in Technology

Recovering a machine with Acronis

We had one of our server crash this last weekend.  Thankfully there was a spare, so we didn’t need to come in over the weekend.  But on Monday we set about getting the broken machine back up and running.

On an external machine we had a Acronis backup of the machine from February 2012, which might sound like a lot, but this machine doesn’t change much if at all (other than Windows updates it doesn’t!).  So I set about recovering the data.  First I downloaded at 15 day trial of Acronis (think you!) and got it installed.  Here’s a few things we ran into that might help you out in a pinch!

  • Our backup was from a fairly old version of Acronis…the new version still worked…so version’s don’t appear to be an issue.
  • Copy the backup files to your C: drive or a drive that not be removed to image the new drive (see below!)
  • Acronis might not recognize your backup.  Keep trying.  It’s there. When I initially installed the external drive it wouldn’t find it. Through trying many times it did find it.
  • If you are restoring to a new hard drive, such as what we did, don’t restore to a ‘caged drive’ (ie: a drive that is hooked up through USB in a cage).  You’ll need to physically install the drive into your system.  This has to do with the byte sectors.  It appears that if you try and do this through a USB attached device you can’t do 512 which is what Acronis uses.
  • When restoring make sure that you modify your drive selections so one doesn’t take up the whole drive (ie: don’t get in a hurry…slow down and check stuff).  I had a problem restoring all of the drive partitions (3 total). Eventually I got it figured out and I “selected” were each partition should start and stop and what size.  When I did that things worked great.

I’m not going to call this one a point, but just point it out.  If you’ve backed up from a server/computer that is on Active Directory you might have issues getting it back in your domain.  This has to do with the security ID.  I’m not sure what causes this issue, if it’s because we installed a new hard drive or what the deal is.  In the end we removed the computer from Active Directory (initially did this and banged our heads against the wall for a few hours!) and then added it back into Active Directory by hand (create a new computer object).  Once we did the manual creation of the computer in Active Directory we were in luck.  One other thing that might help, but I can’t confirm, is that having a boot media for the crashed hard drive might help as well.

Acronis really bailed us out, however it requires some other information (in my haste I didn’t read anything…just jumped in. So maybe if I’d read something I wouldn’t have used about 11 hours to recover this machine!)