So I have just finished several of the more frustrating days in my life.....
I bought a Maxtor OneTouch Mini 250GB drive, primarily to use the SafetyDrill functionality to create disk images in case of a need to restore from scratch if my configuration got hopelessly messed up. I could have bought a cheaper big USB drive, but SafetyDrill was the factor that convinced me to get the Maxtor.
After I brought the drive home and tried to get it going, I spent the first couple of days trying to get the SafetyDrill image copy to work. Turned out that my problem was related to Windows Volume Shadow Copy which doesn't appear to come set up properly under Windows XP. There is a separate thread in this forum on the subject, and what the final resolution was. One would think that Seagate/Maxtor support would have been on top of this issue, but apparently not.....
However, once I got to where SafetyDrill would at least make an image copy, you would think that I would have been ready to go. But not so!
Booting from the SafetyDrill Recovery CD worked fine, and I could see the Maxtor OneTouch drive quite fine. However, it would not recognize my laptop hard drive, so if I had wanted to restore fron my drive image, there was no destination to send it to. Not so good, since presumably an image copy is only made in the eventuality (hopefully rare mind you) that you might have to restore it sometime.
After a lengthy exchange with Seagate/Maxtor support (who were, in fact, reasonably helpful) turns out that SafetyDrill won't work with my Dell laptop at all. SafetyDrill only works with NTFS file systems, and it turns out that most (if not all) Dell's come with a small FAT partition at the front of their hard drives which is used to store the Dell Diagnostic routines. I was not even aware of this until I went through all of this hassle. Just looking at the C: drive properties in My Computer, one would think that the entire drive was NTFS. You have to check in the Disk Management in Computer Management/Administrative Tools/Control Panel to see the little extra partition.
Dell is apparently not the only manufacturer to do this either, so probably 50% or more of the machines out there will not work with SafetyDrill, without completely wiping and rebuilding the hard drive and installing the Windows OS from scratch, which most (including me) have neither the time, knowledge or inclination to do.
So then, at the tail end of all this, the Seagate/Maxtor support folks said "why don't you try DiscWizard"? Why not, indeed.
OK, so then I downloaded DiscWizard from the Seagate website, installed it, and went through the following steps:
Used it to create an .iso image for a bootable DiscWizard recovery cd.
Messed around for a while to find a piece of software which I could use to burn the .iso image onto a recovery CD (finally used Active@ ISO Burner shareware).
Made a disc image of my laptop harddrive using DiscWizard which I put onto the Maxtor OneTouch drive. This worked like a charm.
Booted my laptop using the DiscWizard recovery CD I burned.
Stepped throught the restore disc/partition all the way until just before the final "are you sure" step. It could see my disc image on the Maxtor OneTouch, and it could see my laptop hard drive and all of its partitions, so it certainly appears that this is all working properly.
It would appear that DiscWizard is indeed the answer!
Sooooo, my question is the following: WHY DOES SEAGATE/MAXTOR SELL SAFETYDRILL AT ALL??? I wasted 2 days of my time trying to get this to work. If someone had told me about DiscWizard at the beginning (or, better yet, shipped it, including the recovery CD, with the OneTouch drive) then all of this hassle could have been avoided.
Based on the info that I collected Googling on this issue, at least half of the systems out there (at least the newer ones) will not work with SafetyDrill, given that so many of them have that little FAT diagnostic partition, which most people (myself included) are not aware of until you go through the hassle of trying to get SafetyDrill to work.
I would hope that this message gets passed along to someone in Seagate/Maxtor management (it is for their own good). Either upgrade SafetyDrill to work around the diagnostic partition problem, or better yet, just get rid of it and include DiscWizard with the OneTouch drives instead.
Very interesting about the little fat partition. It explains my dumb luck in not having problems with safetydrill so far. I have a dell, but I deleted that little fat partition because we needed the room and I would not go back to the factory image for all the tea in China anyway.
So I can tell you this: My system works fine without it. I don't know if I will ever miss the diagnostics, but I have some good third party utilities.
As I have said in other posts (see success stories anyone?) I have been creating backups without a hitch, but I am not very confident about being able to consumate a restore when and if. So I started that thread and didn't get one offering from anyone who had been there and done that. Now I am really wondering. I am leaning more on the discwizard as well.
I will take the big leap and restore from a safety drill disk. Let you guys know next week. I have all my DATA backed up, and I need to do some drive partition manipulation anyway.
And interesting side note is that my disk is encrypted by TrueCrypt (my installed disk in my laptop) I am assuming that since TC installs as a driver to the hard drive, that SafetyDrill will only see decrypted data, not the raw, encrypted info on the hard drive.
I will also do an ONE TOUCH encrypted backup and do the restore from it to test it.
If you want to try this at home - I have all my data backed up and created reinstallation DVDs for my original drive windblows software from the restore partition on the drive.
My son had the same problem. It's not Maxtor related. There seems to be NO WAY to image newer a Dell Laptop HD. My son was trying to upgrade the HD to a 160Gb drive. I had Acronis version 8 or so. The version just before Vista hit. Nope. After 3 tries to restore the Laptop won't boot. Dell finally told him it won't work due to that diagnosis partition !
So this is not a Maxtor SafetyDrill problem. It's Dell making it impossible to upgrade. They'd rather you buy a new Dell.
After some checking on Dell laptop cloning. One sight suggested that you must copy the partition to exactly the same partition size. So if your 40 Gb HD died, an you got a 100 or higher, you have to clone it as a 40 Gb. Then use some partition expander after you reboot to resize it to the full disk. Could be something Dell put into Windows to make sure you only have the same size partition.
These partiton resizers must tell Windows that you are expanding so it works right.
Thanks for the info re FAT files. I was just about to buy a Maxtor external HD to use Safetydrill but realised my Lenovo also has a small FAT partition so SafetyDrill will not work. I suppose the search goes on to find a reliable external HD! Any suggestions? - about 500gb to be used for full system backups overnight
There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with Seagate/Maxtor drives, just the Safety Drill software. It seems that the price of the OneTouch Mini drives is about $50 higher than other comparable ones, presumably due to the "value" of the software provided. What you can do, however, is download the DiscWizard software from Seagate/Maxtor after you have purchased a drive from them (DiscWizard will only work if you have at least one Seagate or Maxtor drive attached to your system).
There are other Maxtor and Seagate USB drive choices which seem to give better value per GB than the OneTouch Mini's, so you could take a look at them.
It depends if you want a System Restore or backup the files.
If the 500Gb are data files (Music or video) then you just need to backup the files with a Maxtor or two (always have two backups in different locations).
If the laptop dies, it doesn't always have to be the HD. Anything can go to toast the laptop; video card, controller card, power supply.
So a System Restore backup won't do you any good in that situation. A secondary computer would be needed and a reinstall of XP since the laptops would require different drivers.
The Maxtor OT4 is very fast on USB. So backup up the files should not be that bad.
Again, someone would have to try the SafetyDrill software on a working laptop. Pop in a blank HD and restore and see what happens.
The best laid plans dont' work unless you tried them. Even the "Best" disk image software would not restore this Dell laptop to work right. That was fine as they just installed a new HD, installed XP and used the old laptop HD on a USB device and copied the files back.