Backing up Windows and other software only

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by philebus, Apr 22, 2006.

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  1. philebus

    philebus Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I'm no great computer wizz (yet) and I just bought Acronis TI 9.0 Home edition for a specific purpose: namely to back up my operating system (Windows XP SP2) and the myriad of other software programs I have on my hard drive (video and photo editing software, anti virus, anti spyware, etc).

    I'm not too fussed about using Acronis TI for backing up data because I already do this using various media such as data DVD's as well as storing this data on my external hard drive, plus transfering it to my computer at work. I do have, and continually maintain, plenty of data backups (though maybe I could use Acronis to do this in a more efficient manner, such as differential or incremental back ups my data files. I'll look into that).

    What I would like to know is how can I backup just the operating system (Windows) and all the software programs such that if there is a real disaster (beyond that which Windows 'system restore' can fix) I can recover the software from here?

    I ask this because backing up just the software on the computer wll take up far less space than software plus data (since I have reams of video which takes up heaps of space). (I just did a full image backup and it took up 75gb on my external drive, most of it just data of which I already have numerous copies).

    Does this make sense or is it ill conceived?

    thanks
     
  2. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    If your data is on a separate partition or drive, then yes, you can backup the OS and software installations only.
     
  3. philebus

    philebus Registered Member

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    All my data and software are on the 'C' drive, so does that mean I can't just back up the software including windows?
     
  4. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    I believe the latest build lets you exclude folders you don't want in the backup, but I may be way off base on this - I don't use the latest :oops: . Check the web site to see what it says, or wait for more responses.
     
  5. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    As far as I know folders exclusion is possible only in Files and Folders backup.

    To backup the OS and application programs, you need to create a Disk/Partition image of C. I don't think you will be able to exclude your personal data if you want to create an image capable to restore to a bootable disk and a working OS and programs. Except by temporarily moving your data to another disk while imageing C. But, if you move the data back to C and later you have to restore the OS, the data will be lost.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2006
  6. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Not directly possible in an image backup but I think you should consider your layout and backup strategy first.

    For an image backup the basic operational unit is a partition. So if you want to image your OS only then it needs to be in its own partition. If you want to image only your data then it needs to be in its own partition.

    Now, before you say that is dumb, consider the benefits of laying out your disk this way. If your OS goes bad for any reason such as a virus, bad install, etc you can blow it away without even worrying about data you've created. You can even do this if you don't have a current backup because changes are likely to be small and if they are due to installed programs, you have the originals and can install them again. Lose your giant spreadsheet, 60 page report, picture files or videos you spent hours editing - well, it's a different story.

    You can also backup/restore your OS very quickly if you aren't dragging the data files with it. Most XP installations with a typical amount of installed programs are under 10GB, some much less.

    You can backup data files as partition images or selected Files and Folders with True Image. You can also say to heck with that and just copy them with XP to a different drive, or burn them with Nero or Roxio or whatever to a DVD without an intervening program.

    After you have a C partition created for your OS you can add or delete data partitions at will by using XP's Disk Management tools if you don't have partitioning software.

    While I often don't see much merit in have large numbers of partitions having at least two, one for OS and one for data I think is very wise. This assumes you have another drive for storing backup images and files on. If I only had one drive, I would add a third partition for creating backups on and I would burn the backups to DVD using the 2-step method.
     
  7. philebus

    philebus Registered Member

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    Thanks for your replies to my question.

    I independently thought of what bVolk suggested, but it seems fiddley and potentially I could lose data that way.

    That really leaves me with the advice from chutsman and seekforwever who both suggest putting the operating system and softeware on a different partition, and then imaging just that partition.

    That seems fine, and sensible, except how one does one create partitions? Does it mean that I have to fork out an extra 80 or so bucks (here in Australia) for Acronis Director Suite 10 in order to create and manage the partitions? I realise there are free and cheaper programs out there, but is Director Suite the best, or indeed, only real option for a non-techie like me, or is there a cheaper and just as easy way to do this.
    thanks again
     
  8. Allen L.

    Allen L. Registered Member

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    There is really no truely safe way to re-partition a one partition drive that is already filled with programs and data unless you use one of the many partition programs that are available. I have never done a 'Google' type search for partition programs, as I have my favorite already, but there are many to choose from, and to be really safe, you should definately use one and divide your system into two partitions...more than that is never needed in my opinion. OS and all programs on the active "C" partition, *only* data on the other logical partition, "D". This means moving your "My Documents" folder from it's default placement on the Desktop of the OS or C active partition, to the new data, or D partition, but that is very easy and done after the partitioning operation of course. I've never read about one of the independently made partition programs failing to preform a good safe operation, some are just easier to use in my opinion.

    Don't try and use the Windows XP 'disk management' included option to do this partitioning at this point. Windows disk management will make partitions for you when you are installing Windows just fine, but after a complete install and results such as you have now, with a lot of data and programs including the OS, you will more than likely have much grief if you use the Window's built in partitioning option. I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but *I* certainly wouldn't trust it in your situation.

    Your only option to do what you want safely, is to purchase a partition program. There are many...so do some research. If you use computers, and plan to use them for some time, you will use the partition program many times in the future, so this will not be a wasted (read one time use) expenditure.

    ...Allen
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2006
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I think this procedure would do the trick. Now is the time to see if you trust your backup and restore.

    Create a backup of your entire C drive and verify it. If you need more space on your backup drive burn the image to DVD.

    Copy all of your data files to your other drive.

    Delete all of your data files from C: These are real data files not the installed program files.

    Create an image of C: which now is just the OS and installed programs. Save the image on your other drive and verify it.

    Boot up your XP installation disk and progress to the partition and format part of the install procedure.

    Partition and format your disk according to the new structure desired. After done get out of XP install procedure.

    Boot up TI Rescue CD.

    Restore your new OS only C image to your new C partition.

    Boot up Windows and copy data back to new data partition.

    I haven't done this but it may work and is a little simpler:
    You may be able to do this without re-partitioning with the XP install CD by restoring the C image to the drive and selecting how much space you wish to allocate to the restored partition. This should leave the remainder as unallocated which you can partition using Disk Management (which, I never have had a problem with in this capacity).
     
  10. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    I haven't done it either, but it seems to me that it must be done in two passes.

    You first restore the whole disk from the OS & programs image, then you restore from the same image again, this time selecting the partition only. It's here that you get the option to change the partition size.

    Menorcaman described this procedure in detail some time ago. It was in connection with the restoration to a larger drive, but it should work the other way around too - creating unallocated space instead of assigning it.


    Addendum: Since your drive already has a working MBR recorded, you may be able to skip the first pass and just restore the partition, where you can access the size adjustment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2006
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    That is my thought. There is no need for a whole disk because he has the MBR (and the MBR is captured in B3567 anyway).
     
  12. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Yes, Menorcaman's case was different, since he was dealing with the restoration to a brand new (bigger) drive.
     
  13. philebus

    philebus Registered Member

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    Again, THANKS for the detailed replies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems I have 3 options.

    First, I have already saved a disk image on to an external hard drive (300gb Ultra PATA) which is identical in size to the used part of the single partitioned 'c' drive on my internal hard dive (160gb SATA). This disk image is a 75gb *.tib file (mostly made up of data, which I have stored in numerous places, including the external drive, DVDs on my work computer). In could just wipe the data from the internal drive, and then image this drive again over to my external drive. If I do this would this reduce the size of the 75gb *.tib file.

    Second, I could do what Allen L, probably wisely, suggests and buy a commercial partitioning program. If so, which one. Since I have Acronis TI to me it seems logical to get Acronis Disk Director Suite since it would be compatible with TI. Are my thoughts correct on this. Saving $10 or $20 is not relevant to me in this context. I just want to best performance for the least hassles.

    Or third, I could go the route spelled out in such clear detail by seekforever and bFolk. I must say, I don't like the thought of reinstalling windows xp from the cd because it is an oldish version and would require me to update both service packs and all the updates in between. It seems a bit time consuming and a bit fraught. Have I got this wrong.

    Anyway, I'm a bit short of time at the moment so I probably won't do options 2 or 3 for a couple of months, and am leaning towards 1. But any comments on the 3 options would be appreciated, especially whether option 1 will work (although I realise it isn't as good an option as 2 and 3 in the long run.
     
  14. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    For option 3 you are not installing Windows, you are just running the install procedure up to the point where you can partition and format the drive. Nothing has been or will be written to the disk so you don't have to worry about obsolete windows files.

    I really think that you can just restore your stripped down "C drive" after you create an image of it and adjust the partion size downward in the restore process and avoid the partitioning exercise with the XP install disk above. Then partition the unused space with Windows Management to create your data partition.

    You seem to have your data well-backed up so you should be able to do this without too much risk at all.
     
  15. urie

    urie Registered Member

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    None of those methods will work it doesn't matter where you have installed programs to D:\ E:\ F:\ e.c.t the information for programs are kept in c:\windows registry file very few programs would run again from second drive or partition without the registry entries you will have to reinstall most of them again.
     
  16. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    The data files referred to were clarified above to be true data files and the OS is the OS plus installed programs. So the installed programs remain on C with the registry and the data is on the data drive.
     
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