Macrium drops drive letters


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Carl
Carl
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THE PROBLEM: Macrium reflect in the restore mode fails to assign a drive letter to the destination hard drive partition in which I place my Macrium image files. Therefore, I cannot restore an image, because Macrium cannot find my images on that partition.

BACKGROUND:
        Using Windows 10 Home Edition I store my incremental images created daily on a six TB hard drive with three ntfs formatted primary partitions. The first partition is for Macrium image files, the second for data and the third for sound and video files. When I open the Backup Tab of Macrium within Windows 10 the destination file does contain a drive letter. When I open the Restore Tab within Windows 10 the image files all show. They all show in Windows File Explorer, too.
       However, when I boot into Macrium recovery installed in the computer’s boot menu or installed on a flash drive, Macrium in the Backup Tab fails to show a drive letter. Instead it shows: (none). I also use a backup program called GoodSync to back up those image files from the original partition to a different hard drive partition, and that hard drive has no drive letter in Macrium restore, either. All other partitions have drive letters assigned, except for those two. Browsing for the image files in Macrium restore fails to find any.

SOLUTIONS TRIED AND FAILED: 1) Refreshing the screen many times. 2) Uninstalling and reinstalling Macrium. 3) Used check disk command: disks are OK. 4) Checked the file system on the two offending drives using the Macrium file check command: OK. 5) Changed the drive letter of the image partition. 6) Tried to use restore from within Windows 10 but got message: failed: error 2. 7) The “unsupported devices” option in Macrium Reflect shows all drives have drivers loaded (but probably not looking at the two offending drives). 8) Disabled Changed Block Tracker. 9) Disabled Image Guardian. 10) I did copy and pasted the same image files to a different partition on a different hard drive, and the image files do show up there in Macrium restore!

THOUGHTS: It seems more than coincidental that out of all the partitions on all the hard drives on my computer the two partitions on which my Macrium image files are stored should happen to be the ones Macrium targets to drop the drive letter. I have no idea why and have found nothing on the Internet to address this. There are reports of entire hard drives not showing, but that seems to be a different problem. One solution would be to move the files to a different partition permanently, and I may have to do that. Hopefully Macrium wouldn’t sabotage that partition, too. Any help would be appreciated.
jphughan
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Drive letter assignments are handled solely by Windows -- or Windows PE/RE in the case of Rescue Media.  I'm not sure why your Rescue Media environment isn't assigning drive letters to those partitions, but I've seen issues like this, as well as the reverse where I've temporarily assigned drive letters to normally hidden partitions, and then on reboot they continue to get drive letter assignments even thought they shouldn't.  So one thing you can try is forcibly assigning a drive letter in Rescue Media once to see if that might fix it going forward.  To do that, boot into Rescue Media, click the Command Prompt icon in the taskbar, then enter "diskpart" to start the Diskpart command line tool.  Then enter these commands:

list disk
select disk X (replace X with the number of the disk containing the problem partitions, as determined by the output of "list disk above"
list partition
select partition X (again, replace X with the number of a problem partition)
assign letter="Q" (replace Q with whatever letter you want to assign)

Repeat those last two commands for additional partitions as needed.  If you get success confirmations, go to Reflect's Backup tab, click Refresh, and it should now see the newly assigned drive letter(s).  If so, try rebooting your system and see what happens next time you start Rescue Media.

Carl
Carl
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Thanks so much, jphughan.  Your solution worked wonders.  I booted into the rescue module from the boot menu and changed the drive letters of the two partitions in question in the rescue module of Macrium using your instructions, but I couldn't see the stored images after I did that.  I then booted into Windows and found that the drive letters in Windows Explorer had not changed, so I changed them to match the changes I had made in the Macrium rescue module, and it all worked like a charm.  When I changed the letters in the rescue module I looked over the list of possible choices and saw that the drive letter I had originally assigned in Windows 10 was not available.  In retrospect I did notice that the rescue module had kept designating a USB drive as having that drive letter, but I didn't think anything of it, since I didn't have a USB drive installed.  That original letter might have been assigned to the Macrium rescue module that I had installed on a flash drive and had tried to use earlier?  Since it couldn't assign the same letter to two drives it dropped that letter from the partition with the images on it I figure in preference to the flash drive.  An added bonus is the fact that after making your suggested changes I inserted the flash drive with the rescue module on it, expecting that I would have to assign drive letters there, also, but they were already changed.  Thanks for your help and your prompt reply.  
dbminter
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I would say that USB drive letter you had was probably a leftover from when the Rescue Media was connected.  I would guess if you never removed it from the socket it was in and just restarted Windows into the Rescue Media with the USB flash drive still connected, Rescue Media would still recognize it as the same drive letter.  In fact, I just now noticed it from something today.  A few hours ago, I had reason to test new Rescue Media, where I left the flash drive connected while in Windows.  After booting, Rescue Media recognized it as connected with the same drive letter as it was under Windows in the Target locations available for image creation.

jphughan
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Carl - 25 January 2021 11:49 PM
Thanks so much, jphughan.  Your solution worked wonders.  I booted into the rescue module from the boot menu and changed the drive letters of the two partitions in question in the rescue module of Macrium using your instructions, but I couldn't see the stored images after I did that.  I then booted into Windows and found that the drive letters in Windows Explorer had not changed, so I changed them to match the changes I had made in the Macrium rescue module, and it all worked like a charm.  When I changed the letters in the rescue module I looked over the list of possible choices and saw that the drive letter I had originally assigned in Windows 10 was not available.  In retrospect I did notice that the rescue module had kept designating a USB drive as having that drive letter, but I didn't think anything of it, since I didn't have a USB drive installed.  That original letter might have been assigned to the Macrium rescue module that I had installed on a flash drive and had tried to use earlier?  Since it couldn't assign the same letter to two drives it dropped that letter from the partition with the images on it I figure in preference to the flash drive.  An added bonus is the fact that after making your suggested changes I inserted the flash drive with the rescue module on it, expecting that I would have to assign drive letters there, also, but they were already changed.  Thanks for your help and your prompt reply.  

Glad you're sorted.  Although reading this post, I remembered that it isn't ENTIRELY accurate that Reflect has nothing to do with drive letter assignment in Rescue Media.  When you build Rescue Media, the Rescue Media Builder application copies some data into the Rescue Media about which volumes are assigned which drive letters.  The idea is that Windows PE/RE on its own is fully independent of Windows, so it normally has no way of knowing how you assigned drive letters to various volumes in "full" Windows.  There is absolutely nothing on the volume itself saying, "I should be assigned drive letter X."  So if you have custom drive letters assigned in full Windows (e.g. letters way down in the alphabet), then that won't matter in WinPE/RE, where the default "next available" assignment strategy will be used.  But if Rescue Media Builder while running in full Windows can embed some information into Rescue Media about how drive letters are assigned, then suddenly it CAN be possible to assign drive letters in Rescue Media the same way they were assigned in Windows.  This mechanism isn't perfect, however.  For example, volumes that use BitLocker and are locked in Rescue might not be assigned the same drive letter they would be in Windows.  But based on your post, I wonder if Reflect in Rescue Media tried to assign some volume a drive letter that wasn't available and when that failed it somehow ended up with no drive letter at all.  That of course shouldn't happen, but that may have been what happened nonetheless.

If you want to force a rebuild of your Rescue Media to incorporate your new drive letter assignments, open Rescue Media Builder, select your target device, and hold the Ctrl key down to expose a down arrow on the Build button.  Click that and click Force WIM Rebuild.  If that option says "Skip WIM Rebuild", then just click Build as normal because it means the WIM file will be rebuilt anyway.  That newly built Rescue Media should know about all of your current drive letter assignments.

Carl
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Thanks again, jphughan.  I have learned a lot.  I appreciate your thoroughness.
Carl
Carl
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FYI jphughan:  I rebuilt my Macrium rescue media, both the boot menu and the flash drive, as per your instructions and it went well.  Thanks again for all your help.

Carl
jphughan
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Excellent, happy to help. Smile
Edited 26 January 2021 6:05 PM by jphughan
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