Backup size related to System Restore?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jaystak, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. jaystak

    jaystak Registered Member

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    I did a full backup of my PC a few days ago and the backup file was about 52GB. I did another backup today and the file was only about 40GB. I haven't made any major software changes to my pc, so I'm confused about the difference. I did turn off System Restore so that's a possibility. But does System Restore really use that much space?
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Unless you change system restore parameters it will, in XP, use up to 12% of the main hard drive.

    I usually run Windows disk cleanup every few days and one of the options is to delete all but the latest restore point. I still like to keep system restore avaiable rather then switch it off altogether.

    Xpilot
     
  3. jaystak

    jaystak Registered Member

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    Interesting. If you use Acronis regularly, why do you need System Restore?
     
  4. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Sys restore is faster and easier than doing a full partition restore and suitable in some situations -- like I jsut installed Nero and mucked things up even after uninstalling. In that case, a Sys Restore would be faster.
     
  5. Mark_Phelps

    Mark_Phelps Registered Member

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    As they say ... your mileage may vary ... and MY experience with actually using System Restore in Vista recently was a major disappointment and wakeup.

    I had installed a bunch of windows updates and, upon rebooting, my machine became unstable. I wrote down the update KB numbers, and using System Restore, "restored" my machine to a date a week prior to the updates. When I rebooted, my machine was STILL unstable. So, I went into the Windows Updates history, and the update was still there! So much for "restoring" my system to an earlier date.

    With no earlier system restore available, I had to resort to "restoring" my system from the latest weekly image backup that I take with True Image. At least, that worked!

    Until this, I too believed that System Restore actually "restored" your system to an earlier date. So, I did some investigation and was able to find out that what System Restore apparently does is read the winsxs folder to look for older versions of files that it has replaced and simply restores those files.

    Thus, it would be more appropriate (and less misleading) to refer to it as "Windows System File Rollback" -- since, apparently, that is all it does.

    So, now, I have System Restore disabled, accumulate a couple of weeks of windows updates (notify but do not download or install), run an image backup with True Image, and only then do the updates. This way, when I go to "restore" my system, it actually gets "restored".

    Just my experience that I wanted to share with others ...
     
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    While that may be true for Vista AFAIK XP works in a much more sensible manner.

    Xpilot
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    I've found the inverse to be true. Most of my attempts at using System Restore on XP have failed. Most of my attempts at using System Restore on Vista have succeeded. There is always the exception...
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello jaystak,

    Thank you for your interesting in Acronis True Image

    Another reason for backup file reduction size can be compression level. Check it in Tools -> Options -> Default Backup Options.

    Best regards,
    --
    Dmitry Nikolaev
     
  9. Mark_Phelps

    Mark_Phelps Registered Member

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    For those of you who rely on System Restore, my advice, learned through painful experiences, is do NOT.

    I, too, thought it would actually restore my "system" (as in, files, data, settings, etc.), but when I needed it most to do that, when I was trying to use it to recover from a Windows Update that trashed my Vista box , it couldn't even do that!

    What I've learned since then is that, at least with Vista, MS's idea of a "system" restore is limited to shadow copies of system files, registry entries, some settings -- and that's about it!

    So now, I have System Restore turned off -- and rely entirely on A.T.I.. Yeah, it has its problems too, but at least when I do a restore using it, I really do get my "system" back to the way it was when I did the backup.
     
  10. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Knowing exactly what is restored by System Restore has always been somewhat nebulous, but Microsoft has generally made it pretty clear that it does NOT restore user data.

    You are correct about TI being a better solution for restoring a PC to a previous date, but turning off System Restore in Vista has the disadvantage of disabling the shadow copy process that is responsible for creating previous versions of files. That is a backup mechanism that is actually useful because, in my case, it has protected me from my own stupidity several times by enabling me to recover yesterday's version of a file (spreadsheet, Word doc, etc) after I accidentally wrote over or deleted the version that I wanted. TI can only do that if you back up daily. If you back up less frequently then you may want to consider leaving System Restore enabled on your data partition.
     
  11. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    But again, following the preceding argument, wouldn't an Acronis backup be a better way to get yesterday's file? Assuming, of course, you made backups no less often than you could afford to lose data.



     
  12. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Perhaps, but with Vista's "Previous Versions" feature you are able to restore your file to any previous version with a convenient user interface, as illustrated here. With TI you might have to go searching through your archives to find a particular previous version. Knowing how TI incremental images grow, I also think that the storage space needed by VSS is less than that needed for TI daily incremental images.
     
  13. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    If Sys Restore a la Vista worked well enough, and stored on a separate hdisk, one might not even need ATI at all -- especially if one could control the length of the history (how far back the backups reach).
     
  14. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The System Restore (and shadow copy) mechanism is managed by the command-line tool, VSSADMIN:
    Code:
    C:\Windows\system32>Vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /?
    vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
    (C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.
    
    Resize ShadowStorage /For=ForVolumeSpec [B][COLOR="Red"]/On=OnVolumeSpec[/COLOR][/B] [/MaxSize=MaxSizeSpec]
        - Resizes the maximum size for a shadow copy storage association between
        ForVolumeSpec and OnVolumeSpec.  Resizing the storage association may
        cause shadow copies to disappear.  If MaxSizeSpec is not
        specified, there no limit to the amount of space it may use.  As certain
        shadow copies are deleted, the shadow copy storage space will then
        shrink.  MaxSizeSpec must be 300MB or greater and accepts the following
        suffixes: KB, MB, GB, TB, PB and EB.  Also, B, K, M, G, T, P, and E are
        acceptable suffixes.  If a suffix is not supplied, MaxSizeSpec is in
        bytes.
    
        Example Usage:  vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: [B][COLOR="red"]/On=D:[/COLOR][/B] /MaxSize=900MB
    Sadly, the Example Usage given only works on Server 2008. (I think this also works on Server 2003, but am not sure). On Vista, the OnVolumeSpec must be the same as the ForVolumeSpec, or in other words the system restore files must be stored on the volume being backed up, so you wouldn't want to rely on this method exclusively for obvious reasons. But you can control the amount of storage, so you can indirectly control how far back in time the backups reach.
     
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