I am sorry about your misadventure with the Acronis/Seagate thingy
, as said I don't particularly "like" Acronis software but AFAIK it normally works and I don't think that the good Seagate guys did anything to it (besides changing name/re-branding) in order to render it inoperable
Thus the issues you are experiencing are somewhat preoccupying.
It is clear that that software, in order to be able to work from the booted windows, uses either Shadow Volume services or a similar "Acronis made" approach.
It is possible that you have some other software interfering with it's operations.
You could try using a freebie like DriveImageXML (which as well normally uses Shadow Volume services) combined with *any* tool capable of backing up the MBR (or in case of a multisector MBR or to be anyway on the "safe side" the whole set of hidden sectors):
You will need to make a BartPE (or similar) boot CD (or bootable USB stick) to be able to do a "bare metal" restore.
This way, you can determine whether the issue relies on Shadow Volume subsystem or it is limited to the Blackarmour thingy.
These could be related valuable sources of info:
What I personally see as a good thing of the app is that it saves files that are (with some "tricks") "human readable", thus it is possible to recover manually the data in them/correct them, example:
This said, I still prefer, since it is inherently safer
(as it doesn't rely to Voume Shadow or similar mechanisms) to boot *something else* and use this "temporary" OS to backup/image.
Personally (and since the dawn of time) I tend to have two installs of the OS on two separate partitions, one "minimal" (nlite, etc.) and one the "real" one, used everyday.
You backup (actualy directly image since it is small) the "minimal" from the "real" (you need to do this only once).
Then you peridically boot to the "minimal" and from it backup or image the "real" (and the "data" volumes).
In the (fortunately rare, but unfortunately possible) case of a total hard disk crash, you restore the "minimal" (from a PE) and from it restore all the others.
BTW with this approach the "built-in" in 2K and XP NTBackup is not that bad, but which OS are you actually running?
The same approach can be made obviously without the second instance of the OS from a PE or Linux CD/Usb thingy.
Once the OS volume you want to backup/restore is "offline" you can use almost *any* software, as you have "removed" most of the possible issues connected with concurrent access to files, and thus lessened possibilities that something goes wrong (but Murphy's Laws will stiill apply).
On the NT "side" I recommend:
On the Linux side:
If using DOS
, the mentioned in the other thread Partition Saving
is possibly the best choice as it
fourfold DOS/Linux/Windows/PE ....
so you can practiacally use it from *any* environment.
As said, a product that is interesting and that could be a simpler solution as long as you are going to use as "backup" a disk (actually the standdard approach to backup involves two of them, rotating) that is similar in size (or bigger) is XXCLONE, that can be run from within Windows and that allows (once the "first" clone is made) for very fast "incremental backups":