Backup advice

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by chrisbenwalker, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    As a relative (well - complete) newcomer to backup software, I have purchased this True Image software in the hope that I can create an image that will restore my PC fully in the event of a system failure. I have had my PC crash on my a couple of times over the last few years, and mostly have backed up my important stuff to cd by dragging and dropping.
    I hope to be able to use this software to be able to restore all of my settings, not only just my documents, so I don't have to go through the whole process of reinstalling windows, drivers, outlook settings and so on and so on......
    I have had a play with this and have successfully backed up my cd collection from one external hard drive to another with normal compression, and I have also completed a backup of my C drive, by selecting Backup > The Entire disk contents or Individual Partition.
    Will this contain everything I need to restore my PC should it fail, and will I have to completely reinstall windows and then reinstall Acronis, and then select the backup from my external hard drive and run it from there?
    Sorry if this is obvious, but as I said, I'm new to this! Thanks for reading and ANY advice or tips for using this software greatly appreciated.;)
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    If you want TI can image not just your C partition but the whole of your hard drive. The restoration process either to the original location or to a brand new hard drive needs no special preparation you just follow the prompts and do it !

    Xpilot
     
  3. Later2u

    Later2u Registered Member

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    I also believe you need to make a bootable recovery disk as well.
     
  4. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Absolutely.
     
  5. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    you also have to stick it into the cd drive and re boot.

    Xpilot
     
  6. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Sounds to me like you've had experience with Retrospect Express. Thankfully Acronis True Image does not work like Retrospect Express. The only way I could restore my system with Retrospect Express was to do exactly what you describe, namely reinstall Windows c/w SP2 and drivers, install Retrospect Express, access my backup and restore. And never was I able to create a so-called Disaster Recovery Disk which was supposed to include an abbreviated version of Windows.

    With Acronis True Image, should you wish to restore your system, you boot from a Rescue CD which runs in a Linux environment independent of Windows, then choose:
    - Restore disks or partitions
    - Select a partition or a whole HD to restore
    - Select a target partition or unallocated space for the restore
    - a few added details
    - Read the summary of operations screen, click PROCEED and you're done.
     
  7. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Yes Dld

    Yes, I have experience with that very program which was a complete pain having to re-install virtually everything again.

    I have one further question about this software, forgive my ignorance, but if you run a backup of an entire hard drive (in my case C drive which runs windows) will I have EVERYTHING restored afterwards. By that I mean, documents, intenert favourites, emails in outlook express and email settings, and so on.........

    Thanks for taking time to read.

    Chris
     
  8. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    If you've ticked the box next to Disk 1 when you created your backup image then everything on that disk is in that image.

    http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/8693/screenshot030kd4.jpg

    When you restore you will have choices similar to this second screenshot. In my case since I have two partitions on my HD I have the following choices. If I were to click on Disk 1 again, then everything would be restored, my C: partition, my Data partition and the Master Boot Record. Should I want to restore only my C: partition I would tick that box only. If I want to add the MBR I would tick that box in a subsequent step, all this before seeing a Summary Of Operations and clicking on PROCEED. Nothing is done until you click that PROCEED.

    http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/1504/screenshot029fx0.jpg

    All settings will be restored except for those changes which have occured in My Documents, Favourites and Outlook Express files since the creation of your backup image. This is the reason why I have created a separate partition for my Data which includes exactly these items. When I want to restore my system I just click on the C: partition and my most recent changes in these folders are not overwritten.

    One last comment. I don't restore only in the case of a system failure. Just recently I was installing a spam blocker which came in two versions, the free version and the paid version. Prior to installing the free version I had an image of my system, Image 1. I installed the free version and created an image of my system, Image 2. I wasn't happy with this installation so I restored Image 1. I then installed the paid version. Once I had that working I decided to give the free version a second try. I restored Image 1 and installed the free version again. Finally I had everything working as desired. In all of this time nothing was lost in my OE files. Why didn't I simply remove the unwanted versions? As much as possible I try to avoid removing programs. Doing it this way I don't have bits and pieces left in the registry.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2006
  9. db777NY

    db777NY Registered Member

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    Im glad you guys went into details. i was just wondering how to do it myself.

    I have an additional question.

    I read about the two types of backing up, and so far Ive been using incremental, but what are the differences between the two:
    1. incremental
    2. differential

    Lets say I back up the entire disc image. then next month I want to back it up again, what do i use? option 1 or 2? what are the benefits.

    thanks for any help.
    : )
     
  10. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    The incremental image stores all changes since the last incremental. They are relatively fast to create, but as the chain grows, they become slow to validate as the whole chain (full image included) is being validated for each new incremental.

    The differential image stores all changes since the full it is based on. Keeping on storage more then one differential per any full leads to repeated recordings of the same data (the second differential holds also all the additions already recorded by the first differential, the third differential will also hold the additions that have been recorded twice before...). Deleting previous differentials and keeping just the last one kills the ability to validate it (due to a bug in TI9). In my opinion, the best way to use differentials is to make only one differential per any full and then restart with a new full. If one wants to have all the intermediate restore dates available, the incremental strategy is a better choice.

    Both incrementals and differentials need some overhead of their own (space- and time-wise). If you will be imaging once a month, I would suggest full images only. They are so much easyer to manage when the time comes to delete some images to make space for new ones. No pondering which file holds what, no possibility to leave orphaned incrementals/differentials behind (having mistakendly deleted their starting full).

    I image twice a week and only create full images. Well, my system partition image is only about 4 GB. When it grows over 10 GB, I'll probably switch to a small number of incrementals.

    Anyway, that choice is a very personal matter.
     
  11. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Thanks Dld for that really informative reply, I have a much better understanding of this software now.

    One more question though, as I have now successfully backed up my entire C drive, I can go to the restore option, and have exactly the screen you show in your post, only I have the option to restore Disk 1 (C: plus MBR) or C: only, or MBR and track 1 only.

    Is it best to tick disk 1 so restore both, or just the C drive.......why should/shouldn't you restore the MBR (If i'm being honest, I don't really know what the master boot record does...)
     
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi chrisbenwalker,

    It depends. If your hard drive MBR hasn't been corrupted and you are restoring to the same disk that the image was created from then there is no need to also restore the MBR and Track 0 data. On the other hand, if the MBR had become corrupted or you are restoring the image to a brand new replacement hard drive then you will also need to include the MBR and Track 0 data as part of the restore.

    As for what the MBR does, the following link contains a reasonably straightforward explanation:

    http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/master_boot_record.htm

    Regards
     
  13. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Thanks menorcaman and all who have helped, all my questions been answered without spending hours googling and reading through masses of instructions.....

    Successfully backed up, and restored my PC, and also ran backup of my laptop successfully.

    Chris
     
  14. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Glad to see you're up and running. We like happy campers on this forum.
     
  15. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Ok, so I have ANOTHER question!!!

    As I have said before, I have successfully ran a restore on my PC for peace of mind chould it crash in the future.

    Curiosity got the better of me where the laptop is concerned, and I decided I HAD to try the restore on that aswell. The laptop is an Advent, which has a recovery partition on it should I need to reinstall (which works fine). Not sure if I needed to, but I created a new recovery CD for the laptop, and went for the restore.

    When I try to run a Full Version recovery from the selection screen at boot up, the laptop won't find the external hard drive that the back up is on. If I try to run a Safe Version recovery (without drivers etc) the external drive is seen by the laptop. I don't want to run the safe recovery, just incase it's not that safe!! Is this because I have all my drivers etc on the recovery partition? If I run the backup, will all my drivers etc be intact?

    By the way, when I ran the backup, I did not include the recovery partition that is on the laptop, only the NTFS C: drive. I left the Recovery partition unticked.

    Is this why I have the problem?
     
  16. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Would't like to spoil the party, but you may be unaware that you need a second TI license to serve your laptop as well as your PC.
     
  17. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Whoops! I'll bear that in mind......

    Does that mean that it won't work on another pc then, purely for testing purposes?

    Then could go out and purchase another copy?
     
  18. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    It will work, you don't even need another Rescue CD for the second computer, all you need is as many licences as the number of computers served.

    When fixing issues, though, even Acronis Support will often suggest combined actions between different computers, just for diagnosing.

    As for your previous post, leaving the recovery partition out of the image is not the reason for the external not to be seen from rescue environment. It may be due to incompatibility between the USB chipset on the motherboard of the laptop, the chipset in the external enclosure and the Linux drivers on the Rescue CD.

    Before jumping to that conclusion you may want to try the following workarounds in connection with booting the laptop from Rescue CD:

    - apply the "quiet acpi=off noapic" parameter as detailed in the Please Read Before You Post sticky;
    - disconnect every unneeded USB device;
    - don't use an USB hub, plug the external drive direcly;
    - connect and power up the external drive before booting from Rescue CD (or after the CD drive starts if the external drive is set on top of the boot order list);
    - wait for a minute on the selection screen to give time to the external to initialize before proceeding;
    - select the Safe version of TI instead of the Full (which should be the first choice).
     
  19. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    You're a star bVolk,

    The "quiet acpi=off noapic" thing worked. Had seen that in the please read before you post, but wasn't sure if that's what I needed.

    The external enclosure is now recognised in both the safe and full backup.

    Thanks again,
    Chris
     
  20. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello again chrisbenwalker,

    The boot rescue CD is hardware-independent. Therefore the only time you need to create another rescue CD is when you install a newer version or build of TI.

    The Full recovery mode is Linux based. Therefore try dropping into the Linux command line and entering the additional commands acpi=off noapic (mind how you spell noapic !!) as detailed in the Acronis Support thread titled <Please Read Before You Post>.

    The Safe recovery mode uses DOS and your computer's BIOS routines to access the hardware. Depending on the make/model of the motherboard, the Safe mode may or may not detect an external hard drive. In your case you are in luck and you should be able to successfully restore from your external USB (?) drive. However, you will probably find that your laptop's BIOS routines will only allow your USB sub-system to operate in USB 1.1 mode, which is some 40 times slower than USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. Still, if push comes to shove, it's better than nothing.

    No.

    Notwithstanding the above answers, as bVolk rightly said, you will need a separate copy of TI for each of your computers that you use TI on (that includes the bootable rescue CD). Therefore, strictly speaking, you should download and install the free Trial Version if you want to test it on another computer. However, I doubt Acronis will send the hit squad around if you were to use your Desktop computer's bootable rescue CD on your Laptop just to find out if it's compatible or not. If you find that the acpi=off noapic workaround enables you to use the Full rescue mode on the laptop then, after purchasing another copy of TI, contact support@acronis.com with proof of purchase (order number), explain the problem and request that they provide you with an ISO file of the bootable rescue CD that already incorporates the acpi=off noapic commands.

    Regards

    EDIT: Oops!! I see that bVolk has beaten me to it :D. Glad you managed to get the Full mode working on the laptop :thumb:
     
  21. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Thanks also Menorcaman! Thorough and informative advice. I have learned a lot from this thread, and the pleasing thing for me, is that most of what has been said, I kind of understand it all! (apart from the linux bit, but not too worried by that!)

    I am currently running a recovery of my laptop, and as you stated, it appears the BIOS is running the USB at 1.1 as it's bloody slow! (although the laptop is usb2.0)

    Will let you know if successful........got about 2 hours to go fingers crossed!
    Regards
    Chris
     
  22. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi Chris,

    They say knowledge is POWER :D. So if you are interested, checkout this <previous reply> (including the two embeded links) for an explanation of what acpi=off noapic means and does.

    Regards
     
  23. chrisbenwalker

    chrisbenwalker Registered Member

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    Thanks again Menorcaman.......I now have POWER!!o_O

    Regards

    Chris,

    (Restore is still running!).........now complete and happy to say, successful! Thanks again to all.:D

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
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