Alternative to True Image (nervous nellie)

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by bellgamin, Jul 18, 2006.

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  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    I had a disaster a while back, so I decided "Never again." Therefore I bought Acronis True Image (ATI) & an external hard drive, & have been making an image daily ever since.

    I monitor the ATI forum here daily. I have been noticing more and more posts in that forum that deal with fatal errors in using ATI. I realize that a support forum, by its very nature, contains more complaints than compliments. Even so, several of the posts there make me worry as to whether or not ATI will do the job for me should another disaster come along.

    So I am looking for an alternative to ATI (on the other hand, I would also very much appreciate receiving SOLID reassurance by actual users of ATI that the probability of ATI failing me is very small.)

    I am asking for comments in this "all software" forum for the reason that it is "neutral territory."

    While seeking an alternative to ATI, I have become very interested in a competing product named "Image for Windows" (IFW) by Terabyte. It costs only $26.98. I sent a message to their Tech Support, asking if I could use both ATI and IFW. I got a very prompt answer that identified one probable conflict. Their reply also explained very clearly why that conflict was likely. There was no sales pitch. Neither was there any bad-mouthing of ATI. Just clear tech advice that favored neither IFW nor ATI. I was very favorably impressed.

    REQUESTS:
    1- I request comments (positive or negative) from actual users of ATI.

    2- I request comments from actual users of IFW (positive or negative).

    3- I also ask for any recommendations concerning other *good* alternatives for use by a computer doofus (namely, me) in disaster recovery -- such as for instance Casper XP backup system.

    4- Finally, please comment about using the WinXP *restore* function as a means of recovering from an intermediate disaster not involving hard drive failure, as per the following procedure...
    Your comments will be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I ran numerous torture tests with ATI and its Rescue CD and it never failed once : backup, restore over and over again using ATI, then using the Rescue CD. I even wiped out both harddisks with zeroes, but ATI kept on doing its job.
    A good alternative is Terabyte.
     
  3. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    ive been using ATI for a while and it has worked fine for my purposes. i solely use teh rescue cd and store images on a seconday partition.

    as for system restore, in a disaster its worth trying but it only focuses on a few files and registry entries. for a more thorough recovery, its better to use rollback rx / fd-isr (hd snapshots) or ATI / IFW (hd images).
     
  4. f3x

    f3x Registered Member

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    ATI is a very reliable solution if you do not put it in a situation where you ask it to fail.

    Namely:
    1) Do not use secure zone.
    2) Do not use the image on another hardware
    3) Do not use an image to distribute a setup to multiple computer
    4) Do not use software that does special thing to mbr or store data in bad sector or anything that can make your hd in a questionable shape.

    If you do not do any of those 4. Then i can garantee you that the chances of failure dure to ATI are very very very small.

    Of course they can all be done using ATI, and some power user will live of them, however it's asking for special attention and trouble if you do not have a good preparation of the os before backup. In any way ... something you do not want to do for a simple daily backup.
     
  5. Chubb

    Chubb Registered Member

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    I have been using True Image for a more than a year (as a replacement to Norton Ghost), and I have never have a problem with creating backups or restoring my partitions from an image. But it appears that the information given in the changelog of each new build is not very useful. They often say something like: GUI fixes, better hardware support and no more. :( o_O I don't think these information are enough for the users to check if their problems are solved in the new build. :( :isay:
     
  6. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    I came close to testing TI9 until I see the posts on TI's support forum.

    1.TI works well for some, and not for others. There are recurring themes. Consider that this software runs in windows, I would expect a lot more bugs with a 75MB imaging application. TI's competitors like BING, IFW/IFD, and Drive Snapshot are under 1MB. Hmmm...so I went to TI's home page looking for a RELEASE NOTE page. No dice. I suppose TI doesn't want the user to know the effectiveness of each patch. BTW, almost all non-Beta software vendors have some form of release note page. A stable imaging program should have only a few updates per year.

    Efficiency counts in the software game because it reduces the possibility of data corruption. Why generate 75 lines of code when only one will do?

    2.All windows based imaging proggies try to create a stable image file by "locking" the partition before capture. You may also encounter word like "snapshot". Again, we are introducing another variable to the imaging process. KISS. It's always best to image a partition when it is NOT in use for the highest degree of image stability. No manufacturer can test the compatibility of your PARTICULAR setup and the image program in WINDOWS. That's another reason why you should create/restore the image file OUTSIDE of windows, when the partition of interest is not in use.

    3.A heavily overclocked PC presents another obstacle for a drive imaging application. A robust application should be able to navigate this environment consistently, without error.

    4.A good imaging program should backup/restore the MBR, or provide an option to backup/restore the MBR.

    I also agree with the OP that Terabyte has an excellent e-mail support. All questions are answered accurately within one day.

    In the end, the best imaging program is one that works reliably with many PC configurations (CPUs, chipsets, RAIDs, optical drives, HDDs, etc) under various thermal and overclock conditions. I build high-performance PCs for fun, and I cannot control the programs that reside on the HDD. Therefore, I only use a non-windows imaging application.

    My "gold standard" was Drive Image 4/5. With the introduction of the NF3/NF4 chipset, I migrated to BING because DI would fail on a heavily overclocked PC. BING also comes with a drive partitioning, and boot loader (save more $ on the cost of Partition Magic). IFD comes in second, if one can overlook the use of a boot disc when creating/restoring an image file.

    I also appreciate BING's generous upgrade policy...FREE from 1.00 to 1.99. We're currently at 1.7x. That's 7 years of free upgrade, spanning W98, WME, W2K, WXP, and the upcoming Vista. The trial software is fully functional for 30 days. There are many good tutorials at the Terabyte home page. I would advise AGAINST the use of more than four primary partitions when installing BING.

    You should also invest in a 2nd HDD to store the image file. If the boot HDD croaks, then you can pop in a new HDD and quickly restore the data.

    P.S. I see another user complaining about the lack of a TI release note page.
     
  7. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Hi, bellgamin

    My experience with ATI led me to the position that, if a given build works correctly on your system, it works very nicely.

    In other words, if a given build of ATI is going to fail you, you only need to do a correctly designed set of tests to determine if ATI will fail you. As scary as it sounds, the ultimate test is to purposely trash your system and then restore from ATI.

    Because this test restore is scary, but I feel absolutely necessary, I do indeed have a second imaging software (not to mention another file backup program but I won't get into that), Terabyte Unlimited's Image for DOS/Image for Windows, as ErikAlbert alluded to. It's a nicely price alternative backup and is actually the only imaging/backup software that hasn't failed me once. And I've used it plenty and have tested restores and use it to backup before I test ATI.

    There's my 2 cents.

    P.S. As is implied by my underlining above, once you find a build of ATI that works to perfection on your machine, I would think very carefully before moving to a newer build unless it has a "must have" feature -- in that case you should be ready to use the same test process as you used on the other build.

    If you're happy with your Ranish utilities for partitioning tasks and don't care to do multibooting, you may get more value from buying just IFD/IFW rather than buying unneeded capability with BING.

    Make it 3 cents.;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006
  8. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Hi there,

    I have exactly the same feeling when I check the Acronis forum: a long list of problems and sad stories.

    I bought Ghost 9 and it gave me a lot problems and that awful feeling that something might go terribly wrong when really needed, prompt me to look for an alternative.

    I trialled Acronis TI 9 and ShadowProtect Desktop Edition from Storagecraft.

    TI 9 is 75 MB and ShadowProtect 10 MB. I was very impressed by both applications and was just about to buy ShadowProtect as it was lighter and faster. The price was not indifferent: 69 $ for ShadowProtect and there was a special offer from Acronis for 35$. I bought Acronis for this reason.

    It does what it says, but I found out too late that it is not perfect on my system:When I run the validation wizard to check the newly created backup folder, by the end of the validation process my OS freezes completely or I get a BSOD. It only happens within Windows, when the validation is run from the boot CD everything is fine.

    Acronis Support has been very helpful and they reply almost within hours to your e-mails, but after uninstalling almost all of my security applications (to check for conflicts), the problem persisted and no solution could be found. They say that using the boot CD the recovery of the system should be fine and I take their word for it. I don't want to backup to test the software.

    The bottom line: I should have run TI and ShadowProtect for the full trial period before buying anything.

    I also agree with 'furballi', why 75MB? Most competitors are under 10.
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    The 75MB is all the BartPe Stuff and I agree it's rediculous.

    Only thing I've notice in the ATI forum is usually the solutions that fail are the non simple ones.

    As Erik tested the heck out of ATI with FDISR combo likewise Dallen did the same thing with Image for DOS

    Pete
     
  10. dog

    dog Guest

    I've never had any issue with TI and I put it through its paces --- I've done tons of restores and never had a failure. :) :cool:

    Regarding compliments vs complaints ... there aren't 'fanboys' of imaging software - it simply has to work ... it isn't software that's used daily (recovery); only on occasion for most to save their bacon. The Acronis forum is a 'support' forum in the truest sense - if Norton Ghost and Terabyte had forums the posting would typically be the same . ;) To have a forum like this and risk possible negative impact on marketing --- takes balls --- , clearly demonstrating Acronis commitment to customer service. Their product(s) is(are) outstanding, standing on its merit. The best way to see a more unbiased view is to read product comparatives/reviews in various PC rags ... where TI is often rated the best.

    Regards;

    Steve
     
  11. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    This thread is very interesting & educational. Thanks to all who are participating.

    Couple more questions...

    Does anyone have links for BING and Shadowprotect.

    Also, what is BartPe (mentioned by Peter)?

    I own Rollback but have ceased using it because of conflicts with ATI. Do FDISR play nicely together? If so, does FDISR do the same job as Rollback?
     
  12. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Erik Albert beat up ATI with FDISR installed. No conflicts no issues In essence yes FDISR does what Rollback tries to do. Just does it differently. I feel it is very reliable, and have tortured my computer without FDISR ever letting me down.

    Pete
     
  13. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Many of the problems reported with TI are by folkes who foolishly used SEcure Zone or Recovery Manager or Cloning.

    Ti seems to backup files correctly.

    You can use the following programs to gain more confidence.

    http://www.standards.com/index.html?ReadFile
    http://www.standards.com./index.html?GetFileTypeDistribution
    http://www.standards.com./index.html?CompareDrives

    One complaintI have is that backup seems t have gotten slower wit hrecent releases. TI used to takeonly about 10 minutes more than Ghost 10 to do do a full backup and verify. Now it takes about an hour more.

    I am not a user of IFW, but I recently received confirmation from the IFW folkes that one cannot mount a volume from an archive as one can in TI and Ghost 10.

    GHost 10 is solid, if properly used, and runs faster than TI. and Ghost id oft available for 0$, or very low cost, AFTER rebates from several vendors at various times. Check out places such as http://www.buy.com/ and http://www.outpost.com/. Often these deals are part of a package with NAV or NIS or ...

    Indeed, the oly reason I have GHost is because the cost was $0 AFTER rebates.

    Also see http://forums.hardwareguys.com/ikonboard.cgi?s=4492619c5fa1ffff;act=ST;f=13;t=4573.
     
  14. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    I can't speak for TI9, but BING 1.2x to 1.7x has been 100% reliable for me from 2001 to 2006. Dozens of chipsets, optical drives, CPUs, GPUs, productivity applications, and never once a bad image file. If you can access your BIOS, then BING should be 100% compatible with your PC. It is even 100% compatible with an AMD CPU that's overclocked by 67%. I, too, was resistant to change because I was familiar with Drive Image 4/5. DI also created a smaller image file (-5%).

    I've been using BING exclusively since 2004. I create and restore at least 3 to 4 image files per day, mostly with AMD machines because they offer more performance than Intel. This will change with the release of Conroe.

    I don't put much faith in software review. Heck, NAV is always at the top, but I think NOD or McAfee Corporate is a much better AV. An imaging program with many bells and whistles generally will have more failure modes than one without.

    There is no guarantee in the software business. One failed image file is too many for me, because I cannot trust that imaging application to backup my data. BING has a 1.00 batting record. I cannot guarantee that it will work with your rig, but based on my years of working with BING and many PCs, this software should be at the top of your trial list.

    It is possible to run BING from the installation floppy/CD. If you like the software, then you can use BING to create an 8MB FAT16 primary partition at the END of your HDD. Install BING and the EMBR (see manual) in this partition.

    I don't think you should install BING and FDISR on the same PC. Please confirm this with an e-mail to Terabyte. The most difficult part is to load BING on your HDD. It's not hard. It' just different from a windows perspective. You can review the installation video at the BING website. Then just a few clicks to image/restore a partition.

    You'll probably won't see a BING support forum any time soon because the software is very basic in feature. With some imaging software, you have to make a list of DOs and DON'Ts. If the damn features don't work reliably, then remove it from the program! BING will either work reliably or not work at all with your BIOS.

    BING's imaging speed is ALWAYS proportional to the speed of your CPU and HDD. Top speed is around 1500MB/min with burst speed as high as 2000MB/min with my rig.

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootitng.html
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Bellgamin

    Since you are more of a novice, you might be better served by sticking with IFD/IFW with the Terabyte line. There you won't have any FDISR issues. BING is a great program, not I am not sure I'd recommend it to someone who hasn't got experience playing with the stuff it does. IFW/IFD will give you the same reliablity.

    Pete
     
  16. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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  17. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    I would not recommend any image backup not capable of mounting volumes.
    Mounting is necessary to check the images before restoring.
     
  18. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    wrong link ;)

    heres the homepage:

    http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

    the BartPE builder basically allows u to create a sort of live Windows XP cd. u can boot off it and run many utilities (via plugins).

    in addition to the rescue media builder, the true image setup includes its own plugin for bartpe. i dont know how many megabytes it adds, but its there.
     
  19. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    There is NO need to mount the image if the imaging program is 100% reliable with the PC. A byte for byte comparison at the end of image creation is already a big overkill, but I'd do it anyway if I only image the partition once a month. If the imaging software fails to restore the image file one time, then you should not rely on that software for data backup.

    Knowing that you have a bad image file is of no use if you don't have several good image files to restore.
     
  20. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    The more I read, the more questions that come to mind.o_O

    #1- What is the difference between disk imaging and disk cloning? Which is more reliable in the event of disaster?

    #2- Ah so... BING = BootIt Next Generation. I didn't know that BING could do disk imaging -- or have I misunderstood what furballi wrote?

    #3- Any thoughts as to WHY Rollback conflicts with ATI whereas FDISR does not?

    #4- What is the difference between an incremental backup & a differential backup?
     
  21. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    In imaging, you make a copy of every byte on the aource partition or drive and store them in one big file, usually in some proprietary and compressed format. In cloning, you also make a byte-for-byte copy of the source drive but you simply copy these bytes into the same position on another drive, as they are, file by file such that you can shut down, unplug the source drive, plug in the target drive, restart, and just pick up where you left off.
    Yes it can image in addition to managing multi-booting and doing partition management tasks (split, create, hide, delete, resize, etc.)
    A differential backup backs up ALL files/bytes that have changed since the last FULL backup. An incremental backup backs up all files/bytes that have changed EITHER since the last full backup or the last incremental backup, whichever occurred last. A restore would then consist of restoring the full backup plus the single differential backup OR the full backup plus EVERY incremental backup made since the last full backup.
    I totally agree with this.

    I would reaffirm my recommendation and support the point that Peter2150 made that IFD/IFD will be more suitable for a novice than BING, and I would make that claim whether or not you use FD-ISR.

    HOWEVER, I would also like to point out that ErikAlbert, for instance, has made the point in other threads that he doesn't find IFD/IFW/BING to be "user-friendly". On the other hand, I find IFD/IFW quite straight forward and full of the KISS principle. You'll have to be you're own judge of how easy you find any of the Terabyte software to use. There are tutorials out there: here's a more popular source of video tutorials for IFD/IFW and BING: http://www.heffy.com/image.htm

    Also, bellgamin, you may be interested in knowing that Fred Langa also praises the Terabyte trio to no end.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006
  22. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Bellgamin,
    Forget about RollbackRx (RB), unless you want to become one of these unfortunate RB-users, who had alot of problems with RB. Do you want these problems as a novice with a software, that is supposed to save YOU ? I didn't want to take any risks, so I choosed FDISR and that was a very easy choice for me.

    For image backup I had several options : Terabyte, Acronis, ShadowStor, Symantec, ...
    Terabyte was my first choice, but I didn't understand Terabyte very well.
    So I tried Acronis and in a very short time, I was able to backup and restore.
    Just like you I was very worried about the many problems in the Acronis Forums.
    So I tried to break ATI in every possible way, I could think of, but ATI never failed.
    After numerous successfull tests with ATI, I still wasn't satisfied, because I wanted FDISR on my computer too and I was worried about the MBR-issue.
    So I started all over again : backup, restore, backup, restore with or without FDISR installed and in the beginning I had some troubles, because "I" did it wrong and I never blame a software for MY mistakes.

    Now I'm using ATI and FDISR together daily. I do daily 4 backups with ATI without problems on an external harddisk. I restored an image backup a few times without problems.
    ATI & FDISR work so good that it makes me feel invincible. I don't even care anymore when my system partition is broken. If FDISR fails to save me, ATI will save me.

    You don't have to use ATI, because I'm happy with it. Do your OWN "torture" tests. If you feel more comfortable with Terabyte and it doesn't fail, USE it.
    Maybe Terabyte is even better than Acronis, because Acronis has too many gadgets, but I'm not planning to replace Acronis with Terabyte, I don't have any good reason to do this.
    Whatever you read at Wilders, the bottom line is that YOU and ONLY YOU have to live with your image backup/immediate system recovery and you have to rely on them in the worst disaster scenarios.
    Just do your backups at the right moment and never trust any new (legitimate or not) software on your computer. Any new software requires precautions, unfortunately many users don't take them, because they take too much time. :)
     
  23. egghead

    egghead Registered Member

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    For how to get to support forum see:http://www.bootitng.com/oehelp.html

    Bellgamin,

    Give BING a try.

    Leave the manual for what it is.

    1. for installation of the program see this vids: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/examples.html

    2.for vids about creating partitions, image a partition, restore an image etc.etc. see: http://www.heffy.com/image.htm

    Since using BING I'm never nervous anymore: it just works, it always works, it works flawlessly.

    Try it and you will never look back. ;)
     
  24. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    Well I use TI9 now but I would have no problem useing Ghost9 which I used for quite a while with no problems at all. If TI ever fails the same twice I will be back useing ghost in a heartbeat.
     
  25. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    So why to buy Image for Windows if u can do this job and more as well by BING? And why they have 2 software for same purpose?
    Thanks.
     
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