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Acronis, I took the plunge


Randy Myers

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Ok, I took the plunge and purchased Acronis 2010...

 

It allows me to backup any disk I want, etc.... couple quick questions though, it has a function called Acronis Drive Cleaner... which states "Secure data destructoin on your hard drive" and "permanetly destroy all data on your partition"...

 

Is this not what you would do to clean the drive to bring it back to top performance. Is there any reason to use another utility such as GParted or Partition Magic versus simply using Acronis?

 

If this is correct then the other question is, if I use the Acronic boot disk which allows you to run all these functions straight from the CD, Drive Cleaner and Restore, etc., is there an easy way to format in 32 kb allocations, without having to move or install windows on another hard drive. Would the Windows 7 DVD allow me to quick format the SSD and then reboot with the Acronis boot disk to restore the drive?

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I have just used Acronis 10 to help re-align my partition. I got the SSD and just charged ahead installing - or rather, cloning from a previous life as a RAID 0 HDD Vista setup, and I restored an Acronis backup to the SSD and immediately upgraded the OS to Win7. I know - not ideal, but I've years of installs on there, and it would take literally weeks to re-install everything.

 

Anyway, the point is, the boundary alignment was no good for SSD performance, so I:

 

  • Took a full backup with Acronis to a USB disk.
  • Changed the BIOS setting from RAID (jbod) to simple AHCI disk - this logically cleared the SSD.
  • Started a new Win7 Install to the SSD, and stopped it whilst it was 'copying files'. This created 2 partitions on the disk - system reserved, and new windows
  • Restarted the install and got a command line.
  • Used Diskpart to delete the system reserved partition and assign letter C to the main partition
  • Used stand-alone bootable Acronis to restore the previously saved system and MBR.

 

Now it's up, and aligned. Hooray for Acronis.

 

As to the Clean disk thing, I think you would need to do a custom algorithm, because, as I understand it, you want to write x'ff' all over the disk to reset it, rather than x'00'.

 

My concern with all this erasing and wipering and stuff is this: there must be some pretty significant engineering going on in the controller (mine's indilinx) so as to properly do wear levelling. I mean, if you continuously write to the same bit of flash memory, it will wear out, I think, so the controller is supposed to spread the usage about sort of evenly. Now, the OS knows nothing of this. If a disk drive can be made to read and write to the same track all the time, that's a jolly good thing from a performance point of view, and I imagine MS goes to a bit of effort to do that if possible. So, there's a conflict of interest.

 

I suspect the controller lies to the driver. I suspect there is a translation from LBA number to SSD internal address that changes between write/re-write cycles. So, a block to be written might 'move' from a partially filled section to a new 'virgin' section, and the vacated slot might be erased ready for the time when the whole segment became free. At least, If I were writing the code, that's what I might have attempted. And if some such mechanism exists, then all the wipering and erasing in the world will never get it back to as-new, because writing x'ff' is still writing, and the controller didn't do the cleaning, so knows nothing of it. Obviously this can not be true, or all the good folk madly cleaning their drives would notice..

 

I would love to know how it REALLY works.

 

Sorry for rambling. It's late.

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Acronis is in my opinion the best backup and restore software. It's a good thing you bought the latest version as to keep compatibility with the latest hardware out there.

 

As for the DriveCleanser, it will not restore speed to the SSD, it will just write several times to the empty spaces in the disk. Like mentioned before, it can be customized so if you give it a go, please post your results.

 

The main reason to use Acronis is it's ease of use. It's easy to create a backup and extremely easy to restore your back.

 

Has anyone discussed using BCWipe? It also has a custom clearing and runs without destroying active data. I'd give it a try but I already have TRIM so I don't know if I'd see any improvements.

 

-Joe

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Can someone who knows for sure please address this.

 

Is Acronis Drive Cleaner good for cleaning my SSD? Without making a second Windows installed HDD, is there another method of first formating the boot SSD to 32kb allocation prior to restoring the Acronis image?

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I just tried BCWipe, created a custom wipe of FF, and it restored my Seq Write back to 164. The only problem I ran into, keep in mind I only ran the test twice, was the 4K write was down to 5.8. That doesn't sound right at all. Maybe I need to check background activity to ensure something wasn't hitting it.

 

So, BCWipe is a free download and will retain your data, just clear out the free space. I didn't wipe the slack space since that space is still taken up by the file that holds it. Once the file is deleted/moved and the space becomes free again, I think just wipe it at that point.

 

If BCWipe has been used before, can someone post if it's a viable option to product good results?

 

And as far as I can tell Acronis DriveCleanser wipes out an entire drive. I think it would be a time saver to keep your system intact if possible.

 

-Joe

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BCWipe can be configured to run on a schedule if you like.

 

Here are my results with BCWipe, using custom "FF" only on free space (not slack space).

 

http://i799.photobucket.com/albums/yy280/JoeSchmuck/ATTO3.jpg

 

I think they look okay. The 2K took a hit as my Norton came back online (had it off for 15 minutes).

 

Here are my results after running BCWipe, using custom "00" only on free space (not slack space).

 

http://i799.photobucket.com/albums/yy280/JoeSchmuck/ATTO4.jpg

 

Unfortunately I end up with similar results, which I feel are good. Maybe I can't test this properly because I have TRIM and it's possible that the fact that I'm going in and writting to every free space is causing the TRIM feature to erase it. I don't know what's going on, maybe you could test it out. I won't cause any harm if you run it. Since you have never used BCWipe, you may want to have a backup of your drive before you start for peace of mind. With any luck it wil work for you.

 

Update: I ran BCWipe using "00" and verify on. The results were the same for me so before you run BCWipe, run a benchmark test a few times, then run BCWipe using "FF" and run the benchmark again a few times.

 

-Joe

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Not sure, but i think something is not right with my drive.

 

ATTO reports staggering low numbers, like 10 m/sec writes and 60 m/sec reads... but windows reports it at 6.9, and everest reports it at cached reads average about 215-225.

 

Either ATTO does not like my system or the drive is a mess.

 

I bought acronis and created an image... I deleted partition and then used acronis disk cleaner, did a fast clean of drive which writes 0s to all drive and then restored (it did sector by sector restore so not sure if i should have used different options?)...

 

Anyway, exactly the same afterwards...

 

My bios has no options for AHCI and the drive is formated in 4 kb...

 

Any ideas?

 

BTW the system is only 2 years old, and does extrememly well in all real world uses...

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As far as I know, to erase the drive you have to write all ones to the space, not all zeroes. Writing all zeroes just makes the drive as bad as it can possibly be, I think!

 

Acronis will allow you to create a custom algorithm for the drive cleaning process, so you should probably try pass one set to x'ff' - i.e. all ones.

 

Curious to know if it works.

 

And, don't do sector by sector - that just puts it back to like it was before you started, warts and all.

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I own Acronis 11 and the Drive Cleanser will not allow me to select my boot drive while running Windoze 7. This means I would have to boot from the CD and conduct the processes. And as I read it, it's still going to destroy your data. I could have an old copy of Acronis that doesn't support what Cadencia is talking about. I've never used it before myself. Always used BCWipe. Nope, I don't own any stock shares in that company.

 

I wish I had an X-series SSD to play with.

 

Good Luck,

Joe

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