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BitLocker is a Microsoft technology for encrypting disk volumes. Its main purpose is to prevent unauthorized access to Windows, programs and user data, if hackers try to tamper with computer boot process or get physical access to the disk. BitLocker disk encryption optionally can be coupled with a hardware component Trusted Platform Module (TPM), available on some modern computers, and a USB key, for the highest level of protection.
Sometimes called 'full-disk encryption', BitLocker, however, targets disk volumes individually, such as C:, D:, F: and others. BitLocker is enabled on per - disk volume basis, not for the entire physical disk. In other words, you cannot tell BitLocker to encrypt an HDD or SSD: you can only encrypt a disk volume, which can occupy more or less disk space on the HDD or SSD.
In this article we will use the term 'disk' the way it is used in Windows Explorer user interface: indicating a disk volume, e.g. C:.
Learn more about BitLocker at Microsoft website.
Acronis True Image is compatible with BitLocker with certain limitations that depend on the current status of BitLocker protection of the disk.
Disks can be:
1) encrypted and locked
2) encrypted and unlocked
3) not encrypted
The simplest way to tell BitLocker status of a disk is to see how the disk looks in Windows Explorer.
Encrypted and locked
Disks that are encrypted by BitLocker and are in locked state have a gold lock on them. Such disks are not available for any operation by Acronis True Image, except for being overwritten when recovering an Entire PC, disk or partition backup in disk/partition mode using Acronis Bootable Media.
To unlock the disk, while keeping it encrypted, right-click the disk and select 'Unlock drive..', enter the password and click Unlock:
Encrypted and unlocked
Disks that are encrypted by BitLocker, and are in unlocked state, have a silver unlocked padlock:
Encrypted and unlocked disks:
- Can be backed up in any mode: Entire PC, disk, partition, files/folders. Backups of type 'Entire PC' will fail, however, if at least one internal disk is encrypted and locked, even if others are unlocked or not encrypted at all.
- Can be cloned, if the cloning operation does not request a computer reboot
- Can be overwritten when recovering an Entire PC, disk or partition backup in disk/partition mode using Acronis Bootable Media
- Are saved in Acronis True Image backup and cloned in unencrypted state. If you recover them or boot from the clone, you will need to turn on BitLocker protection again. For that, right-click the disk and select 'Turn on BitLocker':
- Cannot be read by Acronis bootable environment:
- Cannot be backed up by using Acronis bootable media or Acronis Startup Recovery Manager (F11 key function)
- Disk cloning of such disk will fail, if the cloning tool requests a computer reboot
- Recovery from or to such disk, initiated in Windows, will fail, if a computer reboot is requested
- Encrypted and unlocked disks cannot be read by Acronis Bootable Media
- Avoid storing backups on encrypted and unlocked disks, because at recovery time the bootable media or the bootable agent will not 'see' the disk, where the backup is stored. A relatively safe scenario is when you store file/folder backup on encrypted and unlocked disk, and plan to restore to a new location, not overwriting the original files/folders.
- Cannot be used for activating Acronis Startup Recovery Manager (F11 key function) on them
- Block Acronis Secure Zone creation. To create Acronis Secure Zone, decrypt the disk by turning off Bitlocker.
- Restrict Acronis Try&Decide feature usage, regardless of any planned Try&Decide settings: Try&Decide cannot work when a partition in your system is encrypted with BitLocker.
- Survival Kit creation may require re-formatting the external disk, if it is encrypted with Bitlocker and unlocked
You may see a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark picture overlay and a silver unlocked padlock on the disk - it would indicate that the disk, still being encrypted by BitLocker and in unlocked state, has BitLocker protection suspended. Such disks are treated by Acronis True Image the same way as encrypted and unlocked.
How to turn off BitLocker
To lift the above listed restrictions, you can turn off BitLocker protection, which will decrypt the disk:
- Right-click the disk in question in Windows Explorer and select 'Manage BitLocker':
- Click 'Turn off Bitlocker' on the BitLocker management screen:
- Confirm the operation and wait until the decryption finishes. It may take up to several hours for big disks with a lot of data and programs on them.
- After the operation finishes, the disk becomes not encrypted
If the disk does not bear any padlock adornment, it is not encrypted at all. In other words, BitLocker protection is either not enabled (not to be confused with the term 'suspended'!), or was turned off. Such disks are available for all operations with Acronis True Image without any limitations.
This article instructs how to use Acronis True Image to recover Windows from a boot failure.
Use the present article only if the system is damaged to a state when you can't get to the Desktop screen and launch Acronis True Image normally. If you are able to access Acronis True Image within running Windows, please follow instructions from that article instead.
1. Acronis Bootable Media - a bootable USB thumb drive, CD or DVD with Acronis software on it. Click here for instructions on how to get it.
If you already have the bootable media, you can use it, including media created on a different computer. There is no need to create a new bootable media.
2. A previously created backup.
If you do not have a backup, you cannot restore the system using Acronis True Image. In such a case try Windows built-in recovery options.
Insert Acronis Bootable Media
Reboot the computer
If at this point the computer boots into Acronis Bootable Media environment, then click here to skip to the part of configuring the recovery task.
Otherwise, if you observe the same Windows boot failure symptom, instead of seeing Acronis boot menu, it means that you need to configure BIOS/UEFI to boot from Acronis Bootable Media.
Configuring BIOS/UEFI to boot from Acronis Bootable Media
Reboot one more time and pay attention to the text displayed on the screen. One of the first screens after the beep sound should be telling you which key to press on the keyboard to access UEFI or BIOS settings. The button to press varies across computer makes and models. Usually, it is either of the following: Esc, Del, F2, F9, F10, F11, F12. Press the indicated key quickly, before the message disappears.
For example, one of the initial splash screens may say: 'Please press DEL or F2 to enter UEFI BIOS Setting'. In that case you should press either Delete (Del) key on the keyboard or F2 quickly, while the message stays on the screen.
Once you are in the BIOS / UEFI settings, navigate to Boot Options, or Boot Order, or Boot Priority list - the name of the section varies across computer makes and models. Look for the section with 'Boot' or 'Storage' in the name. Follow on-screen instructions to navigate through the menu and put the device with Acronis Bootable Media at the very top of the boot order/priority list.
Verify that the system disk is still above other hard disks in the boot priority list, but below the device with Acronis Bootable Media.
Save changes and exit BIOS/UEFI setup utility.
Launching Acronis True Image application
The first Acronis Bootable Media screen looks different depending on whether the media was booted in 1) UEFI or 2) Legacy BIOS/CSM modes
If you see a black and white text menu (Acronis UEFI loader), press '1' on the keyboard to launch Acronis True Image application:
If you see a blue graphical menu (Acronis Legacy BIOS/CSM loader), move the mouse pointer over 'Acronis True Image (64-bit)' or 'Acronis True Image' and click it to launch the program:
Configuring recovery task
When the main program window appears, click 'My disks' just below 'Recover' in the center of the screen. The recovery wizard will walk you through the settings.
1. Browse to the backup location
Click the Browse button to locate the backup:
Use either of these three methods to browse to the backup location:
1) expand 'Computers Near Me' section on the left panel and browse to the folder with the backup
2) click in the 'File name' field and type two backward slashes, followed by the NAS' name or IP-address, followed by another backward slash, e.g. MyNAS, or 192.168.0.12. After you type the last backward slash, wait for the program to connect to the NAS, enter credentials if asked, and browse to the folder with the backup
3) NAS may or may not be discovered automatically as a 'NAS' device, depending on the NAS make, its settings and router configuration. If the automatic detection succeeded, you will see it under 'My NAS connections' section
Select the disk where the backup is stored, and browse to the folder where the backup file is located
If you are restoring from Acronis Cloud, click 'Acronis Cloud', enter your Acronis account credentials and click Sign in:
Click on the backup name, then click OK:
If the backup is encrypted for extra protection, type in the encryption password and click OK:
2. Select backup version
Click on the backup file that you would like to restore. If there are several backup files (recovery points), look at the Date column to find the newest backup, click it, then click OK button:
Verify backup selection and click Next:
Click Next button to confirm that entire disks/partitions will be restored, not individual files and folders:
At 'Recovery point' step you will be offered to select the backup version to restore. Days when at least one backup version was created will be marked in green:
Click on the latest day marked in green:
Click on the backup creation time on the right side. Selected time is marked with a blue background. If there are several items in the list, choose the latest:
3. Mark the system disk for restoration
Disks and partitions in the selected backup version are listed at this step:
Locate the system disk and mark the checkbox next to it. To avoid unnecessary configuration steps further in the wizard, click on the checkbox next to the disk title, e.g. 'Disk 1', and not on the checkboxes next to partitions (EFI System Partition, C:, Recovery partition, etc):
4. Define recovery destination
Click on the disk where the system currently resides, but fails to boot, and click Next:
Click OK to confirm that everything on the selected disk will be deleted and replaced with the previous state of the system disk from the backup:
Before proceeding, try switching to Case A by following instructions here, section Solution - Bootable Media, to simplify the recovery process.
If it was not possible to change recovery mode from partitions mode to disks, there are two possible outcomes:
When recovering to the original disk with unchanged internal disks order and partition structure, the program will be able to map partitions from the backup to existing partitions on the original disk automatically. In such case recovery settings for each partition are pre-filled, the 'Next button' is not grayed out and you can press it right away. Keep clicking 'Next' to move through the list of partitions on the left panel. Going through some partitions may make the program 'think' for 5-20 seconds to correctly match the disk - just wait till the interface responds and click the 'Next' button:The 'Next' button is grayed out, when either internal disks order or partition structure has changed and the software was unable to automatically find the original partition:
Click 'New location':
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Locate the original disk on the list and click on its first partition:
Click Next to move the second partition's settings:
Click New location, this time to set the destination for the second partition:
Select the second partition under the system disk:
Repeat the process till reaching 'MBR recovery' point on the left panel. When working with big partitions, the program may require 5-20 seconds to respond - just wait till it finishes reading them and responds.
When asked about 'MBR recovery': click on the system disk:
Mark the checkbox 'Recover disk signature':
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When the 'Finish' step is highlighted on the left panel, that is the last chance when you can safely cancel the recovery and undo any changes made on the configuration screens before the program starts applying them:
Performing the actual restoration
Click Proceed to start the actual process of replacing the current failing system state with a healthy system state from the backup:
When the recovery finishes, take out Acronis Bootable Media and close Acronis True Image window.
Computer will reboot.
Windows will boot in a state as it was exactly when the backup was taken.
If possible, take notes and photos of the actions you undertake during troubleshooting. If you will be contacting Acronis directly for assistance, step-by-step pictures would help to resolve the issue quicker.
Recovery fails with an error
Click on the Log tab, then click on the plus sign to see the log of the failed operation. To facilitate further issue investigation and troubleshooting, save the recovery log and a system report:
1) Open the Log tab, right-click anywhere in the log, select 'Save all' and save the log file.
2) Click on a small triangle next to the question mark in the upper top corner of the window, select 'Generate System Report'. When the report generating finishes, click 'Save as' and browse to the same folder where the recovery log was saved previously.
CRC, Write and Input/Output (I/O) errors in the log may indicate the need of system disk replacement. Take the system disk out of the computer box, connect it to another computer and run diagnostic checks against it:
1) Free CrystalDiskInfo instantly reads the disk health status as reported by the disk itself and displays it as Good, Caution or Bad. It is the quickest way to identify a disk hardware failure.
2) Dedicated diagnostic utilities from the disk manufacturers take the longest time to complete the checks, but provide the most accurate methods of checking whether the disk is good or needs replacement:
- Western Digital drives: Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows
- Seagate disks: SeaTools for Windows
- HGST disks: HGST Windows Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT)
- Intel SSDs: Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox
- Samsung drives: Samsung Magician
- ADATA drives: ADATA SSD ToolBox
- Kingston SSDs: Kingston SSD Toolbox, Kingston SSD Manager
- Transcend SSDs: Transcend SSD Scope
- Silicon Power disks: SP ToolBox
- Toshiba disks: Toshiba PC Diagnostic Tool Utility
If no issues were found with the disk, contact Acronis Customer Central for further help with system recovery as explained here.
Recovered system does not boot
Before you start the actual recovery, look at the pictures in the comparative table in this article to be able to determine whether Acronis Bootable Media starts in 1) UEFI mode or 2) Legacy BIOS/CSM mode.
While on the disks/partitions selection screen ('What to recover' tab of the recovery wizard), move the mouse pointer over the system disk title, e.g. 'Disk 1' or 'Disk 2'.
Right-click on the disk title, e.g. on 'Disk 1'. Do not click on the disk partitions on that screen.
Click on 'Properties':
Look at the value of 'Partition scheme' parameter. It could be either 1) GUID Partition Table (GPT):
or 2) Master Boot Record (MBR):
1. If it says 'GUID Partition Table (GPT)', then the bootable media should have started in UEFI mode (black and white text menu with keyboard-only navigation). If you observed the Legacy BIOS/CSM boot mode instead, please reboot the computer, enter UEFI/BIOS settings and enable UEFI boot for the device with Acronis Bootable Media. If you are unsure about how to do that, follow instructions here.
2. If it says 'Master Boot Record (MBR)', then the bootable media should have started in Legacy BIOS/CSM boot mode (colorful graphic boot menu with mouse and keyboard navigation).If you observed the UEFI boot mode instead, please reboot the computer, enter UEFI/BIOS settings and enable Legacy BIOS/CSM boot for the device with Acronis Bootable Media. If you are unsure about how to do that, follow instructions here, but choosing the opposite values from indicated there (e.g. choose 'Legacy Support On').
There may be situations when you see two entries, referencing the same Acronis Bootable Media device in the boot order list: one with 'UEFI' or 'EFI' prefix, and one without it. In such case you need to pick the one that matches the boot mode of the internal disk where the restored Windows will run. Boot options, such as 'UEFI first', 'Launch CSM: Disabled', suggest that Acronis Bootable Media entry with 'UEFI' or 'EFI' prefix should be used.
Avoid resetting BIOS/UEFI settings to their default values. Otherwise the UEFI/Legacy BIOS switch for the internal disk may change, complicating the recovery.
Acronis Bootable Media fails to boot, freezes, closes or reboots unexpectedly
Create Acronis Bootable Media, based on WinPE, using Advanced mode, as explained in this article. Then reattempt the restoration.
Unable to select a destination partition in the recovery wizard
Click Cancel button to exit recovery wizard window, click on the Tools tab and use 'Add new disk' wizard to quickly clear disk contents. Be careful when selecting the disk for 'adding' as the tool completely deletes everything on the selected disk and that action cannot be undone.
The disk with backup file is shown as empty in the 'Browse' dialog
Make sure that the disk, storing the backup is not formatted in ExFAT format. Acronis Bootable Media(Linux-based) is not able to read from ExFAT-formatted disks. If this is your case, either create a WinPE/WinRE-based bootable media, or use another computer to move your backups from ExFAT disk to some other location, re-format the disk in NTFS format, move backup back onto the disk and reattempt the restoration.
Wrong number of physical disks are listed at 'Where to recover' step
If you do not see the original disk in the list or it appears as two separate disks, it may be set to run in RAID mode, unsupported by the standard bootable media (Linux-based). In such case you need to get to a second computer and create a special WinPE-based bootable media there, with drivers for the RAID controller. The fastest way to get it is use MVP WinPE builder (choose Advanced version).
Installed software/system behaves unusually after restoration
After the recovery is completed, installed programs and the system may seem to behave unusually slow, requesting reboots etc. These are required to complete the missed maintenance tasks, such as downloading and installing updates and running regular checkups. If that happens, just let the required operations complete and after one or several reboots the system should be back to normal.
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Acronis True Image reports 'You've exceeded the maximum number of activations for this serial number' status under Account tab after system restoration
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Click 'Resolve problem' button under Account tab, select 'I have changed hardware..' option, then 'Move license from another computer', click on the computer name and, finally, click 'Move license'. Click here for more information.
Third-party software programs/Microsoft Windows ask for license reactivation
If the system disk failed and you had to replace it with a new one, installed software and Windows may or may not ask for their licenses reactivation after the recovery. It they do, that is due to a significant hardware change detected and cannot be and should not be prevented or avoided by Acronis software. Contact the respective third-party software vendors or Microsoft for help with license reactivation.
Computer locks up at entering UEFI/BIOS settings
If the invitation to press a key to entier UEFI/BIOS stays on the screen forever after you press the key, it could indicate a failure of one of the computer components (hardware).
Power off the computer, physically disconnect the power cord (if it is a desktop), open the case and unplug the system disk. Then connect the power cable back and start the computer, press the required key and see if you get to the BIOS / UEFI setup screen. If this does not help - keep disconnecting other devices (all USB devices, SD cards, network cable etc) one-by-one until you find the culprit. The failing device then may need repair or replacement.
If you feel uncomfortable working with computer parts, bring the computer to a professional service center to diagnose and fix the issue with entering BIOS / UEFI settings.
Contact Acronis Customer Central if you have any questions or need help:
1) Sign into your Acronis account at https://account.acronis.com/. If you do not have one yet, click Sign Up to create it.
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2) (step for perpetual licenses owners) If you have not registered your license key yet, click 'Add keys' button in the upper top corner of the screen, copy and paste the serial number and click 'Add' to register it.
3) Click on the Support tab on the left panel.
4) For technical questions and issues click 'Technical issue'. For all other matters click 'Trial/Pre-sales/Licensing question'.
5) Enter Live Chat ('Instant Chat') or submit a ticket by email ('Submit a ticket'). Owners of subscription and PPI licenses also get support by phone for technical issues. Providing us recovery log, system report, step-by-step screen photos and the list of the undertaken steps would allow for quicker issue resolution.