Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

I am admittedly new to SP, but have to speak up on this topic...

The inability of SP IT-Edition to restore to a smaller partition is a gross omission.

I can see the Desktop version, for its price, not having this ability, but considering the cost of the IT Edition, I can't believe it is unable to manage this.  After wasting an entire afternoon trying posted workarounds to this, I have decided to use a $40 partition management program to stop the frustration and get on with my life.

 StorageCraft, you should rolll up your sleeves and get to work on this...

 

Forums:

Comments

STC-SethG

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

There have been many posts on shrinking partition size within an image during dismount. Mount up the image as writable (in Vista\2008+) on dismount select the shrink volume option and save the changes to an incremental. It can usually shrink the volume up to 50%, up until it reaches the MFT which is usually around the middle of the drive, but can also be in different places. This method along with disk defrags can shrink it even further as a defrag has the ability to move the MFT.

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Thanks for your reply, 

Tried that, didn't work.  Since the size of the desitnation drives was about 1/2 the size of the source drive, I am assuming it has to do with the MFT getting in the way.  Had to shrink the partition to a bit smaller than the destination drive (using another tool), then mount again and shrink again, before I had success.

It just occurred to me that a server tool costing this much money would have a bit more in it that that, as some competitive products do.  Anyway, I guess this product was meant to back up and restore (which it does very nicely), but let's face it:  restoring to drives of even a tiny bit smaller capacity isn't that uncommon:  if I had a server drive set fail and had to replace it, and the replcement drives were even a few bytes smaller, I'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to get things working again.  The whole idea of using a superior product like SP is so these things can be done easily.

Figured I'd brag to the client about how easy this stuff has become with the advent of these new tools.  He just grinned when I struggled with it for hours, after telling him it would take minutes to do.  It's little things like this that make it hard to have the confidence to sell a product - you just never know how easy it's actually going to be, getting them running again after a server meltdown, when you run into these gotchas the first time you use the product.

So how easy IS the hardware independent restore feature to use?  Am I going to run into issues there, the first time I try to use it?

 

 

Thanks again.

fguk

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

[quote user="RRPELLET"]Figured I'd brag to the client about how easy this stuff has become with the advent of these new tools.[/quote]

Well that was your first mistake! lol

I know what you are saying about needing things to be just a little easier sometimes with SP, however you will see SC staff regularly saying on this board that their primary focus is a very reliable and robust DR solution, and you can't argue with that. I find that is the killer feature to sell to your clients, not the fancy addons which may or may not work when you need them most!

HIR, well I have done a few, including P2V and P2P from varying bits of hardware, and it has never not worked, there may be if`s and but's and specific things you need to remember during the process, but then it isnt exactly a simple procedure, and there are plenty of people here to provide support if you need it.

STC-SethG

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

[quote user="RRPELLET"]but let's face it:  restoring to drives of even a tiny bit smaller capacity isn't that uncommon:  if I had a server drive set fail and had to replace it, and the replcement drives were even a few bytes smaller, I'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to get things working again.  The whole idea of using a superior product like SP is so these things can be done easily.[/quote]

I guess it can be inconvienient, but in my experience the shrink volume process takes no more than a minute, and is quite simple.

[quote user="RRPELLET"]So how easy IS the hardware independent restore feature to use?  Am I going to run into issues there, the first time I try to use it?[/quote]

I always suggest becoming familiar with the recovery environment and it's tools before an actual crysis so that when it becomes necessary to use those tools you can fix the machine as quick as possible with minimal stress. HIR is a great tool and does it's job well, but it requires the proper drivers for your devices for it to function. The most common "problems" reported when users are using HIR is that it doesn't have their drivers. Which really isn't a problem, and is as designed. HIR has a wide database of drivers but simply cannot have every single driver for every single piece of hardware. The most critical driver is the storage controller driver for your system, which is also the most common show-stopper for people restoring to new hardware. The bottom line is - If you give HIR the correct drivers (if it doesn't have them already) then it really does a good job of restoring the machine and making windows function with the new hardware. What you can do in advance is make sure that either you have those drivers on hand, and ready to use, or check if HIR already has those drivers in it's database.

 HIR along with the new Boot Configuration Utility in 3.5 make ShadowProtect a very powerful tool in system recovery and multi-boot scenarios.

STC-JWT

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

 There are some instances when we are not able to shrink the partition at all. I have dealt with many of these. And defrag utilities do sometimes help and sometimes they do not. Basically, our method is not perfect, not nearly and I have had several discussions with our developers on this subject.

What is currently limiting us on this feature is the already existing patents and copyrights for such a utility. Most of these utilities are owned by our competitors. This makes it difficult to work with them to include such a tool in our own product. What we currently have is the best solution that we could find at present to provide this ability without infringing upon others copyrights and software patents. While we would love to provide a better tool then we currently are, this is a more difficult undertaking then what it might first appear to be.

__________________

I am no longer in the technical support department at StorageCraft Technology Corporation. If you need immediate assistance with an issue you are experiencing, please fill out a technical support request from the link below http://forum.storagecraft.com/Community/web2case/

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Yes, I suppose as users we have no idea what it takes to get such stuff done...

STC-JWT

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

 Don't get me wrong. It's not the development side that is the issue. It's more the legal hurdles that have to dealt with.

__________________

I am no longer in the technical support department at StorageCraft Technology Corporation. If you need immediate assistance with an issue you are experiencing, please fill out a technical support request from the link below http://forum.storagecraft.com/Community/web2case/

RRPELLET
STC-Nate

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

ShadowProtect's current volume shrink mechanism is a compromise.  As others have mentioned, we have to be quite careful about this particular feature so that we don't infringe on any patents (such as 6253300).

ShadowProtect's current shrink mechanism is a "truncation" shrink.  This means that if there is unused space at the end of the volume, it will turncate the size of the filesystem down to the size where it only extends to the last in-use cluster.  This will quite often reduce the volume size enough for you to fit it onto another disk even if that disk is slightly smaller.  However, sometimes, even though there is free space, there are still in-use clusters at the end of the volume.  In such cases, we recommend that people defrag the mounted-writeable-image volume before they shrink-on-dismount, using a free defragger such as JKDefrag, which has a "force together" mode (from the command line use the "-a 5" switch) which sometimes (but now always) will accomplish the task of moving those in-use clusters away from the end of the volume.

CYaBro

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

 The problem I have with the defrag is that it takes a long time (well it did the two times I have had to do it) as in had to leave it overnight to do it.

And even then the shrink still didn't get it small enough to fit in one of those cases!

So much for a quick and easy DR solution....

 

FTTester

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

[quote user="CYaBro"]

 The problem I have with the defrag is that it takes a long time (well it did the two times I have had to do it) as in had to leave it overnight to do it.

And even then the shrink still didn't get it small enough to fit in one of those cases!

So much for a quick and easy DR solution....

[/quote]

If the defragmentation is taking all night, then it could well be that you are not using the best defrag options, and/or not using the quickest defrag. The fact that you were still unable to shrink the voume significantly, post-defrag, also suggests that the defrag options may not be the best ones.

In order to achieve a shrink of the volume, you normally want to force a move of used sectors from between the mirror MFT segment and the end of the volume. Since Windows normally installs the mirror MFT mid-volume, that operation can allow you to shrink a volume by up to 50%. However, the default operation of most defrag utilities is not to move sectors to the start of the volume, mainly because it can slow down performance and lead to more defragmentation. Instead they will either re-order the used sectors so that frequently used sectors are at the start of the volume, or, they try to consolidate free space (unused sectors). Unfortunately, neither operation will help in shrinking the volume. What you need to do is force the defrag utility to move the sectors to the start of the volume. Just keep in mind that some defrag utilities do not even have this option, so you need to check.

If you need to shrink the volume by more than 50%, then you also need to move the mirror MFT. However, some defrag utilties are not able to do this. If I remember correctly, this applies to the defrag utility built into early versions of Windows. Again, you need to check.

If you use a good defrag utility that can move the sectors to the start of the volume and can move the mirror MFT, then the defrag required for the shrink should be relatively quick. Any backup application that shrinks a volume during a restore will, more often than not, also need to perform this kind of defrag, so the restore with shrink will normally take longer than a restore without shrink - you just have the convenience of having automated within the restore. 

To speed up any defrag, you can keep an eye on the used sector map the utility provides. As long as there are no used sectors beyond your shrink point, you can stop the defrag. You can also use Sysinternals Diskview to identify what physical files relate to those used sectors (just keep in mind it takes a while to perform the initial disk scan).

Diskview
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896650.aspx

Not perfect, but it really should not take an all night effort.

It is also worth keeping in mind that many people are using virtualization for their DR solutions. In that case, the virtual drive will typically only contain the used sectors, so no shrink is required in many cases. ShadowProtect also happens to be faster and better than other backup solutions when it comes to VM-based DR solutions.  

Regards

FT

 

CYaBro

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

I just followed the storagecraft supplied tips on defraging using jkdefrag.
We are only a small IT company and can't afford to keep equipment to do a virtual DR type restore.

norman1

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Hi there,

I have an 180GB image created that I need to restore to a 140GB drive / partition..

I tried mounting it as writeable, then choosing shrink when dismounting it..

Now when I try to restore the C_VOL_i001.spi it shows a Volume size of 91GB, used space 16GB, with the partition diagram down the bottom showing 181GB.

I've created 140GB partition on desitination PC but still cannot restore.

I notice the Image File Properties also show Include Free Space - though I don't recall setting this anywhere. Is there any way to exclude free space / restore to this smaller drive?

norman1

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Also to make this more tricky we'd ideally like to restore this to a system with 60GB C: drive partition and retain all data on existing D: partition..

What is best way to create smallest images possible in future to prevent these problems?

norman1

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

can anyone answer this question or should I create a new post?

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Well you can try creeating a new post, but it seems to me that it's been established that Shadow Protect wasn't designed to do this on its own.  Apparently not a shortcoming in their eyes, in that the product has met their design objectives.  There's not a piece of software out there anywhere (I figure) that doesn't come up short in somebody's eyes.

Take a look at this:   http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-next-generation.htm  It's cheap to buy, easy to use, and I have never had (or heard of anyone else having) a problem resizing a partition (up or down).

Don't get me wrong:  I still think a good resizer would fit into this product well, but until SC makes it a priority, it isn't going to happen.  Meanwhile, they make a great backup/DR product (without a decent partition resizer). 

 

 

 

 

norman1

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Yes it sounds like it should be a decent partition resizer, but for
me wasnt working..

I'm not sure whehter I"m doing something wrong
to make it zero fill image or what caused it, but I'm wanting some way
to resolve the problem..

Maybe if I restore the image to a
computer with large enough HDD, then defrag, then create new image
again, then shrink again..?

Only trouble is the computer with
large enough HDD would be a slightly different model so would have
different drivers etc..

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

So, you tried BootItNG and it didn't work for you?  I've never seen it not work.

 There are a number of partition management programs out there.  I like BootItNG because it's cheap, not that it's pretty.  But it's always worked for me.

 

WMCI

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

I think Norman1 is saying the volume resizer in ShadowProtect did NOT work.  I've had the IT version for about 2 weeks and just discovered this problem.  Tonight I tried to restore a SPF image with volume size of 232.89GB with used space of 23GB to a 80GB drive.  It DID NOT work.  I then tried to restore the same image to a drive with 232.83GB of available space.  It DID NOT work!!!  I did try the resizing volume KB about making a SPI file without success.  I have a huge knot in my stomach for what I paid for this product and it's shortcomings.

Are you suggesting to purchase BootITng or your favorite partitioning software and resize the volume before making an image with ShadowProtect?  Obviously an extra step taking more time to complete.

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Forgive me if I misunderstand you - it's hard sometimes in a thread like this to fully get what you're saying...

The Volume Resizer in ShadowProtect requires that you mount the volume, allowing changes, then dismount it, using the Shrink Volume feature.  However, the manual explains its limitation:

"The Shrink Volume feature truncates mounted backup image files so that the file system ends at the last currently-allocated cluster.  To reduce the backup image size as much as possible, use a disk defragmentation tool on the mounted image to consolidate the file distribution within the volume and free up space at the end of the volume."

My experience with disk defragmentation tools is that they will allow for a drive efrag that will leave space for ShadowProtect's Shrink Volume feature to reduce the size of the volume by about 50%.  There are some out there that know of tools that will defrag even tighter than this, but I've never pursued it.

I agree completely that a partition-resizing feature is a natural for ShadowProtect, but since the current methods of doing this are patented, the folks at StorageCraft have to devise a brand-new method to keep themselves from getting sued.  I suspect that they are either working on this or have decided that it's not a high-priority for them.  A shame...

WMCI

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Hi RRPELLET ,

 I replied as a 3rd party not as the original poster.

RRPELLET

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

Sorry, I don't follow:  "replied as 3rd party..."  ?

 

WMCI

Re: Restoring to smaller partition - wake up SC!

I'm not the person who posted the original question or hijacked this thread.  Look at my username.  I'm adding my opinion here from my experiences.