60091: Acronis True Image 2018: how Simple bootable media creation mode works

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Introduction

Acronis Bootable Media builder offers new bootable media creation modes: "Simple" and "Advanced". Simple media creation mode requires minimum user interaction and is recommended as the default choice.

For those who are interested in how it works, and for troubleshooting purposes, this article explains the logic behind the Simple bootable media creation mode in Acronis True Image 2018.

Description

One of the major changes in Acronis Bootable Media Builder in Acronis True Image 2018 is that now the default base for the rescue media are variations of Windows OS: WinRE and WinPE. Unlike WinPE, WinRE-based media does not require downloading and installing Windows AIK/ADK. The media builder falls back on to creating a Linux-based bootable media automatically if the computer misses WinRE or WinPE components.

When the rescue media builder opens, the following executable file is launched:

Windows 64-bit: C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\MediaBuilder.exe

Windows 32-bit: C:\Program Files\Acronis\TrueImageHome\MediaBuilder.exe

Once the Simple media creation method is chosen, MediaBuilder.exe proceeds as follows:

  1. If a Windows dynamic disk is detected, skip to step 5, Linux bootable media is created. Otherwise, proceed with the next step.
  2. If the host operating system is Windows 7 32-bit, skip to step 4.
  3. The media builder attempts to create a bootable media based on Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). This method takes the best from the formerly default Linux-based media - no extra downloads required to build the media - and the wide hardware support provided by WinPE. Plus, computer manufacturers usually include the drivers for the computer's hardware into the WinRE.wim image, that already exists on the computer and that Acronis re-uses. This frees the user from the necessity to go searching for the correct drivers.

    3.1 The program looks for a number of files in C:\Windows\Boot and C:\Windows\System32 folders. Some files are required and some are not. If a required file is not found, the builder skips to the step 4.

    3.2 The program searches for the file WinRE.wim. First the subdirectories of C:\Recovery are searched.

    3.3 Then the following partitions are searched for WinRE.wim:

         - Windows Recovery Environment partition. It is identified by the GUID de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac on GPT system disks. On MBR disks, it is identified by the partition type 27 and a specific folder structure. Learn more about partition types and their GUIDs on GPT disks here and partition types identifiers on MBR disks here.

         - System Reserved partition on MBR system disks.

    3.4 The builder searches for the file WinRE.wim in the found partitions.

    3.5 The program then checks for the file with Acronis plug-in for WinPE and WinRE:

          Windows 64-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\WinPE\winpe_resources.dll"

          Windows 32-bit: "C:\Program Files\Acronis\TrueImageHome\WinPE\winpe_resources.dll"

    3.6 If all of required elements are found, they are put together and a WinRE-based media is created.

  4. If any element required for building a WinRE media is missing, the media builder attempts to create an ADK/AIK-based media.

    4.1 A request to Windows Installer database is sent to determine if Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) is installed. If more than 1 version of it is installed, the product takes the most recent of them. If none are found, the presence of Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is checked.

    4.2 The program checks for the file with Acronis plug-in for WinPE and WinRE:

          Windows 64-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\WinPE\winpe_resources.dll"

          Windows 32-bit: "C:\Program Files\Acronis\TrueImageHome\WinPE\winpe_resources.dll"

    4.3 If all of required elements are found, they are put together and a WinPE-based media is created.

  5. Finally, if conditions for WinRE- or WinPE medias creation are not met, the builder creates a Linux-based media from the files in the following folders:

          Windows 64-bit:
          "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Acronis\TrueImageMedia"
          "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Acronis\TrueImageHome"

          Windows 32-bit:
          "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Acronis\TrueImageMedia"
          "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Acronis\TrueImageHome"

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