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SSR 2013 SP1 can't find all partition(s), Windows 8

Created: 17 Jun 2013 • Updated: 18 Jun 2013 | 9 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I am trying to create a independent backup image of ALL partitions on the hard drive.

While testing SSR 2013 on a brand new Dell XPS 8500 (Windows 8 64) pc, I uncovered this problem:

SSR 2013 SP1 detects only 4 partitions on the hard disc, yet there are actually 6.  (Same results with booting from SRD.)

See attached screen-shot of SSR 2013 Disc Wizard which identified 4 partitions.

Now see screen-print from free MiniTool Partition Wizard which identified 6 partitions!

Just to confirm, I also conducted a trial test with Storagecraft ShadowProtect 5 (a competitor backup product).  ShadowProtect 5 also identified 6 partitions, and successfully created a backup image of the entire hard drive (ALL partitions).  See screen-print.

I also tested with Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite.  It also found all 6 partitions, and successfully created a backup image.  See screen-print.

My conclusion:  Maybe this is a Windows 8 / SSR 2013 issue, but I think it is important to verify using the free MiniTool Partition program (or some other program) how many partitions are actually on the hard drive before assuming SSR 2013 (or any product) is actually backing them all up.  How can I restore a external backup image onto a new blank hard drive (after a failure) if the original one is not fully backed up?

I would like to see a simple function in SSR 2013:  Backup the entire hard drive (all partitions).  Period.

Operating Systems:

Comments 9 CommentsJump to latest comment

RLeon's picture

I would like to see a simple function in SSR 2013:  Backup the entire hard drive (all partitions).  Period.

Some other products call this technique "sector-by-sector", "raw device cloning", "block level" or "blind copy" disk backups, where the file system is completely ignored and the disk sectors blindly copied.

In a way, this technique could be said to support virtually any file systems, even the one you created from your garage, unknown to the world.

Unfortunately, SSR does not support this backup technique. A supported file system has to be present for SSR to be able to pick up the partition. Please see this thread:
https://www.symantec.com/connect/forums/ssr-and-ra...

In your case, the two partitions that SSR couldn't "see" are:
"DIAGS", 40MB, GPT, FAT32
"No name", 128MB, GPT, Unknown or no file system

The 128MB partition does not contain a file system, hence SSR does not see it, the reason as explained above. (Or the file system could be one that SSR does not recognize/understand.)

For the 40MB partition I could only offer my speculation.
It could be the case that SSR does not support the FAT32 file system in a GPT partition.
To test and verify, you could format the partition as NTFS and try again.
Or, if possible, you could change disk to MBR so the partition is an MBR FAT32 partition, then see if SSR picks it up.

As for why the "ESP", 496MB, GPT, FAT32 partition is picked up by SSR, it could be a strange exception that SSR somehow supports GPT+FAT32 if the partition has the EFI System Partition (ESP) GUID signature; as it does in your case.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EFI_System_partition

JohnTech's picture

I'm not looking for a sector by sector backup; just a normal system backup image.

> It could be the case that SSR does not support FAT32 file systems in a GPT partition.
>To test and verify, you could format the partition as NTFS and try again.
>Or, if possible, you could change disk to MBR so the partition is an MBR FAT32 partition, then see if SSR picks it up.

I'm just a user that bought a new pc from Dell.  Prior to Windows 8, I used Norton Ghost for many years, then upgraded to SSR 2013 for Windows 8.

Why should I be modifying the partitions? I want to backup the hard drive, not modify it.  (Paragon and ShadowProtect back everything up on the hard drive fine.)

RLeon's picture

I'm not looking for a sector by sector backup;

When those other products successfully backup your partitions without a (supported) file system, they are in fact doing sector by sector backups on those partitions...

If SSR does not see a supported file system in a partition, it will skip that partition. Period.

Why should I be modifying the partitions? I want to backup the hard drive, not modify it.

You don't have to. I was only offering some suggestions to test the limits of SSR.
I recommend opening a support case with Symantec and let them confirm this for you; or perhaps someone from Symantec here on the forum could.

Chris Riley's picture

Agree with RLeon - this probably requires a support case for further investigation.

However, if you attach logs here (http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH54539), I can take a quick look to see if anything obvious stands out.

JohnTech's picture

>  In your case, the two partitions that SSR couldn't "see" are:
> "DIAGS", 40MB, GPT, FAT32
> "No name", 128MB, GPT, Unknown or no file system

Probably the DIAGS is some kind of Dell hardware diagnostic program.  No idea what "No Name" is.

A better (simpler) question that I should have asked is this:  Just ignore those 2 partitions?  Should I expect restoring just the 4 partitions that SSR 2013 recognizes and backs up, to boot if restored onto a new hard drive?

The most common scenario I want protection for is from failed hard drives.  I want to be able to purchase a new hard drive, then have confidence I can boot from the SRD, restore the backup image from the USB external hard drive, and then have pc boot into Windows 8.

This was pretty straight forward with Win7, XP, etc. and NTFS or FAT32 HDD's.  

Chris Riley's picture

A better (simpler) question that I should have asked is this:  Just ignore those 2 partitions?  Should I expect restoring just the 4 partitions that SSR 2013 recognizes and backs up, to boot if restored onto a new hard drive?

In my opinion, you should probably test a restore in a virtual environment (Hyper-V, VMware ESX/Workstation) to see if this works. Doing periodic restore tests is always good practice anyway.

JohnTech's picture

> In my opinion, you should probably test a restore in a virtual environment (Hyper-V, VMware ESX/Workstation) to see if this works. Doing periodic restore tests is always good practice anyway.

Thanks Chris and RLeon for your comments and suggestions.  I'm in line and waiting for a fix for the VSS_E_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE error thread problem (windows 8 with Dell and other pc's) and I am one of several that have an open Symantec support case waiting for resolution.  

Thus, I can't even perform an image backup all 4 of the partitions that SSR 2013 finds yet.   When that case gets resolved I'll try a full backup and restore.  (You can see now why I am nervous and also testing other vendor's imaging software.)

Chris Riley's picture

Yes, that issue is still under investigation.

Are you able to do a cold backup using the recovery disk? If yes, at least you could use that for your restore test.

JohnTech's picture
>> Are you able to do a cold backup using the recovery disk? If yes, at least you could use that for your restore test.
 
I was able to cold backup all 4 partitions, with no VSS_E_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE errors.
 
I booted from the SSR 2013 SRD cd. I was able to take cold backup (and verify)
500MB EFI SYstem (ESP)
500MB (WINRETOOLS)
11.97GB (PBR Image)
918GB (c: os) 
 
However, the SRD (just like the Windows SSR) did NOT see/recognize the 40MB OEM (DIAGS), thus did not back it up, and also didn't recognize or backup  the 128MB "no name" partition.
 
John
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