Restore Failure - Is this a "bug"


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AHansen
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Hello - I was recently experimenting with converting a GPT OS (Win7 although Win10 is looking increasingly unavoidable) to MBR.  I hit a wall trying to restore a disk image after the experiment failed .  The restoration attempts progressed as follows:
  1. attempted to restore the most recent verified backup (a fresh updated/activated install) with GPT scheme: on restart got the two blinking cursors but boot would not progress to Starting Windows
  2. attempted to restore an image based in MBR scheme: on restart got the two blinking cursors but boot would not progress to Starting Windows
  3. used the Fix Boot Problem capability: despite a Successful Update of boot files message the system would still not progress to Starting Windows
The fix was to boot using recovery USB and Clean the disk using diskpart so the entire disk was unallocated. After that the restore worked as advertised.

I've never had a disk image restore fail to result in bootable condition. I've done a bit of experimentation in my OS (in the MBR world) but always with the confidence that reverting to a stable bootable state was only an image restore away; suffice to say this was quite a unpleasant surprise.

Would this be considered a "bug" that should be reported to Macrium?

jphughan
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Ideally a bug report would include detailed descriptions of the starting environment (Reflect version you're using, pre-restore state/partition layout of the target disk, partition layout of the restored image, end state of the restored disk, maybe screenshots, etc.) as well as exact steps to reproduce the issue so that others are as likely as possible to be able to reproduce the behavior you encountered.  Your post doesn't really give that level of information.  But I'm also not sure why you're trying to convert an OS set up on a GPT disk for UEFI booting over to an MBR.disk for Legacy BIOS booting.  That conversion isn't officially supported the way the opposite direction is.  That said, Macrium does have a guide for a custom restore that achieves this outcome here if that's really the direction you want to go.  If you want to go MBR/BIOS to GPT/UEFI, then you can use this article.

That said, there was a recently reported bug whereby restoring an MBR image onto a disk that was currently GPT caused Reflect not to mark the "Active" partition from the image as active on the target, which can prevent booting.  Incidentally, that was reported by someone else, and after a few posts of trying to figure out what was going on, at the bottom of Page 1 in this thread where it was reported, I prepared a formal problem report that contained all relevant detail and none of the "storytelling".  That issue was fixed in Reflect 7.2.5098, released fairly recently.

As for Fix Boot Problems, especially if you're mucking around with switching between BIOS and UEFI, be aware that the fixes attempted by Fix Boot Problems depends on how the Rescue Media itself was booted, NOT the partition layout scheme of the target.  So if you boot it in Legacy BIOS mode, it will attempt fixes appropriate for MBR disks set up to boot in BIOS mode.  If you boot it in UEFI mode, it will attempt fixes appropriate for GPT disks set up to boot in UEFI mode.  You can tell how your Rescue Media was booted based on whether or not you see "[UEFI]" at the end of the title bar at the very top of the Rescue Media interface.  If you booted your Rescue Media in BIOS mode and tried to Fix Boot Problems on a GPT disk, or vice versa, then that wouldn't have worked correctly.

Edited 26 August 2020 2:49 PM by jphughan
AHansen
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JP - thank you for the very educational response.  Looks like the bug may have been between the keyboard and the seat cushion.

[[Why I was converting is a long story littered with little learning experiences.  Short version is that I prefer to have a single partition boot drive; just seems like less things that can go wrong.  In prep for migrating from Win7 to Win10 I'm creating a fresh Win 7 install fro which to upgrade.  I had recently replaced my MoBo with one that is UEFI based.  When installing Win 7 I learned the install could not be done to a NTFS partition scheme on (MS words) "an EFI system".  To install it looked at the time that I had no choice but diskpart/clean & let Windows install to an unallocated disk which led to a GPT setup in which it was not obvious how to consolidate the three partitions into one.]]

I had not realized that Reflect's recovery was taking into account  MoBo settings.  My mental picture was of a bit-by-bit copy which was totally independent of all other factors.  As such I did not pay attention to BIOS:MBR vs UEFI:GPT states prior to restoring a "last working image".

So to clarify, it was not the diskpart/clean that enabled a successful restore but rather alignment of MoBo UEFI or Bios/Legacy with the partition scheme of the disk that had been imaged?  And if that's true does it follow that the MoBo Storage settings also need be aligned with the image partition scheme so the recovery USB boots with the proper (UEFI or no) parameters?

jphughan
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You can't have a single-partition installation of Windows on UEFI-based system.  You need at least 3, and the default is 4 in order to include a Windows Recovery partition.  Even if you delete that later, Windows 10 feature updates will add it back, so you may as well leave it alone.  Sometimes "simpler" and "fighting the default" aren't the same thing. Smile

But speaking of simpler, if you're trying to get to Win10, then why are you prepping a fresh install of Win7?  Just install Windows 10 out of the box.  That's much cleaner.  If Microsoft is going to give you a free upgrade, then they'll give it to you by simply allowing you to enter your Win7 key to activate Win10.  You don't actually need to have Win7 installed beforehand and perform an in-place upgrade.  And if they WON'T activate your cleanly installed Win10 installation with your Win7 key, then having upgraded from Win7 won't change anything.  You'll just end up with an unactivated Win10 installation in that case.  Another perk of doing a clean install of Win10 is that you end up with a UEFI-based installation of Windows, which allows you to use UEFI Secure Boot, which is a nice anti-rootkit mechanism.  If you start with Win7, then you often end up with a Legacy BIOS installation, which you'll carry that into Windows 10 and which will prevent you from using UEFI Secure Boot unless you perform an in-place conversion from MBR to GPT to allow your Win10 installation to boot in UEFI mode.  But that's even more effort.

Reflect doesn't do "bit-by-bit" copies unless you use it in forensic mode, but even that distinction applies to actual image backups and clone operations, and the Fix Boot Problems wizard is neither of those.

I'm not actually sure how to account for your results, but if you're mucking around with partitions, then that definitely adds confounding variables into the equation.  The answer might be that bug I mentioned earlier, since if you ran a restore that turned your target into a GPT disk and then restored an MBR image, then Reflect might not have marked the Active partition from the image as Active on the target in that scenario, which would have prevented you from booting in BIOS mode.  And if you were ALSO booted into Rescue Media in UEFI mode when you did that, then Fix Boot Problems wouldn't have fixed that as it normally would've.  But I'm not sure that's the correct answer since you still haven't mentioned what version of Reflect your Rescue Media was using, which means I don't know if you're using a version affected by that bug.  (Version information is shown in the title bar along the top edge of the Rescue interface, as is "UEFI" when the Rescue Media was booted in UEFI mode.)

In any case, if your goal is to get to Windows 10, then boot your system -- in UEFI mode -- into Win10 install media (enable UEFI Secure Boot if you want to make sure your system will always boot in UEFI mode), then press Shift+F10 to open Command Prompt in Windows Setup.  Use that to run diskpart's "clean" command on your target, then step through the installation wizard.  At the step where you choose where to install Windows, select your disk that should show up entirely as "Unallocated space".  Then attempt to activate with your Win7 key that you would otherwise have used to activate your clean Win7 installation.  And then leave your partition layout alone. Smile

Edited 28 August 2020 3:26 PM by jphughan
AHansen
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I have 2 Rescue USB flash drives: the first is the Reflect v7.1.33 [UEFI] created on my wife's Win10 laptop.  The second is v6.3.1665 (non UEFI) which an element of  Win10 PE Recovery Toolkit (DL'd from https://toolslib.net/downloads/most-downloaded/).  [An admin at Seven Forum recommended it]  The situation noted at the start o this tthread was encountered using the v6.3 in the Recovery Toolkit. Two points of interest:
  1. the Toolkit USB boots into the PE environment much faster than the Reflect recovery USB (both USBs are Toshiba 16gig USB 3 bought at the same time)
  2. doing a C: (single partition disk) restore (full + 5 incrementals) via the v6 in the toolkit took roughly 4.5 minutes; a restore of the same backup set via the Reflect v7 UEFI took roughly 10.5 mins. No motherboard BIOS/UEFI changes
I've not explored this yet but I think I could integrate Reflect v7 into the Rescue Toolkit using DISM GUI.  Not even sure it's worth it.

RE: migration to Win10.  The Ten Forum tutorial for this activity strongly recommends the upgrade first followed by a fresh install if desired.  According to the tutorial's author (an Admin at both 7 and 10 forums who has an apparent depth of knowledge similar to yours) this migration path is recommended specifically due to reported problems with licensing issues.  (My Genuine Win7 license is retail, if that's relevant)  It is intriguing that someone with your obvious depth of knowledge should have a conflicting opinion on a core issue; you've caused me to at least reconsider the migration path.

The reason for the "single drive/partition boot disk" objective is that it seems cleaner  and lower risk (both for install and operationally) than having the disk indexing and boot files separated into different partitions.  I suppose it could be a hold-over from years of experience (my first PC was purchased in 1989 & yes I learned DOS and created various .bat files).  I can also see that the GPT scheme seems to be steadily replacing the MBR scheme and the trend is likely to accelerate ...

My reason for initially upgrading is that I have fine-tuned and customized my OS over the years and expected the migration related learning curve would be shallower if my second exposure to Win10 (I initially upgraded in 2016 but reverted) is in a fairly familiar environment.



jphughan
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If your Toolkit flash drive is using PE 10, then it probably isn't explicitly "non-UEFI".  WinPE 4 and up support both UEFI and BIOS (non-UEFI), so flash drives running such environments can be created to support booting in both modes.  If however you use an MBR flash drive with an NTFS partition, it will be BIOS-only (unless you have one of the relatively rare systems that includes a firmware-level NTFS driver to allow booting in UEFI mode from an NTFS partition), and if you set up a GPT flash drive with a FAT32 partition, it will be UEFI-only (although Rescue Media Builder does not support building to such targets, so you'd have to do that manually).  But if you have an MBR flash drive with a FAT32 partition, which is what Rescue Media Builder will create if you enable the "multi-boot" option, then the flash drive will be bootable in either way, and whether you see "UEFI" in the title bar will depend entirely on how you booted from it on each particular occasion.

As for boot time, there have been many releases of WinPE 10, since there have been many releases of Windows 10, e.g. 1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, and so on.  So that might be a difference, and/or the driver sets in each might matter.  For restore time, threads occasionally pop up saying, "My backup/restore times seem slower after this Reflect update", and each time Macrium says that they haven't altered the code for those functions.  If you've only got one data point from each, then that isn't a ton of data.  And if Rapid Delta Restore was used rather than the entire partition being written out in both cases, then that would confound things even further.  I do know that prior to 7.2, Rescue Media left Windows PE in the default "Balanced" power profile, which at least on some systems reduced performance significantly compared to when users manually ran a powercfg command to switch it to "High Performance".  That's now done automatically.

An in-place upgrade followed by a clean install would work since it would seem to satisfy your concern over being able to claim the upgrade license but also achieve the desired outcome of starting from a fresh Win10 installation.  The only downside is that it takes a bit more time, but a clean install of Windows 10 on a modern PC only takes about 10 minutes nowadays.  As for fine tuning and customization, depending on the nature of that tuning and customization, that may not even carry over at all. But that again is one of those things where such customizations can become the source of problems that might take longer to solve if you don't initially remember those customizations, or if you don't think that they might be responsible for whatever issue you're having. I remember a case where a Samsung NVMe driver that ostensibly enhanced performance over Microsoft's built-in driver contained a bug that resulted in a BSoD whenever a user tried to create a VHDX file on the drive. If I had found myself witnessing that behavior, I would have lost a LOT of time and removed a LOT of my hair before I even remembered that I had installed that particular driver among many others, never mind it occurring to me that a third-party NVMe driver might be responsible for a blue screen when simply trying to create a particular type of file. So I personally try to keep my system as clean and simple as possible. But on the subject of customizations, I also maintain a list of all of the settings I want to change after a clean install. I've even implemented most of them as a .REG file that I can simply double-click in order to set about 40 preferences the way I like them. In any case, I suppose you can always start with Windows 10 from an in-place upgrade and switch to a clean install at some point in the future if you prefer.  But if your Win7 installation was done in Legacy BIOS mode, consider using the MBR2GPT utility after you upgrade to Windows 10 to switch to a GPT disk and UEFI booting, which will allow you to use UEFI Secure Boot.

I understand your objective and source of desire for a single partition, but I will say it again -- there is no way to do that if you want to boot your system in UEFI mode, which I strongly recommend given that it allows you to use UEFI Secure Boot, and also because with recent Windows 10 feature updates, if they detect that your system is capable of UEFI booting but not set up for that, they will require you to perform an in-place conversion to proceed with the update.  The only optional partition is Windows Recovery Environment, but again even if you delete that, feature updates will put it back.  I'm not sure why you consider risk to be such a factor given that this is the default partition layout for UEFI, which has been the norm on new PCs for about 7 years now, AND you're a Reflect user, which already mitigates quite a bit of risk.  Although even if it weren't for Reflect, having a Windows Recovery partition is actually a risk mitigation, not a risk contributor.  And that's before considering that even trying to do something like this when it is specifically not the supported default IS a risk contributor all on its own.

Yes, adoption of GPT over MBR has been accelerating, primarily because Windows when set up for UEFI uses GPT disks (as do other OSes by default), and new Windows systems have been shipping in UEFI mode by default for about 7 years already.  And in fact, in 2017 Intel announced that they would be removing Legacy BIOS support from their CPUs sometime in 2020.  I'm not sure if that's happened, but the days of BIOS are numbered, so there's no going back from GPT.  Then there's the fact that GPT is a superior layout scheme compared to MBR even for non-OS disks, so the only real reason to use MBR for a given disk at this point is if you either need to boot a system in Legacy BIOS mode from it, or else need your disk to be readable on Windows XP.  Otherwise, GPT is the better choice, which is why it's the default in Disk Management now.

So I would again gently suggest that you put aside your DOS-based preferences and conditioning regarding partitions, accept that technology has evolved somewhat since then, and allow Windows to institute the standard partition layout for UEFI-based systems, namely a GPT disk containing EFI, MSR, Windows, and Windows RE partitions.  If it's any consolation, Windows these days even when set up for Legacy BIOS systems creates 3 partitions, namely a bootloader partition, Windows partition, and Windows Recovery partition.  (The MSR partition is only for GPT disks, and Windows automatically creates that on ALL disks that use GPT, even data disks, because it's where the disk's partition information is stored.)  While it is still possible to set up a single-partition system when booting in BIOS mode, it's not actually less risky to do so.  Microsoft didn't switch to this because they wanted to destabilize systems.  ONE reason they switched away from that is that when you only have a single partition, it's impossible to use BitLocker, because if your only partition is encrypted, then you don't have anything to boot from to obtain the necessary information to decrypt it.

Edited 29 August 2020 3:11 PM by jphughan
AHansen
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Very Thought Provoking. When I was a teenager -- graduated from (American) high school in 1972 for context -- my Dad and I restored a couple of wrecked cars, including tearing down & re-building the engines.  I don't know if that's possible with modern cars and while one can wax nostalgic about that loss those cars we resurrected didn't have fuel injection, air bags, GPS locators or cameras for avoiding tragedies while in reverse. So I get that progress can be positive and that it not without some loss.  We humans tend to resist change in any arena until the benefits are perceived to be greater than the cost and, for me least, migrating from 7 to 10 is still only marginally attractive.

I was intrigued by your reference to using a REG file for capturing/re-applying when needed customizations (mine would likely seem simplistic to a true tech sophisticate).  I've spent some time educating myself about registry "hacks" (I'm not a fan of the terminology) and using a couple of registry utilities (RegistryFinder and regscanner) in an attempt to identify and export registry keys that capture my customizations.  With no real luck.  The utilities find entries that don't appear in regedit (which I use at system permissions level):

Is there a tool you use to build your REG file?

dbminter
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I believe REG files are just standard TXT files, so something like Notepad would work.  However, you'd have to be REALLY familiar with the Registry syntax and have the correct file name/location, etc.  I just use Microsoft Registry Editor included with Windows and use the Export function to export Registry keys to .REG files.  I can then edit them later with a text editor.  I like to add comments to my REG files because the thing is so darn complicated.  Smile

jphughan
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Rebuilding modern cars today without appropriate technology tools would be an exercise in frustration at best, and dangerous at worst.  Cars have so many electronic systems now that can throw so many error codes that the dashboard couldn't possibly show them all, which is why there are now elaborate scanning tools that can talk to all of those various modules to get detailed error information back.  And since there are so many electronic systems related to safety, some of which would require calibration even if you simply took things apart and put them back together, skipping that would be a terrible idea.  That's even more true when a car has just been in an accident and some sensors need to be replaced.  Even small collisions these days can be expensive to deal with for this reason.  Google "auto collisions pre and post scans" if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

In terms of the REG file, I already had a list of options I liked to set, so at that point it was just a matter of finding the registry setting corresponding to that preference, and that effort was drastically helped by Google and TenForums, the latter of which has tutorial pages dedicated to changing a variety of options, often including an option showing how to change it directly in the registry.  Here is one example.  Once I had those, it was just a matter of building my REG file to include everything I wanted, along with comments for options that weren't always obvious by their names within the registry.  So here's the content of my own REG file

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;Enable Clipboard History
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Clipboard]
"EnableClipboardHistory"=dword:00000001

;Disable Word Wrap in Notepad
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Notepad]
"fWrap"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager]
"ContentDeliveryAllowed"=dword:00000000
"SilentInstalledAppsEnabled"=dword:00000000

;Disable "Show suggestions occasionally in Start"
"SystemPaneSuggestionsEnabled"=dword:00000000
"SubscribedContent-338388Enabled"=dword:00000000

;Disable "Tips, tricks, and suggestions as I use Windows"
"SoftLandingEnabled"=dword:00000000
"SubscribedContent-338389Enabled"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer]
;Show all system tray icons
"EnableAutoTray"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
;Disable item check boxes
"AutoCheckSelect"=dword:00000000

;File Explorer opens to This PC
"LaunchTo"=dword:00000001

;Multitasking Snap settings
"SnapAssist"=dword:00000000
"JointResize"=dword:00000000

;Disable taskbar grouping, taskbars only show apps on their display
"TaskbarGlomLevel"=dword:00000002
"MMTaskbarGlomLevel"=dword:00000002
"MMTaskbarMode"=dword:00000002

"Hidden"=dword:00000001
"HideFileExt"=dword:00000000
"TaskbarSmallIcons"=dword:00000001
"SeparateProcess"=dword:00000000
"ShowCortanaButton"=dword:00000000
"ShowSyncProviderNotifications"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AutoplayHandlers]
"DisableAutoplay"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ControlPanel]
"AllItemsIconView"=dword:00000001
"StartupPage"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\PrecisionTouchPad]
"EnableEdgy"=dword:00000000
"LeaveOnWithMouse"=dword:00000001
"RightClickZoneEnabled"=dword:00000001
"ScrollDirection"=dword:ffffffff
"TapAndDrag"=dword:00000000
"TapsEnabled"=dword:00000000
"TwoFingerTapEnabled"=dword:00000001
"ZoomEnabled"=dword:00000000
"ThreeFingerSlideEnabled"=dword:00000003
"FourFingerSlideEnabled"=dword:00000000
"ThreeFingerTapEnabled"=dword:00000003
"FourFingerTapEnabled"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search]
"SearchboxTaskbarMode"=dword:00000000

;Auto-arrange, snap to grid, small icons
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Desktop]
"FFlags"=dword:40200225
"IconSize"=dword:00000020

;Disable Ink Workspace button in system tray
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\PenWorkspace]
"PenWorkspaceButtonDesiredVisibility"=dword:00000000


AHansen
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JP RE: cars; Without doubt steadily increasing electronic-mechanical integration has been also steadily increasing functionality while at the same time increasing system complexity (treating the automobile in its entirety as a single system comprised of multiple interrelated subsystems). [I worked for the IT subsidiary of General Motors (eventually spun off as independent – some say to fund GM’s pension plan – and even more eventually acquired by HP) for 25+ years and was a project management consultant on the Saturn program from selection of the “greenfield” manufacturing site in Tennessee through automobile design/engineering to creation of the new GM-Dealer business model founded on satellite-based communications.] As you say, that functional augmentation has not been/is not/will not be “free”. Some of the costs are directly monetary associated with development/operation and some are more indirect like increasing complexity reducing/eliminating end-user DIY options. And certainly it is impossible to purchase a new automobile completely stripped of the electronic-mechanical integration.

But can a similar functional augmentation be provided by/expected of the BIOS to UEFI and MBR to GPT evolutions for the system we call a computer? (It seems to me that UEFI is integrating the various utilities (including firmware) that manage a computer’s hardware with the OS running on that hardware whereas GPT seems to be segregating rather than integrating functionality.) I’m not yet convinced. But – like the car and as you say – purchasing a computer stripped of UEFI & GPT is going to become impossible. Which leads to comparison of old vs. new actually becoming merely academic IF an individual values the “latest & greatest”.Ermm

JP/dbminter RE: REG file; thank you. I’m not yet where I want to be in creating my REG file but this helps. I think, however, I should refrain from further hijacking of Macrium’s forum and move this exploration to Seven/Ten forums.Smile

GO

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