Alternative to True Image (nervous nellie)

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

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  1. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I could use a little advice regarding image backups. Here's what I would like to be able to do.

    1. Make full backup then increments (I backup Sunday's) for cherry picking, increments.

    2. Be able to restore to a new HDD which does not have an OS, my full backup + choice of increment.

    3. Simpler to use, as Dutchman & cavemen are genuises, simple for plants & one-celled animals, type simple.

    4. Skimpy useage of memory.

    I've used Acronis TI ver. 7,8,9,10, at ver 10 I did my first restore. The OS & apps. installed, but with many many errors. In fact it would have been easier to dig out all the disks, and manually install. After reinstalling SP2, note I almost had to do a 'repair install of XP', reinstalling many drivers, and finally getting back to normal. I tried contacting Acronis in the forum 'no response', next email tech support, which was not very helpful. My email would include all notes regarding the backup/restore efforts, typically I would get one sentence responses, which would urge me to read there 'knowledge base'. Okay! My experience with Acronis, & Acronis tech. is not good. Now I'm still doing Sunday backups, but scared to death to, trust or do another Acronis restore.

    I use an ext. HDD for backups.

    Odds & Ends!

    What does MBR stand for?

    IFW/IFD does not seem to make incremental backups, so this would seem like way too much disk space for Sunday backups.

    I don't understand this. The old dead HDD was 120gb, the new HDD is 200gb. Acronis restore, only recognized 120gb. I then had to make a new partition "D" to be able to use the rest of the drive. Why couldn't it just see the free space as part of C: ?

    Thanks & Take Care
    Rico
     
  2. marcella

    marcella Registered Member

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    I had to drop PowerQuest's Drive Image 7 (bought and discarded by Symantec) and tried Acronis True Image v.9 with a free update to v10. I made numerous images, and created a bootable usb flashcard that worked. I did not do an actual restore (OOPS!)

    Recently, I deliberately "broke" my RAID0 OS setup to free up a drive for Vista, and when I needed it, TI's bootable usb, cd's and floppies failed to fully load, stranding me. I suspect it did not like my SATA dvd-writer even though the device was not actually needed to restore.

    Acronis support had me try a number of things within its Linux code with no success, and then transferred my issue to a supervisor. That was two weeks ago and I've had no response since. I do not go two weeks without usable backups.

    After a many hours clean install of XP and a huge number of apps, and then all the tweaks that I could remember, I tried the trial versions of Terabyte's Image for Windows (IFW), and Image for DOS (IFD). Buying the former gets you the latter as well, including Image for Linux. Here is my experience:

    Yes, Terabyte's utilities can be complex for newbies if you let them. BUT, you do not have to venture into MBR's and EMBR's, etc. to protect your data. Check out the great online help files, examples and videos.

    If you use IFW, be sure to download and install the free Phyllock. It takes a snapshot of your active Windows at startup, and then ignores/is not thrown off by all activities and open files that you may be using while the image is being written. I only use IFW when I'm in a time crunch and need to get emails and other things done. Even my automated Diskeeper which is usually running in background on all drives does not screw things up!

    Most of the time, though, I use IFD, starting with a bootable floppy or mini-cd. IFD creates the same format images as IFW, and either program can restore the other's images. Be sure to select "Validate" for all images, and if you want to be absolutely confident, also click on "byte-for-byte". I have found no need to do this so far.

    I bought IFW with IFD and BootiT NG (BING) for about $50. I now use BING to non-destructively resize partitions, etc. It also makes images via a copy/paste method. You don't need it unless partition changes are something you do. Given my experience, I've thoroughly tested imaging and restoring for every partition. I have RAID and non-RAID XP images on my eSATA's, and copies in a separate Images partition on my Seagate data drive (but not that partition's image which needs to be stored elsewhere..

    In what seemed like little time, I imaged my WinXP Pro partition on one of the Raptors, and restored it to my one IDE 120gb drive (expanding it to fill the drive). I then used the Asus boot menu to pick the new OS (this leaves my BIOS bootup sequence unchanged) and had only two things to change: my wallpaper to remind me I was in my backup XP, and my other drive letters to make them consistent with my "real" XP. All application file pointers such as my Outlook mailbox.pst go to the same file location, regardless of which OS I'm running.

    When (if) I go to Vista, I will use my second Raptor and make images once it is fully tweaked and customized.

    In my opinion, Terabyte is stable, flexible and it works. Its website is superb. I experiment with RAID setups without hesitation, knowing I'm covered if I need to go back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2007
  3. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Master Boot Record :)
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It is true with IFW/IFD you don't have to mess with stuff like the MBR. But I found in stress testing that this wasn't good. I messed around with resizing and sliding partitions around, and then tested the restores.

    Shadow Protect like acronis allows restoring the MBR and track 0 along with the partition and this allowed recovery from anything. IFD/IFW not having that ability failed to do a restore under the severe tests.

    Pete
     
  5. Cochise

    Cochise A missed friend

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    Paragon isn't bad either...:D :D :D :D


    Cochise.
     
  6. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,


    Marcella can you do increments with ifw/ifd, if not then how do you handle the storage requirements for a full backup each time?

    Peter - I emailed 6 - 8 days ago ShadowProtect asking, pre sales questions - no response. They don not seem to care.

    Cochise - I've looked at Paragon tempting with the competitive upgrade policy, but 30 day (from purchase) email support, seems kind of chintzy.

    Can all 3 Paragon, Shadow, & IFW/IFD all restore the OS and all the other junk to a new HDD?

    Last why is image, so much better over traditional backup software like Retrospect etc?

    Thanks Take Care
    Rico
     
  7. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Rico

    I agree Storagecraft isn't to hot on presales questions. You might post on their forum, ask your questions here, or pm grnxmn. He is a Storagecraft rep.

    Imaging is so much faster. Also Retrospects disaster recovery procedure was a disaster as far as I was concerned. I would never have tried it.

    Pete
     
  8. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Pete,

    As far as Storagecraft goes, if they don't care to respond, I don't need them.

    While imaging may be quick, I can afford the time, what I need is rock solid, no errors, when using restore. I supported Acronis through version 7,8,9, 10 & when I truly need them to perform, it & they failed miserably. It seems to me more emphasis is placed on backingup then restore, backup is just 1/2 the equation. Kind a like a spare tire, when you need it, it better not be flat.

    Do you think more reliable restores are possible with non imaging type backup & restore programs. I really like the idea of cherry picking from a list of weekly increments.

    Thanks & Take Care
    Rico
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Rico

    What I like about Shadow Protect is that it is rock solid and reliable. I treat restoring images as common place as opening a word doc. WHen you say more reliable comparing backup vs imaging. If all you want is a file probably so, but if you are talking about recoverying from a major messed up disk, I'd go with imaging.

    As to increments, I've abandoned caring about incrementals and differentials. Couple of reasons. 1) the more complex the more likely the possiblity of failure. 2) While incrementals/differentials clearly can save space(unless you defrag) they take longer. I did some testing, and there was a clear time disadvantage. For me disk space is a non issue, but time is valuable. So when I image, I just do a complete image. Also I don't schedule or do an image based on the calendar. I do it when it makes sense. At times it might be daily, other times weekly.

    Pete
     
  10. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

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    RE: SHADOW PROTECT
    Hey Pete ,

    Hope this hasn't already been asked as I hate the thought of reading through this entire thread again!

    How does Shadow Protect compare to other imaging products as far as speed of creation and restoration of images? I'm guessing you've tried more than one imaging product on the same computer as I realize the computer specs obviously play a huge role in that. Would love to hear. Sounds like they're doing a good job with that program.
     
  11. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    All though I am quite happy with IFW/IFD I am always looking for something new and better.
    Image for Windows havent released any info on how (or when) they are gonna release their next version.
    The plan release was Q4 last year. And I dont know when it will support Vista.

    So Shadow Protect sounds interesting, being fast and reliable (whilst IFW/IFD is only reliable ) 7 minutes to image 24Gb is very, very fast in my world. For IFW it takes more than one hour for my 39Gb, I usually image when I go to bed so I dont know really but at least one hour with validation.
    How is it with SP and Vista support? Vista is planned to release next week here in sweden so it would be nice
    if it supported Vista. I couldnt find any easy available info on their page.
     
  12. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Hello boys and girls
    :)
    The thread that never dies: tremendous resource: as Glihooley and Feeny say: "A textbook in itself" :D

    @Rico: read Marcella's post. :thumb:
    Short, seemingly simple question: complex answers: short answer: in same machine: YES.
    Different HW not so simple.
    Check here for almost failsafe set-ups:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=140271
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=140271

    Incrementals?differentials?: loaded mine fields.
    If time is an issue:- Just use PHYLock and run imaging in background: perfectly safe: never had a problem (yet)

    @sukarof: PHYLock ?? just run it in the background :)
    Afaik Vista support already operational in BING and there is plenty of stuff on the newsgroup/help files re Blista.

    I too slightly disappointed re speeed of new /next release of TU apps.
    Still, happy to wait and get mature tools that work than buggy prereleases that f##k up imaging. That would be disaster. :gack:
    Happy also that updates will be free. ( or at least that was the promise)

    I agree that Shadowprotect is a seriously good tool.
    I remember Pete posted somewhere about some appalling conflict with FDISR using VSS in both apps.
    Might need to PM him, cant find the post, sorry.

    Regards.
     
  13. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Gang

    Yep this thread is amazing.

    I've compared Shadow Protect, Acronis True Image V9, IFW/IFD and Drive Snapshot. The three latter under BartPe.

    Speed wise they were all close, the bigger discrepancy's when I was going to an external USB drive. Also in terms of speed what you and I see could be differnent, as I was surprised to discover the machine made more of a difference than I'd have guessed. New machines with slightly faster disks, but much faster cpu's, busses, and memory, made a huge difference.

    Couple of other things.

    Although Acronis never actually failed a restore for me, I just don't has as much confidence because silly things like the progress indicator don't work right on my setup. Makes you wonder what else doesn't work.

    Drive snapshot didn't work under bart on my new machine at first. Later found out although both use nvidia raid 0, and the drivers appear the same, they are different versions.

    One thing I did experience with IFW running under windows was an occasional lock up. Never had a problem with it under bart. Running IFW under windows solved the long times with IFD if gong to an external drive.

    Finally I played around with some real stress testing, starting with a VM virtual machine, and eventually real hardware. At this point I was mainly using Shadow Protect and IFW. I was doing stuff like shrinking the partition, and leaving it at the end of the disk, with the unallocated space up front. Needless to say the system wouldn't boot. Under that situation IFW failed to restore, where as shadow protect did. I think the main reason is shadow protect has the option to first delete the volume, which wipes out the disk. It then recreates the partition based on what is in the image, and restores from the image the partition,mbr and track 0.

    SP just never has failed no matter what screw stuff I've done to my drives, and I did move that testing off the VM stuff to my real hardware. As a result of all this testing restoring images to my drives is now as routine as opening a browser.

    Hope this helps, and fire back any questions.

    Pete
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    A PS

    Forgot to mention the conflict Longboard mentioned.

    With ShadowProtect installed(it uses VSS), I did a copy/update of my FDISR snapshot(at the time I was using VSS in FDISR) and First Defense merrilly deleted every file in the target snapshot. Not great.

    Once I understood what was happening, not a big deal. My solution was to change FDISR back to RSS, where I think it runs better anyway.

    Other option is uninstall Shadow Protect and run it from the Recovery CD.

    2nd option isn't all that bad for me as I don't use scheduling stuff anyway.

    Pete
     
  15. silver0066

    silver0066 Registered Member

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    Did you notice much of a speed difference when you broke the RAID?

    I have RAID 0 on a couple of Raptors and have never tried using them individually.
     
  16. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    Check your spam box. A few times I've heard this and asked the sales guys about it and they've shown me the actual email that they sent out. You may have received a response, but it may also have been intercepted by your spam filter. If there indeed is no response then please just PM me.
     
  17. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    With all this, i'm even more undecided. TI is great, but this and that can happen, IDW is great, but you can't do this and that, Shadow Protect is fantastic, but
    but
    wait a minute, besides pre-sales emails, where's the downside?:blink:
    Is this it?
    I want negative feedback:D (strange if it doesn't come up in here)
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Okay a couple of downsides. 1) Price. It is more expensive. To me worth it, but it might not be to others. 2) Current version has a problem with Nvidia Raid drivers in the recovery enviorment I think that is solved for next release. 3) You can't just download the trial, that is just the windows version. To get the full recovery version with CD you have to request it. That is due to it being Winpe based and relationships with Microsoft.

    SP also has some neat features like being able to split images already taken, merge images, etc. I tried all these, they worked, but I don't use them. These features I didn't torture test. I just take complete images each time.

    Fast and with total reliablity.

    Let me also comment Someone, I know I probably sound a bit like a drum beater. But I beta test, and enjoy it, and do it on machines that I also use for my business. Being aware of all the downsides to this, reliable disaster recovery, that also is quick is very important to me. Shadow Protect has given me the confidence to do almost anything and know I can recover. Doubly so when combined with FDISR.

    Pete

    As to support presales or otherwise, regardless of anything else, Grnxnm seems commited to being here and helping folks.
     
  19. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    Thank you for the reply. So no downsides:D :eek:
    grnxnm does seem to be interested, and helpful, and he has made claims that i didn't see opposed. It gives the impression of a superior product.
    Although i didn't read all the thread, this is huge!

    One question: why use FDISR? Because it's faster to recover from software failure, and easier to backup?
     
  20. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    FDISR is part of a whole strategy, to maximize protection and minimize time.

    When I image, I have to take the image, boot to the recovery disk and restore it. That's my assurance the image is good. Total time is about 10-12 minutes.

    The way I am set up with FDISR is I have my one main primary snapshot. Thats my working c: drive with everything. My second snapshot is a stripped system, just there so I can boot to it in FDISR. Then I have a main copy of the Archive of my primary snapshot on a 2nd harddrive. The update time on that is about 1 minute. If I need to restore from the archive it takes two reboots and an update which in total is about 5-6 minutes. So FDISR is quicker.

    Then when I image I no longer verify the images. I first update FDISR and then image. Then I just restore them. If good which they all have been I am done. But if by chance something should go wrong, I just restore a previous image which did restore fine. Then I use FDISR to bring the disk current.

    A multilayer and thoroughly tested strategy.

    Two products that both are a bit more expensive, but have just plain worked and worked reliabably.

    Pete
     
  21. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @someone
    "downsides" : hmmm

    -As noted Pete 'broke' IFW/IFD

    -user interface a problem for some with BING/IFD

    -Cost may be an issue (heh still hoping that Storage craft get their act together and bundle up Shadowuser and Shadow protect and make a breakthrough in the home market ;) ) For less, TU gives me imaging, superb support and partition mgt.

    -Correct me if I'm wrong, I am not sure that I would use VSS and have anything else running ?? With a couple of FDISR snapshots I now have a ridiculously big database/'C' to image: 35G !! It takes a bit of time. Phylock just does it in the background.

    -Pete can probably comment better: S-P and FDISR use VSS. FDISR occassionally has copy errors, S-P afaik does/did not allow imaging check/verification until restore. I am a bit uncertain about the potential for undetected issues in S-P images.

    Despite some issues with FDISR (and there are some that crop up) TU tools and Storage craft tools, these really are superb softs, that all have great support, that 'we' have really tried to screw up and the reality is they have come through very well.

    Even say paying for all three just because you wanted to, total cost less than ~ A$1/day/year
    Regards.

    PS, just saw some of your posts re VMs, fyi BING has some interesting applications in a VM. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2007
  22. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi

    Re the verification issue. Shadow Protect SP2 does have the ability to verify the image at the command level. It's clumsy. They will be adding it into the GUI in version 3.

    This was a big issue with me at first. No it's a non issue. I wouldn't bother with verification now if it was easy. I've probably restored at least a hundred images with all i've done, and never had any issues. Besides as I've said I use the restore as verifcation.

    Pete
     
  23. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    Disadvantages of the current ShadowProtect version 2:

    In ShadowProtect ver 2 you can't restore an image to a volume whose size is smaller than the size of the volume which was the source of the image file. In other words there's no "shink-on-the-fly" feature.

    In ShadowProtect ver 2 you can't image directly to optical media

    In ShadowProtect ver 2, as Pete mentioned, image verification is automatic on restore, and independent verify is done on the command-line.

    ShadowProtect ver 2 doesn't provide enhanced support for moving images from one computer to another computer with significantly-different hardware.

    Keep in mind that ShadowProtect ver 3 is coming out in a month or two, give or take - you know how it goes - and there are a ton of enhancements in it. If you have any concerns about the above items, I suggest you trial ShadowProtect 2, to see if it's the right choice for your needs, and then perhaps wait for version 3 before buying.
     
  24. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @grnxnhm
    Too humble :D
    Not so biggie
    Heh: could be a plus, although storage on O-M seems popular: my disc image would take A LOT of CD lol
    I agree, this is a weakness to me.
    Neither does anyone else. (with any reliability)
    Cool.
     
  25. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    It's not my place to enumerate all of the enhancements that will be in ShadowProtect version 3, however some of them have been leaked and are public knowledge, so I can talk about them.

    Regarding shrink-on-the-fly (restoring to volumes whose size are smaller than the image file's source volume size), we've already implemented most of this feature. I'm not sure if this will be in 3.0 or an update to 3.0.

    Regarding verify, we've finished adding this feature (independent verify) to the GUI. Keep in mind that verify has always been (in all ShadowProtect versions) an automatic step that is performed on any restore.

    Regarding the ability to restore to significantly-different hardware, this feature is 100% complete and has already gone through an amazingly successful beta phase (only 1 failure reported so far among masses of test cases, and of course this case has been resolved). Frankly I've never seen a more successful beta phase in my career. This feature is really fun to use (and very fast too!). The purpose of this feature (its priority/primary-objective) is to ensure that a volume will boot Windows after you've restored an image to the volume where the image came from a different computer. After booting, it's up to the user to install the necessary drivers for devices that aren't critical to the boot process itself (network, video, audio, modem, etc).

    Oh, also, we've resolved all of the nForce issues under WinPE. This will be released prior to version 3.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2007
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