A Free Disk-Imager To Back-Up Rollback Rx

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Aaron Here, Nov 17, 2009.

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  1. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I've been a Rollback Rx (RB) user going on 3-years and for the last 2-years I've been using Drive Snapshot (DS) to backup and restore images of my system partition, preserving the integrity of the RB environment with all snapshots . As discussed in several other posts, I am able to do this by booting up a live Windows CD (UBCD4Win) and running a maintenance mode (raw) backup. DS works relatively fast and I have always found it to be completely trustworthy.

    That said, when friends and RB users here on Wilders ask me to suggest a disk-imager, I have some reservations about recommending DS. First, at about $60 US it's not exactly inexpensive. Secondly, instead of providing a live OS boot-disk ISO, it includes a cryptic DOS floppy. Finally, DS developer support is not the greatest (it's far better here in this forum)!

    Well, I just discovered that a Free Edition of Paragon Backup & Recovery was available so I thought it would be interesting to see if it could backup and restore my RB environment with all snapshots. On the surface, it seemed to possess all of the necessary qualifications to do just that...

    - A wizard is provided to build a Recovery Boot CD (or flash USB).
    - They make available a Raw (All Sectors) mode.
    - Compression is available in all backup modes.

    On the backup properties screen, there's a General Tab and an Advanced Tab. Inside the Advanced Tab I checked the Raw Process box and unchecked all other boxes. Inside the General Tab I left the compression at Normal (the default level). I selected my destination drive and provided a meaningful name for the image file (rather than use the pre-assigned cryptic name). Clicking the ‘Backup’ button returned me to the main screen where it said something like Operation Pending. I then clicked ‘Apply’ followed by ‘Yes’ (to confirm) and off it went… The backup of my 16GB partition, including compression and an integrity check, completed in about 17 minutes (a rate of about 1 GB/min).

    Tomorrow, I'll attemt to restore the image! - stay tuned...
     
  2. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    It Works!!!

    Today came the moment of truth - restoring the backup (btw, to protect myself against the liklihood of a failed Paragon restore I also backed up my system with ol' reliable DS).

    Paragon's wizard made the restore process as straight-forward as their backup process (albeit requiring quite a few more mouse-clicks than DS), but in about 9 minutes after clicking 'Apply' Paragon reported that my system was restored successfully (as I said to myself - let's see about that)...

    I removed my external backup drive (as I do after restoring with DS) and booted my system. The RB subconsole appeared as usual, followed by Windows start-up. I received no errors or other startup problems. Once my desktop was fully loaded, I checked the RB snapshots and they were all there (a good sign)! I then decided to test the integrity of my RB snapshots by attempting to restore two of them (first one, then the other). I’m happy to report that each RB snapshot restored successfully!

    Conclusion:
    The Free Edition of Paragon Backup & Recovery did the job as well as DS (if not as fast and fluid) in backing up and recovering a system disk/partition with a Rollback Rx environment.

    Notes:
    1. All of my testing was done with WinXP (SP3).
    2. My version of RB is the final build of v7.2.1 (the last stable ‘lite’ version).
    3. Paragon’s B&R Recovery CD boots extremely fast – in 1/3rd the time of UBCD4Win.
    4. Paragon B&R Free has a few minor glitches – e.g., their estimated archive size is way-off for a Raw image!
    5. Paragon's recovery disk reports drive letters incorrectly - so be sure to have meaningful labels on all drives for proper identification during backup and recovery!

    Cheers...
     
  3. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Excellent, thanks.
     
  4. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Aaron,

    Thank you so much for this great report. I just downloaded the free version of Paragon Backup & Recovery and am waiting for them to send me a product key. Then I will install it and create a recovery disk to backup/restore my system.

    My only concern is that I see you and I are using different versions of Windows and Rollback Rx (I'm running Windows Vista with Rollback Rx 9.0). Do you think that will make a difference insofar as your successful results?

    Wendi
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Aaron, great testing!
     
  6. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Wendi,

    I don't think that should change my findings, but to be totally honest with you, I really have no way of saying for sure! :doubt:

    Aaron
     
  7. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks Brian - it was just something to keep a 'retired mind' active! ;)
     
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Now is time to test macrium. In the last update they seem to give the ability to backup outside windows with the bartpe plugin. :)
    http://www.macrium.com/download/details4.2.2082.htm

    Panagiotis
     
  9. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Actually, I was going to do that about a month ago -- then I discovered that the Macrium-Free Recovery CD does not provide any backup functionality. :thumbd:

    Edit:
    I just loaded the Macrium-Free BartPE plugin - it reports that it's v2.0.198 and I don't see any ability to create images!
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  10. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Aaron,

    Following your lead, I used Paragon to make a raw-backup of my C-drive with Rollback installed and it seemed to go well, but it produced 18 files! Is that to be expected? o_O

    Wendi
     
  11. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Hi Wendi,

    Glad to hear to your backup completed successfully. The reason you wound up with so many files is probably because 'image-splitting' was enabled. This is quite handy if someone wants to backup to multiple CDs/DVDs, but kind of a nuissance when backing up to a hard drive.

    Next time you backup, disable image-splitting (it's probably checked by default). As I recall, the check-box for that is under the Paragon Backup Properties Advanced tab).

    Hth,
    Aaron
     
  12. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Or possibly backing up to a FAT formated drive?
     
  13. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Good point bg - that's certainly a possibility... A good indicator of that would be the size of those files on Wendi's backup drive. If they are just under 4GB then you hit the nail on the head.
     
  14. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Only the paid version offers image creation in the BartPE plugin.However if you install the 30 day trial of the premium you can create the plugin during that time which will offer that function even if you decide to use the free version after.;)
     
  15. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Hi guys,

    Each of them are about 2.1 GB in size. I'm pretty sure my backup drive is NTFS, but I'll check that out (along with Aaron's idea about image-splitting being enabled) tonight.

    Thanks!
     
  16. TerryWood

    TerryWood Registered Member

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    Hi All

    To Andyman I think you are wrong about being able to use the trial version to make the BartPE plugin and use it for ever more. The reason I say this is that even in the plugin when its on CD, it still checks its licence via the internet.

    Terry
     
  17. TerryWood

    TerryWood Registered Member

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    Hi Wendi

    Some time ago I reported a bug in Paragon Backup and Recovery 10. Essentially the Bug is this.

    The image splitting function is set as default. If however you untick the box to stop image splitting it makes no difference. Paragon Tommy the moderator of the Pargon forum has now accepted there is a bug and we wait for an update.

    See this thread

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=257814

    Terry
     
  18. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Well I've been using it for longer than 30 days without any issues and I'm not sure how it could be disabled since the plugin is read only.
    *Edit* I just copied the plugin to my Desktop and ran it from there and it doesn't attempt to dial out so it should be fine.
     
  19. dcrowe0050

    dcrowe0050 Registered Member

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    Well I tried this not to long ago and it didn't work, the only recovery cd available for the trial version was the linux cd.
     
  20. karad

    karad Registered Member

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    Albeit a bit late,I feel the need to thank Aaron-who always provided superb advice to all (to me in particular about AyRecovery)-for telling us about his findings.

    My experience with a notebook , Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2008 + Comodo Time Machine with about 15 snapshots successfully ended after 2hrs in a 120Gygas raw image.

    I wonder if such a long time is normal or abnormal for raw/sector by sector images?

    Perhaps I did something wrong with PHDM 2008,perhaps it is older technology in comparison with the latest Backup&Recovery.

    I could have used PHDM 2009 which I have in my main pc,but I am quite happy with just plain imaging there.

    Now I replaced the Comodo Time Machine with its most recent beta update and lost all snapshots in the process,so I am going to erase the former raw 120Gygas image and take a new one soon, bearing in mind the advice here given.
     
  21. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks for those kind words karad... The time it takes to create a full raw image is proportional to the total disk (or partition) size being backed up. In my one and only testing of Paragon Backup & Recovery it backed up at a rate of 1GB/minute (therefore, 2 hours for 120GB seems right-on) - that's why a relatively small system partition is desirable for raw backups!

    When I create a full raw image, the resulting file is usually compressed to about 70% of my total disk-partition size. Differential raw images are smaller, of course.

    Aaron
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  22. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Hi Terry,

    I agree that the PBR recovery disk must have a bug as I just noticed my PBR backup resulted in numerous 2.1GB image files (the very same thing Wendi reported)! ....and I'm sure that I disabled image-splitting. The good news is that it didn't affect my partition-restore, which ran smoothly and worked.

    Aaron
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  23. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Were you running Vista at the time? The BartPE plugin can only be created in XP.
     
  24. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    I tried making another backup from the Paragon Recovery CD and this time I made sure to uncheck the image-splitting box in Backup Properties and it still produced about 18 files!!! So Terry certainly appears to be correct about that being a bug (I hope that Paragon jumps on that quickly)! :doubt:
     
  25. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Granted, that is a bug, but it doesn't affect the outcome when you restore your drive/partition. During a restore, PBR handles all of those image files without difficulty, so don't let that stop you from using it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
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