paragon b & r 11 home - how to?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by tscv11, Mar 7, 2012.

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  1. tscv11
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    tscv11 Registered Member

    Backup and Restore 11 Home - how to?

    i have a simple goal, but after experimenting with backup & restore 11 home
    edition for a few days, i still have very little understanding of how to achieve
    it. because of certain medical conditions i often have trouble understanding
    basic things, so forgive this plea for assistance if you will.

    the main problem here is that i can't test my theories without the risk of
    wiping out or at least changing my hard drive in a damaging way (while
    crossing my fingers). so how can i know which course of action will be
    effective? i can try to rely on the help files but after perusing them i am still
    confused.

    details:

    dell laptop running windows 7 pro
    600 (roughly) gig internal hard drive
    1 terrabyte external hard drive

    my goal:

    to create backups that i can use to completely restore (and make bootable)
    my internal drive (from a backup on my external drive), if it becomes
    corrupted or damaged, or even erased / formatted. and, of course, to
    understand how to utilize the restore functions of the software to that end.

    i have tried various methods here but of course, as i said, in the end my
    detective work could not really be tested. i learned a few small things but
    still don't know what kind of backup i need. to be clear, i want everything to
    go back (completely) to its previous state when i restore the internal drive
    from the external drive backup. i don't know if "smart backup" will do it or
    if i have to create a large (non-compressed) sector-level backup (the "raw"
    option). i'm also not sure about differential backups - i've used the wizard for
    that and discovered that the differential backup would not be much smaller
    in size than the full backup, which puzzles me.

    well that's my predicament. any help will be appreciated.

    thanks
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  2. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    I sympathize with your plight. Even though I don't have any medical issues it certainly isn't obvious until you do some work with it.

    One thing to remember is that you can always by some means restore Windows and your applications from the computer or software vendor's DVDs. It may be a pain but it can be done. The main files you want to ensure are securely backed up are your personal data files since these are available nowhere else at any cost and will include such things as pictures, documents, spreadsheets, videos, paid music downloads, tax returns, downloaded programs, etc. Before you do any risky behaviour, copy these files to your USB drive or a CD/DVD so you have them backed up. You don't need any fancy program to do this, Windows Explorer works fine.

    Your concern about wiping out the disk is valid and by all means the best way to ensure you have what you need and it will work when you need it is to do a restore. I don't know your budget or your familiarity with working with your machine (and being a laptop it can be more of a problem) but the best thing to do is buy, beg, borrow or steal another HD to do a test restore on.

    The next best thing is to create the backup using the recovery CD or USB stick which will give an indication the recovery environment does boot up and work on your machine. After the archive is created then from the recovery environment do a Paragon Verify on the archive which will apart from testing the archive will indicate that the archive can be found and properly read into memory and the numerous checksums are successfully compared.

    As an extra measure you can then go through the Paragon Recovery Wizard pretending you are going to do a restore but cancelling out before you commit the restore. This will show you an see your target drive for the restore and the restore wizard does find your archive.

    Since you have the Home version instead of the Free version you can download the WinPE recovery environment. The regular bootable recovery environment is Linux which can be more problematic on certain machines but WinPE is Windows based and tends to have a better driver complement etc.
    So if you haven't, download from your Paragon account the WinPE recovery program. Run it and make either a bootable CD or USB stick or both with the WinPe programs on it.

    For the backup you wish to create an image. You do not want the option to create a RAW image which is all the sectors both used and unused in the partition. This is only useful if you have an unsupported filesystem that Paragon doesn't understand or a corrupted disk that Paragon can't make sense of. In the latter case, you might want to make an image to try various data recovery techniques on without losing your only copy.

    A normal, compressed image is just fine for a regular backup and restore.

    You will want to select the partition or partitions you want to include in the image. You may have a 100MB System partition showing in the list, include it since the space is small and you might as well have it. You can also tell it to backup the MBR and Track 0 which is the bootstrap. It is very small so always include it.

    A differential image can be made to update your image but it needs a full one to base the changes on. Right now you want a Full not a Differential. You can later decide if you want to make a differential or just another Full. I only do Fulls but that is a personal preferance not a rule.
  3. tscv11
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    tscv11 Registered Member

    seekforever,

    thank you very much for your considerate response to my post. as obvious
    as it seems to me now, i hadn't really realized that i could test everything if i
    used another hard drive, thus avoiding problems with my main internal drive.

    unfortunately i have done the testing and there are still problems. i actually
    bought a 1 terrabyte toshiba external usb drive and secured the use of
    my brother's 500 GB external usb drive. i made an image with smart backup
    to the 500 GB drive and then restored to my 1 terrabyte drive. after that i
    changed the bios settings and tried to boot from it.

    when i did that at first i though it was going to work but then there was a
    quick flash of the "blue screen of death" and after a few more fits and starts
    windows asked me whether to start in repair mode or start normally.

    i had burned a disk with the recovery software that comes with the program.
    to make a long story a little less long, i tried almost every option presented
    by the recovery software to fix the boot problems. the only one i didn't mess
    with was about changing or rearranging "slots" for partitions (which i did not
    understand). i changed the drive letter when prompted and basically just
    worked with the program but in the end my quest appears to be futile.

    at least i understood the options enough to keep from frying my original
    internal hard drive, so i can still boot as before, but i sure would like to sort
    this thing out so i have the security of a workable backup to rely on.

    once again, any help will be greatly appreciated.

    thanks for taking the time to read this.
  4. Duradel
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    Duradel Registered Member

    There are two modes to choose from, one is express which has more limited options and then there is the advanced mode.

    Make sure you test the integrity of the backup's you have created.

    In the advanced mode if you go to Tools -> Check Archive Integrity you should be able to test whether the archive would be usable for restoring in the case that you should need it. If there are problems there will be a message telling you this instead of a congratulations message.
  5. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    AFAIK, Windows itself will not boot from an external drive just be re-directing BIOS to the external. There may be other tricks you can play but I don't know what they are. If anybody knows for certain otherwise please enlighten me.

    If your machine has easy access to the HD (some have an easily removable door but some don't) then the best thing to do is to put the drive right into the machine and restore to it.

    Another reason for restoring to the drive in the portable is that some apparently use different internal geometry for their hard-drives than the "standard". I saw this on the Acronis forum where people cloned to an external drive and then it wouldn't boot when put in the notebook. The solution is put the target drive in the PC so it gets setup correctly. I don't think this is a common problem but does exist with some models.
  6. comtrjl
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    comtrjl Registered Member

    I don't think it is normally possible to boot Windows from an external usb drive without further work, because as part of its initialisation Windows resets the usb controller and then death follows. So it could be that the restore itself was perfect and the problem was elsewhere.
    (On their web site I believe Terabyte had a script for booting Windows from an external usb disk which somehow works around the situation described above.)
    Perhaps if the external were connected by Firewire or esata it might have worked, but really to test the restore in the desired scenario that drive needs to go inside the pc ...

    bob
  7. Arvy
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    Arvy Registered Member

    You're absolutely right about swapping the drive internally being the best way to handle it. Trying to boot with both the original and a "clone" drive left in place is likely to be problematic anyhow.

    There are ways to boot USB-connected externals provided that your BIOS provides an option for USB "legacy support", but something like Grub4DOS may be needed to multiboot with other installations. Probably not a viable approach for anyone who has difficulties with the basics.
  8. tscv11
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    tscv11 Registered Member

    wow, thanks everyone for your support.

    i'm sure i'm just too inexperienced to know the answer to this question, but i'll
    be testing it soon anyway, so here's what i don't understand: why is it that i'm
    able to boot from my 8 gig USB "thumb" drive (with some kind of bootable media
    installed, containing a "mini-operating system" of sorts)? why would that work
    but then not work when using a different external USB device? what is the
    difference that makes one work and the other not work?

    thanks for your time
  9. Arvy
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    Arvy Registered Member

    To keep it simple, Microsoft just doesn't want people to be able to boot a normally configured full Windows installation (as opposed to "rescue and recovery" set-ups) on a portable storage device. So they deliberately make it impossible to do so -- or as near to impossible as they can.

    In fact, that restriction can be overcome to some extent, but it's not a straightforward process. Just accept the fact that a full-blown Windows installation boots differently from a "mini-operating system" such as a Windows preinstallation or recovery environment set-up.

    The latter will boot fine on a "thumb drive" or other portable storage device, such as the Windows installation DVD for example. But following seekforever's advice is your best bet in the circumstances.
  10. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    From what I understand Windows 8 will be able to boot from a USB drive but I think it has to be hosted by an operational W7 or W8 already on the PC. This wouldn't really help for running on a machine with no operational OS. If fact it probably isn't far removed from running as a virtual machine.

    Idea is to allow you to take your personal Windows installation on a USB drive to some other location and then run it. This might indicate it is better for the standard business apps rather than high-powered games.
  11. Arvy
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    Arvy Registered Member

    At this stage, the final product is still a bit speculative, but I think what may be in the works for Win8 is something like a portable "user workspace" that can be plugged into an existing installation elsewhere. I'll be very surprised if Mickeysoft goes all the way to a fully portable Windows OS, but on the other hand, it wouldn't be my first surprise -- not always pleasant ones -- from that source. :D
  12. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    That's what it looks like. The activation procedure would be somewhat complicated by a fully portable Windows on a USB drive runnng on a PC with no disk or a bare-metal disk.
  13. tscv11
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    tscv11 Registered Member

    i really appreciate all of you taking the time to answer my questions.

    unfortunately i cannot follow what seems to be the prevailing advice
    because i am using a laptop - i cannot remove or return the internal drive.

    it was said that i should follow seekforever's advice. What i took from his
    posts were the two following quotes:

    seekforever: "the best thing to do is buy, beg, borrow or steal another HD to
    do a test restore on."

    this i have done. of course i understand that this does not preclude putting
    that drive into a computer to do the test restore (but the fact that
    my computer is a laptop does).

    seekforever: "do a Paragon Verify on the archive which will apart from
    testing the archive will indicate that the archive can be found and properly
    read into memory and the numerous checksums are successfully compared."

    this appears to be the only way to test the restore on my computer unless
    i'm willing and able to invest a lot more time and energy into making it work.
    as it happens, i am already working on it further, because i am not willing to
    just test the archive and hope that it really, actually works if/when i need it.
    i have taken the advice to look into software by Terabyte. i have obtained
    "BootIt Bare Metal" for the boot configuration, and "Image for Windows" for
    the image creation and restore functions.

    this software looks promising. i'll just plod through and trying everything i can
    to make it work. when i have questions i hope you'll all be willing to continue
    answering them. if i'm not allowed to keep asking questions when they're not
    about Paragon software please someone let me know. i'm sure there is a
    Terabyte forum out there somewhere.

    thanks again.
  14. wptski
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    wptski Registered Member

    My first laptop's HD was right under the removable floppy drive, a couple of screws and a connector and it's out. Modern laptops HD can be removed/replaced but it's getting to or finding how to get to them is the hard part.
  15. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    Switching horses, or in this case, software, doesn't change the basic premis. The only certain way of knowing things will work is to do a test restore and this applies to Bootit, Paragon, Acronis, Symantec Ghost, or any other one.

    The company I worked at used to run a new backup program for a month in parallel with the old backup program before switching to it and this was after testing it alone on a dummy system.

    Since you can't try a new HD in your laptop then this is what I'd do.

    Create the WinPE recovery media to DVD or USB stick if you haven't done so.

    Boot the laptop with it and make the archive of your system. Include the MBR and the 100MB W7 System partition if present along with your C drive at least.

    After the archive is created, verify it with the Paragon Verify command demonstrating the archive can be found an successfully read into RAM and the checksums recreated properly.

    Since you created the archive with the WinPE recovery environment you have confidence it does boot and does find the disk locations on your laptop.

    By using the WinPE you are avoiding the possibility of Linux issues arising.

    While this doesn't provide 100% certaintly it does offer a very, very high probability that it will work if needed.

    For extra security, backup your important, personal data files to your external drive or DVDs with Windows Explorer. If for some reason the restore is not successful you can always reinstall Windows and Apps. Bit of a time-sink but it can be done and if you have your personal files you can get back to where you were.

    After you've done a couple of successful archives with the WinPE program, you can switch to doing them from within Windows if you wish. Do a verfiy on at least the first couple although doing a verify is never a bad idea.

    Always keep several historical backups on your USB drive, you should never have only one backup in case something happens to it (I had some bad sectors develop in the partition I had my images stored such that the last couple were bad).
  16. tscv11
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    tscv11 Registered Member

    hi seekforever,

    thanks for the advice. i'm not sure i completely understand, though. first, is
    the recovery media builder in paragon b & r a way i can create this "WinPE"
    disc or do i need some other software? i think i understand the logic of
    creating the image while "outside of windows" but how doing this will help
    me be more confident that a restore will work when needed is eluding me.
    you wrote: "Since you created the archive with the WinPE recovery
    environment you have confidence it does boot and does find the disk locations
    on your laptop." but it's not booting, right? to what are you referring when you
    say "you have confidence it does boot?" wouldn't the only thing that was booting
    be the recovery disc? why would the fact that i had created the archive with the
    "WinPE recovery environment" give me confidence? if you wouldn't mind explaining
    i would appreciate it. sometimes my brain just doesn't work the way i'd like.

    thanks for all of your help
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  17. seekforever
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    seekforever Registered Member

    The WinPE builder is an executable available to you by logging into your account at Paragon.

    I meant that you know the WinPE recovery CD/USB stick will boot and run on your PC since that is what you did when you created the archive with it. Knowing your archive will boot for certain is what you get when you do an actual test restore.
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