An Image Backup that's Very Easy to Use?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Wendi, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    A year ago my friend lost her husband in Afghanistan and has since been trying to learn how to use his PC. Over the past year I have taught her how to navigate Windows 7 and use IE. I have also installed and setup Sandboxie so that she is protect from the internet.

    Her husband kept their family photos and important documents on the PC and so I have told her how important it is to backup the PC. At this time she can't cope with complicated software (or any other complictions) so I thought I would ask my fellow Wilders members to recommend an image backup program that is so easy to use she won't get discouraged and ignore it. Of course I would install it and teach her how to use it.

    Wendi
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wendi,

    The easiest backup imaging app for her is one she doesn't have to use. One that creates an image daily, weekly, whatever you set it to do. So you set it up and neither or you have anything more to do apart from you checking it occasionally to make sure all is OK.
     
  3. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Imaging of OS and Programs is a different issue than backing up photos and important documents. Two different requirements.

    Keep the OS and Programs drive as simple and lean. About 60GB, and this can be easily and periodically imaged in a short time. Use Marcum Reflect FREE for imaging.

    Create a different partition for User Files (Photos, Important Documents and so forth). Move them to this different partition. For example, right click on "My Documents" Folder, choose Properties, and then Move to another Partition. Use SyncBack FREE to regular make a "Mirror" of User Files to a different Drive/Location.

    Best regards,
     
  4. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Brain,

    This can be easily achieved by Marcuim Reflect PRO version.

    Best regards,
     
  5. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    ....which is what? (I'm very curious about that suggestion Brian). o_O

    @Wendi, as a one who served his country (and lost too many of my 'brothers'), my heart-felt condolences to your girlfriend.

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  6. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Hi aladdin,

    I'm aware of (and practice) what you preach above. However please keep in mind that my girlfriend is (very) far from being a techie PC user. As a matter of fact the only PC in her home was her husband's which she never touched before his death. While I try to help her whenever I can, I simply don't have the time to repartition her drive and move the data onto a partition other than the system partition.

    She needs an easy-to-use backup software solution that will deal with Windows and all of the data that is now on her system drive. Fwiw, there is a large-capacity external USB drive connected to the PC that her husband used for backing up and I noticed that Drive Snapshot is on the PC, but I don't think that it is simplistic enough for my friend. :doubt:

    Wendi
     
  7. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Wendi, given the level of your girlfriend's PC-literacy (per your description) I think Brian's suggestion is, conceptually, what's needed. Hopefully he will elaborate with a specific solution.

    I will say that I find Drive Snapshot (which is already on her PC) rather simple and easy-to-use for backups; restores are less straight-forward. Regardless, it sounds like DS may not be the answer.

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  8. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I have found Paragon software to be quite easy to use and I have recommended it to low PC literate friends with success. You just follow the wizards instructions and you are done.
     
  9. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Wendi, I just thought of this - if your girlfriend has a fairly fast internet connection and can afford $5/month then automated cloud backup may be an ideal solution for her!

    Cruise
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wendi,

    That's great. You will need to create the batch file. We can help. All your friend needs to do is plug in the the USB external HD, double click an icon and walk away.
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Cruise,

    Any imaging app that can run from a command line. I started doing this in DOS with Ghost 2003 but in Windows I've used IFW, IFL, IFD and DS.

    IFW will create the batch file for you and set up the schedule.
     
  12. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Hi Cruise,

    I also considered that, but because of her family's income hardship I don't think $5/month for cloud backup is something she would consider.

    Wendi
     
  13. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Hi Brian,

    That would be outstanding! I do not have the knowledge to do that but I know that you do. So if you are willing to develop the necessary batch file (where all I need to do is install it on her PC and show her how to use it), then let's do it. :thumb:

    Wendi

    ----
    Ps. As I mentioned in a prior post, her late husband has a paid version of DS on the PC.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wendi,

    Can you look in Disk Management and let us know what partitions are present, their sizes and amount of free space? Which OS is in use?

    How large is the USB external HD? How much free space is present? What is the drive letter of the USB external HD?
     
  15. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Brian,

    I can't get to her house until the weekend, but to get you started here's what I recall...

    HP Desktop, Win7 (x64)
    C-Partition is 250GB total, 150GB free (roughly)
    There are 2-logical partitions, D: (HP Restore) and E: (250GB, ? free)
    Ext. USB Drive is 750GB with about 450GB free. I think it's G:

    Is that good enough for starters?

    Wendi
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wendi,

    Create a folder on the external HD called Images.
    Create a folder in the C: drive called Snapshot.
    Copy snapshot.exe to C:\Snapshot
    In C:\Snapshot create a New Text Document.
    Copy/Paste this into the text document...

    @echo off
    set path=C:\Snapshot
    CD /d G:\Images
    snapshot.exe C: C_full.sna -R -L0 -o -T -W
    IF EXIST snap_02.sna (DEL snap_02.sna)
    IF EXIST snap_01.sna (REN snap_01.sna snap_02.sna)
    REN C_full.sna snap_01.sna

    Rename New Text Document.txt to DS.cmd (accept the warning about the file extension name). Make sure you can see file extensions before you do this as you must be able to see and change the .txt extension.

    Right click DS.cmd and create a Shortcut. Copy the shortcut to the desktop.

    When you double click the shortcut DS will create an image in G:\Images. The batch file will keep the two most recent images and delete older ones. The most recent image will always be named snap_01.sna.

    Any questions? We can talk about the other partitions later.

    Edit... I've added -W to the command line.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  17. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Brian,

    I can hardly wait to try this! -- and yes, I do have a few questions...
    1. How will she know that the backup has finished and is successful?
    2. Could this be enhanced to run on a schedule?
    3. Could you develop a similar batch-file for restoring her C-drive (if that should ever be necessary)?
    4. For my education would you explain what the variables are in the line: snapshot.exe C: C_full.sna -R -L0 -o -T -W.
    Afaik, there's no need to backup any other partition other than C:

    Wendi
     
  18. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wendi,

    Look in G:\Images. She will see snap_01.sna with today's date and time next to it. While the image is being created she will see the DS command window with % completed.

    Easily.

    Yes but I think restoring from a WinPE would be less confronting than restoring from DOS. You can just boot a Win7 DVD and run the GUI DS.

    -R empty the Recycle Bin
    -L0 is not split image
    -o is don't create a Hash file
    -T test (Validate)
    -W suppresses WaitForAnyKey
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  19. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Way to go Brian; that was a very decent thing to do! :thumb: :thumb:

    Cruise
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    DS is fast. The above batch file images my Win8 partition in two and a quarter minutes (if I omit -T). And 6 minutes if I include -T.
     
  21. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    nice stuff brian were are here if you need more help. i can also help with this as well if brian is not on. just keep us posted.
     
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Let's say you would like to run it weekly..

    Open Task Scheduler and click Task Scheduler Library on the left and Create Basic Task on the right.

    Name ... Full image
    Weekly
    Time
    Start a Program
    Browse to C:\Snapshot\DS.cmd
    Put a tick in Open the Properties dialog for....
    Finish
    Tick in Run with highest privileges
    Configure for Windows 7
    Conditions tab, put a tick in Wake the computer to run this task
    Click OK
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  24. Cutting_Edgetech

    Cutting_Edgetech Registered Member

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    If she can afford it then she should get an external HD. There pretty cheap these days. It's much safer than saving valuable files on the same HD that one's OS is installed on. She could also burn the images to a DVD disk to be redundant. She could also store them on Skydrive to have offsite backup. Just simply backing up her OS drive is not a good solution to her objective.
     
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    This describes how to use a Win7 32-bit DVD as a WinPE for restores. If you use a 64-bit DVD then use snapshot64.exe.

    Boot from a Win7 DVD
    Next
    On the Install now window, click Repair your computer
    After the search completes, click Load Drivers
    click OK on Add drivers (but move the Add Drivers window to the very edge of your monitor before clicking OK)
    plug in a USB flash drive containing snapshot.exe
    double click Computer
    Navigate to snapshot.exe on the flash drive. Right click snapshot (the Application, file extensions aren't shown) and choose Open.
    click Cancel on the "Open" window
    click Cancel on the "Add Drivers" window
    Close (click the X) on the "System Recovery Options" window
    Minimize the "Install Windows" window

    Drive Snapshot is now visible and ready to use.
     
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