 6. Please run 'chkdsk /r'” from Macrium. Sadly this resulted in me running chkdsk on both drives to no avail, a pretty long winded process, and a reformat of the backup drive. It was after all this I realised what I had done wrong. In minor mitigation, the error is somewhat misleading. However, having said that, I throw up my hands and exclaim “it’s a fair cop!” to the deities overlooking data backup. )

     

    System Data:

    Intel Pentium D 930 dual processor clocked at 3.45GHz.

    4 GB installed RAM (clocked at 235MHz). ASRock Motherboard with RS400 Chipset.

    Source Disc IDE Drive system disk ATA UDMA (mode 6)

    Destination disc for Macrium test: 320 GB USB 2.0

    Destination Disc for Paragon test: internal 500 GB SATA ULi M1573 SATA Controller.

    Windows XP 32bit SP3.

     

    The Results:

    Macrium Reflect System Drive Image backups.

    Macrium Reflect Free Edition (32-bit) Verision 6.1 Build: 871

    Total Drive Data to image: 137,145,954,304 (127 GB)

     

    Full Backup (Medium Compression):

    Target Disc (IDE USB 2.0)

    Size of Backup on disc:

    110,036,877,288 (102 GB)

    Backup Process Duration: 1hr 30min

    I/O Performance: Read 524.2 Mb/s - Write 171.3 Mb/s (reported by Macrium)

     

    Full Backup (Full Compression):

    Size of Backup on disc:

    108,551,979008 (101 GB)

    Backup Process Duration: 2hr 38min

    I/O Performance: Read 412.3 Mb/s - Write 167.3 Mb/s (reported by Macrium)

     

    Paragon Backup and Recovery Free Version 10.1.21.638 (09.05.14) (32bit)

    Full Backup (Full Compression):

    Started 23:57 finished 04.08 am (4hrs 11min)

    Size of Backup on disc: 99,180,044,288 bytes (92.3GB)

     

    So, it looks like Macrium Reflect is much quicker, but produces a marginally larger disc image. The differences in speed are just not comparable.  Macrium is the best part of twice as fast.

     

    The Macrium interface is less cluttered. Things are more obvious, although it did catch me out as indicated above.

    I don’t have figures for a Paragon backup uncompressed, or indeed their version of medium compression.

     

    A Few questions:

    I cannot yet find a way to restore individual files or folders/subfolders from a disc image. Is this not available in the Free version of Macrium?  It is in the free Paragon product. [Edit2: yes you can! see p200 of the pdf user manual]

     

    One of my hard drives has a red bar indicated in Macrium I think indicating how much data is on the disc. I had a look at the manual but didn’t find the information. The fact that it is marked in red concerned me slightly, or does this just mean that the disc is near capacity (425/465.78GB)?

     

    My firefox browsing history was no longer available after the Macrium backup, have others had this problem or is it just a coincidence?

    [edit1: i found the file places.sqlite.corrupt in my firefox profile file alongside places.sqlite. I replaced the latter with the former and my history returned ( at least to last night). This .corrupt file was timestamped at the time the backup was running. Perhaps this was as a result of the backup going on at the same time. I just had a quick web-browse during the backup!]

     

    I hope this information proves useful.


  14. You might try RootKitRevealer from Sysinternals, and Nirsoft’s Regscanner.exe to shed some light on the matter.

    RootKitRevealer is designed to find Rootkits of course, but can also be used to find useful information from the registry, and will find things (e.g. hidden keys) not discovered by searching in Regedit.

     

    I had a couple of uninstalled products that have left behind old registry keys that are now debris (one from an old Virus Checker). RootkitRevealer enabled me to find them. There is a very useful help file with the utility that describes the messages the utility produces. There is also a forum on the Sysinternals site that has a wealth of information. 

     

    The scan it performs takes a while, but is very thorough. The machine can appear to lock up for periods during this time.

    The Regscanner enables you to search the registry more readily for multiple occurrences of keys etc. And then open in Regedit to view the data in context.

     

    Implied in the above are the usual about own risk, due caution, care, skill and judgement when it comes to the registry. :-)


  15. Thank you Hazelnut,

     

    However, in testing I have found a problem. Text documents are not found in Content Searches.

     

    eg. "hello there" type:txt

     

    does not find a file of extension ".txt" containing the phrase "hello there"

    ( even though the text file does exist )

     

    whereas: "hello there" type:pdf  finds an appropriate PDF file.

     

    If the string is contained in the file-name it is found in the case of text files also.

     

    I've even tried saving as different text formats, e.g. Unicode, ASCII, UTF-8

     

    The option to content search is switched on. Could be my system.

    If I find out, I'll post it here.

     

     

    Don't know why, It's not the end of the world for me, but is a minor fly in the otherwise fairly pleasing ointment.


  16. Hurray! FIXED AT LAST

     

    As I suspected (more recently), there was a problem with the iFilters in Windows.

    I can’t honestly precisely explain all the problems I’ve had, but some combination of all the above fiddling around has contributed to sorting it out. I would repeat the process in a more careful and logical way, but as you cannot it seems uninstall Windows Search 4.0 and then reinstall it readily, I’m not going to try. I know that in the world of Microsoft software, the order in which things are installed can be important, and older machine configurations like mine can exhibit strange problems.

     

    Re-installing didn’t obviously work however applying the hotfix indicated below seems to have done. The hotfix updates iFilters for different mimetypes. I’m pretty sure I’ve done this done before, however there are other hotfixes that apply to older versions of the search program. Microsoft documentation and web pages can be pretty confusing on the issue as to what applies to which version of the software. So it could in fact be the first time I’ve applied this particular fix. The mists of time are particularly cloudy on this one, and it reinforces the argument for keeping a precise system log. It’s also the reason I keep laboriously typing Windows Search 4.0 like some obsessive, it’s just to avoid confusion.

     

    In a nutshell this means that particular file types were being incorrectly filtered by the search indexer. I applied the hotfix, but this didn’t sort out all searches involving PDF documents - Some were found and some were not. (The windows hotfix does not claim to do this). Solution for this below.

     

    In Summary.

    • I applied the Windows Search 4.0 Hotfix (link below)
    • I had a very old version of Adobe Acrobat installed (version 5.0) this I uninstalled alongside the modern Adobe Reader, I also have a free version of PDF Exchange installed. (I left that alone).
    • I uninstalled the up to date Adobe Reader Version XI (11.0.08),
    • I then re-installed the same version of Adobe Reader XI, this re-installed the Adobe PDF iFilter. There are known issues with the 64bit version of the PDF iFilter for later versions of Windows. A download of the separate (64Bit) iFilter is available at Adobe.com.
    • It’s quite likely that all this PDF soup was responsible for the PDF part of the issue. Again beware. There may be all sorts of ramifications for non-Adobe PDF readers. I don’t know. The important thing is that a current iFilter is installed I suspect.
    • Re-index the Windows Search 4.0 index. This can be found in control panel, or by right clicking the Magnifying Glass icon that appears in the Notification Area at the bottom right of the taskbar in Windows XP. Advanced Options -> Rebuild.

     

    CAVEAT  I haven’t yet done comprehensive testing, however things look much, much better.

    But don't speak too soon, for the wheels still in spin ( in the words of the Zimmerman)

     

    Useful Links:

     

    Hotfix for iFilters:

    http://support2.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=915800&kbln=en-us

    The above link takes you to a Microsoft site that invites you to give them an email address. The hotfix link is mailed to you.

     

    MHTML Support

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/mozilla-archive-format/ Support for MHTML and MAFF archives for Firefox. (note, Windows Search does not support the MAFF format archive, however there are I believe some fiddle factors that can be applied in the registry to do this.) MAFF is a variant of a zip file, so changing its handler to Zip format should work.

    ( MHTML support is built into Internet Explorer, but modern security is not. Internet Explorer should not be used on windows XP).

    There are similar addons for Chrome etc.

     

    Description of Windows Search 4.0

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/940157

    Advanced Query Usage:

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa965711%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

     

    For the more technically minded:

    Or how to program your way out of this mess:

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd940428%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

     

    Download Windows Search 32bit version 4.0 for XP SP3

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=23

    WARNING: there is a rather cryptic note in the details section of the download webpage that reads:

    “Note The WS4 installation process automatically upgrades Windows Desktop Search (WDS) 2.6 or later versions of Windows Search technologies. Windows XP users who have an earlier version than WDS 2.6 installed, use the Add or Remove Programs tool in the Control Panel to remove the earlier version before installing WS4.”

    I personally did not follow this advice (not having noticed it) could have led to my problems .. who knows? I don’t even know which version was on before, back in 1842. The fact that trying to re-install WS4 comes up with the message "a previous version of search is not installed. Windows search cannot be installed on this system" makes it all the more confusing.

     

    Thanks again for all contributions in this thread. Hopefully the above detail will be of use to others.


  17. Hi ISO-Later

    Yes the paragon restore was a full partition restore of my system drive, takes about 2-3 hours, obviously depending on size. I set it for overnight, there is an option to turn off the PC when complete. There is an option for Differential Backup, but as yet I haven't tested it properly. It does seem to take just as long and make equally big archive. Honestly not too experienced with that feature.

     

    There are a whole suite of Paragon programs, many of which are free. Paragon Rescue Kit, Paragon Drive Copy for XP. Paragon Virtual Clone.

     

    Whether they are all still available for download I don't know, but I'm sure they will be about somewhere. It's not that long ago since I saw them. I recommend the PDF manuals as well if you want to try them out.

     

    Yes I like the Nirsoft stuff, that in association with the Sysinternals and Hirens Boot CD gives a pretty complete set of system utilitities. Been so obsessed with the promises of the Windows search. If it worked properly it would beat all of them. However if ( as I somewhat suspect ) it's simply not finished on XP and has deficiencies, it needs to be abandoned (by me that is).

     

    But, I still have some faith, watch this space,

     

    The other thing I've tried is Copernic. This is quite nice, but doesn't use the USN journaling as do Everything and Windows Search. Hence it has to perform an index on a schedule. Also I've found it does some strange things with the mouse interface. Things seem to hang when it's in use. Also ( for what it's worth ) I don't like it cosmetically. Also it doesn't search mail unless you get the paid version. I tried their support pages, but they don't seem to be very active.

     

     

     

    WARNING to others: Most virus checkers start sounding off if you download the Nirsoft utilities. This is because they contain tools that can be used by hackers.

    Read about them and judge for yourself.

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