Some doubts about cloning...

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by zeze, Jun 16, 2007.

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  1. zeze

    zeze Registered Member

    Mar 10, 2006

    I have a 200gb SATA main HD, and I'm doing a regular one-week full backup to a 320gb USB external drive.

    I run ATI 10, and then I choose the Backup My Computer option. This creates one .tib file on my usb external drive.

    I do a full backup because, in case my main HD fails, I want to be able to buy a new internal HD, and then restore the full backup from the usb external HD to the new internal HD.

    I have some doubts about this process:

    1- is this considered a disk cloning? After reading some threads in here about cloning and making images, I got the idea that cloning is directly done from one HD to the other. Considering that I have an intermediate step, which is the full backup to the USB external HD, am I compromising results, and won't be able to clone?

    2- I usually do my full backups while I'm normally working on my windows environment. I read that I shouldn't have any open programs running while I'm backing up. Is this true?

    3- Considering that my USB external HD is larger than the main HD, do I have to make a backup to a .tib file? Wouldn't it be easier and faster to backup without having to compress to a tib file? If this was possible, in case of main HD failure, I could not only do the restoring, but also access all the files in the USB HD without having to use ATI (imagine I needed to access some files in the backup on another computer, which doesn't have ATI).

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Best regards
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Nov 3, 2006
    Some people use cloning as a backup procedure to have an "identical" drive ready to go in case the original drive fails. However, cloning uses the entire drive so if you did that you would only have one backup on your 320GB drive. If you leave the cloned drive attached, Windows may make it unbootable since it does not like having two identical drives attached. You would then have to repair it before you could boot from it. Cloning to a USB drive can also be problematic in some cases.

    Doing image backups (what you are currently doing) allows you to store multiple backup images (including incremental or differentials, if you do those) on one hard drive.

    If your computer is moderately fast, normal (or even maximum) compression will make little or no difference in the time to make the backup. Either way, with or without compression, the TIB file will require TI to access the files. Using no compression will probably take longer as TI has to write more information.

    When you need to restore your drive (due to failure) you can restore from the full drive image you have. If you are replacing the drive you can either restore from a full drive image or clone at that time.

    If you are concerned with being able to access certain files, then you may want to consider using a second USB hard drive and copying the files to it in their native format as a second backup.

    Some people use removable hard drive trays so they can create a full drive image, remove the drive, insert another drive, restore the image and continue using the computer. This allows them to have an instant restore that is only as old as the previous backup.

    As for doing the backups from Windows, there are many posts on the subject. It is mostly a matter of personal preference and what the user is more comfortable with. I've done backups both ways and haven't had any problems. I don't think open programs will cause any problems, but as a general rule, I close programs before doing a backup. You have to remember that doing a backup in Windows and then restoring that backup will put Windows back into the state it was when the image was created. Windows, however, will not return to that state exactly. If you had Word running when you created the image. Word will not be running when you do the restore. It's not like putting the computer into Hibernation and then waking it up.
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Apr 28, 2004
    Hello zeze,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please be aware that there are two approaches available:

    Clone Disk - migrates/copies the entire contents of one disk drive to another;

    Backup - creates a special archive file for backup and disaster recovery purposes;

    Please take a look at this FAQ article explaining the difference between Clone Disk and Backup approaches in more detail.

    Actually, Clone Disk approach is usually used to upgrade the hard drive (e.g. install a larger disk), while Backup approach is basically dedicated for the complete data backup and disaster recovery purposes. Since you are interested in backing up your hard drive for the disaster recovery purposes, I would recommend you to follow Backup approach.

    Moreover, there are several advantages of creating an image over the disk cloning procedure such as: you can create an image without rebooting your PC, image creation can be scheduled for the particular point in time, Acronis True Image allows you to create incremental and differential images, image archive contains only the actual data and so it has a smaller size, images are ordinary files and so they can be stored on any type of the supported media, etc. However, the final choice is always up to your needs.

    You can create backups while running other programs - Acronis True Image uses special snapshot technology to make that possible. You can learn more from this post.

    You can find more information on how to use Acronis True Image in the respective User's Guide.

    Thank you.
    Marat Setdikov
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