Is this a good Backup Plan?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mranybody, Apr 4, 2008.

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  1. mranybody

    mranybody Registered Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    I'm new to TI 11, so I just want to run my plan past you in the hope I'm OK and understanding the manual correctly.

    Please excuse me if I'm stating the obvious.

    I'm going to do a fresh install of Vista / Office 07 and all updates. I then want to create a disk image (System State) before I add anything else to my system. I intend to use this if my HD goes belly up or just to give a clean install to improve performance every few months. This I will only use in emergencies.

    Then I would like to create another disk image (system state) which will be updated every now and then and will include all other apps etc. If I did it more often it could act as restore points.

    I then plan to create separate full backups of my data, app settings and email and add differential backups to that daily by schedule. This will be separate full / differential backups for Documents (which will be on a dialy schedule), Pictures & Downloads (maybe every 2 weeks) etc etc.

    I think I'm familiar now with how to set that up by creating new File Catagories in the Backup Creation Wizard.

    My questions are:
    Is it then possible to do a full restore using my first disk image then add the master and differential backups of data / settings / email to give me a clean install with all my latest data?

    To create my first image is the 'Disk and Partitions' option more appropiate than 'System State'. Of course, there will be no data files on the system at that time so is 'System State' adequate for my purpose?

    Is TI's Disk Cloning function more appropiate for the emergency or clean reinstall I'm thinking about?

    I understood that a full and all associated incremental / differentials need to be in the same folder. I have some confidence I'm going about it in the right way, but - as I say - I'm new to TI and I'm just looking for some piece of mind with this strategy.

    Does TI give me a more beneficial way of achieving the same results?

    I'm using an external USB HD on Vista.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Kinda sort on time, so forgive the short answers:

    “To create my first image is the 'Disk and Partitions' option more appropiate than 'System State'.”
    Yes. System State only backups up a portion of the OS files.

    “Of course, there will be no data files on the system at that time so is 'System State' adequate for my purpose?”
    No. See above.

    “Is TI's Disk Cloning function more appropiate for the emergency or clean reinstall I'm thinking about?”
    Not really. Cloning, IMHO, is best reserved for switching HDs.
  3. ploquit

    ploquit Registered Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    If you are going through the work of setting up a clean system and partitions, may as well set it up correctly the first time. I just did EXACTLY what you are planning.

    I did a clean Install of my system, INCLUDING all of my programs.
    I created a Data storage partition for all my documents/pictures/music (left it empty for the moment)
    Then I created a Secure Zone (no backup file created yet)
    THEN, I created my Full back-up of my system/partitions, which I've burned to DVD's... "Clean Install Recovery DVD's" Which hopefully i will never have to use.

    So my 180 GB HD now looks like this....
    60 GB C: (system)
    45 GB D: (data storage-my documents)
    83 GB R: (secure zone)


    I place all my data on my data partition.
    Then I created scheduled backups (I'm using secure zone-external storage is better) of the partitions similar to yours
    Week 1 Full backup of C: and D:
    Week 2 Incremental of C:
    Week 3 Incremental of C: and D:
    week 4 Incremental of C:

    The best thing about partitioning is if i have a system failure, i can restore to any earlier time for just my programs. my documents stay untouched and should rarely need to be restored anyway.

    Another thing to note is that the computer will run faster this way too. because of the partition, program files and system files are written near the edge of the Hard drive whre they are most quickly and easily accessed. partitioning forces your documents to be written closer to the center of the Drive, as that is where it is locked.


    I don't rely only on secure zone, so once a month, i create a differential backup of "Clean Install Recovery DVD's" called Diffential (Current Month)

    -With these disks, i can restore to EITHER the Clean install state, OR, to the last time i did a backup.

    Gotta love the flexibility.


    The subsequent backups need to go where the initial Full backup is....

    NOTE: if you are using DVD's
    DO NOT BURN AS YOU GO. the program is glitchy and you'll just waste disks.
    YOU CANNOT VALIDATE DVD'S from the disk drive.

    What does this mean?
    TI needs to see the WHOLE file to validate it.

    I create a full backup to a folder on my desktop (using archive splitting for dvd size) then validate, then I burn those files/volumes to disks. then i delete the folder....
    When i create a differential. I copy the backup dvd's back to a folder on my desktop, create the differential backup, then burn those to DVD's. then delete the desktop folder.


    I have no clue about cloning or what the advantages are. if it is a time issue...
    I've done a recovery from my disks, took about 25 minutes (5 minutes per DVD)
    I've done a recovery from the secure zone, took about 10 minutes.

    hope that helps.
  4. mranybody

    mranybody Registered Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    TheWeaz and ploquit - my thanks for taking the time to answer.

    ploquit - firstly, your comprehensive walk-though is a real gem. Thanks so much for that - especially the tips on burning to DVDs. Very nice. I'm also going to give some thought to your partition suggestions, but I'll wait on that for awhile.

    I'm missing an answer to my first question on my plan, but I'm concluding that this is a 'yes' that I can use my later master/differiential backups of file-level stuff (Data / App Settings / Email) with my nice shiny first system image to give me a tip-top system every few months. Even if the System Image and the file-level stuff are not in the same folders.

    TheWeaz - thanks for your exact answers. Just perfect. I'll won't be using the System State for my primary image. Thanks for the tip.

    Judging from the flexibility that ploquit is writing about, I'm getting more confidence to go ahead.

    Can anyone confirm the missing question on my plan?

    Thanks for your time.
  5. winders

    winders Registered Member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Instead of starting a new thread, I decided to post my backup plan here. I hope mranybody does not mind.

    I built my current system a little more than a year ago. I decided on Windows XP Pro SP2 because it was faster and more reliable than Vista. I bought an eVGA 680i MB, an E6600 processor, nVidia 8800GTS video card, 2GB of ram, 2 Seagate 320GB SATA 3.0 drives, and miscellaneous other parts. It was a great system.

    The system ran perfectly for over a year. Then the boot drive made some strange noises and the system crashed. I could no longer boot the system. Like an idiot, I had not implemented a back procedure that would get me back up and running quickly. In fact, I had no backups at all. Color me stupid.

    I zoomed over to Fry's and bought a USB 2.0/eSATA enclosure for SATA drives, hooked it up to another system, and managed to get all the data files and archived installers I needed off onto a good drive. I had to hold the drive at an angle to get it work though.

    Now I had to decide what to do. The system I had was still plenty powerful but I did not want to end in the same boat if a drive failed. So I decided I was going to run a much more "fail safe" setup. Not that it matters, but I had a business reason to upgrade to Vista as well.

    I decided that I was going to run two 320GB SATA drives in a RAID 1 (mirrored) setup using a RAID card, a HighPoint RocketRAID 3120, that supported real hardware RAID. I also decided I was going to run a third SATA drive (500GB) to store backups, amongst other things, of the RAID 1 array. I would keep a spare 320GB SATA drive around specifically as a replacement drive in case one of the drives in the RAID 1 array failed.

    To make this easier to deal with, I purchased three Kingwin hot swap bays (no sleds) to house the three drives. Removing drives is extremely simple now. I don't think I will ever build a system again without this feature.

    I use TrueImage 11 to make a full backup every 7 days and differential backup every day to the 500GB drive.

    I built a Bart PE recovery CD with the RAID card drivers and Mustangs TrueImage and DiskDirector plugins that works perfectly.

    Now I think I have a fairly strong "fail safe" setup. Yes, saving backups off site would be even better but that is more than I need.

    Anyway, I thought I would share my backup and recovery strategy.

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

    May 14, 2005
    Hello Scott,

    You are so right in having easy swapped drives. I note you already have one spare hard drive. To finish the icing on the cake I suggest a second spare drive.
    Now you have the ability to simulate the failure of both raid drives by removing them and restoring to the two spares. This has the effect of proving that your backup images really work and because the original drives are not overwritten there is no need to run any validations which can be quite a time saver.

    The removed drives are a perfect ready to go bootable backups which can be put in a safe place or removed from site till it is their turn to be used again.
    I have been working this way for about two years,without raid, and I reckon that this way of securing hard drives is bullet proof.

  7. ploquit

    ploquit Registered Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    No and Yes.
    If you do a Full back up for each senario, then no. you cannot cross archive files.

    If they are created all based on the same inital Full backup, then yes.
    Clean state would be Full Backup of Partitions and Drives.
    Clean with your programs would be the first incremental FULL backup. THEN start creating incremental system backups. (I don't believe the system backups will backup your programs. just system files-someone correct me if i'm wrong.)
    Backup data then would be your differential data / settings / email backup.
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