59873: Acronis True Image 2017: recovering Windows from a boot failure

    Introduction

    This article instructs how to use Acronis True Image 2017 to recover Windows from a boot failure.

    Use the present article only if the system is damaged to a state when you can't get to the Desktop screen and launch Acronis True Image normally. If you are able to access Acronis True Image within running Windows, please follow instructions from that article instead.

    Pre-requisites

    1. Acronis Bootable Media - a bootable USB thumb drive, CD or DVD with Acronis software on it. Click here for instructions on how to get it.

    If you already have the bootable media, you can use it, including created from a different computer. There is no need to create a new bootable media.

    2. A previously created backup.

    If you do not have a backup, you cannot restore the system using Acronis True Image. In such case try Windows built-in recovery options.

    Solution

    Insert Acronis Bootable Media

    Reboot the computer

    If at this point the computer boots into Acronis Bootable Media environment, then click here to skip to the part of configuring the recovery task.

    Otherwise, if you observe the same Windows boot failure symptom, instead of seeing Acronis boot menu, it means that you need to configure BIOS/UEFI to boot from Acronis Bootable Media.

    Configuring BIOS/UEFI to boot from Acronis Bootable Media

    Reboot one more time and pay attention to the text displayed on the screen. One of the first screens after the beep sound should be telling you which key to press on the keyboard to access UEFI or BIOS settings. The button to press varies across computer makes and models. Usually it is either of the following: Esc, Del, F2, F9, F10, F11, F12. Press the indicated key quickly, before the message disappears.

    For example, one of the initial splash screens may say: "Please press DEL or F2 to enter UEFI BIOS Setting". In that case you should press either Delete (Del) key on the keyboard or F2 quickly, while the message stays on the screen.

    Once you are in the BIOS / UEFI settings, navigate to Boot Options, or Boot Order, or Boot Priority list - the name of the section varies across computer makes and models. Look for the section with "Boot" or "Storage" in the name. Follow on-screen instructions to navigate through the menu and put the device with Acronis Bootable Media at the very top of the boot order/priority list.

    Verify that the system disk is still above other hard disks in the boot priority list, but below the device with Acronis Bootable Media.

    Save changes and exit BIOS/UEFI setup utility.

    Launching Acronis True Image application

    The first Acronis Bootable Media screen looks different depending on whether the media was booted in 1) UEFI or 2) Legacy BIOS/CSM modes

    If you see a black and white text menu (Acronis UEFI loader), press "1" on the keyboard to launch Acronis True Image application:

    If you see a blue graphical menu (Acronis Legacy BIOS/CSM loader), move the mouse pointer over "Acronis True Image (64-bit)" or "Acronis True Image" and click it to launch the program:

    Configuring recovery task

    When the main program window appears, click "My disks" just below "Recover" in the center of the screen. Recovery wizard will walk you through the settings.

    1. Browse to the backup location

    Click the Browse button to locate the backup:

    2. Select backup version

    3. Mark the system disk for restoration

    Disks and partitions in the selected backup version are listed at this step:

    Locate the system disk and mark the checkbox next to it. To avoid unnecessary configuration steps further in the wizard, click on the checkbox next to the disk title, e.g. "Disk 1", and not on the checkboxes next to partitions (EFI System Partition, C:, Recovery partition, etc):

    Click Next:

    4. Define recovery destination

    When the "Finish" step is highlighted on the left panel, that is the last chance when you can safely cancel the recovery and undo any changes made on the configuration screens before the program starts applying them:

    Performing the actual restoration

    Click Proceed to start the actual process of replacing the current failing system state with a healthy system state from the backup:

    When the recovery finishes, take out Acronis Bootable Media and close Acronis True Image window.

    Computer will reboot.

    Windows will boot in a state as it was exactly when the backup was taken.

    Troubleshooting

    If possible, take notes and photos of the actions you undertake during troubleshooting. If you will be contacting Acronis directly for assistance, step-by-step pictures would help to resolve the issue quicker.

    Recovery fails with an error

    Click on the Log tab, then click on the plus sign to see the log of the failed operation. To facilitate further issue investigation and troubleshooting, save the recovery log and a system report:

    1) Open the Log tab, right-click anywhere in the log, select "Save all" and save the log file.

    2) Click on a small triangle next to the question mark in the upper top corner of the window, select "Generate System Report". When the report generating finishes, click "Save as" and browse to the same folder where the recovery log was saved previously.

    CRC, Write and Input/Output (I/O) errors in the log may indicate the need of system disk replacement. Take the system disk out of the computer box, connect it to another computer and run diagnostic checks agains it:

    1) Free CrystalDiskInfo instantly reads the disk health status as reported by the disk itself and displays it as Good, Caution or Bad. It is the quickest way to identify a disk hardware failure.

    2) Dedicated diagnostic utilities from the disk manufacturers take the longest time to complete the checks, but provide the most accurate methods of checking whether the disk is good or needs replacement:

     - Western Digital drives: Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows

     - Seagate disks: SeaTools for Windows

     - HGST disks: HGST Windows Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT)

     - Intel SSDs: Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox

     - Samsung drives: Samsung Magician

     - ADATA drives: ADATA SSD ToolBox

     - Kingston SSDs: Kingston SSD Toolbox, Kingston SSD Manager

     - Transcend SSDs: Transcend SSD Scope

     - Silicon Power disks: SP ToolBox

     - Toshiba disks: Toshiba PC Diagnostic Tool Utility

    If no issues were found with the disk, contact Acronis Customer Central for further help with system recovery as explained here.

    Recovered system does not boot

    Acronis Bootable Media fails to boot, freezes, closes or reboots unexpectedly

    Create Acronis Bootable Media, based on WinPE, as explained in this article. Then reattempt the restoration.

    Unable to select a destination partition in the recovery wizard

    Click Cancel button to exit recovery wizard window, click on the Tools tab and use "Add new disk" wizard to quickly clear disk contents. Be careful when selecting the disk for "adding" as the tool completely deletes everything on the selected disk and that action cannot be undone.

    The disk with backup file is shown as empty in the "Browse" dialog

    Make sure that the disk, storing the backup is not formatted in ExFAT format. Acronis Bootable Media is not able to read from ExFAT-formatted disks. If this is your case, use another computer to move your backups from ExFAT disk to some other location, re-format the disk in NTFS format, move backup back onto the disk and reattempt the restoration.

    Wrong number of physical disks are listed at "Where to recover" step

    If you do not see the original disk in the list or it appears as two separate disks, it may be set to run in RAID mode, unsupported by the standard bootable media (Linux-based). In such case you need to get to a second computer and create a special WinPE-based bootable media there, with drivers for the RAID controller. The fastest way to get it is use MVP WinPE builder (choose Basic version).

    Installed software/system behaves unusually after restoration

    After the recovery is completed, installed programs and the system may seem to behave unusually slow, requesting reboots etc. These are required to complete the missed maintenance tasks, such as downloading and installing updates and running regular checkups. If that happens, just let the required operations complete and after one or several reboots the system should be back to normal.

    Acronis True Image reports "You've exceeded the maximum number of activations for this serial number" status under Account tab after system restoration

    Click "Resolve problem" button under Account tab, select "I have changed hardware..." option, then "Move license from another computer", click on the computer name and, finally, click "Move license". Click here for more information.

    Third-party software programs/Microsoft Windows ask for license reactivation

    If the system disk failed and you had to replace it with a new one, installed software and Windows may or may not ask for their licenses reactivation after the recovery. It they do, that is due to a significant hardware change detected and cannot be and should not be prevented or avoided by Acronis software. Contact the respective third-party software vendors or Microsoft for help with license reactivation.

    Computer locks up at entering UEFI/BIOS settings

    If the invitation to press a key to entier UEFI/BIOS stays on the screen forever after you press the key, it could indicate a failure of one of the computer components (hardware).
    Power off the computer, physically disconnect the power cord (if it is a desktop), open the case and unplug the system disk. Then connect the power cable back and start the computer, press the required key and see if you get to the BIOS / UEFI setup screen. If this does not help - keep disconnecting other devices (all USB devices, SD cards, network cable etc) one-by-one until you find the culprit. The failing device then may need repair or replacement.
    If you feel uncomfortable working with computer parts, bring the computer to a professional service center to diagnose and fix the issue with entering BIOS / UEFI settings.

    More information

    Contact Acronis Customer Central if you have any questions or need help:

    1) Sign into your Acronis account at https://account.acronis.com/. If you do not have one yet, click Sign Up to create it.

    2) (step for perpetual licenses owners) If you have not registered your license key yet, click "Add keys" button in the upper top corner of the screen, copy and paste the serial number and click "Add" to register it.

    3) Click on the Support tab on the left panel.

    4) For technical questions and issues click "Technical issue". For all other matters click "Trial/Pre-sales/Licensing question".

    5) Enter Live Chat ("Instant Chat") or submit a ticket by email ("Submit a ticket"). Owners of subscription and PPI licenses also get support by phone for technical issues. Providing us recovery log, system report, step-by-step screen photos and the list of the undertaken steps would allow for quicker issue resolution.

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